An Ode to PARIS –
In trying to understand Paris and France’s latest attack, I thought of Michel Foucault and the incredible theories contained in
Biopolitics that he ascribed to. What happened to France was
against Liberté, égalité, fraternité. The original motto included the words OU LA MORT – the phrase was dropped as it was too aligned with Terrorism. XVI. Elles porteront sur leur poitrine ces mots gravés : LE PEUPLE FRANÇAIS, & au-dessous : LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ. Les mêmes mots seront inscrits sur leurs drapeaux, qui porteront les trois couleurs de la nation.)
— Maximilien Robespierre, 1790
November 13th, 2015 – re-inscribed these words OU LA MORT into the French culture and the global mind.
- “Any attempt to understand the roots of terrorism is an attempt to justify it,”“It simply must be fought and destroyed.” PERLE
- If one group stands to benefit from the polemics surrounding Muslim refugees in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, it is ISIS. In fact, they are counting on it. The Islamic State has long targeted what they label the “grey zone” – Muslims living in the West who don’t support ISIS – for recruitment. By escalating the tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims, they hope to force Muslims worldwide to either embrace the Islamic State or renounce their religion. By provoking the legal repression or social isolation of Muslim individuals and communities, ISIS aims to drive them into the arms of the Islamic State.
- Johann Hari, For now, the phrase “thought and prayers” having been devalued to the point it is little better than saying, “Let’s have lunch,”.
- But why attack France, when other nations like the United States or Britain have been more deeply involved in the fight against ISIS? The answer is again strategic: Paris constitutes a point of maximum impact. Paris is highly visible, widely loved; and frequently stands at the center of bitter debates on the place of Islam within Europe. It is an exceptional destination for tourists and many expats, which means that events in the city provoke reactions far beyond France.
- “You’re mistaken,” Mamoun said. “You’re mistaken in supporting that movement, ISIS.”It will drag you to your death, to hellfire, because suicide and slaughter are not permitted in Islam.”
And it was a force outside of France that determined the Future of the French and indeed all of Europe and by extension into the modern western world as it relates to the United States of America, encapsulating Canada and recreating a new democracy that has to deal with ISIL, The Taliban and Boko Haram. It’s them against us. Foucault opined, in this elaborate quote-:
- This is the right, or rather precisely the opposite right. It is the power to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die. The right of sovereignty was the right to take life or let live. And then this new right is established: the right to make live and to let die.”
I, as Cristoph De Caermichael, agent provocateur cannot make a dent of interpretation into this elaborate performance of ISIL, of Syria, of Belgium and of the US politicking to control “the Muslim element” by reverting to anachronistic ways of Power building that historically has proved detrimental. A holocaust of ideals which reeks of genocide and atrocities reminiscent of Hitler’s regime.
Dire is the word to express the situation. We are in dire straits, confused, manipulated, terrorized. I will only log the material I find, my point of view is totally irrelevant only to make a mark and to record it. The BBC documentary on Panorama captured it so vividly on screen with riveting commentaries which will evolve through the next few weeks. Its the evolution of this event that makes any POV irrelevant. Events will move faster and the commentaries will just follow.
By January 15 2016 we collectively, le Monde are at war, in as many ways as war can be defined. We were catapulted into war as of November 13th. 2015
I will insert where I can, text or videos that relate but it’s atomic and radioactive as it mushrooms over the world. We just watch and listen and see if we have learned anything. Though learning implies understanding and we are far, so far away from understanding this. Madness and Insanity render logic and comprehension mute and rhetorical.
