Destruction of Destruction

Forensic Architecture

The destruction of refugee camps in Palestine is sometimes referred to as “the destruction of destruction,” which equates to the destruction of the destruction of Palestine. The camp is not a home; it is a temporary arrangement. Its rubble is the last iteration in an ongoing process of destruction that connects the destroyed village of 1948 to the destroyed camp of 2009, but the destruction of the latter is also interpreted as possessing a restorative potential. The twelfth-century Andalusian scholar ibn-Rushd (Averroes) penned a treatise of this very name—Tahāfut-al-Tahāfut—in which he refuted the refutation of classical philosophy proposed by Sufi ascetic Ghazali in his eleventh-century Tahāfut-al-Falāsifa. Is the refutation of the displacement, a proto-Hegelian negation of the negation, being applied here to the realm of political domesticity? Should we be packing up for return, when all we can do is to clear up the mess and rubble, recycle their component parts and start rebuilding the camp all over again? Rebuilding the camp does not stand in contradiction to return, rather it is its very precondition.

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