Fear and Trust: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the War on Terror

Millennium: Journal of International Studies

Author/s (editor/s):

Cian O'Driscoll

Publication year:


Publication type:

Journal article

Find this publication at:

Cian O’Driscoll, ‘Fear and Trust: The Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the War on Terror’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 36(2) 2008: 149-70.

This paper examines the July 2005 shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station. It argues that the action of the police officers who shot and killed Menezes was conditioned by same logic that informs the prosecution of the war on terror. This logic bares comparison to the humanist conviction that states possess a right of response where they perceive themselves to have a `fear’ of impending injury or assault. This paper explores the historical lineage of this trope in the writings of Alberico Gentili, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, and, humanist thought more generally. The aim is to explore the politics of fear at work in Britain in the political climate defined by the war on terror, with a view to ascertaining how deep it runs and whether a politics of trust might offer a possible remedy to it.

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