“To say that power took possession of life in the nineteenth century, or to say that power at least takes life under its care in the nineteenth century, is to say that it has, thanks to the play of technologies of discipline on the one hand and technologies of regulation on the other, succeeded in covering the whole surface that lies between the organic and the biological, between body and population. We are, then, in a power that has taken control of both the body and life or that has, if you like, taken control of life in general – with the body as one pole and the population as the other.” ~ M. Foucault (1976:252-3)
“What we are dealing with in this new technology of power is not exactly society (or at least not the social body, as defined by the jurists), nor is it the individual body. It is a new body, a multiple body, a body with so many heads that, while they might not be infinite in number, cannot necessarily be counted. Biopolitics deals with the population, with the population as a political problem, as a problem that is at once scientific and political, as a biological problem and as power’s problem.” ~M. Foucault (1976:245)
Biopolitics is a complicated concept that has been used and developed in social theory since Michel Foucault, to examine the strategies and mechanisms through which human life processes are managed under regimes of authority over knowledge, power, and the processes of subjectivation. As Thomas Lemke points out, a great deal of the inconsistency with which the concept of biopolitics has been deployed in more recent decades results depending upon whether one takes as their starting point the notion that life is the determining basis of politics, or alternatively, that the object of politics is life. Meanwhile, as Nikolas Rose and Paul Rabinow point out, the original interests in and conceptions of biopower drawn out by Foucault, quite usefully, do not grapple with these opposing positions- something that has remained underappreciated by many theorists who have worked to develop alternative conceptions of biopower to match more contemporary phenomena. As Lemke states most clearly, Foucault avoids this conflict by taking as his starting point the assumption that “life denotes neither the basis nor the object of politics. Instead, it presents a border to politics- a border that should be simultaneously respected and overcome, one that seems to be both natural and given but also artificial and transformable” (2011:4-5). In what follows within this post, I attempt to pull out the foundational underpinnings upon which Foucault began to develop a theory of biopolitics. Paying attention to the historicizing treatment Foucault gives to a notion of power in relation to the rise of biopolitics, I ultimately reflect upon present-day phenomena which have been taken by scholars as signalling the movement and transformation of biopolitics into new forms and trajectories.
In “The Birth of Biopolitics”, Foucault begins to theorize liberalism as a practice and as a critique of government, the rise of which he argues is inseparable from the rise of biopolitical technologies of governance, which have extended political control and power over all major processes of life itself, through a transferral of sovereign power into “biopower”- that is, technologies and techniques which govern human social and biological processes. Pointing to the fact that liberal thought takes society, and not the state, as its starting point; it follows, consequently, the critique of state governing institutions that is internal to liberalism must always, in practice, be negotiating its legitimacy of governance in a relationship between changing internalities and externalities foregrounded in the state, between self-governing “liberal” individuals and the population. This results in liberalism’s necessary ability to take many forms and strategies for self-rationalization. For example- the neoliberalism of the U.S., in which the logic of a free market economy has been extended over non-economic domains of human social and biological existence, so that we now conceive of a number of life processes, such as family and reproduction, in economic terms.
The 17th-century historical rupture in the flow of power over life and death that occurred with liberalism should be seen as more of an integration of sovereign power (the “right of the sword”) into what Foucault calls “biopower”, as opposed to seeing the process as a moment of disjuncture in which biopower came to replace the classical notion of sovereign power. As he writes in “Society Must Be Defended” (1976:241),
“I think that one of the greatest transformations political right underwent in the nineteenth century was precisely that, I wouldn’t say exactly sovereignty’s old right- to take life or let live- was replaced, but it came to be complemented by a new right which does not erase the old right but which does penetrate it, permeate it. This is the right, or rather precisely the opposite right. It is the power to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die. The right of sovereignty was the right to take life or let live. And then this new right is established: the right to make live and to let die.”
The effects of the process through which these mutations in the exercise of power occurred can be characterized as having formed two opposite poles of a continuum. The first of these occurred through the development of techniques that operated in and on the individual body as apparatuses of discipline: and “that discipline tries to rule a multiplicity of men to the extent that their multiplicity can and must be dissolved into individual bodies that can be kept under surveillance, trained, used, and…punished” (Foucault 1976:242). This pole is referred to as “anatamo-politics”, and it is chiefly concerned with the atomization of a collectivity for the purpose of governance and productivity to a certain end. The second pole is of explicitly biopolitics, concerning the whole of a population, with the ultimate effect being characterizable as “massifying, that is directed not at man-as-body but as man-as-species” (1976:243). Said otherwise, biopolitics takes population as its problematic, making it both scientific and political, “as a biological problem and as power’s problem”.
What does all this mean in less-theoretical terms? To begin, it means that the contemporary historical era in which we exist and have come to know in very particular ways, is governed over by means of particular mechanisms that simultaneously operate on our bodies and subjective selves, and on our collective relations taken as a whole- as a global human race. “Biopower” can be understood as a social field of power and struggle, in which the vital aspects of human life are intervened upon for the purpose of rationalizing regimes of authority over knowledge, the generation of truth discourses about life, and the modes through which individuals construct and interpellate subjectivities between a sense of self and the collective.
