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#1 2019-01-05 09:08:54

From: E(vil) HQ
Registered: 2018-07-27
Posts: 256

The Mexican Drug War’s place in the history.

In Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison, Foucault (1977) suggests the public torture and execution of criminals by the State were vulgar, and sometimes provocative, rhetorical performances. Public torture and execution were explicit, theatrical displays of institutional power, demonstrating to the onlookers that they, like the condemned people standing before them, lacked primary ownership of their outward person (the flesh) and inward person (the blood). The more severe the crime, the more blood was let; the State reestablishing power visually in relation to the levels of transgressions committed by the condemned. In this way, an executioner, the physical embodiment of the State, was reviled socially, but held in awe publicly. The executioner was made an outcast and held in esteem for the same reason: He maintained an inflexible social order. It is well known many such public gatherings had a festive, carnival atmosphere; however, if the condemned was a popular or sympathetic person, or if the executioner handled his work unskillfully, the State could be perceived by the masses as unjust or inept, and questioning of the State might begin (Moore, 2017). Nevertheless, the “fact remains that a few decades [after Damiens’ 1757 execution, France], saw the disappearance of the tortured, dismembered, amputated body, symbolically branded on the face or shoulder, exposed alive or dead to public view. The body as the major target of penal repression disappeared” (Foucault, 1977, p. 8). The end of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793 – 1794) substantiated the general change in European punitive norms that Foucault describes. Put simply, many of the Revolution’s leaders fell prey to the same physical terror they had inspired; the Reign of Terror concluded with Revolution leader Robespierre’s own beheading. A riled public cowed no longer by the State’s instrument, in this case the guillotine, known colloquially as the ‘National Razor,’ now made the object of public execution the executioner. The State chose then to express its power more implicitly, moving punishment out of the town square and into prisons closed to the public. In other words, “punishment of an immediately less physical kind, a certain discretion in the inflicting of pain, a combination of more subtle, more subdued sufferings, deprived of their visible display” became the new accepted norm (p. 8). In Europe and The United States, and with the exceptions of capital offenses and the treatment of American slaves, the threat of long social isolation through imprisonment replaced the immediate threat of bodily destruction. So instilled has this adjusted penal norm become in the Western world that summary, or immediate, execution by representatives of the State may now be prosecuted as murder, and during war, as a war crime.

Capital punishment is legal in 31 of America’s 50 states. Though application of the death penalty is increasingly rare in America, its continuation is based on reaching didactic and cathartic ends. Death penalty supporters tend to believe the implied threat of this punishment deters capital-level crimes. The punishment is thought also to provide explicit justice to the families of the felons’ victims. Note, too, that use of the death penalty in America today is not a rhetorical performance meant to keep a regime in power. So few people, in America, can witness executions, save for State officials, representative members of the families of victims and offenders, and a few journalists, that for most Americans, capital punishment is at most an abstract idea. We fear the State less because we are forbidden from seeing the State carrying out its most fearsome task, the ending of human life. Moreover, American social norms in the main forbid the public from seeing real death in traditional media. Mainstream American news outlets, for instance, will publish pictures of a lake where a child drowned, but not of the drowned child, the scene of a mass shooting, but not of the shooting’s victims, and an execution chamber, but not of the executed individual. On the other hand, while televised news media will show body camera or observer video footage of police shootings of suspects, but not the moment of bullet impact, this latter reporting has had, perhaps, an unintended effect. Each police shooting reminds the public that the State, in fact, has power over life and death, and at least for the duration of a news cycle, State power is seen by many people again as explicit, and not implicit. This is not to say many Americans today are not fond of witnessing violence. Cinematic violence is historically far more palatable to the American audience than cinematic sex is (Bowden, 2016), and violence-charged films and video games are less likely to receive industry ratings that would make them adult only (Dill-Shackleford, 2011). Thus, because cinematic violence may have desensitized the American public to actual violence generally (Archer, 2013), the growing number and popularity of real-life execution videos filmed outside of the United States and now found readily in nontraditional media online may be explained.

Public interest in decapitation was renewed in 2004 with the filmed murder of Nicholas Berg, an American electrician kidnapped in Iraq by jihadists. Prior, most attention to the subject was accorded to the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, though increased attention given to Japanese war crimes committed during the Second World War is noted. Hitler’s use of decapitation as a chief punishment for political prisoners is, however, almost unknown to the public. One can perhaps trace this renewed interest in decapitation by examining the traditional American televised news medias’ handling of the subject. Most news programing played a brief clip of Berg’s screams over a picture of him seated in front of his captors. More importantly, each newscast said it would not show the video that Berg’s screams were drawn from to maintain good taste and sensitivity for his family. This decision to keep decorum had a twofold effect. First, the decision would suggest to the very curious that they could find the video for themselves online as it was said to have been posted by terrorist organization Muntada al-Ansar (Filkins, 2004). Second, nontraditional rightwing news outlets began to post the video on their websites in the rhetorical vein of ‘Why We Fight,’ but also to accuse mainstream media of effete leftwing censorship during a time of national crisis stemming from the 9/11 attacks of a few years before. Berg’s experience was repositioned in the United States from that of an unlucky American civilian murdered to an American executed illegally by a hostile foreign power. To the jihadis under Musab al-Zarqawi, Berg’s killing was a performance of revenge and political theater from the start. One of his masked executioners exclaimed, “So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will receive nothing from us but coffin after coffin slaughtered in this way” (As cited in Filkins, 2004, para. 18). Decapitation is, then, seen as a deliberate persuasive maneuver.

This is only a selection of the article.
It's a good read for anyone interested in the drug fueled violence in Mexico. Iv been on the mailing list for Borderland beat for a number of years, they are referenced alot, as is the author/reporter Ioan Grillo. He has written two books on the violence. El Narco is well worth it as it carefully sets out the rise of the cartels.
Full version … ial-power/

Do you make those videos entirely from scratch?!  If so, you, sir, are a fucking genius.


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