Sunday, 22 March 2009

Bloggers bearing witness in Gaza

The relationship between ‘warbloggers’ and journalists is precisely not a peaceful one. It is often caricatured - with some reason - as the encounter of frustrated failed journalists with professional ones jealous of their privileges. Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan** in a chapter entitled ‘War Zone: The Role of Warblogs in Iraq’ are thinking about the collaboration between what they call mediasphere and blogosphere. They say that blogs cannot be separated from the mediasphere to which they respond. In the case of the recent war on Gaza, it seems on the contrary, that the blogosphere was an impulse of news and the main source of information. 
Matheson and Allan’s model, which was applied to the 2003 invasion of Irak, could clearly be inverted as far as the 2008 Gaza offensive is considered.
Their main conclusion is still valid though:

‘the dominant model of the foreign war correspondent, developed during the relatively information-scarce nineteenth-century, relied upon the correspondent having a monopoly of information and the status of an expert by dint of being present on foreign soil and having general journalistic skills. Such a model becomes less tenable when news editors and readers have instant access to multiple voices, both journalist and lay, experiencing the news event in question from an array of perspectives in multiple locations.’ Matheson, Allan (2007, p.87)

Some of these multiple voices are put together on Global Voices, a platform started by the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon founded this valuable meeting point in 2004. Four years later, it became a central independent resource for anyone interested in listening others’ voices. MacKinnon told the BBC:

‘If bloggers are out there creating media and talking about things that the mainstream media isn't covering, that may also help push the mainstream media to recognise that there are a lot of things out there that people care about that they've simply failed to cover.’***

From Gaza, with Love is a blog - created on Blogspot - by Mona Al-Farrah, a physician and human rights activist who actually was in Egypt while the bombings started. Her messages revealed though an authentic voice, transmitting directly in the blogosphere the news she received from her friends, before they got into the mediasphere. At least, when they eventually reached it. She was giving her phone number in case someone - journalists? - would like to speak with her. Mohammed Fares Al Majdalawi, film maker and social worker in Gaza strip, published a post on Mona’s blog (4/01/2008):

‘There is a horror in every minute (...) I have two message to the world, (...) to the lovers of peace and freedom in the world. First message: Imagine your life with no electricity, destroyed homes, missiles night and day, no food. Imagine your children and your family telling you they are afraid of the missiles (...) My second message: End the siege and stop the killings, stop the demolitions of our houses.’ ****

The lack of professional mediacy might be considered as an evidence of bias. Technically, however, the blogger is making himself available by putting his mobile phone number online, at the end of his post. Any journalist or any simple reader is invited to check the facts. Many bloggers like Mohammed kept writing, as far as they got an internet access. Hopefully, the mediasphere - not entirely - echoed the cries and stories of the blogosphere. Al Jazeera English, from Gaza, had a Twitter feed which gave the general public an opportunity to follow - and check - the news almost at the same time as a new post was published.

Passing through both mediasphere and blogosphere is a way for the audience to get really involved in the news process instead of absorbing passively the crumbs delivered by mainstream media. It is a chance for professional journalists to share a conversation with this sort of active public, as well as with non-professional writers and witnesses. It is worthwhile noticing how Al Jazeera English, at some point, realized the perfect combination between blogosphere and mediasphere through an experimental platform called ‘War On Gaza. Experimental Beta’. On this website, a map was available and accidents could be submitted through the site, Twitter and mobile phones (SMS). Then, they were checked and possibly validated.

In conclusion, ‘truth in a war zone’ does not depend anymore on the monopoly of information by foreign correspondents. It is more likely a dialogue between an active blogosphere and a open mediasphere that values the intelligence of its audience by putting it in the centre of the news process - in a shared rationality.

