Jihad, the Feminine and Stalker (1979): Understanding Islam’s radicality through Tarkovsky’s masterpiece.       


            “One is thus tempted to claim that Tarkovsky stands for the attempt, perhaps unique in the history of cinema, to develop the attitude of a materialist theology, a deep spiritual stance which draws its strength from its very abandonment of intellect and from an immersion in material reality.” (Zizek, The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky)

            Perhaps it is this association by Zizek of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films to Materialist Theology that one is tempted to account for the global Jihad by reading his films. Not only is this association lucrative as the global Jihad is a work site of martyrdom as often is in the case of Tarkovskian heroes, but also due to what Zizek calls the very “material density” of his films. In other words, atleast a naïve glance at Jihadist violence indicates that the very spirituality of the Jihadist warrior is purely based on an almost ironical materialist-suicidal gesture (just as in the case of the Tarkovskian heroes of Nostalgia and Sacrifice). Moreover Stalker (1979) often referred to as Tarkovsky’s masterpiece appears to be one film of his entire oeuvre that stands out in exemplifying his theological attitude. It would thus be fruitful to account for the universe of Jihad by perusing the universe of Tarkovsky – more specifically Stalker. My wager in this paper is to complicate the usual perception of Jihad by a closer reading of Stalker and pose the question “is Tarkovsky a closet Jihadist?” To answer this, first we must turn to understand the universe of the Jihad.

Ethics founded on Global Effects

            In Faisal Devji’s book on the Jihad – “Landscapes of the Jihad” – he strongly contends that “a politics based on national causes is being made increasingly irrelevant by an ethics founded on global effects” (Devji; p.156). Throughout his book, Devji battles to conceive of Jihad as a radicall modernist phenomenon in contrast to a Fundamentalist return to a historically harmonious whole. In other words, Devji demnstrate how not only the traditonal Islamic authorities, but also more Fundamentalist factions of Islam (as per Devji, even Hamas and Hezbollah) were unprecedently provoked and ashamed by the al-Quida’s violence. Thereby he offers to conceive of Jihadist organizations as not only opposed to traditonal and Juridical Islam – such as the ulama – but also opposed to Fundamentalist factions. The main conceptual opposition to the Fundamentalist Islamic groups by the Jihad is primarily due to its dpendence on “global effects without causes.” Therefore it would be an utterly wrongful question to ask the intentions of any type of Jihadist violence due to the fact that Jihad is itself defined as per Devji by its lack of what he calls “a politics of Intentionality”. Whereas Fundamentalist Islam is defined by a politics of Intentionaility in the sense of either campaigning or revolting to institute a new order of their vision (eg. Of universalizing Sharia Law, prohibiting LGBT rights). In this sense, their acts are to be served as instrumental to their vision; precisely containing a causal-effects link. Contrastingly, Jihad embodies mere effects without causes due to its void of any political plans. Jihad’s world-wide focus interestingly is not only that it’s a movement driven by causes, but also due to the “globaility” of its effects.

            The “globaility” of the Jihadist violence poses the question as to what comprises of its very globaility. As Devji argues, “ only in mass media does the collective witnessing that defines maryrdom achieve its full effect, as the various attempts by would-be martyrs to film their deaths or at least to leave behind videotaped testaments, illustrates so clearly.” Therefore one can see that precisely because the Jihad is not defined by any causes, it has to universalize its effects by clinging to globality. One should avoid a misunderstanding here: it is not that Jihadist warriors inact a suicide (cause) to effectuate a global culture of terror (effect), rather one should insist as Devji does that their act is simply a global effect, only to add that the very space to render its abstract effect (that of suicidal bombing) in a global way already pre-exist its act. In other words, capitalism in its globalized nature, already possesses the ingrediants to make their abstract acts translate to global over-tones. As Devji contends, Jihad’s martyrdom is strictly correlative to it being watched/seen/spectatored through the global media. Therefore the average person should not feel exalted having caught the suicide bombers in CCTV footages that tend to circulate in mass media after their martyrdom, because what he/she doesn’t know is that he/she by his/her spectatorship just became a part of its martyrdom itself as the martyrdom becomes martyrdom only when it is spectatored. Hence the greatest defeat to a Jihadist violent explosion would have been not the prevention or mitigation of its possible damage, but depriving of its abstract act its global effects. To isolate the abstract suicidal gesture without global effects is asking too much from a social system whose very existence is premised on it being global. And that is why the United States is condemned from its Cold War might to be a mere global policeman given that the enemy is spectral.

