Friday, November 18, 2011

Requiem for Jean Charles de Menezes

Many of you will remember Jean Charles, the Brazilian who was shot in the head seven times at the London Underground by the London Metropolitan police on July 22, 2005. They had misidentified him as one of the fugitives involved in the previous day's failed bombing attempts. The British people were shocked by his death and were left in a daze, wondering what the real value of their supposed security was.

Well last week, at the International Istanbul Biennial art exhibition, I found this lovely piece by the UK artist Claire Fontaine, a requiem for Jean Charles and I'd like to share it with you:

"Notes on the state of exception:

Our emotional environment is poor and dangerous. Artistic work can't change it, but it can transcribe it.
It can also give an opinion, which we are never asked for.
When armed men kill whatever person in the middle of the crowd because he looks guilty, this reminds us a past that doesn't pass and a future that we would like not to know.
Victims are already so numerous nowadays that it would be a mistake to be moved by another one.
It would be pathetic to ask for justice : the only justice for a victim is the revenge and revenge feeds the war.
Power's violence is not a catastrophe anymore, it is a symptom of something crucial: the end of the democratic lie that used to structure even our more rebellious dreams.
The war that includes us has as a main characteristic the fact of looking like a series of casualties.
It transforms us all into guilty victims. It makes us into foreigners in our own countries.
The state of exception that we live in has become the rule, and the only way to survive it is to abandon our fear and despise the power's terror, through all the means we have left.
Remembering everything, resisting through our memory, telling the stories that the domination silences,  refusing to become victims of our own idea of security, this could be a beginning."

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