** Maltby S., Keeble R. (2007) Communicating War. Memory, Media and Military. Bury St Edmunds: Arima Publishing
*** Boyd C., (2005). "Global voices speak through blogs," BBC NEWS Technology, April 6, 2005.
**** From Gaza, With Love (Mona El-Farra)

This article was first published on Arab Democracy
Super drawing from the super work of Mazen Kerbaj 

UPDATE 5/04/09 : Portuguese translation by Inês Espirito Santo on Spectrum

Friday, 20 March 2009

"Stockhausen Serves Imperialism" - Cornelius Cardew

A really exciting biography of Cornelius Cardew has been recently published in paperback by Copula (Matchless Recordings). It is entitled: Cornelius Cardew, A Life Unfinished. Written by the pianist John Tilbury - a close friend - , this complete account (1069 pages) offers a sincere, vibrant and truly touching portrait of one of the most remarkable British musician. It is just quite regrettable that no disc is added as a useful supplement to the book - so the reader would be able to turn words into sounds - and vice versa.

The dialogue Cardew set up between marxism and contemporary music reveals indeed more than a theoretical interest. It's useless - and in some extent dishonest - refusing the fact that a creative process always carries social consequences - for the creative process itself necessarily taking root somewhere, in a particular social context. 
Cardew's work and reflections simply undermine this illusion and redefine the subversive potential of music: 'Music is a vagrant; it has no fixed abode. It's a menace to society. It needs cleaning up. The impossibility of abolishing music. Its omnipresence. Its uncatchability. Perhaps after all we have to step down and let music pursue its own course.' (Diary entry, 25 February 1965).

When I heard about Cardew for the first time it was through his articles - even though he is not (alas) well recognized in France. Had until then a really nice professor of philosophy, Monsieur Dubois, who unfortunately for his marxist students devoted himself both to Heidegger and Stockhausen. Meeting Cornelius Cardew at that point was saving!
A powerful and exhilarating antidote to what Theodor Adorno called The Jargon of Authenticity, this sort of coded language filled with esoterism and hieratic pretension, turning ordinary concepts in more - allegedly - profound sense.

Adorno demythologized the world of philosophy and it's quite probable that Cardew did exactly the same in the world of experimental music.
That's why his sounds, writings and thoughts deserve to be remembered.

In that respect, Tilbury's book is essential.

A comprehensive review is available in the London Review of Books (12/03/2009)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Gideon Levy: Everyone agrees, war in Gaza was a failure

Article published by Gideon Levy in Haaretz (12/03/2009)

Suddenly we're all in consensus: The recent war in Gaza was a failure. The bon ton now is to list its flaws. Flip-floppers say its "achievements" were squandered; leftists say the war "should never have started" and rightists will say the war "should have lasted longer." But on this they all agree: It was a blunder.

Because we consider the war to have been almost cost-free, with just 13 Israeli dead, it will be the first in 36 years without a Commission of Inquiry formed in its wake.

Of course, the war's blunder was just as serious as its predecessors, but because we did more killing than being killed, because we caused more damage than we sustained, there's nothing deemed worthy of investigation.

It was all in vain: no progress made, no goal achieved, nothing. Deterrence wasn't reestablished, arms smuggling into Gaza was not stopped, Hamas was not weakened and abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit was not freed. On these facts we all agree.

Moreover, we paid a huge price: Hamas is stronger, the hurt Palestinian people are even more hateful toward us, and Israel is viewed as a pariah in world public opinion, with rioting on a basketball court in Ankara where an Israeli team played and the banning of spectators from Israel's Davis Cup tennis encounter with Sweden in Malmo, as the last of the rogue states.

Nobody has to answer for all this, neither the politicians who launched this crazy war nor the army commanders who were their contractors. No one will be impeached, never mind tried in court. Israel's aggressive and violent war machine won't even suffer a tiny dent.

And what of the cheerleaders who sat on the sidelines of this hellish nightmare? Perhaps we should at least hold them accountable? They sat in their television studios and at their newspaper desks. Oh, how the commentators were excited and stirred excitement. They goaded and urged, pushed and applied pressure, begging for more and more war. For months they had been clamoring for their "wide-scale operation," their hearts' desire. When their wish came true they cheered in support and whistled in excitement.

Do not take their actions lightly. They could have had an immense influence over the feeble politicians and graying officers. "Strike out at them," their baritone voices echoed from one part of the country to the other. They asserted it was a just and successful war without peer. They covered the brilliant military maneuvers with gusto, iniquitously hid the horrors, presented an unrestrained offensive against a non-existent enemy as a two-sided war, described troops' unchallenged advances as real combat and a military maneuver carried out on the back of a helpless population as a success.