            However there is another curcial step that needs to be taken concerning the globality of effects of the Jihad that Devji omits in his book. That is, one must insist that the Jihad itself is not located outside the very “globaility” of their effects. In other words, Jihadist organizations like al-Quida are incessantly determined by their own global effects; they are a part of it and not outside of it. This admission might help to identify that the would-be martyrs of the Jihad are equal spectators to the acts of their predecessors and therefore their own martyrdom is solely dependent on their predecessor’s successul global effects (not their act). Whether their predecessors end up killing one civilian or a thousand doesn’t differentiate their effect upon the would-be martyrs if the effects of the martyrdom are acceptably global. This seems to suggest that after all the Jihadists are not totally void of causes, for their predecessors’ success – in terms of global effects – is their very cause. As pointed out earlier, deprivation of these causal global effects is asking too much from a system premised upon being global. In resonating the dialectic of desire in a perverse sense, Jihad’s global effects seem push for more and more effects each time its effects are successfully globalized instigating the suspision as in desire, that there must be something that rejects total satisfaction with its object. This leads to peruse the crucial ethical background of Jihad.

Placing Ethics above Politics

            Devji paradoxically claims in his book that the Jihadist subject is closer to the Kantian ethical subject. His claim is premised on the observation that “in a global environment where political control is being made archaic, all action becomes ethical as it loses instrumentality, coming thus to operate in a purely speculative way (Devji; p.162).” Devji further states that Jihad necessarily “transforms Islam by placing ethics above politics.” Given the fact that the Jihadist martyr cannot be explained in terms of an instrumentality towards a particular cause, Devji enlocks himself to automatically consider the subjective position of the martyr as being ethical. However, it must be made clear that the Kantian ethics is not only premised upon rejecting an external criterion of good and bad, but also upon prohibiting the subject from any “instrumental” position of an Other. In this sense, the subject who becomes and object (an instrument) for another (God in the case of a Jihadist) is defnitive of a pervert’s position and not in any case an ethical stance. On the other hand, Kant also injunctions that the subject himself must define what his duty is without allowing it to be externally determined. In other words one cannot use duty as an excuse to do one’s duty as clearly was the case in the Nazi officers. One who obtains pleasure by doing one’s duty is not an ethical subject but one who has become a mere object for another (God, Fuhrer).

            Furthermore, following the proposition discussed previously regarding the correlation between Jihad and its global effects for itself, it becomes clear that “placing ethics above politics” is itself a political act. Because the determination of an (un)ethical act of martyrdom on a particular setting (in US, Sri Lanka, etc.) is itself determined from “outside”, falling prey and being instrumental for its globally glorified effects effectuated by the mass media. It seems that the Jihadist warrior responds by way of martyrdom not to the call of God but to his own martyr-predecessors’ call, participatingly spectatored through mass media. Therefore the suspension of the politics by ethics should also be viewed as a distinct political act being subsided by its pseudo-ethics. Since Jihad itself is part of its global effects and incessantly determined by it, its (un)ethics is dependent upon an “extimate” position which is within its global effects but outside its ideological practice. This totally deprives Jihad of any ethics, disclosing its perversely extimate political base. This extimate position is nothing other than the obscene superego which constantly haunts the Jihad to inact a pesudo-act.

The usual Marxist response

            Conception of Jihad in terms of effects rather than causes motivate the predominant Marxist response to such Jihadist violence by articulating them as a reaction to Capital and political economic causes. For example, comrade Deepthi identifies the recent Sri Lanka’s Jihadist violence as “an attack to Chinese Capital by a highly alienated youth group from global capitalism (Gunarathne).” In a general sense, it is true that the reaction is for Capitalist Modernization. However one must still insist on the radical ambiguity of the link that the act of suicidal bombings have to its alienated causes. Moreover, it becomes apparent that in fact the martyrs of Jihad are more identifying with the predominant mode of capitalism rather than alienating from it due to the fact of its total dependence on global recognition of its effects and not causes. Furthermore, comrade Deepthi aptly highlights the libidinal economy of the Jihadist violent acts in terms of steeling a portion of Other’s enjoyment due to its very alienation and envy to Other’s enjoyment. One must yet add the fact that the same violent acts of the Jihadist are themselves responsive enjoyment to the superego injunction to enjoy with an added sacred favlor to it. One can also deduce that the “sacred” is that fantasy that supports the superego enjoyment these martyrs. This superego voice that haunts the would-be martyrs is strictly correlated to the global effects of their predecessors. Therefore the more their martyr-predecessors succeed, the more the injunction to enjoy the same of their own martyrdom, thus revealing an obscene libidinal economy of martyrdom depriving of its ethicality. Jihad thus does not places ethics above politics, rather politically succumbs to superego hold above ethics. This superego held enjoyment in its external appearance of the martyrdom should not mislead us to assign it a political economic causality. Its due political economic worth is its radical ambiguity of a true cause, since we now know that its effects are its own cause. Therefore we concede too much to capitalism if we infer an easy localized political economic causal link to phenomena like Jihad.

