Slow Domicide

“Slow and acute” would perhaps seem an odd way to describe the violence of Israel’s war in Gaza; through our phones, we have easy access to visual and audio evidence of the wreckage, the impact of which is dulled by the very immediacy of those images and sounds. But the description, alluded to by Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) cocurator Mahdi Sabbagh during a recent conversation staged at
e-flux, accords with the particular violence carried out by and through architecture. His interlocutor, the historian Mabel Wilson, spoke about the military checkpoints she encountered firsthand on a visit to the West Bank with PalFest a few years ago. Reading from her essay in the new anthology Their Borders, Our World, edited by Sabbagh and published by Haymarket Books, Wilson drew a parallel between the checkpoints—designed for the purpose of hindering the movement of specific groups of people and goods—and the indignities she experienced in the Jim Crow South as a very young child. Grinding everything to a halt daily is the point.

The theme of manufactured scarcity w…

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