They appeared at their studios with their mouths still covered with foam left over from their previous successful horror show, the Second Lebanon War. The retired generals and Tarzan commentators, whose coverage of the war in Lebanon was an abominable failure, recycled the same cliches and propaganda dictates. No one considered replacing them after their previous failure. They learned nothing and forgot nothing, and the vast majority of us nodded thoughtlessly at their words, as though they came from above.

The deja vu is striking: Again, just like after the Second Lebanon War, they suddenly became the war's biggest critics, only after it already ended - a matter of timing.

Showing no remorse and much vanity, they now shamelessly admit that the war whose praises they sang has failed. Why did it fail? Because we didn't kill enough people, they explain. If we would have given it a little push and killed 200 more children or massacred 500 more women, then we would have achieved victory.

None of them are asked what would have happened had the war continued. Would Shalit have been freed? Would Hamas have waved the white flag? Would the Palestinian people have joined the Zionist movement?

Now, get ready for the next treat. They've already begun to clamor for a new war in Gaza or Lebanon, whichever comes first. When they get what they ask for they will return to their studios. In the beginning they will offer their support for the war, and then come out against it.

No one will hold them accountable for their vile acts, and there will be nothing new under the sun.

Picture: Mazen Kerbaj

An alternative to « keep spending and stay in debt »

Multi-disciplinary visual arts exhibition Affluenza is currently taking place in Clerkenwell, London, from 19 to 28 March.

This project intiated by photographer and Samaritan volunteer Hege Sæbjørnsen is a challenging artistic response to the gloomy atmosphere reinforced - if not produced - by the financial crisis. It will not be enough to reverse the trend for sure but this project, at least, raises original questions instead of giving preconceived economic answers. It is opening a dialogue between artists, thinkers and the viewers about money, consumption and anxiety in postmodern societies. Focusing on the destructive impact of greed that explains to a large extent the recent banks failures, Affluenza aims to 'raise awareness and propose constructive solutions'.

The place will be a meeting point for confirmed and emerging artists. Rasha Khahil is one of those. She is currently completing an MA at the Royal College of Art. 'I'm really excited to be a part of this project because it has social implications'. Her work as a freelance designer is photography based and showing people who perform their identity between public and private sphere. Rasha will present an installation piece entitled 'M for Stalking'. She says: 'People spend so much time on social networking. Spying on each other. I'm doing it myself... This piece started when I stalked my boyfriend on the internet. I like this theme of social anxieties in postmodern cities.' She notices that being from a different nationality increases the feeling of strangeness.

Hege Sæbjørnsen, organizer and project manager, explains: 'All in London is about making money but we need to invest emotionally, not only financially'. She thinks that 'although it's a breakdown, the situation we are facing is a golden opportunity for bringing something together.' This project is not only a platform for 40 international artists, it is also a place with teenager seminars. It is willing to tackle what clinical psychologist Oliver James defines as 'the disease of affluence': a contagious anxiety that results from continual insatisfaction.
Affluenza is a pilot project supported by the Samaritans and the New Economic Foundation. A swap party is previewed in addition to talks entitled 'We all make the economy, stupid!' and 'How to de-brand your life'.

Affluenza exhibition
211 St. John's Street, Clerkenwell (nearest tube: Farringdon)

A version of this article was first published on City Online Magazine

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The closest to perfection: Pickpocket, by Robert Bresson (1959)

"Those who do these things usually keep quiet."

Interview with Robert Bresson

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Yes, but no, but YES : A display of class contempt

There is at least one English word you cannot translate in another language. It is "Chav".

A German friend recently asked me about it and I felt a bit depressed. For whatever you say to explain, at the end, "Chav" is simply how the nice and neat middle-class nicely and neatly despise the working-class. By laughing, of course. Indeed, it is only humor!
Poor, tasteless, uneducated and ridiculous - that's how the average bourgeois perceives the "Chav". Middle-class people actually distinguish themselves from the others by sharing a common intelligence of the social spectrum - which implies a common object of mockery and rejection.

But the irony of this class contempt is that what they mock is actually not so far from what they are.

