Palestine and the Habeas Viscus

An Auto-ethnography of Travel, Visa Violence, and Borders

  • Abdalhadi Alijla Orient Institute Beirut

Abstract

Borders have been a political tool to control, manipulate and affect the lives and movements of individual and groups. These borders can also work as barriers designed to discriminate against specific ethnic, religious, or linguistic groups and individuals for political reasons. In specific cases, borders can create an entire generation of exception, where the lives of a particular age group matter less than others. Palestinians in Gaza have been living in a state of exception, where their lives have been animalized and constrained both within the Gaza Strip and also outside the Gaza Strip, at border points of entry in many places. This paper is an autoethnography of the lives of Palestinians as a state of exception, visa violence, airports and borders. Borrowing Weheliye’s concept of  habeas viscus, the paper examines and describes experiences such as visa applications, rejections, travel, and encounters with border officials. The article starts with describing the state of exception of Gazans who were born and grew up under Israeli occupation. The paper then examines and analyzes the process and ritual of traveling as a quasi-citizen through various border points of entry. This article is an anthropological narrative of how a continuous state of exception turns individuals into homo sacer.

Published
2020-07-23
Section
Articles