Thursday, April 4, 2019
Refugees and Biopolitics
Refugees and BiopoliticsRefugee The Victim of BiopoliticsWhile we ack like a shotledge as citizens of our coarse ar enjoying our basal rights as a human as nearly as a citizen, have turned a blind centerfield to those millions of hatful around the world who atomic number 18 forced to live on the margins of social, policy-making, economical and geographical puts. These quite a little argon kn avouch as the refugees people in search of a refuge. They can in any case be call(a)ed immigrants or asylum seekers.Victims of their nations political functioning these people be forced to find haven on an alien land. At times, these people (called the another(prenominal)s) be constructed as a danger to Us. tending of the Other is produced, circulated and capitalized on to achieve political and economic purposes (Robin). The questions that arise here atomic number 18 as umteen as why atomic number 18 these refugees treated as the Others? Arent they humans like Us? Werent they born as Man and, as a result, are entitled to be acknowledged with the basic human and citizenship rights? And most importantly, why and how do these people capture the dupes of biopolitics? This paper is an attempt to find the answers to much(prenominal) questions.In his book human race Sacer S eachplaceeign Power and Bare breeding, Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has devoted an entire surgical incision titled Biopolitics and the Rights of Man to describe the suffering of these refugees who are denied even the basic human rights in a new country. Becoming a victim of his fate the in truth descriptor who should have embo tumbled the rights of man com equivalenceison excellence the refugee signals instead the ideals radical crisis (Agamben 126). The crux of Agambens turn out is based on Hannah Arendts claim that the fates of human rights and the nation- extract are linked to bug outher, which means that the decline of one also implies the end of the other. This means, that by altering the rights of these people who later become refugees, the nation is leading towards its receive decline. The paradox from which Arendt departs is that the very figure who should have embodied the rights of man par excellence the refugee signals instead the concepts radical crisis (Agamben 126).Agamben completely understands the refugees status as it is and thats why he has titled his book as Homo Sacer. To understand the meaning behind this we need to go corroborate to the Roman antiquity, where the cancellation of a citizens rights by the sovereign produced the threshold figure of homo sacer, the sacred man who can be killed by anyone as he has no rights precisely cant be sacrificed because the tour of sacrifice can only be done within the wakeless context of the city from which homo sacer has been banished, as can be seen in the case of refugees from Rwanda (Agamben 133). He is an criminaliseed citizen, the exception to the law, and yet he is in time su bject to the penalty of death and therefore still included, in the very act of exclusion, within the law (Downey). Homo sacer blurs the line between an outlaw and a citizen and, hence aptly portrays the figure of Agambens refugees.In his essay Biopolitics and the Rights of Man, Agamben has talked about the devastating impact of biopolitics on the refugees. The word biopolitics has been create out of two words bio (the look) and politics, and means the regulation of the life of populations by politics (Zembylas). When Agamben says Biopolitics or Biopower, he refers to the social and political power that the nation- verbalize has over human life. In order to protect the populations biologic well-being, the state acts preventively and thus it goes against the Other If you trust to live, the other must die (Foucault 255). And in this carriage, the killing is justified in the name of security. Biopolitics establishes a double star categorization between us and them, or between the n ormal (legitimate citizens) and the insane (illegal immigrants, un-qualified refugees or bogus asylum seekers). The course of actioner deserve to live, plot of land the latter(prenominal) are expendable (Zembylas).Agamben talks about the first move of holy western politics the separation of the biological and the political. This can be seen in Aristotles separation between life in the polis. Bios is the political life and zo is the surplus life. The entry of zo into the sphere of the polis the politicization of bare life as such constitutes the decisive event of modernity and signals a radical transformation of the political-philosophical categories of Hellenic thought (Agamben). For Agamben, at the political level, biopower means that whats at mail service is the life of the citizen itself not only his knowence tho also his life.Agamben also examines the French closure of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789 and concludes that the bare natural life (birth) is the citat ion and bearer of rights as mentioned in the first hold of the Declaration, which says that Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. This should mean that contempt leaving their country, the refugees deserve equal rights. But at the same time, he reminds us that the very natural life vanishes into the figure of the citizen, in whom rights are preserved. This means, that although a man is born free and has equal rights, these rights are valid only as long as he is a citizen. So, when he leaves his country and becomes a refugee, he is devoid of any citizenship rights. And, since the Declaration can attri providede sovereignty to the nation, Agamben says, the nation closes the open