Monday, July 11, 2005

Stricto sensu 

"How does a terror that is organized, provoked, and instrumentalized differ from that fear that an entire tradition, from Hobbes to Schmitt and even to Benjamin, holds to be the very condition of the authority of law and of the sovereign exercise of power, the very condition of the political and of the state? In Leviathan Hobbes speaks not only of "fear" but of "terror." Benjamin speaks of how the state tends to appropriate for itself, and precisely through threat, a monopoly on violence ("Critique of Violence")."

"...This is yet one more reason not to consider everything that has to do with Islam or with the Arab Muslim "world" as a "world," or at least as one homogeneous whole. And wanting to take all these divisions, differences, and differends into account does not necessarily constitue an act of war; nor does trying to do everything possible to ensure that in this Arab Muslim "world," which is not a world and not a world that is ONE, certain currents do not take over, namely, those that lead to fanaticism, to an obscurantism armed to the teeth with modern techno-science, to the violation of every juridico-political principle, to the cruel disregard for human rights and democracy, to a nonrespect for life. We must help what is called Islam and what is called "Arab" to free themselves from such violent dogmatism. We must help those who are fighting heroically in this direction on the inside, whether we are talking about politics in the narrow sense of the term or else about an interpretation of the Koran. When I say that we must do this for what is called Islam and what is called "Arab," I obviously mean that we must not do any less when it comes to Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia!"

"...But should we then say that 9/11 was a "major event"? Even though the word "major" suggest height and size, the evaluation here cannot be merely quantitative, a question of the size of the towers, the territory attacked, or the number of victims. You know, of course, that one does not count the dead in the same way from one corner of the globe to the other. It is our duty to recall this, without it attenuating in the least our sadness for the victims..."

- Retrofitting Derrida's comments on 9/11

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