The Rohingya are one of the most persecuted religious ethnic minorities of the contemporary world. They have been persecuted in Myanmar since the post-coup military regime came to power in 1962. What explains this brutal pursuit of violence against a minority? In answering this question, I trace the genealogy and the ethnogenesis of the Rohingya in Myanmar in a longue durée through an analysis of extant data, both historical and contemporary, and I supplement it with an ethnographic study I conducted in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. I argue that the emergence of the Rohingya identity is constitutively related with the stateformation, war conquest, and power shifts in Myanmar during precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial times. I demonstrate how the post-coup state of Myanmar – in association with the religious civil society, led by a section of the majoritarian Theravada Buddhist Bamars – provoked religious and exclusivist nationalism and constructed the ‘Rohingya Muslims’ as the enemy ‘Other’. I demonstrate also how the democratization of Myanmar ironically exacerbated the problem. The Rohingya themselves – once alienated and un-imagined from the national space – embraced this identity of victimhood to design their resilient and oppositional disposition against an exclusivist state, which further politicized and reified the identity.
This article explores representations of race in three Greek popular films of the 1970s and 1980s. The portrayal of African characters in these films is antagonistically positioned in relation to the dominant, ‘whitewashed’ Greek national narrative which relies on the nineteenth century idea that Greece is the progenitor of European civilization. Often masquerading itself as ‘just a joke’, the discourse of these films narrates the African Other as lacking in terms of culture, intelligence and beauty – the three central categories upon which the idea of the ‘white supremacy’, according to Cornell West, is historically constructed in modernity. Tightly woven with this idea (largely introduced in Greece by the leading European powers), these films enunciate explicitly colonial viewpoints in a country that was neither a colonial power nor at the geopolitical center of the European project. The article argues that the racialized representations of these films are an effect of appropriating the Eurocentric idea of historicism, where the ‘progress’ and ‘backwardness’ of groups and nations are measured according to how effectively they perform the values of modernity.
he study inquires on the ways content-specific social media pages can function as alternative public spheres, by examining the photography-orientated Facebook and YouTube pages entitled ‘old photographs of Thessaloniki’. The study focuses on the online encountering of absences, notably events of socio-political importance with a traumatic impact, which were marginalized by historiography and erased from the city’s material form. In particular, it looks at the ways these absences are witnessed, remembered and negotiated online, through their formal and informal traces. Departing from Benjamin’s and Agamben’s theorizations of memory, media and witnessing, and Derrida’s work on specters, the study concludes that the pages form a highly informed digital archive in constant development that fosters narratives enhancing cultural toleration and understanding, while challenging official master frames. A class-orientated understanding of the city’s ‘ruinification’ and oblivion is, however, undermined, although it remains in a ‘spectral’ form.