John Collins

Spanish perspectives II: an interview with Teresa Aranguren (Part 2)

“Our Western culture is radically ethnocentric. This makes it difficult to widen one’s view. To use a phrase from Juan Rulfo, ‘The world is wide and belongs to no one.’ We have think tanks full of experts who tell us that the economy requires this or that, all of these things that are just assumed. This is a very narrow vision of reality. The problem is that if this reality doesn’t count — that is, if it doesn’t matter what people of color think, what Africans think, what Asians think — then we can just go on living in ignorance of them, constructing our everyday world and believing that we are the only thing that matters in the world.” Part 2 of an interview with award-winning Spanish journalist Teresa Aranguren. 

Spanish perspectives II: an interview with Teresa Aranguren (Part 1)

“I’m very conscious of the fact that everything having to do with the Arab world, viewed from the West, is shrouded in stereotypes. And virtually all of the stereotypes the West has of the Arab world are negative, because it’s our neighbor. The Chinese are far away, but the Arabs, we Europeans talk about them as if we knew them perfectly. We have this perception of a violent, intolerant, fanatic world, and we project all of this onto the Arab world. So I think it’s important for people who have been there, who have lived other experiences, to try to make clear that stereotypes can kill, that they end up killing, or justifying the killing.” John Collins asks award-winning Spanish journalist Teresa Aranguren about the meaning of solidarity in an age of fear. (Part 1) 

Looking towards Palestine: Photographic projects in Madrid

“The work included in the photographic exhibit, ‘Looking towards Palestine,’ represented an impressive diversity of styles and subject matter, but the common denominator — appropriately, given the reality on the ground in Palestine — was the rubble. This is not to say that the photographers failed to explore other themes. On the contrary, the show was full of images of funerals, children’s games, Israeli tanks and bulldozers, living rooms, violent confrontations — in short, the stuff of daily life under occupation and in the diaspora. The rubble, however, was never far from view.” John Collins reports from Madrid. 

Spanish perspectives I: an interview with Ignacio Alvarez-Ossorio

John Collins is currently living in Madrid and conducting interviews with intellectuals, journalists, and activists about the Palestine solidarity movement in Spain. He recently spoke with Ignacio Alvarez-Ossorio, who teaches at the University of Alicante and who has published widely on the Palestinian issue. Professor Alvarez-Ossorio notes that until recently, Spanish intellectuals have paid very little attention to Palestinian politics, and that most reporters and writers do not understand the key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Israel’s war on the milieu

“Paul Virilio, the French social theorist and war historian, has a useful term for the sort of state violence that Israel is pursuing: “war on the milieu.” According to Virilio, the classical model of waging war is increasingly being replaced by a model of perpetual counterinsurgency, in which war happens not in a strategic arena, but on it. Within such a model, war is waged directly on civilians and on the natural and built environment that ensures their survival. ” Scholar and activist John Collins examines the political economy and symbolic resonance of olive trees in the Palestinian struggle against occupation.