these days...'zone of difference'

Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 - 11:08:04 PST

 David Preiss wrote:

". 1 life put against 20000. Is there a relative value for life in the
media? Can the life of one person get 20000 times more attention than the
life of thousand of Iraqis? I have never liked making human life relative,
but the double standard is there for everybody to see. .. It has a horrible
appearance of "I have seen this before". And so the life goes on. .."


IN facing destruction of life, we seem to go to extremes -in our emotions,
thoughts, and [in]actions. As you say, to put life of one American (brain
dead) against 2000 (healthy young men and women), not to mention against the
100,000 Iraqi civilians (half women and children).


This seems to be what 'we' do and get away with it by 'seeing' various
deaths put in different social spaces of language and emotions and hence
normalized. Perhaps the Italian 'dark' philosopher Giorgio
r=Giorgio%20Agamben/104-9504392-1123944> Agamben by studying Auschwitz has
something to say about states (spaces) of our minds that can do this. In
his new book State of Exception


He follows on his previous work (Home Sacer) to show how we do this.
Oversimplifying, he suggests that we produce three social spaces and
allocate three corresponding spaces in our minds to them. A 'center' is the
life of that one person (brain dead). And a 'periphery' for those who are in
the margin; the life of the 2000 American soldiers. It is 'normal' for
soldiers to die, but not for the already brain dead woman. The third
category is about those who are not allowed to be on our social radar--The
100,000 civilian Iraqis. He calls this hidden social space 'zone of
indifference' -that was the Auschwitz in the 30s and it is also Guantanamo
and Abu Gharaib and Baghram, and.,


"And then is when I wonder about the silence of these days..."


Well, you broke the silence in this space. perhaps by making the 'zone of
indifference' visible and connecting it to both the center and the margin,
one can begin to 'see' the value of the death differently-from unequal
deaths to equal deaths.





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