My concept: Monstrosity
Please explain the concept of “monstrosity” in one paragraph and cite the reading.
Also please read the case presentation template below! I will fill in the required information.
My outside case: Guantanamo Bay: sexual violence in the global war on
terrorism an image off Google will work. If you find a pic please embed
it and cite.
Please explain how the case relates to the concept.
Colonialism 2020 – Western Monstrosity
Michel Foucault’s figure of monstrosity is one of the contexts within which the context can be understood. The idea emerges from the image that the West has created from the perspective of terrorism. The monster is an “abnormal”, and within the terrorist context, something that people should fear and treat with contempt. Monstrosity explains the views of figures, such as Osama bin Laden, who is the mastermind of Islamic militancy. The media and even government in the West presented the figure as one that Americans and other westerners should fear and hate, and support the war against. The war in terror organized by the United States was an attempt to fight and win against the monster, including Islamic militants, such as the Taliban. The monster is the “shadowy evil” (radical Islam) that deserves nothing but contempt in the West and among others who believed in the rhetoric (Puar & Rai, 2002). Besides, the westerners were taught to believe that the monster hated the West and was out to destroy them. According to the rhetoric, the monster is pure evil and deserves to be destroyed. Therefore, security machinery could be used to destroy terror and maintain a sense of security in the world.
Sexual violence at Guantanamo Bay (Jayakumar, 2013)
The case, “Guantanamo Bay: sexual violence in the global war on terrorism”, is an example of the presentation of the monstrosity discourse in the United States. According to the case study, the Global War on Terror was far from conventional warfare. The event was not an “armed conflict” like the traditional warfare within and between states since it ignored the laws of traditional warfare. Weapons were used as well as other forms of violence against individuals suspected to be part of terror groups or engaged in terrorist acts. Sexual violence was one of the weapons used as part of interrogations in Guantanamo Bay’s detention center (Jayakumar, 2013). The acts were used as one of the many ways that interrogators used to torture victims to obtain information that would support the war against terror. Reports from the detention camp revealed that female tortured Muslim prisoners using sexual violence to get them to confess to acts of terror. Sexual violence and sexual humiliation became ‘acceptable’ strategies to support the war on terror and coerce and interrogate prisoners.
The case study reveals the tendency to arrest terror suspects and give them up to a lawless security sector that tortured and humiliated them in the name of getting information. When dealing with Muslim suspects of terror, the West witnessed a breakdown of law and order, which allowed the use of sexual violence and torture. The society appeared to ignore the violation of law and order, including national legislation and international treaties that would have prevented the extreme use of sexual and other types of violence against the detainees. For example, the Bybee Memo was a legal document in the United States that permitted the use of torture to interrogate and force detainees to confess to acts of terror (Jayakumar, 2013). The case study also reveals the possibility that the use of sexual violence as part of the war on terror was to achieve a policy of dominance. The law enforcement officers arrested and detained suspects and forced them to confess so that their nations would be seen as winning the war on terror. The actions were perpetrated within the context of using whichever means necessary to destroy the monster.
The concept of monstrosity applies to the case study regarding the use of sexual violence and other forms of torture to get confessions from individual linked to terrorist acts in the United States and other parts of the West. The United Government and other supporters of the war on terror claimed that there was a need to terminate acts of terrorism using whatever means possible. They gained public support for the policies to engage in the war by creating the monster that they needed to hate and fear. Therefore, it was possible to ignore any form of violence that was used to terminate the monster. In fact, it would be unlikely that people could show mercy to a monster that was out to finish the West and western democracy. The terrorist-monster needed to be fought and defeated using whichever means possible, according to the US and other western governments. Besides, the monster is an abnormal and unreasonable being that does not show any mercy to the West. Any form of violence against the figure appeared permissible, especially considering that “he” had just committed a terror attack against the United States and other minor attacks around the world.
The terrorist-monster had attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and the government needed to fight back. It was unlikely that the public and even policymakers would prevent any attempt to win against the monster. Therefore, whenever the government sought policy and international support to engage in the war on terror, they used the monstrosity to represent the enemy. As a result, it was easy for people to agree to a war that would put an end to the figure, such as Osama bin Laden and his supporters. Apparently, the world celebrated his death since it represented a defeat of the monster. Similarly, in the case study, it as easy for law enforcement to use whatever kind of force was necessary to ‘kill’ the monster. They saw an essential to end the disturbance that the monster has brought to the country and the world. The monster figure was an abnormality in society that they needed to correct to bring peace and order in the country and overseas. Security machinery would not spare any tactic necessary to win the war against the monster, including the use of sexual violence against detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
Michel Foucault’s figure of monstrosity is an old discourse that has been used to refer to “abnormals” that threatens the society and needs to be corrected. As a result, the terrorist is one example of a monster that has threatened the security of the United States and the whole world. The creation of the monster discourse concerning terror has created the room for various policy and military measures to end it. The concept applies to the use of sexual violence in Guantanamo Bay, where law enforcement officers detained suspects of terror and used tactics, including sexual violence, to get them to confess to terrorist involvement. The idea of the monster rationalized the actions and made them almost acceptable in society since people believed that the monster had to be terminated using whichever means possible. The West would have loved to see the monster completely killed and eliminated from the earth since they had come to hate and fear the figure.
Jayakumar, K. (2013). Sexual violence in the global war on terror. Retrieved from https://www.peaceinsight.org/blog/2013/08/sexual-violence-war-on-terror/
Puar, J. K., & Rai, A. (2002). Monster, terrorist, fag: The war on terrorism and the production of docile patriots. Social text, 20(3), 117-148.