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Re: <nettime> Let's Tell War Stories!
Ben Hoh on Thu, 17 Jan 2002 10:43:04 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Let's Tell War Stories!

> war is elsewhere, and if nettime has memory it might remember a few of
> those, say serbia.


Don't you think that the poorly excused punitive adventure in Afghanistan,
in which the question of violence ("collateral" or otherwise) has been
almost completely erased in the public sphere, has constituted a war??? And
that this is inextricably bound up with the growing wave of local repression
in the US (e.g. the disintegration of civil liberties in general, the savage
use of racial profiling, racist mob violence, the rise of inane patriotism,
etc.)? These are obviously codetermining phenomena.

In Australia, for example, the so-called "War on Terrorism" has dovetailed
with our popular government's incarceration of refugees (many of whom have
lately been from Afghanistan) in concentration camps run by private
corporations, and has fallen neatly into step with the longstanding and
regular criminalisation of the local Arab population. These instances of
repression cannot but resonate with the action in Afghanistan, to which my
government made direct military contributions. (And, in fact, the
governmental attempts to justify the internment of Afghan refugees -- by
suggesting that they are "potential terrorists" -- suggests that they are
also prisoners of war, in a very real sense.)

Yes, the outrage of Americans at the events of 9/11, and various attempts to
code it as a uniquely apocalyptic event, are *almost* invariably enunciated
in a way which denies the systematic murder that occurs elsewhere in the
world, especially that which the US directly sponsors. And at worst, it is
mobilised to justify further murder. Hence, the rhetorical antidote for many
of us is that "the world did *not* change on September 11". But it did
change, as the current sitution of "anti-personnel" ultraviolence, boring
patriotism and leadening repression attests. This is how I read the word
"war". It is our context.


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