Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet)

Bringing together researchers, practitioners and policy makers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland

Politics that mean no politics and a law that is outside the law

The death figures in Egypt are now over 1000 in five days. The terror is out of control; there is no other way of saying it. No one knows who will be jailed, who will be tortured and indeed who will be put to death next. Hundreds are being held in police stations where they will be tortured before they are moved to jails.

A colleague told me over the phone that there are more deaths than is being acknowledged. He thinks the real figures will only come to light when things settle. He tells me no one knows who has been arrested or where those who have been arrested are being held. This is terror and it squeezes politics completely out of the frame.

To use Agamben’s terminology, life in Egypt is being turned from life worth living, to ‘bare life’. No one appears before the courts; extra-judicial procedures are introduced without anyone having a say. It is done for ‘everyone’s good’.  It’s about ‘security’. Violence is endorsed well outside of the law. Egypt is being managed like a big Abu Ghraib, which if you recall, was based on the ‘production of a secret memoranda’. What goes on is ‘just word and mouth,’ a deception.

The paradigm within which all this is happening is Palestine. Since 1967 Israel has ruled the West Bank and Gaza with a military presence that means Palestinians have no rights and no recourse to civil protection while towns and villages are closed down and completely sealed off from the rest of world. What we are witnessing is a not a state of exception; it is the new norm. Whilst GRAMNet has been involved in Lifelong Learning in Palestine we have seen this kind of politics play itself out, which is really about the denial of all politics. It is about endless settlement expansion and the continuation of ethnic cleansing in day-to-day life. It is really scary stuff…

Keith Hammond

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2013 by in Comment and tagged , , .
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