With respect to populations and governance in the present day, scholars such as Lemke, Rose and Rabinow emphasize the viability of Foucauldian biopolitics in understanding the operability of truth discourses, or regimes of truth, when approaching the study of mutating biopolitical spaces in the contemporary. These spaces, such as genomics and reproductive choice, represent profound biopolitical efforts to exercise the power “to make live” and “let die”. As such, questions concerning choice and every day modes of practice surface as the most critical issues when theorizing the border that, according to Foucault, is posed by life, to politics, as it continues to transform within both new and old biopolitical spaces like race, reproduction, medicine, health, science, technology, and so on.
- M. Foucault. 1997. “The Birth of Biopolitics,” 73-79 in Ethics, Subjectivity, and Truth: P. Rabinow and J.D. Faubion eds. New Press.
- M. Foucault. 2003. Lecture 11, 17 March 1976, 239-264 in Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France. Picador Press.
- T. Lemke. 2011. Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction. New York University Press.
- P. Rabinow & N. Rose. 2006. “Biopower Today,” Biosciences 1(2):195-217.
The events are dense with verbiage that expresses outrage. I only include this as it’s now the literature we must refer to.
- PARIS WAS A GAME CHANGER – WAR ON TERROR REDUX -OPERATION ALDERBERAN
We brought this on ourselves: After Paris, it is time to square our “values” with our history
Hollande declared a state of emergency and closed France’s borders; the French military is mobilized and the police’s powers are to be increased. Obama pledged “to provide whatever assistance that the government and people of France need to respond.” If the past is any guide, this surely refers to America’s surveillance and intelligence capabilities and all the technologies associated with these.
What has not followed is too familiar. No one, once again, asks the simple question, “Why?” This line of inquiry is so obvious, and so obviously of use in devising an effective response—know your enemy and his motivations, as any military strategist will tell you—that our avoidance of it amounts to a pathology at this point.
Bush II’s best-known theorists urged upon us even before the September 11 events and incessantly after them. I have mentioned Richard Perle, a longtime intellectual charlatan, in this space before. “We must decontextualize terror,” Perle famously and often declared—meaning, make no effort to identify the context from which terrorists arise. “Any attempt to understand the roots of terrorism is an attempt to justify it,” Perle continued. “It simply must be fought and destroyed.”
As Johann Hari, one of Perle’s countless critics, put it, “Perle invites us to participate in a strange, willful ignorance of cause and effect. How can this be a serious response to our problems”? Hari, a once-controversial British journalist, posed his question in 2004. It remains a good one.
Johann Hari, For now, the phrase “thought and prayers” having been devalued to the point it is little better than saying, “Let’s have lunch,” only this: Let the police and the intelligence services do their work. The best way, I would say the only way, we can properly honor those just killed or wounded or now suffering trauma is to ask why they have met this fate—and then begin constructing the effective response that has so far eluded all of our leaders.
François Hollande, the French president, was in attendance at the sports stadium where one explosion, apparently a suicide bomb, was detonated. Immediately afterward he termed the attacks together “an act of war.” Given French jets have recently flown beside American formations on bombing sorties across Syria, it does not get much clearer: If we term what is going on in Syria and Iraq a war, it would follow that we must count Friday’s events in Paris another theater in it.
Yes, what has just occurred in Paris is an affront to all of us. But to invoke universal values is to sustain the error of understanding, of recognition, of acknowledgement, that lies at the heart of all this incessant hatred, attack and counterattack. We—and hardly least the French and the Americans—have articulated such values well and often enough since the late 18th century. But there is little ground to claim that they have determined how we have acted in the Middle East and treated its people for roughly the same period of time.
To put the point another way, a wounded civilization, borrowing Naipaul’s phrase for India, has wounded ours.
The number of fatalities in this, the second strike perpetrated by Islamic extremists this year, do not come close to those counted after the events in New York and Washington a dozen Septembers ago. But numbers rarely tell us much in the way of meaning, and we must not get lost in them now. “Is this a September 11 for the French?” my other half asked as we watched the news last night. “Let there be no question,” I replied.
Another horrific attack emanates from the shattered, shredded Middle East into the beating hearts of Western civilization. It is impossible to miss what it means that the City of Light, the justified pride of the French, was the scene of Friday’s spree of violence, hostage-taking and murder. We cannot any longer watch the tragedies befalling Middle Eastern societies and shut the television off when supper is ready. Their tragedies are ours—a point that was destined to be forced upon us sooner or later.
By the most recent count available at writing, 127 are dead in Paris and who knows how many are wounded or traumatized. The Pentagon and the Strangeloves who run it, it turns out, are not the only ones who can pull off a shock-and-awe assault. If the French and all the rest of us are smart, we will dwell long and hard upon the implications of this stark reality.
