If it is the function of the public realm to throw light on the affairs of men by providing a space of appearances in which they can show in deed and word, for better and worse, who they are and what they can do, then darkness has come when this light is extinguished by ‘credibility gaps’ and ‘invisible government,’ by speech that does not disclose what is but sweeps it under the carpet, by exhortations, moral and otherwise, that under the pretext of upholding old truths, degrade all truth to meaningless triviality.

Hannah Arendt Men in Dark Times (1968) 

I think we need to be alert to the historical context in which we speak about violence, including structural violence. Too frequently we take physical harm and/or killing as the only paradigm of violence. But this can blind us to other forms of violence that involve humiliation and suffering.

But what is even more important is that there are forms of behavior that are not considered to be violent at one stage of history that need to be exposed as violent in another.

Richard J. Bernstein, in an insightful interview with Brad Evans about violence in the works of  Frantz Fanon, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, and what their concepts mean in today’s world: The Intellectual Life of Violence

Chapel Hill shooting: Three young Muslims gunned down in North Carolina family home – Americas – World – The Independent

This is so horrible, and the “parking dispute” such an obvious excuse. Even if the “parking dispute” was what started it, the way the three young people were killed – executed – speaks of such a deep level of contempt that hate as an underlying reason/amplifier is pretty certain.

But I assume the media and fellow white people are already framing him a “lone madman” etc…

Honestly, I don’t know what’s more terrifying – that this was an anti-Muslim hate crime or “just a regular” triple homicide/gun violence over something so mundane.

We have a big problem in both cases.

Chapel Hill shooting: Three young Muslims gunned down in North Carolina family home – Americas – World – The Independent

What this may mean is that the war will be endless – since there will always be some terrorism (as there will always be poverty and cancer); that is, there will always be asymmetrical conflicts in which the weaker side uses that form of violence, which usually targets civilians.

Susan Sontag, acceptance speech Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, 2003

“Ceci n’est pas une religion.”

(via @MoAsumang)

Edit: Oh. I just realized that, in the Magritte original The Treachery of Images, the thing about the painting of the pipe is that it’s a representation of a pipe, not actually pipe, etc. On that level, what does this painting/picture say? That attack weapons are a religion but not a religion but a representation of a religion? Or is it just a more straight-forward play on the iconic French artwork? Also, when I think “guns as religion” my initial thoughts go to certain parts of white USA, not necessarily to French extremists, though that is in all likelihood what this image is referring to. 
Ah, decoding signs, so difficult, so many possibilities. Good thing a few Frenchmen have written about that..


One of the more terrifying aspects of U.S. culture at the moment is the normalization, if not naturalization, of violent deaths. Especially school shooting and police brutality, which should be rare and shocking incidents, are naturalized to a point where they are treated not so much as horrific human (inter)action, but as “tragedies.” Don’t misunderstand me: These deaths are horrible tragedies that bring great sadness and grief to those close to the killed, and often also to others involved in the incident.

Yet so often, these human actions are treated as tragedies in the way natural disasters are tragedies: Terrifying, horrible, but unavoidable and reoccurring parts of U.S. life. Once the terribleness and spectacularness has been broadcasted and shops have reopened, people (both in the media and in front of screens) increasingly just shrug. Like there is nothing to be done. Just brace for impact when the next wave comes. 

But that is just not true. Other than tornadoes or hurricans, which are truly beyond the grasp of human power, police violence and school shootings are carried out by humans. Humans who aren’t pure, uncontrollable, “natural” evil either, but social creatures, living in our middle, where they come from and where they belong. That is a difficult aspect to live with, but it is also an aspect that opens up these naturalized tragedies to change. Social environments, their human inhabitants, and their outcomes can be changed for the better. The solution to these problems are complicated, aren’t easy, most still lie in the future (though other coutries seem to be able to deal with them) and change won’t come easy. But these deaths are man-made, not sublime, terrifying nature.

It’s On Us: Sexual Assault PSA

“It’s On Us” is another well-made, common sense, public awareness campaign backed by celebrities and the White House. It’s an almost entirely US-focused campaign (you can’t even buy a shirt outside of the USA), but the issue is international.

It really Is On Us (and I’m specifically looking at us men) to actually translate it from awareness into action – and not just by buying a tshirt, changing an avatar, or raising money. I’m also not sure where the donated money goes besides Generation Progress/Center for American Progress, which… isn’t great. However, the website does give a few helpful tips how we can act, and the video is a good call to action

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson’s Plan For ISIS Is To ‘Convert Them Or Kill Them’

In other words, his ‘plan,’ of course stated on air on Hannity’s FOX News show, is a ‘position’ ISIS actually also has. The terror group’s actions are mainly against people not in line with their fundamentalist, twisted, violent version of Islam.ISIS is forcibly converting people and/or killing them. This is a strategy that’s been employed by violent fundamentalists for centuries.

For the record, and because people keep yelling at regular Muslims to denounce terror groups: Phil Robertson’s Christianity is not the Christianity I believe in. No way.

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson’s Plan For ISIS Is To ‘Convert Them Or Kill Them’