Materialist Theology exemplified in Stalker

            The discussion is ripe to turn to Stalker. As mentioned before several commentators including Zizek has conceived of Tarkovsky’s films as manifesting a precise “materialistic-theological” attitude to reality. In testimony to this “materialistic theology” Zizek points out how Tarkovskian heroes don’t enter the domain of spirituality by positing a transcendent God beyond reality but only “via intense direct physical contact with the humid heaviness of earth (or stale water) – the ultimate Tarkovskian spiritual experience takes place when a subject is lying stretched out on the earth’s surface, half submerged in stale water” (Zizek, The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky). Tarkovskian heroes do not look up to heavens and go on their knees when they seem to pray, but rather as Zizek states “listen intensely to the silent palpitation of the humid earth.” In other words, the precise spiritual texture found in Tarkovsky’s universe is directly infused by the immanently transcendent nature of the very “nature” or reality that we live in. Herein resides the Tarkovsky’s materialistic dimension of his supposed spirituality.

            An ironical coincidence or atleast a parlance between a Tarkovskian hero and a Muslim is difficult to be not touched. The temptation is too forceful, at this point. Zizek’s point about Tarkovskian hero not kneeling down and praying to heavens (mainly relating to Christian rituals) is absolutely true in portraying his materialistic attitude to spirituality. However then, one has to admit, atleast on this appearance level, that the only monotheists who follow a similar ritual in praying are the Muslims. It is the Muslims who day in and day out, look down, stretch out on the floor and listen to the silence and importantly “in absolute silence” (notice that all Muslims’ prayers are performed silently by the performer) to the palpitation of the earth. Therefore, following Zizek then, we are obligated to claim that Muslims have a materialistic theological attitude to spirituality however much paradoxical it may sound given the supposed exotically transcendent sublimity of Islam. For Hegel, Islam was the most sublime religions of all monotheistic religions for the level of sublimity it posits to Allah. Nevertheless the above parlance in appearance has to be given its true merits.

            Let’s further proceed with Zizek’s argument about the materialistic theological attitude of Stalker:

“If Stalker is Tarkovsky’s masterpiece, it is above all because of the direct physical impact of its texture: the physical background (what T.S.Eliot would have called the objective correlative) to its metaphysical quest, the landscape of the Zone, is a post-industrial wasteland with wild vegetation growing over abandoned factories, concrete tunnels and railroads full of stale water, and wild overgrowth in which stray cats and dogs wander” (Zizek, The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky).

The irony again is that it is the Muslims who precisely have such a “Zone” in their faith which also appears relatively the same. The “Kaaba” or the square shaped highest place of worship of Muslims located in Mecca can be paradoxically viewed as a “Zone” in this precise Tarkovskian sense: it is located in the desert lands of the Middle East (similar to wasteland in Stalker) not full of water but of sand; and a location whose mystical “inside” is not to be trespassed, not to be entered. Just as the hero in Stalker doesn’t trespass into the Zone, the Muslims do not trespass the Kaaba either, they just encircle it. As the stalker himself said, it is only to the believers that his “Zone/kaaba” presents itself as a spiritual place which one can attain highest spiritual bliss and not to doubting faithless like the two fellow travelers or in our discussion the non-Muslims. In this sense, to put it ironically, Tarkovsky presents the two travelers as Christians or Jews who unlike Muslims or stalkers get the point that one has to believe first to attain the spiritual bliss.

