This article explores narratives of imprisonment in Syria and the implication of public narration of incarceration in the Arab Middle East more broadly. Since the late 1990s, ‘victim tales’ of Syrian political prisoners have become part of a counterculture against the present regime which calls for political reforms, an independent judiciary, free media and free and fair elections. This new focus on individual victimization corresponds to a trend in Arab countries, where political actors use the victim's tale to de-legitimate the postcolonial state's monopoly over violence. The article situates this conflict between post-colonial nationalism and post-modern individualism at the heart of current contentions over the meaning and legality of the Arab state, democratization, punishment and truth and reconciliation.
|Udgivet - 2008