YANAY: ...After 9/11, the word hate began colonising new spheres, operating as a social and political force that can both manipulate and mobilise an entire public in very specific ways.*Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian - New research shows the terrorizing impact of drones in Pakistan, false statements from US officials, and how it increases the terror threat
People began using the word hatred in the context of terrorism, particularly referring to Islamic groups who had expressed anger and criticism towards the West and the ravages of capitalism. The word hatred was thus transformed, becoming a signifier for danger, mostly the danger of Islam. In President Bush's rhetoric, the world was schematically divided between Muslims who hate on the one hand, and the West which had become the target of irrational hate on the other hand. I found it interesting that the West does not hate.
This distinction between hatred as an experience and hatred as ideology underscored the need to ask new questions about the relation between politics and hatred. And these new questions, I believe, need to focus on power relations between different groups, such as coloniser and colonised, ruler and subject...
GORDON: Can you give me a concrete example of this ideology at work?
YANAY: Most people consider "suicide bombings" as motivated by hate, while very few people consider air strikes on populated areas to be hate crimes. The media often describes the suicide attack as a hate crime, but I have never come across a report describing the US drone attacks in Pakistan - that have killed over 3,500 people - as hate crimes. This suggests that hatred as ideology is at work. And this ideology helps determine who is blamed for being the initiators of hate, who becomes the target of hatred, and, in fact, when hatred counts as hatred at all...
YANAY: The point I want to make is that we need to start thinking about the ideology of hatred as a symptom of desire. This might sound contradictory to many people, but actually hatred is always constructed within an already inevitable bond between two unequal groups or sides of rival power. Intense hatred assumes a prior and intense relationship.
Consider the famous speeches of President Habyarimana of Rwanda between 1973 and 1994. He continuously attacked the Tutsi for being counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie traitors; but at the same time, he constantly referred to them as brothers. This, I argue, is typical and symptomatic.
The use of intimate familial language to characterise the so-called traitor is a common practice in many ideologies of hatred. So, when we hear, speak of, or examine hatred, we must pay particular attention to issues of proximity, attachment, intimacy, desire and even love. Of course, these forces are not obvious when we think of hatred. But, if we want to understand how people become our hated enemy we must study the conditions of closeness and proximity.
GORDON: Someone might say that this is counter-intuitive. Don't we commonly understand hatred in terms of distance, difference and enmity?
YANAY: You are right to say that the ideology of hatred produces and means to produce separation and estrangement. But this is exactly my point. The paradox of hatred is that hatred aims to produce distance precisely because the two rivals are considered to be too close, too intertwined.
Think about the Hutu and the Tutsi, the Serbs and the Croats, the Turks and the Armenians, the Israelis and the Palestinians, and so on. I am not simply saying that love can turn into hatred or vice versa, but that hatred is always an ambivalent experience and a hyperbolic concept. One cannot hate an individual or a group without attachment and closeness, without love. Lack of attachment tends to produce indifference, not hatred.
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