history is a nightmare

westeuropeaninberlin

This is a translation of a piece I recently wrote for an art exhibition here in Berlin on the theme of state surveillance.

Image

James Joyce once wrote ‘

‘History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken’.

1975. Liverpool. The Jesuit lays the glossy magazines on the floor before us. The morning is bright and the sun shines through the high windows. In each magazine he has found advertising for holidays in exotic locations, beautiful photographs of Africa, Thailand and India. Then he looks at us. Young men, of thirtenn or fourteen years of age.

‘What would you say about these?’

Silence. He looks at each of us again and then says.

‘They are obscene.’

33. Palestine. At a pre-arranged moment, the spy comes into the gargen and kisses the young man so the soldiers will know which one he is. They know almost nothing about him. Nevertheless…

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