This was the first image I saw yesterday, heading the website of one of the major Dutch newspapers. At that moment I could only marvel at the image, at its composition, the imbroglio of body parts, the technical data that articulated its technological framing, and the white face with black holes as eyes, nose, and mouth. This man is the product of a reckoning, of a revolution, if you will, at the moment this buzzword is increasingly infecting the media. The screenshot, taken after the headshot that killed Ghadaffi is thoroughly two-dimensional, with a flat perspective, and of a classical, equilateral triangular composition.
I later found a video that nearly shows the same perspective, but what fascinated me about the above image is the fact that the technological information that overlay the image — a nearly empty battery, it’s video 8/13, it’s probably 1’40″ long, the file name is 101_3515.mpg, standard format, date, time, and so on — only enhance the poignancy of the scene. Many words have been wasted on the eagerness with which the media have jumped on Ghadaffi’s extrajudicial execution, and the victorious mood that accompanied the magical cocktail of civil unrest and oil revenues. Compared to Albanian media, Western media were jubilant, but in the face of the ongoing unrest haunting the Western world, this jubilation itself may hide a horrible uncertainty about the result of our own revolution in the making, including all their claims of non-violence and so on. We should remember what Kojève said about May ’68: A revolution without deaths is not a revolution.
Ghadaffi is, if anything, a product of a capitalist order. The proof of this statement is provided by the many state portraits and videos circulating on the web, in which he poses with most of the current world leaders. Beside, the commercial involvement in Libya of Western oil companies is considerable. That the ex-colonial powers, spearheaded by France (remember?), finally decided to intervene, was merely attempt to save face and secure their assets under a regime-to-come. Now they find themselves under the scrutiny of yet another rating agency. At the same time, the Libyan uprising, has, in some quarters of the Occupy movement, formed a source of inspiration, and has been interpreted, within the official hagiography of the revolution, as its sibling, fathered by the Arab Spring. To those I would say: This is the product of your revolution, and, I daresay, any revolution worthy of the name. Do you accept?
When Žižek uttered the “enigmatic” phrase “Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire,” its meaning was much more violent than most commentators dared to suggest. This desire is the destruction of capitalism, to really want it is to accept the inevitability of human sacrifice in the process, a sacrifice to appease the millions of humans suffering and dying under the current economic regime. In other words, don’t be afraid to sacrifice a Goldman-Sachs banker if it helps in the process. I revert here explicitly to religious terminology, because the OWS movement itself has antagonized the global economy and its society of the spectacle in a religious manner. One only has to observe an apparatus such as the “human megaphone” to understand the liturgical origins of such practice (see also this video, at 7’30″). The repetition of phrases and incantations is common practice in Catholicism and other religions. I’m quick to admit that these thought come to me at the moment I am immersed in Giorgio Agamben’s recently published The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government, but the parallels are striking nonetheless.
It was my initial intention to write a longer post, also responding to Adam’s more than welcoming final sentence.
The irreducible opening of language, a type of tesseract, multi-faceted brilliance is ours. One must make a political choice based on this spectral blossom. Something shines and deserves our analysis. If not actual appearances, rather of sound, even if nothing is your sound, then a sound being of some negative kingdom, the ethics of “the Ungovernable.”
But in order to do so, I feel that first this “Ungovernable” should be depicted instead of described, as follows: