The last decade would have seen Europe experiencing a very important wave of xenophobia that are modifying our institutions in their very essence. As two current examples, Hungary is modifying its constitution in order to declare Christians as “normal citizens” and Italy and France are threatening Shenghen space to know who will have to take care of 20 000 Tunisian emigres who just fled their country.
In this context, French alternative press website Mediapart (here is a link toward the English version) just released the Manual created for the French Police to escort clandestine to the border. In this manual, a dozen of pages are describing the procedure of strangulation in order to potentially calm who is being called “the foreigner”. That’s in fact, his only crime, believing that globalization was not just for goods, but also for people and he his categorized as the absolute otherness, the one we are taught to fear and to expel.
Those pages of description of the strangulation are interesting to look at. Their coldness reveals the banality of violence, and yet two things strike me.
The first one is that those photos present this violence as a choreography that appear as even more terrifying as it gives to it the disturbing ambiguity between an embrace and a rape.
The second one is the analytical presentation of it, that reminds me the presentation of an architectural project. Diagrams, elevations (it shows front side and back), perspectives, texts, everything is here to describe an action on the body. This is reading I do, in the spectrum of my thesis, which is that architecture is weaponized, it carries inherently a tremendous power on the bodies and exercises it by its physicality. This argument might appear as exaggerated, especially in that extreme case, but I include at the end of this article, some photographs by Edmund Clark taken in the current extreme architectural paradigm in that matter, Guantanamo camp. In both cases, violence is expressed in its banalization which is the absolute danger of our so called liberal and democratic societies.
This article was published on Critical Legal Thinking
this last photograph is very evocative: the ring is used to attach prisoners by their ankles when the arrow points toward Mecca for prisoners to be able to pray.