the interrogations of shamshouma

The social exchange of violence and bodies in Lebanon: bomb as routine


Bombs are not shocking in Lebanon. They are only so for the people who were walking from schools, from work or are hanging out in their neighborhood at the time of the explosion.

But it is very clear that “the bomb” has become a regular actor in Lebanese politics, even a shaker of otherwise quite stagnant and unproductive politics. Lebanese politics seem to rely on a thin line, balanced by multiple foreign policies and a local game that turns viciously onto itself  in an endless form of tormented politics. Lebanon is one big chessboard, the only way to move forward is to take down the chess pieces, by a bomb.

Regardless of appalled and shocked statements by politicians and journalists, there is an established and normalized routine of handling, talking about, analyzing and describing the bomb. The bomb is not a destabilizing object, it does not create chaos, emptiness, hysterical outbursts. It only does in the community that hits it, in the neighborhood where it explodes. But who gives a fuck about the community? What the bomb “really” creates is predictable and calculated steps that are very much linked to what the bomb is saying and to whom.

What is the bomb saying? The social exchange of violence

The bomb does not create scattered bodies. It does not kill and create destruction, well maybe for a few minutes on NewTv. The bomb is a message. It is a global and political language exchanged between parties in Lebanon and their foreign sugar daddies. This is why many politicians’ only statements after the explosion were “the message has been received”.

The bomb is not random, it is not traumatizing and destabilizing. It is not an undecipherable ruptured event that disrupts the everyday. It sure did disrupt the hell out of Achrafieh and the neighborhood itself, but again, who gives a fuck? The bomb is a registered linguistic code that transfers political messages on scattered bodies and blood of Lebanese people.

What kind of bomb is this? Asks the NewTv correspondent, as the bodies and remains of people quickly turn into numbers and statistics and are re-appropriated by the bomb to show its strength.

“I am a strong and big bomb” says the bomb.

Bodies, remains, broken glass, people’s everyday walk, neighborhood spirit, cars, shops, people’s lifesaving, old women alone in their apartments, sons and daughters, all these actors are reassembled to be the bomb’s message itself. So they quickly disappear from politics and only the bomb remains.

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