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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Landscapes of emergency: militarizing public space

Landscapes of emergency: militarizing public space

by ROAR Collective on July 10, 2013
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This short documentary reveals the undeclared state of emergency that casts its shadow over the functions of public space in crisis-ridden Athens today.

By the team behind the City at a Time of Crisis research project.
Relying upon the readings of two lawyers, this short documentary attempts a passage through the dark landscapes that the new dogma of public security leaves in its wake. It chooses to view the crisis as a way of managing urban everydayness; as a way of managing it militarily. It comprises a thematic intervention-deflection as part of The Space That Remains, a research strand of the project The City at a Time of Crisis.
Yet through its deflecting characteristics it simply reaffirms the initial fears that led to the creation of this research strand. In other words, it confirms that the space that remains is ever-lessening and that the state of emergency educates us to live, in the end, with this loss.

Produced by Ross Domoney, Christos Filippidis and Dimitris Dalakoglou
Filmed and edited by Ross Domoney
Research by Christos Filippidis
Script editing by Dimitris Dalakoglou and Christos Filippidis
Special thanks to Eleni Vradi

3 comments… read them below or add one
Josué July 10, 2013 at 12:53
I think we need to focus on changing the minds of those who comply with the “ruler elite” – that is, those who sell their humanity values to promisses of money and a higher place in societyl. I mean, police and soldiers, of course. Without them, without their weapons, the rulers are nothing and basically incapable of doing whatever they want with us. As much as I would like to achieve this through peace and understanding, I think this will not be easy and will probably lead to some sort of war between the people and these mercenaries (yes, that’s what they are by definition). Anyway, the people can get weapons too and those mercenaries also have something to loose, like us – I’m sure they want to stay alive and healthy, as they want their families to be safe – like us. It’s just that the people are still afraid and in a way respect authority. That is, until they have nothing else to loose. Once you reach that point, well, you’re pretty much fucked. Unfortunately, I think that will have to happen so that “they” understand that there is a limit to the abuses you can force on someone. And then there will be peace and true freedom.
Very much agree with Josue above.

The police presence in and around central Athens is extraordinary – on foot, on motor bikes, in cars and on the streets. The areas with high concentrations of refugees are especially heavily policed on the boundaries. That is at the key entry points to the neighbourhoods. It is very reminiscent of the north of Ireland at the height of the ‘troubles’ and reminded me very much of the West Bank during the second intifada.

But as even the merest glimpse of the mainstream media indicates this is not preculiar to Athens, even if it is an extreme case. States throughout the world seem increasingly to resort to violent and aggressive policing of their people when they take to the streets to protest injustice. Whether in London, Frankfurt, New York or Athens the militarised police now look pretty much the same irrespective of place. Similar uniforms, weapons, clubs, chemicals, masks and so on. I know little about international policing but it seems to me that there must be considerable inter-action between the different forces, shared training, intelligence etc.
Repression and violence do not win the hearts and minds of the people. Yet it seems that ruling elites do not care anymore and that they will opt for repression every time.
Many commentators have concluded in the past that such a hard tactic is counter-productive in the longer term. But the past few years suggests that more and more states are prepared to take this route with little or no heed for the consequences.
Derek July 11, 2013 at 20:03
Oppression is not a mistake, nor is it an accident. It is planned and serves a purpose. And oppression will not end because of polite, reasoned, or rational arguments. Historically though, it is as Josue says; the masses won’t figure this out or do anything about it until we are all well and truly fucked. Too bad we can’t examine our history and figure this out sooner.

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