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Burying the victims of Europe’s border in a Tunisian coastal town

The Mediterranean Sea has recently become the deadliest of borders for illegalised travellers. The victims of the European Union’s liquid border are also found near North African shores. The question of how and where to bury these unknown persons has recently come to the fore in Zarzis, a coastal town in south-east Tunisia. Everyone involved in these burials – the coastguards, doctors, Red Crescent volunteers, municipality employees – agree that what they are doing is ‘wrong’. It is neither dignified nor respectful to the dead, as the land used as a cemetery is an old waste dump, and customary attitudes towards the dead are difficult to realise. This article will first trace how this situation developed, despite the psychological discomfort of all those affected. It will then explore how the work of care and dignity emerges within this institutional chain, and what this may tell us about what constitutes the concept of the human.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

). While NGOs lay claim to a ‘non-governmental’ status, direct action thrived when donor sovereignty was, paradoxically, still able to cast a shadow. Given the refugee crisis, few can today contemplate the wretched state of ‘official’ humanitarianism without some disquiet. Despite what we may wish or demand, however, it is unlikely that significant improvement will occur any time soon. But to then conclude that humanitarianism is dead would be a mistake. While autonomous international direct action lies buried in the rubble of the West’s urbicidal wars

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The unknowable image in The Winter’s Tale

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale presents one of the most famous depictions of a patron of the visual arts in early modern English drama. In the penultimate scene of the play, we are told that the Sicilian courtier, Paulina, is in possession of a ‘statue’ of the dead Sicilian queen, Hermione (5.2.93). ‘Hearing of her mother’s statue’, Perdita, Hermione’s long

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama

that, the administration could also refuse to return remains to families, as was systematically the case after the 1988 massacre. In some cities, there were administrative efforts to bury the dead individually in cemeteries.36 But in the majority of cases, the evidence of the massacres was erased by refusing to make the executions visible with tombs: the victims were buried in common graves whose location still remains unknown, except for the most significant one in Khavaran.37 This vast, non-Muslim cemetery is separated into different sections allotted to religious

in Destruction and human remains

This collection interrogates the representation of humanitarian crisis and catastrophe, and the refraction of humanitarian intervention and action, from the mid-twentieth century to the present, across a diverse range of media forms: traditional and contemporary screen media (film, television and online video) as well as newspapers, memoirs, music festivals and social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr). The book thus explores the historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped the mediation of humanitarian relationships since the middle of the twentieth century. Together, the chapters illustrate the continuities and connections, as well as the differences, which have characterised the mediatisation of both states of emergency and acts of amelioration. The authors reveal and explore the significant synergies between the humanitarian enterprise, the endeavour to alleviate the suffering of particular groups, and media representations, and their modes of addressing and appealing to specific publics. The chapters consider the ways in which media texts, technologies and practices reflect and shape the shifting moral, political, ethical, rhetorical, ideological and material dimensions of international humanitarian emergency and intervention, and have become integral to the changing relationships between organisations, institutions, governments, individual actors and entire sectors.

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solar erythema ( Chapter 1 ) and pigmentation ( Chapter 4 ) on white skin became the visible standards with which to measure therapeutic progress, dark skin remained – and remains to this day – either a foil or a ‘problem’. 10 With their resistant bodies and troubling skin, dark subjects refuse to assimilate to normative (white) treatments of light exposure, presenting a dead end to the practitioner. In Chapter 5 I briefly mentioned

in Soaking up the rays
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Deaths at sea and unidentified bodies in Lesbos

8 Missing migrants: deaths at sea and unidentified bodies in Lesbos Iosif Kovras and Simon Robins1 Migrant deaths at sea In March 2013, a body was found on the shores of Eressos, the village where Sappho the poetess was born, in the west of the island of Lesbos (Dimopoulou 2013). The young woman was the daughter of a Syrian family who had fled the Syrian conflict and sought asylum in the European Union (EU) by crossing the Aegean from Turkey. The girl’s mother and sister were also found dead on the same day on the shores of neighbouring villages. The two girls

in Migrating borders and moving times
Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa

skirmishes or ambushes were not secretly buried, but entered the legal regimes of the dead body. Accordingly, as is obligatory with unnatural or violent deaths, these bodies were assigned to a police domain. Photographed, fingerprinted, and transported to a police mortuary, the corpse would be recorded in a mortuary register as ‘unknown black male’ or ‘unknown terrorist’, and a state pathologist or state-appointed district surgeon would conduct a post-mortem examination. In many instances, even where identity had been established, these ‘unknown’ bodies were not released

in Human remains and identification

seventeenth anniversary of the twins’ baptism. By age eleven Hamnet was dead. Whether the cause of the boy’s death was accident or illness – or did he perhaps drown in the River Avon? – is unknown. The parallels between the real and fictional fraternal twins are simply too pointed and poignant to ignore. Did Shakespeare recognize in his Judith flashes of his lost Hamnet? In Sebastian

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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The bodyand counter-revolutionary warfare inapartheid South Africa

unknown and unclaimed, may reflect an opposite and ‘symbolically potent’ intent – to reduce the victim to mere dead meat.37 This resonates with the accounts above, especially those accounts of burning accompanied by the cooking and consumption of animal meat, blurring the boundaries of human and animal, and conjuring the taboo of cannibalism. In his meditation on the tensions between justice and mourning, Laqueur argues that precisely because victims of mass genocide and killing die like dogs or beasts, the work of identifying and naming is an important re

in Destruction and human remains