Friday, March 21, 2014

The other is you and I and everyone else

Yesterday i was in a talk about Gypsies/romas/doms categorize them and name them as you choose, and it was very interesting to see how france dealt with its gypsies, where the lecturer talked about mobile bodies that are always a threat to state, because they cannot be "integrated" into the culture. Despite the fact that the professor who was giving the talk flew over very important questions such as why nation states are important, and then drowned into stereotypes about gypsies in egypt without critically analyzing anything, that i, as usual had to walk out of the talk because i couldn't take that much unquestioning anymore, i have to admit that the information she narrated about the experience of gypsies in france inspired me to think of lebanon and the syrian/palestinian refugee issue.

Why nation states are bad, you wonder, it is because they have borders, these borders are not only bound to material borders, walls and fences, rather they are as well hypothetical borders against anything different. Anything that does not belong to the "culture" is a threat to the stability of nations, any mobile body becomes rejected because the rigidity of nation states cannot tolerate mobility. Now what does culture means? I personally do not know, i cannot define it because who the fucks knows, does anybody know?! and those who claim to dress culture in a way that fits them, suit yourself but take a moment before to think how before this shape of nation state as we know it was introduced, humans travelled, mobile bodies were always in constant flux and that's how lebanon or any other place as we know it was constructed. It was constructed base on exchange of bodies, habits, food, knowledge, medicine, even fabric etc,.

The above does not only capture the rigidity of nation states and how irrational they are, it captures as well the vulnerability of nation states, the weakness of nation in which a group of people need to be marginalized, discriminated against, killed, internally displaced from one place to another and have to deal with racist attitudes, just for the sake of a "nation"....... Do we understand what we are doing to other human beings regardless of from where they for the sake of building a nation? A nation which is barely an imagination of a geographical location that one can belong to. Those who refuse the mobility of bodies are getting violent against those bodies for the sake of an illusion. Nations are illusions, they do not exist, except in our imagination, in laws which are another imagination of regulations, and in material borders that are a result of this imagination, an enactment of this imagination. Borders are the embodiment of the illusion of nation states.

The Syrian refugee crisis have a lot of aspects in it, i understand, people scared for their jobs, scared from competition, scared on the economy, scared from the mobile bodies that are assumed as ones that are violent because we don't know any other description, but there are a lot more into that. We are not out of jobs because of the syrians, or the palestinians, or any other future displaced people, we are out of jobs and have been always like that, because that's how capitalism function. It marginalize people, and give job opportunities to a certain amount of people and leave the rest to starve, or to engage in constant labor of looking for a job. Add on this a mode of governance that is built on making people poor and poorer out of corruption and you get what we have now, a crisis. And that's not because of anybody, including us, that's because this system of governance under capitalism is what leads to all of these issues, and our only fault is that we believe in this system, and we engage in it. Moreover we reproduce this miserable system that shapes our lives.

But to move beyond theory and ground this analysis in a lebanese context, if we look back at lebanon historically, it has been always suffering to become a state, sovereign and "united" but up until today, everytime a mini political earthquake happens we notice that it is failing to become a nation, why, because if it has to become a nation, it has to unite under one singular aspect, marginalize everybody but one group and given how lebanon is now, that is practically impossible. Unless, and here comes the unless, unless all the other groups get killed in a way, misplaced, and kicked out.

Therefore if we move beyond the analysis of the economy and zoom out of the surface and dig deeper and investigate this racism against mobile bodies, refugees and migrants, we realize that the on going struggle for building a state in lebanon, tend to constantly marginalize and other everybody from a certain stand point. We are all outcasts to out nation, we are all mobile bodies regardless of what we do. And until we stop wanting to build a nation based on the module of nation state that is based on an imagination of rigidity and rejection of the other, we will keep slaughtering one another on daily basis.

This blog will not solve anything, there are no solutions in general to anything, if we just stop trying to solve things and start understanding them, think through them, maybe, just maybe, the situation will not be as sad as it is now, or as repulsive and aggressive.


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