The Crime of Writing : Narratives and Shared Meanings in Criminal Cases in Baathist Syria

The Crime of Writing : Narratives and Shared Meanings in Criminal Cases in Baathist Syria

Zouhair Ghazzal

CP 38

Beyrouth, Presses de l’Ifpo 2015

ISBN 978-2-35159-710-1

586 p.

17 x 24 cm

Prix : 30  €

 

Sommaire 

Cases by chapter 1

Prologue 5

From the primal scene to the crime scene 6

Plan of the book 25

Acknowledgments 28

Transliteration 32

Chapter 1. The political economy of crime 35

  • The civic foundations of the new post‑Ottoman legal order 35
  • This is not good enough to stay 46
  • Criminalizing the economy 52
  • Bailouts of so‑called credit collectors 59
  • What happened to the personality? 71
  • The old sultanic order and the new civic virtues 79
  • Why the demonstrability of crime has become that importan 83
  • The blueprint of undecipherable statistics 91

Chapter 2. What would stand as enough evidence? 101

  • What is enough evidence? 105
  • The aura of witnessing 108
  • Memory, time, and forgetting 110
  • Between performance and morality: why direct interrogation is all that matters 110
  • The crime of writing The unspoken honor 115
  • The unveiling of the mute ground of discourse 117
  • Wither Oedipus? 131 

Chapter 3. There is no crime where there is madness 143

  • What happened? 145
  • The insane shepherd‑who‑writes 148
  • The criminal case as a legal artifact 161
  • Is he competent to stand trial? 167
  • Was he insane? 176
  • My client is known to be an idiot 177
  • Writing insanity 179
  • The accused is now in a borderline state 183
  • Common understandings and misunderstandings 188

Chapter 4. Auto-biographies: Self and Other in Confessional Criminal Narratives 195

  • Matters of fact 198
  • Autobiographical confessions 201
  • Crime or suicide? 210
  • Anatomy of a confession: the unwritten law of abuse 222
  • I admit that I was abusive towards my teenage daughter, but does that make me look like a criminal worthy of incarceration? 22
  • All those silent observers 233
  • The father’s gaze and the daughter’s guilt 239

Chapter 5. The death penalty, torture, and due process 245

  • So that they may become a lesson to others: why the death penalty still matters 245
  • When does torture become commonplace? 248
  • The death penalty is too little for people like that 251
  • Let’s keep everything in secret 256
  • Contents VII You must become independent 268
  • Torture and its limits 273
  • Torture as the obscene supplement of Law 293
  • There is something wrong with my wife’s sexuality 295
  • That which we dare not speak about 299
  • Strong mother, weak son‑in‑law 303
  • The semantics of love and sexuality 304
  • They spoke too much, or too little 306
  • Selective use of language, key‑wording, and language games 310
  • That immoral thing 311
  • When the Law enjoys itself 312

Chapter 6. The problem of recipiency in honor killings 317

  • From “murder” to “honorable killing” 320
  • My husband and my mother were not lovers 324
  • Rethinking recipiency in honor killings 329
  • Negotiating sexual freedom 336
  • Struggling with motive 337
  • Swingers: unconventional hedonistic lives, and the exchange of sexual partners 339
  • The price of sexual freedom 340
  • Oedipus unbound 341
  • Documenting the indescribable 349
  • Triple rapes 352
  • Denying the facts, finding the truth 359

Chapter 7. When punishment is left to the judiciary: Kin wars between shared meanings and law 365

  • How did you do such a thing? 368
  • Are you kin affiliated? 371
  • Potential victims 378
  • The crime of writing Parsing the narrative threads 380
  • Relatives are always a surprise 382
  • Murder and the dynamics of kinship 384
  • Witnessing the everydayness of kin, violence, and sexuality 386
  • Wouldn’t it have been simpler? 387
  • The kin who surprise us 388

Chapter 8. A danger to society: they must therefore all disappear 391

  • Arson and matricide: the daughter rehabilitates the law 394
  • The violence of the mute woman and the power of speech 401
  • The emergence of the criminal spectator 407
  • I tempted him with some money 412
  • I saw my divorcée lying down with her new fiancé 421
  • Shameful sex in the vicinity of the husband’s corpse 425
  • Tales of sexual jouissance 430

Chapter 9. The place of third parties in land crimes 435

  • Honor, kin, land, and modernity 436
  • The landed aristocracy 439
  • Anatomy of a murder scene 441
  • The return of the repressed 444
  • The mantle of the father 447
  • Right‑of‑passage 456
  • Typology of a police report regarding the relatedness of the assailants: how local relations of power are interpreted and processed 459
  • Keying into the kinship database 461
  • Mitigated (cross‑)examinations 461
  • The political economy of land and crime 464
  • They had abused of their relationship to society 471
  • Murder always implies a third party 473

Chapter 10. Photoshopping the president: Men at work in the age of socialism 479

  • A crook should know how and when to quit 479
  • A crook who went too far 489
  • Accounts, reflexivity, and indexical expressions 499
  • Why is such a metamorphosis important? 500
  • Petty thefts and pernicious crack habits 510
  • How dangerous were they? 518 

Chapter 11. Le moment de conclure 525

  • Relevant penal code articles 541
  • Glossary 547
  • Bibliography 553
  • Index 559