Read this article in the Guardian entitled "Balm for the soul" (27/02/09). The writer Linda Grant is explaining in a truly touching - but disturbing - way how her very old mother used to enjoy shopping when she was too old and too sick to appreciate any other pleasure. At that point, you have to admit - as apparently "Chavs" and some Guardian writers do - that shopping is all about pleasure.

The Guardian's writer shopping references are Macy's and Selfridges. Those of "Chavs", Adidas and Burberry. Different attributes but same substance!

What is actually criticized as being the "Chav style" is simply a caricature of the middle-class, that reveals the true face of the latter: greed, ostentation and bad taste. All wrapped in a fake moderation. But the middle-class apparently does not like to be caricatured: its sense of humor is not unlimited. You are allowed to laugh at Vicky Pollard only - and, by extension, at any working-class offspring who is not hugging the walls, consumed by the shame of being poor.

Even if I have no special interest in the economy of big brands counterfeiting, can't help delighting of Burberry's embarrassment. "Burberry admits chav effect checked sales over Christmas": that was what you could read in the Telegraph in 2005, apparently very preoccupied by l'image de marque de la marque. Hopefully, as the Daily Mail put it, everything is now back to normal and "Burberry's shaken off its chav image to become the fashionistas' favourite once more". That was a close shave!

Even though, it sounds really stupid to be proud of being a Chav. But Julie Burchill is, according to what she wrote in the Times.
She simply neglected one detail: that she is actually NOT a Chav... Hello girl, your articles are published in the Times! That's why she could afford the luxury of being proud, no one would actually discriminate her as a Chav.

This notion of "Chav pride" is particularly pernicious because it keeps the real so-called "Chavs" away from political emancipation and consciousness. A minimum of dignity is required at that point - especially if you truly feel a part of the working-class because of your family background, personal history, political choices, etc.

And that sense of dignity first implies to deconstruct and undermine the "Chav" category which is nothing more than a display of class contempt disguised in harmless jokes.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A Micro Radio Manifesto

by Tetsuo Kogawa

Micro radio used to be a compromise to restrain oneself from using higher power transmitter because of the financial or regulatory reason. The first conscious micro radio started in the mid-1970s in Italy. As Félix Guattari wrote, "des millions et des millions d'Alice en puissance", over a thousand of micro free radio stations appeared along with the 'Autonomia' movement in Italy and then influenced other countries especially France. In Australia, the situation was different. Under the clever decision of Whitlam government, many cities started to have a new type of multi-lingual and multi-cultural community radio stations in the late 70s. In Japan, "Mini FM" boom began in the early 80s. It was a totally different type of micro radio: radio with literally micro-powered transmitter. It was a miracle that such a micro radio did work as a radio. So, the micro radio scene of the 80s was a mixture of the Italian free radio and a new element of the technological paradox.

After the late 80s, micro "pirate" stations in the US went into a new legal struggle against the authority for popular demands: Napoleon Williams' Black Liberation Radio in Illinois and then Stephen Dunifer's Free Radio Berkeley were famous. In 2000, FCC started a new license category "LPFM" (Low power FM). This means that the micro radio in the US is institutionalized and also that those who transmit without license are considered as illegal. The early dream of micro radio paradise is over. Even such a micro enclave is now controlled by the system. It would be no surprise because nowadays every control invades into not only individuals but also thier cerebral space. However, I still believe that micro radio can be located in different levels from the institutionalized space.

What do you intend to say by micro? In the core of the movements, "micro" of micro radio meant something beyond the mere size of transmitting power and service area. It connotes something qualitatively different. micro means diverse, multiple, and polymorphous. If micro does not mean small in physical size, then even physically bigger radio station could become micro. Micro radio is an alternative to mass medium and global communications that could cover the globe with the qualitatively same and patterned information. But even bigger medium is not always mass medium.

Today, our microscopic space is under technologically control and surveillance. Our potentially diverse, multiple nad polymorphous space is almost homogenizee into a mass. Therefore we need permanent effort to deconstruct this situation. In order to do this, to use a very low-power transmitter is worth trying. Small transmitter can be easily made by your own hands. But more than that. Theoretically you can do the same thing by high-power transmitter but it will deceive your perception what the micro is becase you have been surrounded by numerous high-power transmissions of conventional radio. We have to use a kind of "phenomenological bracketting" to perceive what the things are.

