“Madonna’s Peace Concert for the Chosen Only” recently posted by deLiberation is an extraordinary video that could easily be developed into a play or full-length movie. The problem would be that it might be accused of plagiarizing The Castle by Kafka.
In The Castle the main character we know only as “K” makes sisyphic efforts to contact the authorities at the Castle who, for reasons no one understands, rule over the village where he seeks residence permission.
Nothing can be done in the village without permission from the Castle, which is hard to obtain through the labyrinthine bureaucratic process. It is hard to impossible to contact the rulers in the Castle, whose doors are locked.
In the Madonna video the plot is equally simple: two Palestinians we could call K and K live in the forbidding shadow of the Jewish Wall, naturally on the barren side of it. The premise of the video is that they have purchased tickets to the concert that a self-proclaimed peace lover-cum-amateur kabbalist is going to give to her adoring fans on the other side of the Wall. To dispel the viewer’s doubts that any Palestinians would set aside his daily life worries and make efforts to enter Israel just to see this concert, the camera shows us the tickets repeatedly, with K and K holding them like products demonstrated in a TV commercial.
The diva’s name is perfect: Madonna. Perhaps Beckett, Pinter or Kafka himself would have rejected the name for this particular plot as too pat in its inevitable associations with Christianity’s support of the Wall, but reality is funny that way sometimes, not reluctant to ham it up.
K and K make repeated attempts to gain entrance to “the Castle” that zionism and “christian zionism” built, by knocking on the Wall, shouting entreaties and even calling by phone. The guardians of the Wall, just like in Kafka’s novel, are never seen. Their rumbling, mysterious voices are heard repeating the interdiction with an automaton’s verbatim iteration requesting properly documented prior approval of entry based on a request from “an organization.” K and K keep trying and fail.
Reading The Castle one is compelled to think of Israel as the Castle guarded by the Wall: nobody understands why it is ruling absolutely over “the village” where one may not be told what the charges against him are but must confess his guilt before being allowed to request pardon for it, where there are no Laws but the villagers keep trying to reverse engineer them by deducing them from the endlessly proliferating bureaucratic rules.
Above it all looms the oppressive, ominous shadow of the Wall that darkens and stifles the lives of K and K and K and K and K…. They may have tickets but those are as worthless as the very old, large keys to buildings long razed on the other side of the Wall. Yet they keep knocking on the gate of the Wall.
Kafka died before he could finish The Castle so K was left in eternal limbo. In the video K and K are left without a resolution as well. Many critics saw in Kafka’s work symbolic references to the anti-semitism of his time and place. This excellent video upholds the universality of his vision: anti-semitism, this time against the semitic Palestinian people, is strong in the Castle surrounded by the Wall called Israel, and elaborate justifications are given for its absurd existence and lack of humanity.
Madonna, a caricature of her former caricatural self, sings at the Castle about love and peace, unaware that Kafka provides a dissonant back up to her performance. Her papers are in order: she is a “kabbalist,” and a documented Castle lover. After the mutual adoration fest is over she will return to her own castle, remembering to dig up and rehang around her neck that large bejewelled cross. Her other fans love it.
It is a nice fantasy to imagine her surprising her fans in the Castle with a new song called “Tear Down That Wall,” but that song requires a really talented singer and a decent human being. The constructive work of demolishing the Wall will not be done by traveling minstrels and court jesters invited to the Castle anyway. It will be done by K and K and K and K and K and K and K and K….. Sooner rather than later. Inshallah.