lap covering of mans birth (Agamben). Now, that the sovereignty lies with the nation, this is where the biopolitics enters the scene.Now, when biopolitics enters the scene, what we can see is the contrariety it does. A format of this variety can be seen in the concrete life accounts of Mexican -the Statesn writer, Luis Alberto Urrea, who in his book A louse up the Wire Life and effortful Times on the Mexican Border, talks about his experience in Tijuana (a city in Mexico adjacent to the Mexican-American border) where thousands of immigrants/refugees from different parts of Central America arrive every day, with the hope that they might be able to cross the Mexican-American border and garner it to The United States. He provides an account of the struggles of these refugees, who subsequentlyward disbursal all their money, leaving their homeland behind and facing all sorts of ferocity do make it to Tijuana but only to face to a greater extent violation. orbit Tijuana isnt the most painful hurdle for them, the real struggle begins after they reach there and begin the journey of crossing the highly-guarded Mexican-American border. The border, strengthened by Border Patrol, makes the idea of reaching the other side of the fence (USA) a dream for these refugees. The biopol itics comes here in the form of both nations Border Patrols who drop out these immigrants from entering North America. The danger is present not only in the form of the foreign Border Patrols but also in the form of the local coyotes (guides) who at times turn on these refugees and take all their money away from them. If the coyotes dont attack them, there are rateros (thieves), if the rateros dont, there are pandilleros (gangs) who will. If the refugees are lucky enough (or rather, swank enough) to avoid these thugs, they will eventually collide with the authoritative Border Patrols who buzz off them and transport them spine to Tijuana, forcing these desperate refugees to start their struggle from scratch.When these refugees return back unsuccessfully to Tijuana they are without a place to live, without any money to encounter their basic needs, sometimes they are even without clothes and shoes. In many cases they are even bloodied from a beating by pandilleros, or an separatr ix in the Immigration and Naturalization Service compound. They cant get proper medical attention. They cant eat, or afford to apply their family. some of their compatriots have been separated from their wives or their children. Now their loved ones are in the hands of strangers, in the vast and unknown United States (Urrea 17-18).It is drop that North America doesnt want these Central American refugees, and after a time even these refugees spirit starts to break. They start living in Tijuana where they sell chewing gum, their children sing in traffic and at every stoplight they wash the car windshields. If North America does not want them, Tijuana wants them even less. They become the outcasts of an outcast region (Urrea 19). All these circumstances are a result of biopolitics which stops these Others from mixing with the Us. These refugees are not welcomed in Tijuana, which is a place that itself isnt welcome in Mexico. Tijuana is Mexicos cast-off child. Although, she brings mo ney and attracts foreigners, no one would dare claim her. Some people there dont count Tijuana as a part of Mexico. For them the border is nowhere. But, in reality a border does exist there. That borer is in tangible.Here, we can refer to Etienne Balibars concept of intragroup borders which are invisible borders, situated everywhere and nowhere (Balibar 78). While lecture about Europes Schengen Convention, Balibar says that one of the major implications of the Schengen Convention is that from now on, on its border each member state is becoming the typical of the others (Balibar 78). By this, he is referring to the using a refugee/immigrant/asylum seeker faces when more than than one (Schengen) nations come together to exploit these refugees by prohibiting them entry (to asylums, etc.) in nearly every European nation (who have signed the Schengen Agreement). The border of these Schengen nations is biopolitically constructed, and is indeed the only aspect of the construction of Europe that is currently touching forward, not in the area of citizenship, but in that of anti-citizenship, by way of coordination between police forces and also of more or less simultaneous legislative and constitutional changes regarding the right of asylum and immigration regulations, family reunion, the granting of nationality, and so on (Balibar 78).Although, the Declaration of Rights, (based on the birth-nation link and leading to national sovereignty) was expected to succeed the collapse of the ancien rgime (where the concept of national citizenship was absent), Agamben workly says that after founding War I the birth-nation link has no longer been capable of performing its legitimating function inside the nation-state, and the two terms have begun to show themselves to be irreparably loosened from each other (Agamben 132).This leads him to talk about the Brobdingnagian increase of refugees and stateless persons in Europe. He lists several Europeans (1,500,000 White Rus sians, 700,000 Armenians, etc.) who were displaced from their countries in the first half of 20th century. Then, he talks about the jalopy denaturalization and denationalization of their own populations act by France in 1915 with respect to modify citizens of enemy origin and by Belgium in 1922 who revoked the naturalization of citizens who have committed anti national acts during the war. He then mentions the most extreme tip of this process when the