[NetBehaviour] bodies of evidence, and the long reach
Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri Nov 13 21:21:14 CET 2015
Some of you probably remember that last winter Alan Sondheim and I moderated an online discussion on ISIS and terror & performance,
(empyre list), and some of it may have spilled over here or you were of course aware of the worsening of the situation in Syria and Iraq.
The discussion, I think, also of course also hit closer to home when we ponder what terror means to us, or how we think it and what our
histories and political affiliations or stands are, or have been.
I remember after the debate last November, Alan and I tried to find a publisher to see whether the raw, emotional, intense yet diversely positioned and often poetic articulations of the participants
could be published, but we had no luck. Earlier this year I tried to write again about terror, ISIS, masks, and also confront what may be my own phantasms or prejudices towards militant Islam and also towards
Western states and their necropolitics, and I grappled to understand a little bit better what state formation might mean for those fighting on the ground in the middle east.
Driving on the motorway today, listening to BBC2, i was baffled when a fundraiser for "Children in Need" was interrupted by the DJ who brought news from US killing, by drone, of presumably
one of the men on the videos released by ISIS, the presumed "Jihadi John"; the person assumed to be this man pulverized by the drone rocket (including all those in the car). Strangely, I then had to listen
to the british prime minister praising the US commando strike and also saying - referring to the Islamic State as an “evil terrorist death cult" – that "Mr Emwazi is a barbaric murderer. This "will be a strike at the heart of ISIL,
and it will demonstrate to those who would do Britain, our people and our allies harm we have a long reach, we have unwavering determination and we never forget about our citizens.”
After returning to Children in Need, then the radio host comes back with a brief interview with a fellow worker and friend of one of the kidnapped victims of ISIS, who argued that he would have prefered the british
government to help when they could've sought to press for the hostage's release, as other countries had done; that the prime minister's hypocrisy is repulsive, and that he also would "have prefered Mr Emwazi to have been brought to justice."
I was relieved to hear a worker bring up this idea of justice, and the political processes of negotiations that may precede drone strikes. In any case, I was feeling sick when all this surfaced on the radio. I wonder how this
played out in the US or in the Middle East, in Raqqa, or other towns in the region. (A commentator on the radio, and there always are 'experts' to be found quickly, it seems, claimed to be a professor at the "Institute of Radicalization
& Political Violence," Kings College, and thought the strike was great, and the drones are wonderful as their permanent presence over the heads of peoples there instills fear)
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