It's a day for fifty-dollar German words. A small dose of schadenfreude is supposedly a stress-reliever, which may be true but it does nothing to assuage whatever residue of Judaeo-Christian guilt I feel about laughing at the misfortunes of others. Unholy glee at the shenanigans of an ex-President of the USA caught with his trousers down is hollow compared to the misfortunes of the citizenry of Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Algeria...pick one. The overthrow of despotic or politically inept regimes carries with it a certain moral authority, a condition that the masses capitalise on in the world media and the more the authorities attempt to prevent information flow, the colander of information that is the Internet finds ways of releasing it to the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that a young, often educated but jobless, media-savvy generation in possession of the electronic tools of rebellion are flexing their collective muscles and learning how to use them. The authoritarian, monarchical rule of the Al-Khalifas in Bahrain, whose Parliament is dominated by members of the Royal Family is beginning to look arcane, bloodstained and mediaeval in the light of the groundswell of democracy however imperfectly understood expressed by those whom they purport to govern. A new Arabic, perhaps global zeitgeist seems to be emerging. Overthrow might be comparatively easy, reconstruction is not and how these power vacuums will ultimately be filled is at present nothing more than a crapshoot, which makes me nervous since it is the politics of illusion and immediacy which is the language most fluently spoken by the young. Many of these birth pangs may very well subside, but their repetition is inevitable, next time with greater intensity. The Old Guard feels it has the right to power, the young guns would take it from them by force. Why can't they just kiss and make up. Naive of me.
The image is detail from Brancusi's 'The Kiss' Happy birthday Constantin. See you in Paris.