Continental Europe is currently facing the most challenging refugee crises since the Second World War. As many fleeing the conflict raging in Syria and elsewhere, set out onto the treacherous Mediterranean seas, images of dead bodies- including children- now appear in widespread circulation. While such images have, on occasions, notably shifted the political debates, evidencing in the process the power of social media, they are nevertheless still framed and mediated in order to regulate their effects. Indeed, as the images provide an intimate portrait of the encounter with contemporary violence, speaking directly to the questions of human sacrifice, the status of the victim, notions of militaristic valor, onto the aesthetic mediation of suffering – including political expediency, cultural and theological resonance, and beautification, so they point to the complex relationship between sacrificial violence, which is central to its continuum.
Brad Evans is Founder/Director of Histories of Violence Project. The author of some ten books and edited volumes, his latest books include: Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of the Spectacle (with Henry Giroux, City Lights: 2015); Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously (with Julian Reid, Polity Press, 2014); and Liberal Terror (Polity Press, 2013).