Everyday Occupations

Everyday Occupations: Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East

Edited by Kamala Visweswaran
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 320
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    Everyday Occupations
    Book Description:

    In the twenty-first century, political conflict and militarization have come to constitute a global social condition rather than a political exception. Military occupation increasingly informs the politics of both democracies and dictatorships, capitalist and formerly socialist regimes, raising questions about its relationship to sovereignty and the nation-state form. Israel and India are two of the world's most powerful postwar democracies yet have long-standing military occupations. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Turkey have passed through periods of military dictatorship, but democracy has yielded little for their ethnic minorities who have been incorporated into the electoral process. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (like India, Pakistan, and Turkey) have felt the imprint of socialism; declarations of peace after long periods of conflict in these countries have not improved the conditions of their minority or indigenous peoples but rather have resulted in "violent peace" and remilitarization. Indeed, the existence of standing troops and ongoing state violence against peoples struggling for self-determination in these regions suggests the expanding and everyday nature of military occupation. Such everydayness raises larger issues about the dominant place of the military in society and the social values surrounding militarism. Everyday Occupations examines militarization from the standpoints of both occupier and occupied. With attention to gender, poetics, satire, and popular culture, contributors who have lived and worked in occupied areas in the Middle East and South Asia explore what kinds of society are foreclosed or made possible by militarism. The outcome is a powerful contribution to the ethnography of political violence. Contributors: Nosheen Ali, Kabita Chakma, Richard Falk, Sandya Hewamanne, Mohamad Junaid, Rhoda Kanaaneh, Hisyar Ozsoy, Cheran Rudhramoorthy, Serap Ruken Sengul, Kamala Visweswaran.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0783-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Cheran Rudhramoorthy
  4. Introduction: Geographies of Everyday Occupation
    (pp. 1-28)
    Kamala Visweswaran

    In 2008, an Iraqi journalist, Muntader al-Zaidi, threw his shoes at President George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad; he was quickly detained (and badly beaten by security detail) but became something of an overnight hero in Iraq and across the Middle East. In Sadr City, Iraqis hung their shoes and sandals on long poles they waved in the air as a protest against the U.S. occupation, while in Najaf people threw their shoes at passing military convoys. One of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s daughters awarded al-Zaidi a medal of courage, while Syrians recognized him as a hero.¹ Soon...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Qırıx: An “Inverted Rhapsody” of Kurdish National Struggle, Gender, and Everyday Life in Diyarbakır
    (pp. 29-59)
    Serap Ruken Sengul

    First published in the daily Özgür Gündem (The Free Agenda) over 1992–1995, the comic strip Qırıx, by Doğan Güzel, is a parody of everyday life in Diyarbakır, epicenter of Turkish Kurdistan, written at the height of the Kurdish movement for national liberation in the 1990s.¹ At the focal point of Qırıx’s gaze is the reflection of the political process in the life of an urban tough named Keko, and his social habitat.

    As Diyarbakır is captured by a spellbinding and frightful confrontation between the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement, Keko, the erstwhile pompous authority of home and the...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The War Zone in My Heart: The Occupation of Southern Sri Lanka
    (pp. 60-84)
    Sandya Hewamanne

    During mid-June 2011, several people posting on my Facebook page either wondered how to find a link to see the Channel 4 documentary on the last days of Sri Lanka’s civil war¹ or registered shock and dismay at the horrific images of atrocities committed on civilians by both government forces and the LTTE. Around the same time, photos started popping up on my wall with comments from my twenty-year-old niece. These photos captured my interest as they were from her three-week “leadership training period” at the Boosa military camp. This highly controversial program for university entrants was inaugurated with a...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Grounding Militarism: Structures of Feeling and Force in Gilgit-Baltistan
    (pp. 85-114)
    Nosheen Ali

    This chapter interrogates the working of military relations of force as they are institutionalized in state structures and experienced in everyday life, in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan that forms part of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. I attempt to capture the multiple ways the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies occupy space, politics, and subjectivities in this strategic border zone. My aim is to go beyond a conceptualization of the military that views it merely as a state apparatus of repression whose power lies in its monopoly of violence.¹ To make sense of the military-intelligence regime’s hegemonic rule in Gilgit-Baltistan, I adopt a more...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Stateless Citizens and Menacing Men: Notes on the Occupation of Palestinians Inside Israel
    (pp. 115-131)
    Rhoda Kanaaneh

    Naifa al-Turi is from Al-Araqib, a small Bedouin Arab village in the Naqab desert region in southern Israel. The Israel Land Authority wants to remove her and the three-hundred-odd residents of the village to plant a forest in its place. To date, Israeli police and bulldozers have destroyed the small village twenty times, demolishing concrete structures and zinc shanties and, ironically, uprooting hundreds of trees. Al-Araqib is a village inside Israel, and al-Turi and her family are Israeli citizens. Despite their long history, Bedouins in the Naqab are viewed by the state as lawless trespassers and criminal “foreigners” invading state...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Indigenous Women and Culture in the Colonized Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
    (pp. 132-157)
    Kabita Chakma and Glen Hill

    In the early hours of June 12, 1996, the day of the Bangladesh national election, an indigenous woman political activist named Kalpana Chakma was abducted from her home at Lallyaghona Village in the Rangamati District of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Kalpana was the Organising Secretary of the CHT Women’s Federation, an organization working for the human rights and security of the CHT’s indigenous people, who had been subject to decades of violent colonization by Bangladesh armed forces and transmigrants. Kalpana came from a landless, internally displaced refugee family that had been evicted from its original home in the 1960s...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Death and Life Under Occupation: Space, Violence, and Memory in Kashmir
    (pp. 158-190)
    Mohamad Junaid

    In June 2008 protests broke out in Kashmir against a state government order to allot forty hectares of forestland to a semi-governmental body,¹ with the intention of creating permanent camping facilities for Hindu pilgrims. The protests started in the old localities of downtown Srinagar where the lanes are narrow and labyrinthine, and thus never fully under the control of the Indian security agencies. In spite of the fact that state police and the paramilitary forces cracked down and shot dead a number of protestors, the protests spread rapidly across Kashmir. It was the spontaneity of the protests that made their...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Missing Grave of Sheikh Said: Kurdish Formations of Memory, Place, and Sovereignty in Turkey
    (pp. 191-220)
    Hisyar Ozsoy

    June 28, 1925, was the last day of Sheikh Said and his forty-six friends in the cells of Diyarbakır (Amed) prison.¹ The armies of the new Turkish Republic heavily repressed the rebellion they had initiated in February. After an exhausting one-month trial period, the judge of the so-called Court of Independence was to announce the verdict in that morning. Yet, there were already telltale signs as to its nature. According to local stories, the timber and ropes to construct the gallows had already been bought and stored. There were also sounds of hammers and saws in the Daĝkapı area, as...

  12. Afterword: Refining the Optic of Occupation
    (pp. 221-232)
    Richard Falk

    Although engaged almost daily in the study of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip seized during the Six Day War in 1967, I found the chapters in this volume on occupation to be profoundly illuminating in relation to the tangled realities of the Palestinian experience. In my UN role as Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine I have focused, as consistent with the work of and expectations about the UN Human Rights Council, on the legal and human rights dimensions of the Israeli occupation, doing my best to document the violations...

  13. SOME DAY
    (pp. 233-234)
    Kabita Chakma
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 235-280)
  15. List of Contributors
    (pp. 281-284)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 285-298)
    (pp. 299-300)