“On one hand, the slave is the foundation of the national order, and, on the other, the slave occupies the position of the unthought.”
— Saidiya Hartman, The Position of the Unthought
“There is no liberalism without a culture of danger.”
— Michel Foucault
To be honest, I haven’t been closely following the stories about ‘Jihadist travel movements’. Instead, I have been following the—you could say—more mundane stories about ‘mobile banditism’, that is, in the words of Rosa Koenraadt and Katinka van de Ven, “itinerant criminal groups [from Eastern Europe] who by means of hit-and-run tactics commit one or multiple crimes against property.” The police has been tracking ‘itinerant Eastern European gangs’ since the late 20th century, and determined in a recent study that the Netherlands is increasingly affected by this form of transnational organized crime.
Even though, ‘Jihadist travel movements’ and ‘mobile banditism’, as public narratives, differ in quite distinct ways—most notably on an affective level—they are both nevertheless grounded on a precautionary logic that strongly favours order and safeguarding what ‘we’ have (be that democracy, property, freedom, etc.). Both narratives securitize mobility, and are, as such, concerned with monitoring, detection, traceability, and prevention. And both have led to calls for better exchange of information so that the police can get a clearer view of the most commonly used routes by ‘mobile threats’.