On the conditions of living/dying together in the Middle East

Aydin B.

JOURNAL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, 2020 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/pa.2197
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS


The idea of a "community of death" theorized by Maurice Blanchot with reference to George Bataille, and the discussion he pursued assumingAcephaleand May 68 as its concrete forms provides an important conceptual framework for the idea of emancipation-oriented social movement. The thinkers discussed in here deliberated society or community as rather than being a platform of immanence that sacrificed the its singularity and the absolute otherness to an organic social ideal, connoting its singularity as the medium of revealing and sharing in a way that corresponds to a surplus within the community. Even if the most prominent aspect of the Arab Spring and Gezi Movement, storming through the Middle East, was the subsequent strengthening of the forces leading to blood and tears in these ancient lands, it is possible to answer questions about these phenomena such as "Are there any small sparks, glows or flares in the dust that can give lifeblood to the co-existence of the inhabitants of these lands? What are the conditions?" by way of conceptual ammunition. Despite the subsequent antidemocratic pushbacks, this wave of social movements has now irreversibly placed new forms of individuality and subjectivity based on social and political freedom on the agenda of the masses in the Middle East. For the Arab Spring and the Gezi movement, the plurality of the public that emerged during the demonstrations, which could not be reduced to any identity or class, points to both the chances and the saddening misfortune of the social movements here, as Blanchot said.