Un atto iconico di rappresentanza: i video-testamenti degli shahid qaidisti

Lorenzo Donghi


In the contemporary media landscape and, more specifically, in relation to its post-production dimension, the video-testament shot by jihadist shahid is probably one of the most relevant case-study examples that we can approach. Indeed, before serving his lethal purpose, shahid shoots an audiovisual content to lay claim to his forthcoming action of death (that is an action he has been designed for, but that he has not yet completed at the moment of the recording). The point is that shahid kills himself after the recording of the video, but before its release: in this way, he can’t view the final cut of his bequest, because in the meantime it has been abundantly edited by shahid’s membership organization. Therefore, the aim of the essay is to clarify this paradox: the aniconism that rules in Islamic visual culture is denied exactly by its most radical fringe, that not just allows the use of visual media and technical images, but that promotes a real iconic “replacement” when a virtual presence – the video – takes the place of a physical absence – the shahid – carrying on his struggle in the battleground of imagery.


jihadist; shahid; video-testament; video

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/7393


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Copyright (c) 2017 Lorenzo Donghi

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