Skip to content


Why Should We Read Agamben in the Era of Muslim Ban?

Why Should We Read Agamben in the Era of Muslim Ban?

dissidentvoice.org
By Nima Zahedi Nameghi

In January 2004, Giorgio Agamben, an Italian philosopher, refused to travel to the United States to teach at New York University after biometric security measures such as retina scans and fingerprints were introduced to U.S. visas in the wake of the September 11 attack. Agambens account of biometric identification stated that gathering biological data to track citizens all but epitomizes the same sense of identifying Jewish inmates with their tattooed numbers during the Holocaust. In fact, only the form of that loathsome aggression has changed in time, not its repellent character.

In his insightful book Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (1995), Agamben used two Ancient Greek terms Zoe, or animal life; and Bios, or qualified life to designate a specific group of citizens who are being deprived of human life (bios), and thus, are confined only to the biological one (zoe). At the heart of these conceptions to which Agamben made lay the concept of Homo Sacer: a banned man, devoid of the least bit of civil rights, who can be tortured, mutated, or even killed with perfect impunity. Historically, Homo Sacer draws its roots from ancient Roman law and denotes a criminal who has been banned from all of his rights as a citizen. For Agamben, the new totalitarianism, of which the post 9/11 America is a good example, tends to convert a citizen from human to Homo Sacer: one that can be easily bracketed off or readily suspended from because his life has been stripped of its political, legal or human significance; thus, he is only and purely (sometimes perilously) bare life.

Now, the crucial question here is how and by whom the process of conversion is to be operated. This question can be cogently answered if we turn to another one of Agambens key ideas, namely, the sovereign. The sovereign, in principle, is a monarch, an emperor, or a president-elect who is in a position above the law, and is thereby the one who decides the group of people to reserve or remove the law from, and with it, the giving or withholding of their citizenship. What the sovereign decides, in terms of applying or suspending the law, represents an exclusionary mode of judgment. Based on such selective fashion of adjudication, Homo Sacer shall be placed on the same level as animal life, there to suffer the deprivation of law, citizenship, and human dignity, for not having been integrated enough into the sovereigns definition of normality. Seeing this way, Homo Sacer is the very epitome of an excluded outsider against which the sovereign shares norms, defines standards, and provides guidelines.

Donald Trump as the Sovereign and Muslims as Homo Sacer

Exploring the multiple points of connection between the concept of Homo Sacer and Muslims who have been subjected to Trumps Travel Ban is neither complicated to understand nor difficult to explain. One only needs to consider how the travel ban is rendering citizens of certain Muslim countries as people with respect to whom the law can be removed, revoked or relinquished. In this respect, Trump functions as a sovereign with his power to decide the citizens of which religion or country shall become Homo Sacer. Faced with the illegality of this assumption that a certain group of citizens can be treated unequally based on their national origin or religion, the sovereign then abuses his power to twist the very idea of legal eligibility: all citizens are equal before the law until proven as a noncitizen.

Travel Ban is not merely a judicial declaration of eligibility, weighted with gobbledygook and legal jargon such as bona fide relationship. It also belongs to the realm of imagination where Homo Sacer is the psychological manifestation of denial culled from textual negating prefixes such as un and non, or deprival suffix such as less. Thus, a Muslim man in the imagination of Travel Bans staunch supporters is being seen as un-American, non-white, and eventually, citizenless alien. In light of all this, a Muslim man is a negated, denied and abandoned Homo Sacer in the wilderness of no mans land whose wounded body and cursed mind is only for the realization of what a precious body and blessed mind must be white, Christian, and liberal. Banned bodies and minds, however, are not limited to President Trumps term of Office alone, but rather, they bear the history of themselves in the United Sates.

Under Chinese Exclusion Act, signed in 1882, the banned bodies from entering the U.S. were the Chinese; under Executive Order 1221, signed in 1980, the banned bodies were Iranians; under Ban on HIV-positive travelers, signed in 1987, the banned bodies were mostly Africans; under Anarchist Exclusion Act, signed in 1903, the banned minds were anarchists; and finally, under Communist Control Act, signed in 1950, the banned minds were Marxists. Here, the changing character of Homo Sacer is evident. Homo Sacer was once a Chinese, once a Communist, but now, he is certainly a Muslim.

At this point, we can glance back at the question in the title of this article. Reading Agamben in the era of Muslim Ban teaches us that being human is the personification of ability: the ability to travel, the ability to think, the ability to choose, the ability to protest. Agamben timely reminds us that we were all born in the splendid form as human. Indeed, we are not Homo Sacer!

Nima Zahedi Nameghi is a PhD candidate student at Laval University where he works on his Ph.D. thesis entitled Empire and Frontier: the origins of ethno-nationalism in Afghanistan (1807-1896). His areas of interest include comparative political thought (Western and Eastern), colonialism and its modes of knowledge, Muslims and politics of identity and difference, history of the Great Khorasan (Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia), and nineteenth-century British boundary making. Read other articles by Nima.

View the original article at dissidentvoice.org

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Analysis & Review, Religion.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , .

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's happening big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale".

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally IU know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know people in court at the moment for the content they had on their secret private group. Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer if you need to or buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA to hack into if you are that paranoid.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering bollox) then I could do with some. Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why/

Why?

Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent
false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material. Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and #altnews alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.



css.php