Aino Korvensyrjä, David Jassey and Rex Osa in conversation with Seda Naiumad

A rapidly growing oppressive structure is unfolding on Europe’s frontiers that systematically criminalises migration. In Germany so called AnkER-Zentren have been established, while the EU is striving to extend its border regime farther southward and beyond European territory.
For refugee activist Rex Osa and others “culture of deportation” is a useful concept to address the persisting coloniality of the border regime. The following conversation among refugee activists and campaigners about the German asylum system starts from the societal consolidation of a “tradition” of deportation and isolation of refugees and migrants in Germany.

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Excerpt from ›ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP‹*

* The complete essay is published in the book Ankersentrum (surviving in the ruinous ruin).

The return of the wolves is not without its history. The human’s relationship with the wolf oscillates between fascination and competition, expressed in various myths, figures and stories. The myth of the werewolf—the metamorphosis of a human being into a bloodthirsty wolf(man)—is infused with fear and fascination. From the 13th to the 17th century, this belief is so strong in Europe that alleged werewolves are burned at the stake in the course of witch-hunts.

The history of the expulsion of wolves runs parallel to the emergence of sovereign states and the idea of citizenship. It can be recounted on the basis of a series of divisions and distinctions, for example between wilderness and domestication, man and nature, being settled and freedom of movement, or possession and possessionlessness.

The links between the figure of the wolf and that of the Friedlos, the bandit who belongs to no community, are revealed by Giorgio Agamben in Homo sacer: he equates the “bandit’s liminal status”[1] with the wolf-man or werewolf, half animal, half human. Like homo sacer, who according to Roman law cannot be sacrificed, but may be killed without fear of punishment, he stands on the threshold between nature and culture; he exists in both worlds at the same time, but belongs to neither. According to Agamben, this borderline position between phýsis (i.e. nature or the real world) and nómos (i.e. human and divine law), and the power inherent in these two worlds, not only characterises the conditions before the introduction of law, preceding civil rights and the social contract. Rather, the violence that freely disposes of the “bare life” of the exile, homo sacer, with no form of criminal liability, is a continual prerequisite for the “authentically political,”[2] and remains a constitutive element of the sovereign state.

This essential link between violence and the state manifests itself most clearly in a state of emergency. In a moment of danger, such as an interstate conflict or civil war, to which Thomas Hobbes’ anthropological formula “homo homini lupus est” (man is a wolf to men) historically refers, sovereign power unmasks itself as fundamentally violent. The most extreme escalation of this power, which is based on violence, takes place in the extraterritorial space of the camp.

The paradox of simultaneous exclusion and inclusion, inherent in both communities and states, was recognised by Roland Barthes in the factthat the excluded individual is enclosed within them without losing his status of exclusion.Even more so, he is integrated as a disintegrated individual.[3] This implies that the “moment” of the state of emergency can be extended, becoming perpetuated within the system. Integrated exclusion provides the legitimation for the use of violence, which can be activated again and again.

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