Loaded Language

Last week, over Zoom, artist-run knowledge-sharing platform Office Hours hosted a teach-in where Samia Henni addressed the administration of fear and silence as a technique of colonialism and imperialism. Henni, author of Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria, highlighted the parallels between the current violence in Gaza and the Algerian Revolution of 1954–1962. Discussing the intersection of architecture and the built/planned environment with colonial practices and military operations, she insisted that “we need many more resources and much more research to really analyze the standard map of what’s going on and what colonization did to our lands, our territories, our built and imagined environments.”

Henni argued that the French colonial war in Algeria set the stage for modern military operations, noting the similarities in methods employed by the French army and today’s Israeli forces: mass displacement, the creation of “forbidden zones,” the establishment of camps that confine movement, and the destruction of villages. According t…

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