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Folding and Enfolding Walls

Statist Imperatives and Bureaucratic Aesthetics in Divided Jerusalem

Don Handelman

This article discusses one vector of statist control in present-day Jerusalem, a divided city that is held together primarily by the bureaucratic and military grip of the Israeli state. This vector is composed through the positioning of four architectural forms, the last three of which have, in particular, qualities of walls, but of walls that enfold. I refer to them as the 'museum-wall', the 'mall-wall', and the 'separation barrier'. These physical forms are brought into conjunction through the idea of vector, used loosely in a topological way (as distinct from topographical), in which value is carried (non-linearly) through space—that is, it is enhanced and made more powerful as it is shaped in its continuing. These walls capture and contain, folding into themselves that which they circumscribe and thereby recursively fortifying themselves.

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Encompassing Empowerment in Ritual, War, and Assassination

Tantric Principles in Tamil Tiger Instrumentalities

Michael Roberts

This study highlights the Tantric threads within the transcendental religions of Asia that reveal the commanding role of encirclement as a mystical force. The cyanide capsule (kuppi) around the neck of every Tamil Tiger fighter was not only a tool of instrumental rationality as a binding force, but also a modality similar to a thāli (marriage bond necklace) and to participation in a velvi (religious animal sacrifice). It was thus embedded within Tamil cultural practice. Alongside the LTTE's politics of homage to its māvīrar (dead heroes), the kuppi sits beside numerous incidents in LTTE acts of mobilization or military actions where key functionaries approached deities in thanks or in preparation for the kill. These practices highlight the inventive potential of liminal moments/spaces. We see this as modernized 'war magic'—a hybrid re-enchantment energizing a specific religious worldview.

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Michael B. Loughlin

In 1901 Gustave Hervé’s image of the tricolore planted in a dung pile made him notorious. His career became etched into French consciousness when he subsequently shifted from antimilitarism to chauvinism and, between 1914 and 1918, promoted “war to the bitter end” to create a democratic, federated Europe. Because depopulation, alcoholism, and materialism were perceived as threats before 1914, his national socialism shared values with his idealistic prewar socialism. Though Hervé remained a religious skeptic until 1935, the image of an expiatory war was telling. He assailed anyone refusing to support deliverance from Prussian militarism. Hervé’s wartime rhetoric soon included references to a new Bonaparte, a resurrected Committee of Public Safety, or a military dictatorship to save la patrie en danger, presaging his later authoritarian or dictatorial programs. Though he stressed legality and deplored both violence and anti-Semitism, much in Hervé’s interwar positions could be described as republican fascism.

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Matthew Trundle

This article explores Steven Pinker’s thesis with regard to fifth-century BCE Athens. Pinker’s view that the political state became the arbiter of violence is important, but for ancient Greeks that meant that wars became more devastating. States coordinated military action more effectively than earlier tribal chiefs. With regard to violence within communities, the absence of civic values, human rights, or robust legal systems meant that violence mediated many relationships between men and women, masters and slaves, and even aristocrats and lower-status citizens. Violence was a prominent aspect of all ancient people’s lives. In short, Pinker’s thesis provides an excellent heuristic device to analyze Greek antiquity if only to discuss how it may or may not apply in real terms.

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Stephen Reyna

Mary Kaldor has influentially argued that understanding violence in the current period of globalization depends upon the recognition that this is an era of `new wars'. This article critiques that view and in so doing proposes a global warring hypothesis to help explain current US military violence. The argument is formulated as follows. First, the concept of new wars is critiqued, and it is suggested that local, global, and world warring are the varieties of warfare that predominate in the current conjuncture and, hence, require analysis. Second, the global warring concept is introduced and is utilized in a global warring hypothesis, a generalization of which has the virtue of explaining the wars of George W. Bush's regime. Third, evidence is provided that supports the hypothesis.

