Monday, January 05, 2009

Who is a Civilian?

A must-read article from the BBC on the current war in Gaza. Whatever one feels about the conflict, the issues raised in this article cut to the heart of what makes modern war both so appalling in its effects yet a form of political/military action that can define itself as "surgical".

As I argue below, the contemporary tendency in Western artistic discourse to attempt to wall off discussions about war as if these can be kept discrete from discussions about art and the "aesthetic" are only one example of how understanding of international law is stunted. This stunting means international law does not register as meaningful within Western popular culture; it does not receive the kind of attention it deserves -- that is true in the early days of this year, and it has been true in the years that have just passed.

Hopefully that will change. If it does not, future years will take the same shape as the ones we are currently living through.

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