“Moroccan Lives Matter”. Practices and Politics of Affecting
Schankweiler, Kerstin – 2018
Around the globe, citizens have in recent years been documenting police brutality with their mobile phone cameras and circulating the videos on social media. Using a case example from Morocco, Kerstin Schankweiler reads media witnessing of police violence as a practice and a politics of affecting. Mouhcine Fikri, a fisherman from Al Hoceïma, was crushed to death in a garbage truck in October 2016 after a dispute with the police. Several people close to the truck witnessed his violent death. A mobile phone video of the incident went viral and sparked widespread protest in the country. This chapter focuses on the intensity of sound and the aesthetic quality of the mostly blurry, shaky images of this video, arguing that we mainly witness the videographer (and other eyewitnesses) being affected, and not what happened to Fikri. This is also true for many other videos of police violence. The way in which these videos operate is based on a relational process of affecting and being-affected. Likewise, witnessing as a practice that requires co-witnessing is principally relational. Witnessing and affecting correlate in these image testimonies, or rather, affect is at the core of witnessing.