11 – Refugees, ‘Docile Patriots’& Foucault’s Monsters

One point I found especially interesting and what stuck in my mind from the article by Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan looking at Transanationalism and Global identities was the idea that identities are not only intersectional, but are also global. They shift and move with us and across geographical boundaries, influencing people across the world. These ideas, coupled with the Monster, Terrorist, Fag reading brought me to this project focussing on LGBTQ+ refugees who have migrated from the Middle East to places such as Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam.

I not only find this project necessary and compelling in itself, and really hope it gets funded, but it also connects to some of the themes we considered this past week. For example one of the subjects speaks of the ways in which it was the not the people but the ideologies of where he was before that so negatively affected his life there. He considers this and the influence of religion as the major ways in which the hate toward LGBTQ+ people was constructed and came from. I believe this works as an example of the idea that is presented in Monster, Terrorist, Fag by Jasbir K. Puar and Amit S. Rai of the ‘docile patriot’. This is seen as this person speaks of the way in which it was the ideologies of the place that made it unsafe for LGBTQ+ people there. These ideologies are the major ideas of what is considered ‘acceptable’, right/wrong or aspects to aspire to that are constructed by those who carry the power and authority in society. They trickle down from those in power, being included in and influencing aspects such as the media and therefore the general public that consume it. This creates the ‘docile patriots’ that are presented with this structure of society and dynamic of what is or is not considered acceptable and no easily accessible alternative ideas.

The film and the information on the indiegogo page for it also presents some interesting filming techniques. As they write ‘to connect the stories of the specific refugees, we plan on using snorricam a lot (just like we did in our campaign video). It refers to the selfie aesthetic, but also creates the illusion that a subject is still while the world moves around them.’ I think this is a very interesting idea and functions in a way to create a really great connection between the viewer and the subject. It plays with the ways in which everyone has this power nowadays to construct ourselves online any way we wish. Which is especially interesting to look at in comparison to the ways in which these people who get a new and fresh start somewhere with a freedom be themselves have the chance to recreate/construct and be these new and true versions of who are they are that they couldn’t elsewhere.

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Throughout this film and other narratives surrounding LGBTQ+ refugees the common theme of a country or place considering queer people as having some sort of disease or psychological ‘problem’ is seen. Which, in  my mind, links to the concepts presented by Foucault of the ‘monster’ for example the ‘individual to be corrected’ and the ‘monster to be quarantined’. They are looked at as having something wrong with them that can be ‘cured’ (when they are viewed as having or being diseases) which would place them as the ‘individual to be corrected’ or, as stated in the image below, are thought of as being ‘paedophiles and people must be protected against us’, which would then equate them to the ‘monster to be quarantined’. They are always viewed as the ‘other’, the ‘monster’ and not as ‘normal human beings’. This shows the way in which these identities, label and ideologies are forced upon people and how we discipline ourselves through being these ‘docile patriots’ and not breaking from the structures and marginalising or violent status quo that is presented and preached to us.

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