This article by Foreign Policy in Focus co-director John Feffer powerfully explores three recent and geographically diverse killings in the context of marginalisation. Feffer links the fatal beating of an Iraqi-born American woman in California, the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and Mohamed Merah’s killing spree in Toulouse to the notion of trespass: “The message behind all three is this: you should not be here, you are not one of us, and your death shall serve as a warning.”
Merah himself was a member of a minority in France that is still yet to fully realise its place in French society, but that is only part of the context in which he operated: his own sense of trespass came from an intolerant ideology shared with a borderless fringe, dictating that Muslims who join the western ‘enemy’ armed forces (or who simply become too western) put themselves beyond the pale in doing so. As such, the concept of trespass is not merely a question of geography but also incorporates trespass of the mind, which is equally deserving of punishment. Feffer notes that the vast majority of Al-Qaeda’s victims are Muslims, a clear example of self-appointed leaders punishing disloyal or failed members of their own group. Other examples of this conception of trespass include honour killings and the 2011 terrorist attack by Anders Behring Breivik, who believed that Norway had betrayed its Christian European roots and so was motivated to punish the young liberal inheritors of that transgressive philosophy.
Image Source: LightgraphRead more »