Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Still a secret war

As mentioned in the Wikipedia entry (listed below), the documentary "Hunted Like Animals" is also well worth following up, and available on youtube. It is hard to fathom the reason why media has reported more on Japanese soldiers surrendering after years of isolation, (seemingly oblivious to the fact that the war had ended decades earlier), rather than an ethnic group who are relentlessly hunted down in the jungle more than 30 years after the end of the Vietnam War. As the documentary maker dutifully notes, what lessons have been learned from this tragedy that could have bearing on the current Middle East conflict? Probably none.
In more theoretical terms, here is seemingly another example of a people living in something like the extreme states described by Agamben's "state of exception", where the normal rule of law is suspended and consequently a group has to keep moving at all times, to avoid becoming a target of unaccountable violence in the "interzone". This whole question of border zones is something I have earlier explored on this blog, in a different register, with respect to sex tourism in Thailand. Thailand features in the Hmong tragedy as well, as is clear not only from the article I've attached here with respect to the desecration of graves, but also in youtube clips of this activity which is gleefully carried out by, apparently, government officials and local villagers alike. In that sense the plight of the Hmong could also be fittingly described as an example of the necropolitics, derridata has alerted us to on this blog, itself a variant of Agamben's work.
Here then is Achille Mbembe's original essay defining necropolitics:

Hmong Graves Desecration- Facts:
Who are the Hmong?:

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