Wednesday, February 09, 2005

going beyond liberal dissent

The following is the Mission statement that we at No War on Iran have posted on our anti-war group-blog. If you haven't visited No War on Iran yet, give it a visit (and of course the other great anti-war blog, Iranians for Peace). No War on Iran also contains a great project where you can send your pictures to express your opposition to war. Some folks have said that the images are too confrontational or "rude." But, I think we need to be aware of ways of regulation that compel us to behave in certain ways and expect us to discipline ourselves (in Foucault's words, the "government of self"). The expectation of "respecting a country's president" is perhaps one of these liberal techniques of self government. I personally see these images as ways for people whose voices are often suppressed in mainstream media, to express themselves and to voice their dissent. Telling Bush and his ilk to stop their expansionist militaristic projects does not reinforce stereotypes of being a terrorist. If we interpret the image of an Iranian man holding a sign that reads "Dear U.S. Troops: Better not come for oil. This time it ain't that easy" as a "threat to Americans," then we really need to question how we are thinking about terms such as "threat" and "terror." By calling this message a "threat to Americans," we are doing the work for a state that has imposed maximal surveillance in the name of protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism. We are governing ourselves and others by repeating the racist significations of terror and threat.
In any case, the statement below may explain our theoretical approach to war.

Posted by NoWarOnIran!
The escalated public discourse about a possible military attack on Iran has alarmed many Iranians in Iran and its diaspora. As Iranians who are concerned about the implications of a war on our country, we have created this weblog to build a platform for preemptive dissent. In addition to our concerns about the fatalities of war, we are also troubled by the suppression of dissent in the U.S. and in Iran, and believe that war profoundly perpetuates civil repression.
Recent history has shown that the U.S. ratification of international laws does not prevent it from pursuing its expansionist project. For this reason, we do not rule out the possibility of a military attack on Iran. We recognize that transnational networks of power, including the media, corporations, fundamentalist movements, and non-governmental organizations, reveal the inadequacy of the "international" model. Therefore, we suggest an analysis that is attentive to the global phenomena that characterize the so called "war on terror."
It is clear to us that the post 9/11 crusade of the United States relies on a Manichean and colonial logic that situates "Western freedom and democracy" in opposition to "Islamic backwardness and tyranny." We resist such discursive binary constructions that reproduce colonial legacies, and instead locate these forms of knowledge-production within the gendered and raced global capitalist relations. We question the taken-for-granted notions of terror, freedom, democracy, and fundamentalism, by pointing to the contradictions that mark hegemonic usage of such tropes.
The current contributors of No War on Iran come from different disciplines and backgrounds. However, we are committed to the analytical approaches that we have highlighted above and strongly refuse to become complicit with discourses that legitimize war in the name of "liberty" and "democracy."
For a couple of weeks, I will be updating my blog less often. I have an important deadline and need to stay away from the world of blogging (or limit it to reading other people's blogs). I will probably post links to articles, but won't be writing much. That is if I can beat my blog addiction!


The sidebar image is taken from Mahmoud Pakzad's "Old Tehran", Did Publishers, 1994. Thanks to Jahanshah Javid (www.iranian.com) for sharing it.

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