no surprises

Today, when my friend asked me about the recent bombings in the Turkish border city with Syria, I said: yes I heard, and then added: feels like it’s usual news (!) If, in a conversation, I draw exceptional attention to such violence, I feel like I am normalizing it, by giving it the privileged status the act of terror desires. If I call it everyday news and claim there is nothing new about it, I again feel I am normalizing it (help me Baudrillard!). About six months ago, when we talked about the Syrian conflict in an anthropology seminar, it never looked like a surprise or a stupid claim to say that conflicts can spread, and spread so suddenly. I do not still know how others in the room took such comments; too ambitious? too much? carried away? Even when I used to meet East Asian students of social sciences, who would raise an eyebrow as soon as they learn where I am from, and continue immediately with an admiration at the peace and calm in my country, I would not get why they are making a big deal.  Obviously, economic policy can create that image of peace, but just the image – even if I am not sufficiently informed about the region I am talking about, I simply cannot feel that heightened awe or reaction at either peaceful images or suddent outbursts of terrifying events. Perhaps, that naive threshold is already past and gone for me… Even the music history books and biographies I pick at the library -I expect the nice stories- turn out to be the most awful narrations of terror, violence and war. Just to make my research questions even more pressing. How sad. How awful.

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