[The following text is an extract from Cihan Aksan and Jon Bailes’ recent book Weapon of the Strong: Conversations on US State Terrorism (Pluto, 2012), also featuring Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Edward S. Herman, Norman Finkelstein, and others. Click here for more details.]
To what extent, in your view, do the ways in which mainstream media select and contextualise events determine the boundaries of public thinking? You have said on one hand, regarding the “framing” of war and terrorism, that, “Efforts to control the visual and narrative dimensions of war delimit public discourse by establishing and disposing the sensuous parameters of reality itself”,[i] but also that “specters are produced that haunt the ratified version of reality”.[ii]
Judith Butler: There are surely many ways that this happens, but we can note at the most obvious level the way in which forms of resistance or violence get cast as “conflicts” that assume two sides that are fighting only against one another. We are more often than not asked, for instance, to regard Israel and Palestine as in a conflict of this kind, a framing that sets each of them on equal footing, and implicitly analogises the political situation to a fist fight, a soccer match, or a domestic quarrel. So if, then, the only two intelligible political positions are “pro-Palestinian” or “pro-Israeli,” the presumption is that one’s position is determined by a sentiment that wants one side to win over the other. In the meantime, what is lost is any sense that the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonial rule is waged from a situation of occupation or expulsion, that there is a military order that controls the boundaries of what would be a sovereign Palestinian state, that the land on which that state is now thinkable has been radically diminished by an ongoing practice of land confiscation and appropriation. So we set the actors on the scene through the banal discourse of “conflict” in ways that fully deflect from the history and struggle of colonial resistance, refusing as well by that means to link the resistance to other forms of colonial resistance, their rationale, and their tactics.
Obviously, visual renditions of war not only establish what can be seen, and the audio-track established what can be heard, but the photographs also “train” us in ways of focusing on targets, ways of regarding suffering and loss. So photographs can be forms of recruitment, ways of bringing the viewer into the military, as it were. In this way, they prepare us for war, even enlist us in war, at the level of the senses, establishing a sensate regime of war.
Social Good Summit, New York – A thought-provoking discussion on violence against women and children took place this afternoon at the Social Good Summit. Bringing together Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, former child soldier and activist Ishmael Beah , journalist and co-founder of Man Up Jimmie Briggs, and Rebecca Chiao, the co-founder and Director, HarassMap, the dialogue focused on how to make the invisible visible.
This report is a comprehensive statistical overview of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the 29 countries where the practice is concentrated. Analysisof the data reflects current perspectives on FGM/C, informed by the latest policy, programmatic and theoretical evidence. The purpose of the report is to generate an in-depth understanding of FGM/C that can be applied to the development of policies and programmes, with the ultimate aim of eliminating the practice.
Stoning, a form of execution where a group throws stones at a person until they are dead, still happens in parts of the Muslim world, mostly as a punishment for adultery. Most victims are women. Stoning, which is not mentioned in the Koran, violates international law. Below is a list of countries where stoning is legal and/or practised.
The WLUML E-Gazette is a monthly publication sent out to subscribers which aims to shed light upon the activities of the network as well as important news about women in the Muslim world. The contents of the newsletter include the achievements of several networkers and ICO members, several events and conferences of relevance to the WLUML network, and valuable news pieces. We hope you enjoy this edition of the Gazette!
WLUML would like to add its voice to the myriad voices from around the world mourning the passing away of Sunila Abeysekera, human rights and feminist activists from Sri Lanka earlier this month, while remembering her contribution to the global womens movement and the WLUML network in particular. Sunila worked closely with WLUML at our first feminist leadership institute held in Turkey in 1998 being one of a number of resource persons representing experiences from outside the Muslim world. She facilitated several sessions on using the human rights system and international mechanisms, monitoring and documenting human rights violations, and sexuality and sexual rights.
We kindly ask Arab feminist and women's organizations, in particular ,and human rights organizations, in general, to sign on this declaration in solidarity with women protesters and activists in Egypt who are breaking the walls of silence and violence that engulf all our bodies and lives. No to exclusion and intimidation of women protesters in Egypt! To begin, we salute Egyptian women who did not remain silent about the flagrant violations they are suffering.
The following is the official statement of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and its partners in Afghanistan, which is addressed to all parties, particularly Afghanistan’s donor countries, who are supporting the direct talks between the Taliban and United States government.
The year 2012 was full of rapid changes and posed numersous exciting opportunities and challenges for WLUML. It is our great pleasure to share the experiences, lessons, and outcomes of this year with our friends, supporters, and interested parties. Please download a copy of the WLUML 2012 Annual Report for an update of what we have been up to this past year!