LPFM covers up to 100 watts. "Community FM" in Japan (which was legally introduced as an institutionalized "Mini FM") allows 10 watts now (initially up to 1 watt). I think even these power levels are too much for micro radio. What about one watt? What about below one watt? Such a micro-power radio station could cover only a street block radius or only a housing complex. Why not? Leon Theremin showed the minimum example of micro radio. His invention is not only a musical instrument but also a micro radio.

Given the age of various global means such as the satellite communications and the Internet, micro radio can concentrate itself into its more authentic territory: microscopic airwave space.

Why don't you go to a radio station just as you did to theatres. Micro radio theatre could be possible. The airwaves cover only a housing space. That is enough. I have been organizing micro radio party. This is an attempt to change a space to a qualitatively different by a micro transmitter.

Let's start with your own familiar space. Change in a tiny space could resonate to larger space but without microscopic change no radical change would be possible.

Alternative medium tends to establish its own physical "home base." But, as Hakim Bey argues, the today's alternative "home base" is relevant only as "Temporary Autonomous Zone (T.A.Z.)." There is an another way: a method of "in exile". After WBAI was controlled by commercial money, some of the programs such as "Democracy Now" started their program with a and a micro radio. "Democracy Now" rented a space in Lower East Side of New York and their program was broadcast as "WBAI in Exile". I think that in a sense radical radio is always did a good job n a certain sort of "exile": Radio Veritas, Manila in the 80s and B92 in the 90s. Internet is basically translocal medium. Different from printing medium, the space exits temporally and is out of geographical-physical location. Who cares where you are transmitting. You can maintain a "permanent" space with your lisners as long as you and your listners agree with communicating. When I met Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" and asked if ther style using "low-tech" (their facilities and studio space) might derive from the micro radio culture, she denied my question as if I had not enough appreciated their activity. Of course it was not what I meant. Although WBAI is coming back to an authentic radical radio station again, the "in exile" form of collaboration (where independent micro units in exile can link together) is much more newer and viable. Given various "global" technology of linkage and relay, micro radio is enough in size for the unit of radio station.

As a means to cover larger area, airwaves are wasteful and not ecological. Big radio is no more necessary. Sooner or later, large and global communication technologies will be integrated into the Internet. Radio, television and telephone will become local nodes to it. Thus globalists will discard such exiting medium. A new type of multi-media terminal linking to the internet will appear. So it is the time when radio and television (and even telephone) must re-find their own emancipating possibility. Micro radio station will re-find a possibility of getting-together space such as theatre and club. It will not reject global medium but will use them as a linking and networking means. By translocal micro medium, even global medium could become polymorphous and diverse (not only in the contents but also in the style to let people encounter).

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Sean Snyder, decoding filmic illusions

“There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won’t see.”

Donald Rumsfeld

Video installations of Sean Snyder are currently screened at the Institute of Contemporary Arts until 19 April. As part of a project entitled Index, they offer a stimulating reflexion about war images and representation. Crossing over recent history and popular culture, these images - mix of archives, pictures, video boxes and tapes - blur the frontiers between allegedly far-away battlefields and the apolitical comfort of television viewers’ sofas.

This accumulation of images, in particular through TV and advertising, creates a surrounding narrative which first effect is to dispossess the viewer of any judgement and capacity to understand what is actually viewed. Snyder, who is both a video director and a theorist, calls “visual rhetoric” the sensitive form ideology takes. Indeed, “War on Terror” started on two fronts: the military one and the visual one.

Nevertheless, the artist does not please himself in this easy - even though legitimate - denunciation of propaganda. His work is also a reflection about technology and its wide use that prevents official propaganda from being the only source of representation. In a paper entitled Optics. Compression. Propaganda., he writes: “The use of digital photography among members of the US military was made infamously known through the public disclosure of images of incidents at Abu Ghraib detention”.
What is called with a disgusting sense of modesty “Abu Ghraib incident” is not an isolated event. Also in the private sphere, soldiers were sending digital pictures via mails to their families and friends. Snyder mentions some of the captions: “Today’s youth... Tomorrow’s terrorists”, “Sure the sunset looks great, but look at the rest of the picture - that’s still Iraq”, etc. Taking pictures is truly “shooting”.

