The war against terror, neo-medievalism, and the Egyptian revolution

Winter 2011

The key image of thought in the war against terror is ‘clash’, of civilizations and of religions. Islamic fundamentalism becomes, in this context, a synonym for chiliastic fanaticism. To problematize this framework, the article contrasts the contemporary katechontic take on the apocalypse, which legitimizes the war on terror, with Taubes’s revolutionary eschatology, which seeks a total deligitimization of power. Locating Islamic fundamentalism in relation to the apocalyptic tradition in this way provides an alternative to the standard critiques of Islamic terrorism. Initially I frame the discussion of the apocalyptic within the dialectic between two forms of nihilism, radical and passive nihilism, linking them to terrorism and post-politics. Then I move towards the discussion of contemporary politics and re-visit the idea of communism in the context of the recent Egyptian Revolution. The pivot around which this double move is undertaken and the terms of the discussion are changed is the concept of event.

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NF 75 Love, Loss and Revolution