“This is not just an attack on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France,” President Obama said in a glumly presented statement Friday night. “This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” There is something perfectly right in this, and then something perfectly wrong.
“Any attempt to understand the roots of terrorism is an attempt to justify it,” Perle continued. “It simply must be fought and destroyed.” As Johann Hari, one of Perle’s countless critics, put it, “Perle invites us to participate in a strange, willful ignorance of cause and effect. How can this be a serious response to our problems”? Hari, a once-controversial British journalist, posed his question in 2004. It remains a good one. In my regular column this coming week I will explain why. For now, the phrase “thought and prayers” having been devalued to the point it is little better than saying, “Let’s have lunch,” only this: Let the police and the intelligence services do their work. The best way, I would say the only way, we can properly honor those just killed or wounded or now suffering trauma is to ask why they have met this fate—and then begin constructing the effective response that has so far eluded all of our leaders.Another horrific attack emanates from the shattered, shredded Middle East into the beating hearts of Western civilization. It is impossible to miss what it means that the City of Light, the justified pride of the French, was the scene of Friday’s spree of violence, hostage-taking and murder. We cannot any longer watch the tragedies befalling Middle Eastern societies and shut the television off when supper is ready. Their tragedies are ours—a point that was destined to be forced upon us sooner or later.
The day after a series of terrorist attacks rocked Paris, Republican presidential candidates delivered a new message on immigration and border security: We told you so.
In the attacks — perpetrated by agents of the Islamic State, at least one of whom may have entered the European Union among a group of Syrian refugees —
“President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America: it is nothing less than lunacy,” Cruz told Fox News from the site of his campaign’s “rally for religious liberty” in Greenville.
At a rally in Beaumont, Texas, Trump — who expressed support for taking in Syrian refugees in September but later reversed himself — called the administration’s plan to admit thousands of them “insane.”
He said that the federal government’s failure to secure America’s borders had left the country vulnerable to terrorist infiltration. “On an afternoon like this afternoon we wouldn’t be worried about ISIS slipping across our borders to commit unspeakable acts of violence” if the government had addressed the issue, he said.
Noting that French President François Hollande had ordered the emergency closure of France’s borders in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s attacks, Jindal suggested the United States should follow his lead. “It’s time for us here in America to secure our borders and keep us safe as well from these radical evil terrorists,” said the Louisiana governor.
“I think one of the lessons we should learn from the tragedy in Paris is that we have to be very careful, and very cautious — extraordinarily cautious — about who comes to visit, who immigrates here and who studies here,” he said.
if one group stands to benefit from the polemics surrounding Muslim refugees in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, it is ISIS. In fact, they are counting on it. The Islamic State has long targeted what they label the “grey zone” – Muslims living in the West who don’t support ISIS – for recruitment. By escalating the tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims, they hope to force Muslims worldwide to either embrace the Islamic State or renounce their religion. By provoking the legal repression or social isolation of Muslim individuals and communities, ISIS aims to drive them into the arms of the Islamic State.
Videos of spectacular violence served as an effective motor of recruitment before – not only amongst European Muslims, but disaffected youth in general. But by the start of the year, ISIS appeared to be losing steam. Foreign recruits dwindled and YouTube clips of beheadings garnered less press. The brutal assault on Paris marks a transformation of ISIS tactics, but it serves the same strategy. Paris, Beirut, and theSinai are all attempts by the Islamic State to regain the initiative and reignite its recruitment efforts abroad. If we isolate Syrian refugees or treat Muslims in general as a threat out of fear, we help create conditions which favor the Islamic State’s recruitment efforts.
But why attack France, when other nations like the United States or Britain have been more deeply involved in the fight against ISIS? The answer is again strategic: Paris constitutes a point of maximum impact. Paris is highly visible, widely loved; and frequently stands at the center of bitter debates on the place of Islam within Europe. It is an exceptional destination for tourists and many expats, which means that events in the city provoke reactions far beyond France.
CIA Director John Brennan responds to a question as he speaks at the Global Security Forum 2015, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Current and former American officials say last week’s attacks in Paris show the extent to which the Islamic State aspires to hit Western soft targets, including in the United States. “I certainly would not consider it a one-off event,” Brennan said. “It is clear to me that ISIL has an external agenda, that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks … it’s not just Europe. I think we here in the United States also have to be obviously quite vigilant.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Steven Simon and Daniel Benjamin, former Obama administration counterterrorism officials now at Dartmouth College, argued in a New York Times opinion article Monday that Europe is far more vulnerable because of its physical proximity to Iraq and Syria and because it is home to large, disaffected, segregated Muslim populations prone to radicalism.