Nuremberg laws on citizenship in the Reich and the protection of German blood and note introduced the principle according to which citizenship was something of which one had to prove oneself worthy and which could therefore always be called into question (Agamben 132). This highlights the fact that by using the biopolitical weapons of Fascism and Nazism, countries stripped their own citizens off of their citizenship and human rights and ultimately pushed them towards their death. Agamben claims that, Today it is not the city bu t rather the camp that is the fundamental biopolitical paradigm of the West (Agamben 181).The two resulting phenomenons 1) The huge increase in the number of refugees and stateless persons in Europe, and 2) European states allowing the big money denaturalization and denationalization of their own populations, show that the birth-nation link, on which the Declaration of 1789 had founded national sovereignty, had already lost its mechanical force and power of self-regulation by the time of the first-class honours degree World War (Agamben 132).What actually happens is that the governments suspend civil rights during social crisis and get back who is to be excluded and who is to be included. The refugees are the ones who are excluded. The camp signifies a state of exception in which the originary relation of law to life is not finishing but Abandonment (Agamben). The one who is banned is not simply unsex outside the law but rather abandoned by it. This highlights the fact that th e nations and their biopolitics truly lack the humane aspect.Agamben sees a separation of humanitarian concerns from politics. Instead, whats visible to him is a solidarity between humanitarianism and the political powers it should rubbish. This contradiction is a primary reason for the failure of several committees and organisations (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for example) who work for the caper of refugees and the protection of human rights. They simply refuse to comment on the actions of political regimes. This distinction is also seen in the general populace of many nation-states in which great compassion is demonstrated by donating millions of dollars to fund humanitarian aid, while showing great hostility to those same suffering faces when they are more proximate strangers (qtd. in Zembylas). Although, these organizations function for the right of these refugees, they fail to resolve their problems in any way. These humanitarian organizations maintain a secret solidarity with the very powers they ought to fight The separation between humanitarianism and politics that we are experiencing today is the extreme phase of the separation of the rights of man from the rights of the citizen (Agamben 133).Now, the big question is how to stop the exploitation of these refugees at the hands of nations biopolitics? Some might suggest that since the concept of refugees is a result of borders, a borderless world would aptly solve the problem of refugees. But, such a world would run the risk of being a immaculate arena for the unfettered domination of the private centers of power which monopolize capital, communication theory and, perhaps also, arms (Balibar 85). By saying this, Balibar is pointing towards the omnipresence of biopolitics which makes the fact clear that a world without borders and biopolitics can only exist in a state of utopia.First of all, what Agamben suggests is that the concept of the refugee must be separated from the conce pt of the human rights because refugees are devoid of any of those rights. It should be clearly visible to everyone where they stand. Secondly, the refugees are born in a nation and they should belong to it but they arent allowed to, and since they are born as Man they should be considered citizens but they arent. This is why the refugees must call into question the existing fundamental concepts of the nation-state the birth-nation and the man-citizen links. Refugees should make nations and humanist organizations see how much they are lacking in their humanitarian approach. Lastly, refugees have got the power to ask the nations to renew their existing political categories where bare life is no longer separated either in the state order or in the figure of human rights (Agamben 134). If there would be no separation of bare life, then there wouldnt be any discrimination against the refugees. This way they will be recognized as humans and citizens just like any other person and their d iscrimination at the hands of biopolitics will eventually see a decline. kit and caboodle CitedAgamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford Stanford UP, 1995.126, 132, 133, 134, 181. Print.Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. New ed. New York Harcourt, cause World,1966. N. pag. Print.Balibar, Etienne. Politics and the Other Scene. London Verso, 2002. 78. Print.Downey, Anthony. Zones of Indistinction.http//www.sothebysinstitute.com/files/research/zones.pdf. Sothebys Institute of Art, 26Apr. 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.Foucault, Michel, and Mauro Bertani. Society Must Be Defended Lectures at the Collge DeFrance, 1975-1976. New York Picador, 2003. 255. Print.Robin, Corey. Fear The History of a Political Idea. New York Oxford UP, 2004. N. pag. Print.Urrea, Luis Alberto. Across the Wire Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border. New YorkAnchor, 1993. 17, 18, 19. Print.Zembylas, Michalinos. Agambens Theory of Biopower and Immigrants/Refugees/AsylumSeekers. Journal.jctonline.org/index.php/jct/article/viewFile/195/83. Journal ofCurriculum Theorizing, 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.