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Denaturalising Dispossession: Critical Ethnography in the Age of Resurgent Imperialism: Gillian Hart



In these commentaries drawn during September 2001, the South African cartoonist Zapiro captures contemporary geographies of empire with stunning precision and prescience. Seen in retrospect, the image of Bush and Sharon swaggering into space serves as a chilling reminder of the anger that erupted at the UN-sponsored World Conference Against Racism WCAR) in Durban in the week before 9/11. On September 3 the US and Israel walked out of the conference to protest criticisms of Israel – including references in some conference documents to a new form of apartheid. Barely a month earlier, Colin Powell had threatened a US boycott of the WCAR unless the organizers removed references to Zionism as racism, as well as to slavery as a crime against humanity and related demands for reparations. Many saw the withdrawal as a convenient way for the US to circumvent these and other confrontations over racial injustice in its multiple manifestations. I recall vividly several telephone conversations with colleagues in South Africa on Sunday September 9, in which they spoke of the incandescent rage directed at the US and Israel that had consumed the Durban conference.

Juxtapose, if you will, the ‘geographies of anger’ portrayed so vividly by Zapiro with another set of global images – those produced by Thomas P.M. Barnett, a professor of warfare analysis in the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, advisor to Donald Rumsfeld’s Department of Defence, and author of ‘The Pentagon’s New Map’ (Esquire, March 2003) and a book by that title published in 2004.
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