Daniel Byman, a Brookings Institution analyst, noted in an interview that many such plots since the attacks of September 11, 2001 have been disrupted because of tips from American Muslims.
You have hundreds of people in this country who have become inspired by the ideology of ISIS and we’ve already seen examples where individuals are willing to commit acts of violence in furtherance of that ideology,” said John Cohen, a former Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism coordinator now at Rutgers University.
The Sunni Muslim extremists in Syria have imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across a self-declared “caliphate,” declaring such ancient relics promote idolatry. They are also believed to sell looted antiquities, bringing in significant sums of cash.
Slamming President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for not referring to the threat from ISIS as “radical Islam,” Trump told his supporters here that it’s time to “talk about” the threat and pledged a more aggressive response if elected president.
Just one day before multiple machine gun and bomb attacks in the French capital left almost 500 people from all walks of life dead or wounded, U.S. President Barack Obama said that the U.S. strategy against the jihadist group has “contained” it but not yet succeeded in its effort to “decapitate” the group’s leadership.
Yet ISIS retains a significant capacity for wreaking havoc abroad.
The French air force carried out bombing missions on ISIS targets in Raqqa, Syria, for a second day in a row. France is retaliating against Islamist extremist terror attacks that killed at least 129 people in Paris.
ISIS claims Raqqa as the capital of its so-called caliphate.
On Monday, France targeted a command center, a recruitment center, an ammunition storage base and a training camp in the city, the French military said.
On Sunday, the air force struck similar strategic targets in multiple sorties, reinserting France, a partner in the U.S.-led coalition striking ISIS from the air, into the battle against ISIS.
Abdalali Mamoun, an imam at a southern Paris mosque, was one of a 20-strong group who came to lay flowers near the Bataclan theater where scores of people attending a rock concert were gunned down. He urged young French Muslims to steer clear of ISIS’s unholy war.
“You’re mistaken,” Mamoun said. “You’re mistaken in supporting that movement, ISIS.“It will drag you to your death, to hellfire, because suicide and slaughter are not permitted in Islam.”
Another member of his group insisted that the killers were indiscriminate in their choice of targets. “As French citizens, and as human beings, we have been wounded by this attack,” Yasser Laouti, spokesman for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, said.
“They killed Christians, Muslims and Jews indiscriminately.”
Paris (CNN)Declaring that “France is at war,” President Francois Hollande on Monday proposed sweeping new laws and more spending on public safety in response to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris — promising to eradicate terrorism, but not at the expense of his country’s freedom.
At the same time, ISIS threatened the United States that it could be next.
“I swear to God, as we struck France in its stronghold Paris, we will strike America in its stronghold, Washington,” an ISIS fighter declared in a video released Monday.
The speech, and ISIS’ latest threat, came as police scoured France and Belgium in a hunt for suspects in Friday’s brutal attacks, which left at least 129 dead and 352 wounded.
13 November 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council have condemned the “despicable” terrorist attacks carried out today in various locations in and around Paris, and Mr. Ban has demanded the immediate release of the numerous individuals reportedly being held hostage in the Bataclan theatre.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General condemned the “despicable” multiple attacks that took place in the French capital.
Though the situation remains fluid, media reports have suggested that a national state of emergency has been called in the wake of multiple shootings throughout Paris, including at the Bataclan arts centre in the 11th arrondissement, which appears to be one of four venues attacked and where dozens of people are reportedly being held hostage.
“The Secretary-General trusts that the French authorities will do all in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly,” said the statement.
Extending his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery to those injured, Mr. Ban said in his statement that he stands with the Government and people of France.
In a separate statement, the UN Security Council also strongly condemned what the 15-member body referred to as “barbaric and cowardly” terrorist attacks, causing numerous deaths and injuries among civilians.
The Council underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these terrorist acts to justice.
The members of the Council also expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government of France, the statement concluded.
Also speaking out strongly, the President of the UN General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, said the whole world is outraged by the attacks and will stand in solidarity with the French Government and the People of France.
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Lykketoft said terrorism and murder of this kind is an outrage to humanity. “We must all stand together to fight this outrageous brutality. It will not succeed and it has no place in the modern world.”