Between Terror and Transcendence

Yarimar Bonilla

in Islam and the Americas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2015 | ISBN: 9780813060132
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780813050584 | DOI:
Between Terror and Transcendence

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This chapter examines how labor activists in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe navigate tropes of ethnic difference in the context of rising Islamophobia and the cultural effects of the global war on terror. Yarimar Bonilla focuses on a hunger strike carried out by Michel Madassamy--an imprisoned labor activist of East Indian descent--and the iconographic representations that were mobilized during his solidarity campaign. Labor activists tried to forge counter-narratives to the public commemorations of Indiantié which have tended to center on the trope of Indian “arrival” and which represent Indiens as replacement workers for rebellious slaves. However, during this solidarity campaign the Indien hunger striker became an ambiguous silent icon--the mute protagonist of his own resistance--in ways that eventually replicated the official silences that surround the history of indentured labor in the Antilles.

Keywords: Guadeloupe; Indianit; war on terror; labor activism; hunger strike; Michel Madassamy

Chapter.  8575 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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