            There is another aspect to the Muslim daily prayer that is again mimicked in Stalker. Any viewer of Stalker gets a very naïve doubt about the way in which the stalker guides his followers to the Zone. He insists his companions to adhere to the path that he unfolds by way of a comical throw of stones wrapped in a cloth. It is as if this very contingent testing of the path, although loaded with spiritual parlance, seems to suggest that the stalker without any objective reason that justifies his method, is nonetheless confident ritualistically that his method is the right path to the Zone. If the Stalker is viewed as the story of a failed political leader whose followers betray him by not having enough faith to attain the bliss of the final goal and doubting the very achievement of the revolutionary process, then these ritualistic method of finding his path needs to be conceived as “strategies” that the political leader takes in the revolutionary process while highlighting with sufficient emphasis why such strategies will inevitably seem ridiculous and inaccessible for a neutral viewer who doesn’t participate in the struggle. In the same vein, following our previous discussion about the connection between the Stalker and Islam, then one has to admit that stalker’s ridiculous method of finding the path show how praying itself will seem ridiculous to a non-believer. The case of Muslim prayer in its thrust of daily ritualistic postures that doesn’t generate any innate meaning in them proves to be an exemplary case that justifies the method of the stalker. For example, there is no innate meaningful reason whatsoever why a praying Muslim should not bend and touch the knees once more before stretching down to the floor in the direction of Kaaba (Zone). As Zizek aptly writes; “Martin Amis recently attacked Islam as the most boring of all religions, with its demand that believers perform again and again the same stupid rituals and learn by heart the same sacred formulas—he was deeply wrong: it is multicultural tolerance and permissiveness which stand for real boredom” (Zizek, A Glance into the Archives of Islam).

What is the “Zone”?

            The nature of the “Zone” in Stalker poses such a mystery to the viewers. The stalker tells his companions in such spiritualist-sounding terms that all their wishes come true in this Zone. However the viewers learn at the end of the film that the companions of the stalker do not experience the bliss of the Zone as the stalker himself experiences which later even heals his crippled daughter. The stalker’s answer to the transcendent nature of the Zone is simple: “one has to have faith to experience its bliss.” As Zizek states, “what one should insist on in a materialist reading of Tarkovsky is the constitutive role of the Limit itself: this mysterious Zone is effectively the same as our common reality; what confers on it the aura of mystery is the Limit itself, i.e. the fact that the Zone is designated as inaccessible, as prohibited (Zizek, The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky).” For Zizek, it is the prohibition itself that posits the Zone as mysterious; the limit comes first followed by the mystery. In this sense, the Zone itself is a part of ordinary reality which in psychoanalytic terms functions as the position of the “Void” that sustains the desire.

            One can immediately draw another surprising parallel to the status of the Zone in the Stalker to the body of the Woman in Islam which also holds the paradigmatic position of the “Void” for Muslims. Following the previous conclusion relating to the limit and the Zone, one can then be tempted to infer that it is the limit, the prohibition itself of the Woman’s body that makes it a “Zone/Void” to be not trespassed. This seems to solve a major paradox of the Western fantasy why the Arabs cover their Woman’s body up to the point of covering the entire face. The psychoanalytic answer as exemplified in the Stalker is that the Woman’s body functions as the “Void” but a pre-posited Limit. Again, crucially the Limit comes first before the elevation. It is this Void that sustains the desire of the Muslim man. One should even go to the end here in claiming that just like in Stalker, the Muslim’s faith depends on making this Limit and making the Woman’s body inaccessible/unsatisfied. By doing so the Muslims become faithful. It appears quite paradoxically that a Muslim’s faith depends positing a limit to Woman’s body that makes it a “Zone.” But why this limit to the Woman’s body itself? What makes the Woman so traumatic to Muslims and to Islam as such?

Repressing the Founding Gesture of Islam

“The choice within Islam of Hagar, the independent seer of God, over the docile housewife Sarah, provides the first hint of the insufficiency of the standard notion of Islam, that of an extreme masculine monotheism, a collective of brothers from which women are excluded and have to be veiled, since their “monstration” is as such excessive, disturbing or provocative to men, diverting them from their service to God” (Zizek, A Glance into the Archives of Islam) .

            Zizek argues persistently in his co-authored book “God in Pain” that the fundamental repression of Islam just like in Judaism (and therefore extremely in proximity to each other despite their current contingent rivalry) is that of their very founding gesture. For Zizek, this founding gesture concerns that Islam has several manifestations, but all concerning a paradigmatic Woman. One of the most vital of such manifestation that is crucial for this discussion will be explored at length: the case of Khadija to the Prophet Muhammed. The two other most important cases being that Ishmail, the founding father of Arabs was the illegitimate son of Abraham – the father of Jews and the father of faith for Christians – not with Sarah his official wife, but with Hagar, a slave. Prophet himself was a destitute, one reason which makes Islam so attractive to youth without roots – from Malcolm X to Jihadist martyrs. Then there is the other case of Muhammad’s own conception when his father was reverted by another “woman”, a mistress that he advanced to, allowing his legitimate wife conceive the holy one. A further quote from Zizek makes the position of the Woman in Islam clearer.

