Editorial Statement

Editor: Sumita Chakravarty

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone. In my university, as in venues and halls across the United States, there were gatherings to remember, reflect, renew. Several of us relived those moments to address the now familiar question: “Where were you when the twin towers were struck by terrorists on 9/11?” My own remarks can be found here. No matter what our stance, we all agreed that much had changed in the world on that fateful day, but much has also changed in the ten years since: the world has awoken to a new terminology for the Middle East, the Arab Spring; closer to home, the World Trade Center towers are rising again, the war in Iraq has officially drawn to a close, Osama bin Laden rests at the bottom of some ocean, and President Obama faces new elections in a war-weary and economy-anxious nation.
This issue of Immediacy was originally intended to take stock of life in our global society in the aftermath of 9/11. It was meant to allow reflection and critique about war and the media images, inflections, and commentaries relating to war. However, we found that war and conflict were less engaging as topics compared to the less sensational and more painstaking processes of peace-building and conflict resolution. In other words, the contributors to this issue were as interested in creating projects or doing research on efforts devoted to peace and conflict-resolution as they were in documenting or exposing the atrocities, physical and mental,  of war. This issue juxtaposes these two phenomena in an effort to create a kind of productive tension and alternative momentum. We hope to rescue peace from the long shadow of war.
Priyanka Kothari provides an inventory of peace symbols, making us wonder if these are recognizable in everyday life and their historical origins. Teymour Sursock explores how images of war on the image-sharing site, Flickr, pits the global imaginary against local and national ones via conventions of identification. Anthony Wille alerts us to the routine uses of war language to declare “war on” everything, from the most trivial to the more complex. He wonders what it is like to live in such a constant state of war. Lauren Gianni is interested in finding out more about how peace journalism works and interviews a practitioner in this genre. Andrew Osborne’s video piece satirizes war as video game in the arsenals of the industrial-entertainment complex. Daniella Land puts together a presentation on conflict resolution skills in a world where we are connected but not communicating. Tazeen Bari creates a fictitious scenario between two former terrorists in hiding whose conversation in their native language is meant to show the risks and futility of acts of violence and mutual incomprehension between the contending parties in the current War on Terror. Khushnuda Shukurova is interested in programs of student cultural exchange whereby real conversations can bring people together and open up possibilities for dialogue.
The long history of war tells us that violent conflict among humans is not likely to end anytime soon. Nevertheless, by problematizing the scenarios and mechanisms of war and violence, and by entertaining opportunities for peaceful dialogue, the contents of this issue aim to both mark and erase horrific memories of the past violent decade.