At that point, technological products cannot be used without taking in consideration the ideological consequences they imply. Quoting the French film theorist Jean-Louis Baudry, Snyder explains how the scientific base of new media does not automatically ensure them a neutrality.

The part business played in this visual rhetoric of war is not ignored. The last video shows how brands accompanied both invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Snyder writes that “Saddam Hussein’s personal tastes have been subjected to paparazzi-like scrutinity. The media particularly enjoyed cataloging the contents of Saddam Hussein’s hideout after he was captured.”
Snyder mentions some of the brand names - 7 Up, Mars bars, Palmolive natural soap, Lacoste eau de Cologne, etc. And concludes his paper with Saddam Hussein’s comment during the trial: “This is all theater...”

But the strongest video among these installations is probably the one entitled Afghanistan circa 1985, which is not related to any theory. This work is truly a gem, a “pure” moment when archives and sounds take the high risk of not relying on any comment.

It is a fascinating footage shot during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan where occupying troops join the villagers in a traditional Afghani dance. This very bizarre scene shows an interaction that cannot be easily described because it is mixing music, war, folklore, in a choregraphy filled with extreme implicit violence. Soldiers are clapping their hands with smiles, but machine guns are still slung over their shoulder.

Sean Snyder Index - 12 February to 19 April 2009
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall
London SW1Y 5AH

A version of this review was first published in City Online Magazine

Shops of Brixton

Even if the classical tune Four Seasons was transmitted inside Brixton tube station, the violins of Vivaldi’s spring seem already a far-off memory as one reaches the market. But showers apparently do not discourage local shoppers. Fish and avocados, cheap watches and unblocked mobiles, spoons and pop-corn, beef and apples, spice buns and Nigerian films, Jamaican crackers and Chinese healing herbs, Mecca rose incense and Haile Selassie posters, plantain bananas and halal sweets. All you need - and more - is in Brixton market, in the south London borough of Lambeth. 

Las Americas Cafeteria, for example, is a small flavourful piece of Colombia. The restaurant, immediately adjacent to a butcher’s shop, houses a video-club plus a bakery. It is possible to order typical Colombian (and Brazilian) food in Spanish. Not many options left for vegetarians though customers can try the corn cakes and ‘bunuelos’, sort of light doughnuts filled with sweetened cheese.

In the back of the restaurant, chatty women are preparing bread for ‘empenadas’, pastries filled with beef and onions. A tiny crucifix is fixed on the fridge, front of the weird head of a plastic horse. The room’s agency and decor, made with bits and pieces of strange objects, may sound kitsch. It actually reflects the nostalgia of a people attempting to preserve what has been left behind. It creates as well a strong social link between shoppers. Las Americas is to anybody a propitious place for passionate talks or silent reveries. A free Spanish newspaper, Latino Times, is available in the market. The current issue deals with how Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and other South American leaders are facing the financial crisis. It also focuses on the community life in London. The market is very much like an agora, a common space where different people with different stories can not only shop but meet and converse.

Aisha and Muhammad run a small business called Dunya. Muhammad is Jamaican and converted to Islam since 1990. He remembers the Brixton riots in April 1981, provoked by the death of a young Black man first stabbed in the street, and then questioned by the police instead of being taken to the hospital. He says “it was inevitable and there is a lot of tension right now”. According to him, racism is still present even if the words “young groups” replaced the expression “Blacks and Asians”. It is, he adds, “in your face policy. Actually, there are no more silver vans of mobile police as soon as you cross the bridge.”
Despite the pressure due to both social and racial discrimination, relations between the people here are warm-hearted. Aisha, originally from Barbados, explains that “Brixton is made of all different cultures; there is an Islamic shop here, a Rastafarian there, etc.”

The general context, which is to gentrification of the area, does not spare the market though. Aisha and Muhammad have already planned to move their shop in anticipation of a private company buy out. “They want to turn this market into a mall”. A new Westfield might be at stake. But this “new shopping experience”, as advertising agencies call it, would certainly not save the most precious experience of Brixton: stories of its diverse communities. One of those has been told by Paul Simonon’s bass guitar in a famous punk song, and is still clashing like a warning: “You can crush us, You can bruise us, But you’ll have to answer to.”