             This feature should be given all its due: a woman possesses a knowledge about the truth which precedes even the prophet’s own knowledge. What further complicates the picture is the precise mode of Khadija’s intervention: the way she was able to draw the line between truth and lie, between divine revelation and demonic possession, by putting forward (interposing) herself, her disclosed body, as the untruth embodied, as a temptation to a true angel. Woman: a lie which, at its best, knows itself as a lie embodied” (Zizek, A Glance into the Archives of Islam; p.120).

            As Zizek points out, the ontological scandal in Islam is that its Truth (the spiritual essence) is possessed by a Woman (Khadija, prophet Muhammed’s wife) before the Prophet himself. When Prophet Muhammed was given the message of God, it was he himself who was skeptical and doubtful of his experiences believing that he was hallucinating. It was only his wife Khadija who sorted out the matters as it were for Muhammed. The manner in which Khadija does so is monumental. As Zizek states, Khadija first asks Muhammed to sit in her right lap to testify whether he still can see the angel of God. Then she asks him to sit on her left lap and repeats the same. Then she removes her veil and discloses her body to him (and for some accounts even has sex with Muhammed at that time) and asks whether he still sees the angel on account of the belief of which if it is an angel, the angel will go off from the site of sexuality and only an unholy creature will remain with lust to witness the site of sexuality. It was then Khadija’s mediation that allowed Muhammed to differentiate the Truth from the false. Their love therefore preceded even Muhammed’s faith. That is why the first Muslim is a woman – Khadija. In this Islam is the religion founded upon a woman’s primordial mediation where love preceded even faith. Christianity here even falls short as it is clear that Mary’s figure in it is the position of a mother and not a subversive hysterical woman. This subversive Woman is then the “monstrosity” whose function precedes even true faith, that needs to be “veiled”, repressed.

Jihad and Stalker

            This metaphorical connection between Stalker and Islam grants the way to make a substantial conclusion with a crucial connection to the previous discussion about Jihad. On my opinion, the two hour boring spiritual extravaganza of the Stalker culminates in a profound Islamic gesture in the last half hour. The viewers see that the stalker himself is deeply bothered, even psychologically affected by the fact this his companions didn’t have the courage to believe the bliss of the Zone. More than having a selfish sentiment of his efforts not yielding harvests, he is deeply concerned by the lack of faith by his companions. He fears they will also demystify potential visitors to the Zone by preaching their disbelief.

            Belief functions in such a way as portrayed by Muhammed that someone else (an Other – Khadija) has to first believe in myself for me to believe in what I believe. It is at the above point of the film where stalker’s wife enters the narrative where she sympathizes with him and asks if she can come with him to the Zone to witness its bliss as if to signal that her belief would re-constitute his own belief. His main fear however is that if his wife loses her faith and not experiences the mystical bliss of the Zone, it not only affects the future visitors, but it will terminally affect his own faith, his own positing of the Limit to the Zone that makes it a mystical place that sustains his desire. At this juncture we learn that stalker’s faith is intertwined with his wife having faith in himself. Does this all – his dependence on his wife’s faith, not trespassing the Zone like Kaaba, praying on the ground immersed downwards, ridiculously ritualistic methods of leading, etc. – indicate that the stalker is a Muslim?

            The question whether the stalker is a Muslim has another crucial dimension linked to the Jihad itself. A crucial quote from Zizek paves the way:

“As such, Stalker points towards the basic problem of Tarkovsky’s two last films, Nostalgia and Sacrifice: the problem of how, through what ordeal or sacrifice, might it be possible, today, to attain the innocence of pure belief. The hero of Sacrifice, Alexander, lives with his large family in a remote cottage in the Swedish countryside (another version of the very Russian dacha which obsesses Tarkovsky’s heroes). The celebrations of his birthday are marred by the terrifying news that low-flying jet planes have signaled the start of a nuclear war between the superpowers. In his despair, Alexander turns himself in prayer to God, offering him everything that is most precious to him to have the war not have happened at all. The war is “undone” and, at the film’s end, Alexander, in a sacrificial gesture, burns his beloved cottage and is taken to a lunatic asylum…” (Zizek, The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky).

