the interrogations of shamshouma

Gazing through the asshole: the castrated state apparatus and the crisis of governance in Lebanon


It’s official, and it’s really happening: When the state’s ideological apparatus is being reduced to its basic form of surveillance like the army and the police ( a surveillance that is heavily reliant on a hyper-masculine peformativity of power) and when this apparatus is being slowly and painfully castrated by different Lebanese parties, militias, humanitarian organizations and foreign state policies (etc.) , it gazes through subjects’ assholes as a micropolitical way to re-establish masculine power for the state.

In case you have not heard, please refer to this article. In a nutshell, the Lebanese police has apparently been conducting a series of “homosexuality tests” on male subjects since 2006, when the man is suspected of “looking too soft”, or not masculine enough.

That the Lebanese state’s authority is threatened is not really a new and surprising fact. The complete and continuous emptying of ideological state apparatuses in Lebanon, from state education, state hospitals, state media to state funded science, projects, programs and ministries, has reduced the Lebanese state to its basic hyper-masculine, muscle showing, snake eating police and army that are most of the time difficult to distinguish from zo3ran el 7ayy who keep hitting and harassing women in the streets. The absence of ideological apparatuses through which the state disseminates  everyday forms of  biopolitics and self-surveillance has been replaced by a direct, visible and enforced surveillance of subjects’ sexuality through what is being defined as “homosexuality tests”.

It’s really incredible that the state chooses to gaze at the subject and govern him through his asshole. But It actually makes a lot of sense. The only form of state power and governance left in Lebanon is its hyper-masculine apparatus of police and army; and even this form of power is being castrated on a daily basis by different social and political agents in and outside Lebanon.  What’s left for this apparatus is to check for the masculinity of its subjects, manifested in homosexual relations, as a way to check for its own masculine power.

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It is true that the stories of these homosexuality tests have not occurred alongside this week’s “unfortunate events”, where the state seems to be in the midst of an overwhelming crisis of governance and of a visible castration of Lebanese state police and army. However, one should pay a lot of attention to these micropolitical, narrow, and dare I say, anal view of the subject that are being performed by the state in the face of a serious and continuous crisis of governance, credibility and power that has reached a ridiculous peak this week: in the police’s arrest of Chadi Mawlawi then his sudden release, the army’s shooting of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahad and the consequential arrest of several army officers, the insane story of drunk man/prostitute-not prostitute-terrorist cell-I-have-no-fucking-clue-what-the-hell-happened-there in Rawcheh, and finally the ridiculous parade of sectarian cohabitation between Hizbollah and Future movement as a result of a Sunni/Shiite collaboration to release 11 kidnapped Lebanese from Syria , thereby saving the day and “rescuing” once again the state’s authoritarian image, only to be dramatically shattered when the kidnapped Lebanese never arrived.

All these “unfortunate events” have severely castrated and humiliated the Lebanese police and army and has completely shattered its masculinity. I wonder whether we will be experiencing more of these forms of sexual surveillance in the near future as the crisis in governance escalates

If you ask me, the patriarchical Lebanese state should take a good and long look at its own asshole; it feels extremely soft and effeminate to me. Instead of taking the narrow and anal view of castrated power, maybe the police and army can….eat more snakes?

Oh and by the way, the snake is a symbol of the penis, according to Freud. Just saying…it’s all so sexual.

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