The officer at the US embassy informed me that my authorisation to travel had been revoked because the ‘algorithm’ had identified a security threat. He said he did not know what had triggered the algorithm but suggested that it could be something I was involved in, people I am or was in contact with, places to which I had travelled (had I recently been in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia or met their nationals?), hotels at which I stayed, or a certain pattern of relations among these things. I was asked to supply the embassy with additional information, including 15 years of travel history, in particular where I had gone and who had paid for it. The officer said that Homeland Security investigators could assess my case more promptly if I supplied the names of anyone in my network whom I believed might have triggered the algorithm. I declined to provide this information.
The latest round of fighting in Gaza should be understood not as an interruption of an imaginary calm, but as the compounding of one kind of violence with another. The status quo that the people of Gaza have now returned to – the state of occupation, domination, isolation and siege – is violence by other means. Indeed, the structural violence of the occupation is physical and real and no less deadly than the bombs and guided rockets; it is only much harder to identify and represent in images and thus also to rally against.