Synopses & Reviews
Throughout South Asia, people live in fear of death squads, from the Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh to the “encounter specialists” of India, army units in Nepal, the Frontier Corps of Pakistan, and the “men in white vans” of Sri Lanka. Their tools are disappearance, torture, and summary execution, and their supporters, Tasneem Khalil shows in Jallad
, are the governments of these nations—and their patrons, like the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Israel.
An unsparing indictment of an international system of terror that is fully countenanced by the West, Jallad presents close-up, detailed accounts of incidents of state terror and targeted violence throughout South Asia. Khalil, a reporter who himself endured torture at the hands of agents in Bangladesh, and whose remarkable story was featured in the New York Times, draws on countless hours of on-the-ground reporting and a broad network of activists and human rights advocates to build an undeniable portrait of the domination and repression that lies at the very core of statecraft in South Asia. Shielded by their protectors in the developed world, the perpetrators of these abuses deploy them strategically to silence dissent and crush opposition.
A brave, essential work of reporting and investigation, Jallad brings these horrific acts to prominence in order to make it impossible for Western governments to continue turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of their erstwhile allies.
The first work to focus specifically on the anthropology of state terror.
There is real personal danger for anthropologists who dare to speak and write against terror; by doing so, they potentially and sometimes actually bring the terror down on themselves.--Jeffrey A. Sluka, from the IntroductionDeath Squad is the first work to focus specifically on the anthropology of state terror. It brings together an international group of anthropologists who have done extensive research in areas marked by extreme forms of state violence and who have studied state terror from the perspective of victims and survivors. The book presents eight case studies from seven countries--Spain, India (Punjab and Kashmir), Argentina, Guatemala, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, and the Philippines--to demonstrate the cultural complexities and ambiguities of terror when viewed at the local level and from the participants' point of view. Contributors deal with such topics as the role of Loyalist death squads in the culture of terror in Northern Ireland, the three-tier mechanism of state terror in Indonesia, the complex role of religion in violence by both the state and insurgents in Punjab and Kashmir, and the ways in which disappearances are used to destabilize and demoralize opponents of the state in Argentina, Guatemala, and India.
About the Author
Tasneem Khalil is the editor and publisher of Independent World Report and has written for the Washington Post, Guardian, NPR, the BBC, and the International Herald Tribune.
Table of Contents
Introduction : State terror and anthropology / Jeffrey A. Sluka -- A fictional reality : paramilitary death squads and the construction of state terror in Spain / Begoäna Aretxaga -- Trials by fire : dynamics of terror in Punjab and Kashmir / Cynthia Keppley Mahmood -- State terror in the netherworld : disappearance and reburial in Argentina / Antonius C.G.M. Robben -- The homogenizing effects of state-sponsored terrorism : the case of Guatemala / Frank M. Afflitto -- "For God and Ulster" : the culture of terror and loyalist death squads in Northern Ireland / Jeffrey A. Sluka -- Ninjas, nanggalas, monuments, and Mossad manuals : an anthropology of Indonesian state terror in East Timor / George J. Aditjondro -- Murdered or martyred? Popular evaluations of violent death in the Muslim separatist movement in the Philippines / Thomas M. McKenna -- Parents and their children in situations of terror : disappearances and special police activity in Punjab / Joyce Pettigrew -- Conclusion : Death squads and wider complicities : dilemmas for the anthropology of violence / Kay B. Warren.