Radical Philosophy Review


published on January 25, 2017

John Harfouch

The Arab that Cannot be Killed
An Orientalist Logic of Genocide

This paper argues that certain orientalist writings authorize the genocide of Arab peoples precisely by establishing the conditions for the impossibility of Arab death. Of particular import to this analysis is the nineteenth century philological work of famed orientalist Ernest Renan, who argues that Arabs are psychically inorganic because their language has never demonstrated the organic historical development characteristic of European peoples. The historico-logical impossibility of killing Arab peoples is essential not only if philosophers are going to grasp the rationale of the ongoing and often casual murder of Arabs, but also if scholars of race hope to comprehend the specificities of biopolitical racism, orientalizing racism, historical racism, animalizing racism, and so on.