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As some are running arguments from Jeremy Fernando's The Suicide Bomber, and Her Gift of Death, I wanted to share Jeremy's perspective on the debate community and its engagement of his work. As a European Graduate School colleague of Jeremy's, we were looking at utilizing his arguments and also understood others had as well. If you have read the work, you should understand that there are substantial onto-epistemological and ethical problems with 1) attempting to use the material in a utilitarian construct (e.g. to win a debate round, or to firm up/make a "Resolved" argument), and 2) seeking to attain a certainty of a position, given his explicatoin of the Suicide Bomber is one of unknowability. I wrote to Jeremy about these questions and he provided the following reply on Friday January 17, 2014: "hey Jamie, It's always really good to hear from you my friend, and i do hope that your trip to Oklahoma will be a smooth, safe, one. mmm perhaps you might just let them know -- or, as i tend to put it, whisper echoes of -- the notion of responding, as thinking as the attempt to respond to and with, people, thoughts, and a text. After all, the reminder of the suicide bomber -- even as much as it is a difficult, extremely violent, terroristic, one -- is that of the unknown, the unknowable that haunts what we do, what we say. It is one thing to have humour, jokes, the witz to open new registers, to shake the foundations, the illegitimate abgrund, of authority; it is a completely different thing to attempt to pull the wool over to assert one's power over another. A disingenuous 'use' -- and perhaps one can stress using, utilising, reading as utility -- is the very gesture of terror (the effacing of another, the other), that the text itself is attempting to work against, to avoid. Thank you for the opportunity to respond dear Jamie: it is very much appreciated. Sending you and yours my warmest thoughts, jeremy"
Sup, so recently I've seen a lot of teams throw around Puar's "Be the Queer Suicide Terrorist before the law" alternative without a sufficient enough explanation as to what that entails to, or what that means in the context of debate, the affirmative, and the ballot. At this point, I don't know if I have a clear understanding myself after hearing several sloppy iterations of the alternative. I was hoping someone on here could really explain and break down the thesis of the alternative - no fancy theoretical crap pls, just get straight to the point. Thanks ahead of time. Here's the generic tagline plus the card most people read, thought it might be helpful for those of you that like to read through the text : We propose being as the queer suicide terrorist before the law –an explosion of self-sacrifice with a bomb, in favor of unsettling the violent definitions of subjectivity. We are machinic organisms, metal and environment together in a messy fusion. Where does life begin and end? This question is only answerable from a position of reason and power that we want to blow up. Puar 07. Jasbir Puar, professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, Duke University Press: Durham, NC and London, UK, pg. 216The fact that we approach suicide bombing with such trepidation, in contrast to how we approach the violence of colonial domination, indicates the symbolic violence that shapes our understanding of what constitutes ethically and politically illegitimate violence.- Ghassan Hage, "'Comes a Time We Are All Enthusiasm'" Ghassan Hage wonders "why it is that suicide bombing cannot be talked about without being condemned first," noting that without an unequivocal condemnation, one is a "morally suspicious person" because "only un- qualified condemnation will do." He asserts. "There is a clear political risk in trying to explain suicide bombings."33 With such risks in mind, my desire here is to momentarily suspend this dilemma by combining an analysis of these representational stakes with a reading of the forces of affect, of the body, of matter. In pondering the modalities of this kind of terrorist, one notes a pastiche of oddities: a body machined together through metal and flesh, an assemblage of the organic and the inorganic; a death not of the Self nor of the Other, but both simultaneously, and, perhaps more accurately, a death scene that obliterates the Hegelian self/other dialectic altogether. Self-annihilation is the ultimate form of resistance, and ironically, it acts as self-preservation, the preservation of symbolic self enabled through the "highest cultural capital" of martyrdom, a giving of life to the future of political struggles-not at all a sign of "disinterest in living a meaningful life." As Hage notes, in this limited but nonetheless trenchant economy of meaning, suicide bombers are "a sign of life" emanating from the violent conditions of life's impossibility, the "impossibility of making a life. "" This body forces a reconciliation of opposites through their inevitable collapse- a perverse habitation of contradiction. Achille Mbembe's and brilliant meditation on necropolitics notes that the historical basis of sovereignty that is reliant upon a notion of (western) political rationality begs for a more accurate framing: that of life and death, the subjugation of life to the power of death. Mbembe attends not only to the representational but also to the informational productivity of the (Palestinian) suicide bomber. Pointing to the becomings of a suicide bomber, a corporeal experiential of "ballistics," he asks, "What place is