Mourning becomes the Law. – Judith Butler, from Paris. VersoBooks.com

I am in Paris and passed near the scene of killing on the rue Beaumarchais on Friday evening. I had dinner ten minutes from another target. Everyone I know is safe, but many people I do not know are dead or traumatized or in mourning. It is shocking and terrible. Today the streets were populated in the afternoon, but empty in the evening. The morning was completely still. It seems clear from the immediate discussions after the events on public television that the “state of emergency”, however temporary, does set a tone for an enhanced security state.  The questions debated on television include the militarization of the police (how to “complete” the process),, the space of liberty, and how to fight “Islam” – an amorphous entity.   Hollande tried to look manly when he declared this a war, but one was drawn to the imitative aspect of the performance so could not take the discourse seriously. And yet, buffoon that he is, he is acting as the head of the army now.   The state/army distinction dissolves in the light of the state of emergency. People want to see the police, and want a militarized police to protect them. A dangerous, if understandable, desire. The beneficient aspects of the special powers accorded the sovereign under the state of emergency included giving everyone free taxi rides home last night, and opening the hospitals to everyone affected, also draws them in. There is no curfew, but public services are curtailed, and no demonstrations are allowed. Even the “rassemblements” (gatherings) to grieve the dead were technically illegal. I went to one at the Place de la Republique and the police would announce that everyone must disperse, and few people obeyed. That was for me a brief moment of hopefulness.

Source: VersoBooks.com

Author: Makere

A Maori/Scots New Zealander transplanted to Canada. Grandmother, academic, indigenous scholar, sometime singer, sometime activist, who cares passionately about our world.