The Least of All Possible Evils
A Short History of Humanitarian Violence
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The notion of a humanitarian “lesser evil” has become instrumental in justifying the West’s military adventures. It informs obscene calculations determining how much collateral damage is permissible in conflict. It determines the minimum requirements of survival imposed upon an occupied territory.
As Eyal Weizman shows in this brilliant exploration of forensic architecture, this can be seen in particular in the regime imposed upon Gaza by the state of Israel. Examining the damage following the 2010 bombardment, he pieces together the systematic process of destruction, revealing the political atrocity within the debris. The way he gathers together the evidence forces us to rethink our understanding of justice and human rights in the modern world.
Praise For The Least of All Possible Evils: A Short History of Humanitarian Violence…
—Paul Gilroy, Professor of Social History, London School of Economics
“This is a wonderful book, written with clarity, precision, and passion. It takes the reader into the heart of contemporary necro-politics and calculations of ‘lesser evils’ by powerful states and their humanitarian accomplices. Deeply learned and informative on every page, this is essential reading for anyone who cares about contemporary conditions of warfare and state-controlled violence; about the spatial practices that reinforce and regulate systemic forms of violence, such as the calculation of minimal requirements for human survival. In the spirit of Doctors Without Borders, Weizman is an architect without borders, at home in political philosophy, military history, just war theory, and the spatial systems of controlled, calculated violence that constitute Israel–Palestine, and much of the world today.”
—W. J. T. Mitchell, Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago
“Originality, ingenuity, and brilliance do not even begin to do justice to this amazing study, this architectural forensics of battle and human rights as pieced together from the study of the ruin and the terrifying logic of ‘the lesser evil.’ How astonishing to see our new world this new way.”
—Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
“Weizman continues to offer daring social and political commentary, questioning taken-for-granted structures and processes that perpetuate oppression and violence.”
—Legacy Russell, BOMB Magazine
Verso, 9781786632739, 208pp.
Publication Date: October 17, 2017