From hotels to hostilities

I’m just back from a wonderful time at Ohio State giving the Taafe Lecture, and still trying to catch my breath: lots of good conversation and good company.  More on this later – as always, I learned much from the discussions, and I’m particularly grateful to Mat Coleman, Kevin Cox, Nancy Ettlinger, Ed Malecki, Becky Mansfield, Kendra McSweeney, Mary Thomas, Joel Wainwright and a stimulating crowd of graduate students for the warmth of their welcome and the range of their questions.

While I’ve been on the road, I learned of two new blogs whose most recent posts, when read together, prompt me to think about the multiple, terrible connections between military violence in Beirut and in Gaza – not least through the IDF’s so-called Dahiyah Doctrine, named after Beirut’s southern suburb that was devastated in the summer of 2006 , which calls for the use of overwhelming and disproportionate force and the deliberate targeting of government and civilian infrastructure (more on the legal armature from Richard Falk and Raji Sourani here).

Sara Fregonese and Adam Ramadan have started Everyday Geopolitics – it’s been running since October but I’ve only just caught up, and Sara’s most recent post on Beirut is a front-line report on her work on hotels and geopolitics.  If that seems a strange combination – and it isn’t – then check out her comments and photographs, and her essay ‘Between a refuge and a battleground: Beirut’s discrepant cosmopolitanisms’, Geographical Review, 102 (2012) 316–336.

Craig Jones has started War, Law and Space that opens with an important reflection on the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, the parallels with ‘Operation Cast Lead‘ in 2008, and the differential granting of the ‘right to self-defence’.

Incidentally, for anyone who thinks Israel ‘withdrew’ from Gaza in 2005, I particularly recommend the following:

Lori Allen, ‘The scales of occupation: Operation Cast Lead and the targeting of the Gaza Strip’, Critique of anthropology 32 (2012) 261-84;

Lisa Bhungalia, ‘Im/mobilities in a “Hostile Territory”: Managing the Red line’, Geopolitics 17 (2012) 256-75;

Shane Darcy and John Reynolds, ‘An enduring occupation: the status of the Gaza Strip from the perspective of International Humanitarian Law’, Journal of conflict and security law 15 (2010) 211-43;

Darryl Li, ‘The Gaza Strip as laboratory: notes in the wake of disengagement’, Journal of Palestine Studies 35 (2) (2006) 38-55;

Helga Tawil-Souri, ‘Digital occupation: Gaza’s hi-tech enclosure’, Journal of Palestine Studies 41 (2) (2012) 27-43.

If you don’t have time, then at least read Samera Esmeir on ‘Colonial experiments in Gaza’ at Jadaliyya here.  In the midst of the latest, horrific attacks, it’s vitally important to realise that violence can take many forms, and that Israel’s assaults on Gaza run even deeper than the overt and spectacular violence it metes out in its spasmodic military operations.  More on this soon too, and on Israel’s ongoing air strikes.

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