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Jihadi VCDs

Jihadi VCD CoversThese are two among the many VCDs produced in Indonesia in support of the jihadis who from May 2000 traveled to the Moluccas to back their fellow Muslims in what many saw as a battle against the islands’ Christianization.  The covers of Bloody Maluku Conflict 2000 and North Maluku’s Suffering (Halmahera) cluster image-bites conveying the brutality of the conflict and the Islamic public called to defend Muslims: a building engulfed in flames, the head of a corpse with its jaw tied shut, a foreshortened view of a charred body, the extended hands of adults and children, a crowd of refugees, and, in both, a long procession of jihadis moving towards the viewer.

While the covers appear to contrast the body in parts with the integrity of the Muslim ummah on the move, the VCDs unfold through a logic of serial rupture that forecloses any narrative framing. Instead they work through an indeterminacy inherent to this media form’s post-narrative appeal, issuing in an “accidental public” that is shocked into existence as it is compulsively drawn to the scene of disruption.

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Participant: Patricia Spyer
Institute for Cultural Anthropology | Leiden University
Presentation: "Reel Accidents: Screening the Ummah under Siege in Wartime Maluku"