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The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2006
Editor: Chris Miller

'Terror' is a diffuse notion that takes no account of local particularities and 'war on terror' is a contradiction in terms. This book is based on the lectures that were given on the subject in Oxford in 2006. Amnesty has described 'war on terror' as a war on human rights. It is also a contest of narratives: stories that the protagonists tell about themselves, about their enemies, and about what is happening now. The book considers how the recent actions of the United States have stressed and stretched two areas of international law: the right of self-defence, and the rules of international humanitarian law. State terrorism, with a bit of careful spin, can be reclassified as counter-terrorism, in other words as inherently good in the same way that terrorism is inherently bad. The book engages with the politico-conceptual difficulties of distinguishing between war and terrorism. The interface and tensions between the human rights tradition and the Islamic tradition, particularly Islamic law, is discussed. The intensification of Western repression against Islamic thinkers or activists has at times been coupled with policies that seemed designed to change the religious trajectory of society. The sexualization of torture is only one way in which the 'war on terror' has delineated who is (and who is not) human. Religion, human rights, and trauma narratives are three other mechanisms for rationalizing suffering. The book also discusses the subject of censuring reckless killing of innocent civilians by the issue of fatwas by Muslim teachers.

9780719079740_C06.qxd 6 5/8/09 9:22 AM Page 159 Jeff McMahan War, terrorism and the ‘war on terror’ What terrorism is Most of us agree that terrorism is always, or almost always, wrong, which is hardly surprising, since the word is generally used to express disapproval. If an act of which we approve has features characteristic of terrorism, we will be careful to deny that it is in fact an act of terrorism. For example, those who believe that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justified tend to deny that they were instances of terrorism. So

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9780719079740_C05.qxd 5 5/8/09 9:22 AM Page 141 Bat-Ami Bar On War/terror/politics* The initial context for this essay included the war in Afghanistan (2001–), the war in Iraq (2003–) and terrorist attacks such as those of 11 September 2001, 11 March 2004, and 7 July 2005. These events have been discursively connected by talk about ‘international terrorism’ and ‘the war on terror’, a connection hotly contested ever since it surfaced in speeches by U.S. president George W. Bush (and members of his administration) following 11 September 2001.1 I do not here

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9780719079740_C02.qxd 2 5/8/09 9:20 AM Page 47 Michael Byers Terrorism, war and international law Introduction Most of humanity shares two searing memories: the collapse of the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001; and a hooded man standing on a box with wires dangling from his outstretched hands. These images capture the painful truth that both sides in the so-called ‘war on terror’ have violated fundamental rules. But while non-state actors can violate international law, only states are able to change the law, making their breaches of greater

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9780719079740_C01.qxd 1 5/8/09 9:19 AM Page 28 Ahdaf Soueif The function of narrative in the ‘war on terror’ In his introduction to The Mind of Egypt the philosopher and Egyptologist, Jan Assmann, states that his purpose is not to examine Ancient Egyptian history, but to examine what the Ancient Egyptians said their history was; he would listen to and interpret the stories the Ancient Egyptians told about themselves. He distinguishes between three types of subject for historical research: 1 Traces: archaeological remains that are objectively what they are

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Myth, memory and emotional adaption

What role does memory play in migrants’ adaption to the emotional challenges of migration? How are migrant selfhoods remade in relation to changing cultural myths? This book, the first to apply Popular Memory Theory to the Irish diaspora, opens new lines of critical enquiry within scholarship on the Irish in modern Britain. Combining innovative use of migrant life histories with cultural representations of the post-war Irish experience, it interrogates the interaction between lived experience, personal memory and cultural myth to further understanding of the work of memory in the production of migrant subjectivities. Based on richly contextualised case studies addressing experiences of emigration, urban life, work, religion and the Troubles in England, chapters illuminate the complex and contingent relationship between politics, culture and migrant identities, developing a dynamic view of the lived experience of British–Irish relations after 1945. Where memory is often regarded as a mechanism of antagonism within this relationship, Life History shows how migrants’ ‘recompose’ memories of migration as part of ongoing efforts to adapt to the transition between cultures and places. As well as shedding new light on the collective fantasies of post-war migrants and the circumstances which formed them, Life History thus illustrates the cultural and personal dynamics of subjective change over time: migrants located themselves as the subjects of a diverse and historically evolving repertoire of narratives, signalling adaption, difference and integration as co-articulating features of the Irish experience in post-1945 England.

This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social, scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Some notes on ‘terror’

concede defeat, abandon their own dignity and 9780719079740_A02.qxd 2 5/8/09 9:18 AM Page 2 ‘War on terror’ accept the new status quo. And insofar as human societies have a concern with justice, nor should they. History cannot be reversed but sometimes injustices can be remedied or at least not perpetuated. In principle, none of us wishes to perpetuate a recognized injustice, however difficult we may find it to perceive the injustice of our actions. For the analogy with ritual human sacrifice to be complete, then, we should have to be able to say that the victims of

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the definition of key Islamic concepts pertaining to the conduct of war and its jurisprudence, its arena and boundaries, suicide bombing, the reckless targeting of civilians, and more. May it be the best possible start to true education on the impeccable position of Islam, which is squarely against terrorism, in anticipation of the day when all its culprits are brought to justice. 9780719079740_C09.qxd 5/8/09 9:24 AM Page 254 ‘War on terror’ 254 Dear Muslim reader, al-SalAmu ‘alaykum wa-raQmatuLlAh: Read this luminous FatwA by Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al

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