As Zizek points out, it is as if the very sacrificial gesture that is the paradigmatic characteristic of the Jihad is thoroughly internal to Stalker and therefore to Islam. What Tarkovsky accomplishes in his cinema is to show in a very anti-Jihadist way that the sacrifice of the hero in his films are not an affirmation of their pre-existing beliefs but a desperate strategy to re-formulate a new belief. In this sense, the sacrifice in Tarkovsky functions to show that heroes basically were utter non-believers whose sacrificial gesture re-constituted their belief by way of their very act, as an effect without a cause.

The Feminine Act

            We can now attempt to unpack the seemingly paradoxical texture of Jihad by way of reading Stalker. Of course, there are extreme connection between Tarkovsky’s cinema and Islam more than one imagines about the connection of Christianity to his oeuvre. However, it appears that Tarkovsky’s so called connection repeats the fundamental repression of predominant Islam that was explained before. Despite all the admirable qualities of materialistic theological attitude of Tarkovsky’s cinema, his real limit resides in not going right to the end that founds a radical act. In psychoanalytic terms, what the Tarkovskian hero refuses to accomplish is to identify with the ethics of the drive against the dialectic of desire whose law is to sustain the desire unsatisfied. For example in Stalker, the stalker doesn’t go right to the end in effectively trespassing the Zone and willing to risk everything not to see that there is no innate bliss in it that can result in his loss of faith altogether, yet accomplishing the truly radical, even divine, gesture of getting lethally affected by the Zone (the drive) and persisting to sustain the transcendence immanently. This is what the sacrificial logic cannot achieve. Paradoxically again, this is why Tarkovsky is closer to Jihad but not to Islam. This then allows us to make a case for an important distinction between a True act in Jihad and Islam.

            There can be only one True act in Islam. And that is profoundly and even solely “Feminine.” Feminine in the precise of sense of identifying with the drive and traversing the fantasy. As Zizek states:

“Let me answer the second reproach, that these gestures are all masculine. No, not only such a radical act is not neutral but at the most radical level, it is a feminine gesture. Lacan proposed as one of the definitions of what he calls a “true woman” a certain act of taking from her partner, obliterating or destroying, that which means everything to him. The precious treasure around which their life turns. The exemplary figure of such an act in literature, of course, is Medea. Upon learning that Jason plans to abandon her, she kills her two young children, her husband’s most precious possession. Perhaps it is time against the overblown celebration of Antigone to reassert Medea, her uncanny counterpart” (Zizek, The Superego and the Act).

For Zizek, just as for Lacan, it is only a “true woman” who can accomplish a radical ethical act in all its senses that traverses the fantasy just as in the case of Medea. I would argue that it is the same for Khadija and Haggar. The true Islamic act is therefore Feminine and a true Feminine act is also profoundly Islamic in its crux. This is what the Jihadist martyrs cannot achieve. Just like the stalker, such martyrs remain outside the Zone, not possessing enough courage like a true woman to go to the end. This allows us to infer in contrast to Devji that far from Jihad fragmentizing Islam by creating a democracy among Juridical Islam, fundamentalists and Jihadists; we should insist on what they all share in common amidst all claims of fragmentizing. That is, they all come together in repressing the founding gesture if Islam, that of the Woman. What they all are unable to accomplish is a true feminine act. What they end up doing is inventing newer ways of relating to the body of a Woman; that is to the veil. This allows us to oppose Jihad not only to Judeo-Christian monotheists, but also to Islam itself, to the Islam of the Woman. On the other hand Jihad makes it clear that in a truly Hegelian sense, there exists a speculative identity with Jihadist religiosity and all hegemonic religious forms instituted upon a fundamental repression. The true opposition to all these pathological religious forms is the Islam (submission) of the Woman.

Dilshan Fernando



Devji, Faisal. Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity. New York & London: Cornell University Press, 2005.

Gunaratne, Deepthi Kumara. “An Approach to understand the New Empire.” 24 April 2019. 3mana.

Žižek, Slavoj. “A Glance into the Archives of Islam.” God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse. Ed. Slavoj Zizek and Boris Gunjevic. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2012. 103-126.

Žižek, Slavoj. Less than Nothing: Hegel and the shadow of Dialectical Materialism. London & New York: Verso, 2012.

Žižek, Slavoj. “The Superego and the Act.” 1999.

—. “The Thing from Inner Space on Tarkovsky.” Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (2008): 221-231.




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