given to life, death, and the human body (especially the wounded or slain body)?" Assemblage here points to the inability to clearly delineate a temporal, spatial, energetic, or molecular distinction between a discrete biological body and technology; the entities, particles, and elements come together, flow, break apart, interface, skim off each other, are never stable, but are defined through their continual interface, not as objects meeting but as multiplicities emerging from interactions. The dynamite strapped onto the body of a suicide bomber is not merely an appendage or prosthetic; the intimacy of weapon with body reorients the assumed spatial integrity (coherence and concreteness) and individuality of the body that is the mandate of intersectional identities: instead we have the body-weapon. The ontology of the body renders it a newly becoming body: The candidate for martyrdom transforms his or her body into a mask that hides the soon-to-be-detonated weapon. Unlike the tank or the missile that is clearly visible, the weapon carried in the shape of the body is invisible. Thus concealed, it forms part of the body. It is so intimately part of the body that at the time of its detonation it annihilates the body of its bearer, who carries with it the bodies of others when it does not reduce them to pieces. The body does not simply conceal a weapon. The body is transformed into a weapon, not in a metaphorical sense but in a truly ballistic sense.,1 Temporal narratives of progression are upturned as death and becoming fuse into one: as one's body dies, one's body becomes the mask, the weapon, the suicide bomber. Not only does the ballistic body come into being without the aid of visual cues marking its transformation, it also "carries with it the bodies of others." Its own penetrative energy sends shards of metal and torn flesh spinning off into the ether. The body-weapon does not play as metaphor, nor in the realm of meaning and epistemology, but forces us ontologically anew to ask: What kinds of information does the ballistic body impart? These bodies, being in the midst of becoming, blur the insides and the outsides, infecting transformation through sensation, echoing knowledge via reverberation and vibration. The echo is a queer temporality-in the relay of affective information between and amid beings, the sequence of reflection, repetition, resound, and return (but with a difference, as in mimicry)-and brings forth waves of the future breaking into the present. Gayatri Spivak, prescient in drawing our attention to the multivalent tex- tuality of suicide in "Can the Subaltern Speak," reminds us in her latest ruminations that suicide terrorism is a modality of expression and communication for the subaltern (there is the radiation of heat, the stench of burning flesh, the impact of metal upon structures and the ground, the splattering of blood, body parts, skin): Suicidal resistance is a message inscribed on the body when no other means will get through. It is both execution and mourning, for both self and other. For you die with me for the same cause, no matter which side you are on. Because no matter who you are, there are no designated killees in suicide bombing. No matter what side you are on, because I cannot talk to you, you won't respond to me, with the implication that there is no dishonor in such shared and innocent death. 36 We have the proposal that there are no sides, and that the sides are forever shifting, crumpling, and multiplying, disappearing and reappearing, unable to satisfactorily delineate between here and there. The spatial collapse of sides is due to the queer temporal interruption of the suicide bomber, projectiles spewing every which way. As a queer assemblage- distinct from the queering of an entity or identity-race and sexuality are denaturalized through the impermanence, the transience of the suicide bomber, the fleeting identity replayed backward through its dissolution. This dissolution of self into others and other into self not only effaces the absolute mark of self and others in the war on terror, but produces a systemic challenge to the entire order of Manichaean rationality that organizes the rubric of good versus evil. Delivering "a message inscribed on the body when no other means will get through," suicide bombers do not transcend or claim the rational nor accept the demarcation of the irrational. Rather, they foreground the flawed temporal, spatial, and ontological pre- sumptions upon which such distinctions flourish. Organic and inorganic, flesh and machine, these wind up as important as (and perhaps as threatening) if not more so than the symbolism of the bomber and his or her defense or condemnation. Figure 24 is the November/December 2004 cover of a magazine called Jest: Humor for the Irreverent, distributed for free in Brooklyn (see also jest .com) and published by a group of counterculture artists and writers. Here we have the full force of the mistaken identity conundrum: the distinctive silhouette, indeed the profile, harking to the visible by literally blacking it out, of the turbaned Amritdhari Sikh male (Le., turban and unshorn beard that signals baptized Sikhs), rendered (mistakenly?) as a (Muslim) suicide bomber, replete with dynamite through the vibrant pulsations of an iPod ad. Fully modern, animated through technologies of sound and explosives, this body does not operate solely or even primarily on the level of metaphor. Once again, to borrow from Mbembe, it is truly a ballistic body. Contagion, infection, and transmission reign, not meaning.