On 25 September 1911 the battleship Liberté exploded in
Toulon harbour. This tragedy is just one of the many disasters that the French
fleet suffered at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth
centuries and also represents the peak of these calamities, since it is
undoubtedly the most deadly suffered by a French Navy ship in peacetime. The aim
of this article is to study how the navy managed this disaster and the resulting
deaths of service personnel, which were all the more traumatic because the
incident happened in France’s main military port and in circumstances
that do not match the traditional forms of death at sea.
as massfatalities in
shipwrecks, coupled with more personal ties to local authorities, create opportunities for advocates for migrants to address effectively some of the problems.
The political lives of migrant bodies
In her book on the ‘political lives’ of dead bodies, Verdery (2000) captures the
symbolic capital of human remains and how these are deployed by political leaders to meet political objectives. The graves of unidentified migrants are politically
significant because of the absence of political capital invested in them; in essence,
it is the silence