Issue One



Edward Colless

Extraterritoriality is a word most commonly applied to the hermetic terrain of diplomatic missions, embassy grounds and foreign military or intelligence bases: a sovereign part of one state inscribed onto—while nonetheless circumscribed by or cordoned, detached or even quarantined from—the soil of another, its host country. It can also refer to a plot of land ceded temporarily from one country to another for activities that require relatively neutral ground, such as a trial that needs to be witnessed independent of national interests; or, inversely, activities that need specifically not to be witnessed. It suggests indistinct, nondescript geographic or metropolitan nooks and crannies—‘safe houses’ or ‘non-places’—that go unnoticed by outsiders and, in some cases, remain unrecognisable to those being interrogated and tortured on the inside. Extraterritorial zones don’t necessarily fall off the map; a truce bestows the safe passage for an alien political representation to parlay, whether it’s an ally or foe.

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