The Backyard of "The Rule-of-Law” (cf. Agamben) /Case-study Ogaden

An essay worth reading; on “Rule-of-Law”(cf. Agamben) /Case-study Ogaden

Agamben in the Ogaden: violence and sovereignty in the
Ethiopian-Somali frontier

Tobias Hagmann & Benedikt Korf
Department of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Department of Geography, University of Zürich, CH-8057
Zürich, Switzerland
May 05, 2012

Here some random extracts out of the paper, which prompted me to make a bit of a reflection on some working modus of the state apparatus – the Ethiopian State here!

...“Disorder is internalized into the body of the Ethiopian sovereign upheaval that we observe in the
Somali periphery appears to be external to the order of the Ethiopian state, but became
internalized into the rule of the Ethiopian state through the state of exception and related practices of emergency rule and counter-insurgency operations”
“Carl Schmitt famously wrote that “sovereign is he who proclaims the state of exception””
“The most extreme measure of a juridical order, to suspend its rule, is, for Schmitt, the very
foundation or Ursprung of the rule of law.”

“For Agamben, th e state of exception has become the rule, “a paradigm of government today” 1)
“It is the conflation, or indistinction, between rule and exception that defines
The nomos of government. Agamben (1998: 37) concludes, therefore that “the state of exception
is(…) not so much a spatio-temporal suspension (of the law) as a complex topological figure”
where state of nature and state of law, exception and rule become indistinguishable”
“The state of exception is thus described as a rationale of governing that manifests itself in
different space–time contexts.According to Hobbes’ Leviathan (1996 [1651]), a state of nature
precedes the formation of the modern state and sovereign ruler. Anarchy – or a war of all against
all – prevailed before humans gave up some of their freedom and assigned the monopoly of
violence to a ruler, the Leviathan.”

“But through this transmission, the sovereign continues to embody the state of nature as
violence without order, as violence that has not yet been tamed, brought into the contract with the
sovereign. Agamben’s reading of Hobbes’ state of nature is key to understanding his theory of
sovereign power as he traces the origin of the indistinction between exception and rule to Hobbes’
Leviathan (Pr ozorov, 2009, 334ff.).“

“What makes Agamben prolific for investigating Ethiopian sovereignty in the Ogaden is how his
theory of power and order articulates the Ogaden’s particular political geography by the complex
relationship that rulers develop towards their frontiers, margins and borderlands; a relationship
based on practices “that seem to be on the continual refounding of law through forms of violence
and authority that can be construed as both extrajudicial and outside, or prior to, the state” (Das & Poole, 2004: 13), but are internal to its constitution”

*************End of Extracts*****************

Let alone the “herrenloses Land”/”no man’s territory” , in this sense “the noisy
diaspora” may  also have been seen as a blessing in disguise for legitimizing the “autocratic regime of Melesse” as the only sovereign in the Ethiopian state. The regime is therefore not as disappointed as it may suggest, that it is working against it (perhaps with some agency of its own via the US state). Even some times byallowing a totally opposing discourse in its own legal framework. In this context, apart from the lucrative benefit it delivered to some of the ruling clique, a brilliant example of the dictatorial policy makers of the Melese Regime is the
recent release of Tedy Afro’s “Tikur Sew” under its own auspices in the pompous ceremony it enjoyed at Hilton Hotel; while the champions of this polit-ideological line (Eskindir Nega& friends) are being tormented behind bars at the Kaliti prison! Besides this, a useful tool to maintain the conflict potential, be it within the opposition alliance or against the regime; a nice nutrition for indoctrinating its cadres and constituencies. What an unfortunate hero! I am sorry, since I like him too and listening to my somatic senses I am touched by his performance but politically the whole act is, I think simply serving the opposite of its objective.

And the naïve opposition claiming this as its victory and the common man
perplexed by “h ow on earth” that is possible in a totalitarian system, which is
otherwise highly apt at discrediting (among others by Sebhat Nega’s illiterate
poisonous pen) all the merits attributed to Emperor Menilik.
May be, that is also why the public denunciation of Melesse, left such a footprint on the health of the biggest representative of the Ethiopian autocracy! (He looks miserable at the G-20 summit these days; his first public appearance since the éclat). It is the fact that, by the very insignificant action, the event became a high symbolic step of becoming beyond “the Rule of Law”, the Ethiopian version- “ a majestic offence”- demounting the law of emergency.
And especially remarkable is the fact that it happened, under the global mighty
eyes of his equals, on such a “high global altar of the state – the global state of
“exception”, where the rule of law should have indisputably functioned; in the
United States of America!!! A podium where extremes are, without any risk
tolerated or even promoted to demonstrate how “the Rule of law” functions!

በአጭር አማርኛ መንግስት መንግስት ለመሆን የ እሳት እራት ይፍልጋል፤
አንዳንዴም የ እራት ግብዣ፣ እንደ ቴዲ አይነት ሲገኝ ማለት ነው።


ogaden-stateof-Exception-Agamben_in_the_Ogaden_hagmann_korf.pdf Download this file


1) An oustanding demonstration of what “for Agamben, th e state of exception has become the rule, “a paradigm of government today” is America’s

“National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order permitting peacetime martial law, a draft, and the procurement of private property”:…

signed by every president in office, including Obama recently! 

This entry was posted in Science & related, standard. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s