This is part one of a trilogy of short films called Disappeared in America - the other two can be watched here.
But, as the debates - some more interesting than others - congeal around the question of some parts of the Left's support for Hizbollah, I'm left wondering to what extent the spectacular aspects of such gestures (to the extent that they occupy, or seek to, the terrain of a grandiloquent war and its broadcast) also act as a form of disappearance. What is at stake are no longer actual people, but figures, chess pieces, categories of persons whose aggregation assumes the distant gaze, and one which is paralleled by the transcendental vistas of aerial bombardment.
There are currently thirteen people on trial in Melbourne, on various charges associated with plotting a terrorist attack. This is the evidence tendered in the trial of one of those:
From the transcript of a phone tap of Shoue Hammoud, talking with his wife. The phone call is from October, 2004.
He asks his wife, Zarha Hammoud, to pack some things for him to take on a camping trip.
Zarha Hammoud - “Well what are you going to do there exactly?"
Shoue Hammoud - “Uh, go do a bit of, you know, terrorist training.”
ZH - “What are you going to do there?”
SH - “Terrorist training.”
ZH - “Don’t be stupid. What are you going to do there?”
SH - “No, I’m gonna go camping.”
ZH - “Camping for what?”
SH - “Camping, the brothers all together, you know, kick back read a bit of Qur’an.”
It seems the trial will turn to a literary-philosophical discussion of what does and does not constitute 'a joke'. In the meantime, another of those charged under the so-called 'anti-terror laws' in AU, though the charges had nothing to do with arranging or planning violence, has been acquitted because he and his wife were threatened with violence.