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Beatriz Manz

In the 1980s, Guatemala's state-sponsored violence reached genocidal proportions and led to community ruptures, endemic fear, deepened distrust, and unprecedented levels of daily violence that have continued into the post-war period. Tragically, the war's resolution has not ended the country's volatility and insecurity. Reconciliation is challenging and requires a much deeper structural overhaul. It is problematical for a society that has been created on a rigid, ethnic-based, and highly divisive foundation now to take steps toward reclaiming a non-existent pre-war period of concord. An inclusive and just society, which respects the fundamental human rights of all, is essential yet sorely lacking. Moving in this direction is hindered by the historic impunity enjoyed by the military and the powerful, as well as a dysfunctional judicial system in need of reform.

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Human Rights, Victimhood, and Impunity

An Anthropology of Democracy in Argentina

Michael Humphrey and Estela Valverde

This article explores human rights politics in the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Argentina. Its ethnographic focus is the phenomenon of families of victims associations, usually led by mothers, that first emerged to protest against mass disappearance under the military dictatorship. Democracy has also produced new families of victims associations protesting against different forms of state abuse and/or neglect. They represent one face of the widespread protest against a 'culture of impunity' experienced as ongoing insecurity and injustice. Private grief is made an emotional resource for collective action in the form of 'political mourning'. The media, street demonstrations, and litigation are used to try to make the state accountable. State management of this public suffering has sought to determine legitimate victimhood based on a paradigm of innocence. The political mourning of victims and survivors charts the social margins of citizenship in the reduced, not expanded, neo-liberal democratic state in Argentina.

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David Rodman, Defense and Diplomacy in Israel’s National Security Experience: Tactics, Partnerships, and Motives by Uri Bar-Joseph

Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness by Nathan P. Devir

Yoav Gelber, Israeli-Jordanian Dialogue, 1948–1953: Cooperation, Conspiracy, or Collusion? by Adam Garfinkle

Efraim Karsh, ed., Israeli Politics and Society Since 1948: Problems of Collective Identity by Sara Helman

Ronit Chacham, Breaking Ranks: Refusing to Serve in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Ruth Linn

Gregory S. Mahler, Politics and Government in Israel: The Maturation of a Modern State by William Safran

Rachel Feldhay Brenner, Inextricably Bonded: Israeli Arab and Jewish Writers Re-visioning Culture by Smadar Shiffman

Baruch Kimmerling, The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Society and the Military by Laurence J. Silberstein

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Yagil Levy

This article addresses the question of why Israel initiated the Second Lebanon War so quickly, despite the civilian agenda to which the government had been committed, other mitigating factors, and the fact that the kidnapping of two soldiers did not warrant such a massive operation. Arguably, the war reflected the syndrome of a gap of legitimacies, that is, the gap that has emerged since the 1980s between high levels of political legitimacy for using force and low levels of social legitimacy for making the attendant sacrifices. Both values led to belligerency. Strong support for the use of force pushed Israel into taking offensive action that a civilian government could not contain, while the low level of social legitimation for sacrifice led to speedy decision-making and the desire for a swift conclusion by using massive force. Such a response would obviate any restraints on military action that might result from discussions about how to avoid sacrifices.

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Yuval Benziman

Changes in Israeli politics, diplomacy, and the Israeli-Arab conflict, changes in Israeli cultural texts dealing with the conflict, and changes in Israeli writing of fiction—all led to significant changes in how the Israeli-Arab conflict is portrayed in Israeli fiction written in the 1980s. Comprising fictional texts about the conflict, the novels and films examined in this article actually deal with the inability to tell the story. The conflict is portrayed as too deep-rooted and complicated, to the extent that it is impossible to recount it and construct a dialogue or to find common grounds for comprehending it. The texts almost always end up in death, no Jewish-Arab personal relation prevails, and most of the interactions are through the military. According to the texts examined here, these two societies appear to need the conflict in order to overcome bitter conflicts within themselves; and Arab-Palestinian Israeli citizens feel that they cannot live in Israel.