Kawthar El-Qasem „Palästina erzählen“

Palästina vorlesen Bild

Palästina erzählen, Buchvorstellung mit Kawthar El-Qasem

Einführung NOMEN: Sultan Doughan
Moderation: Nahed Samour

am Sonntag, 25.2.2018, 18-20 Uhr

Center for Intersectional Justice, Friedrichstr. 183
c/o Hertie-School, 4. OG

Anmeldung bis Donnerstag, 22.02.2018 unter collectivenomen@gmail.com

Kawthar El-Qasem “Palästina erzählen”
Inversion als Strategie zur Bewahrung des Eigenen in Dekulturalisierungsprozessen

Auf welche Strategien und Ressourcen greifen Menschen zurück, die von Benachteiligung, Ausgrenzung und Marginalisierung betroffen sind?
»Palästina erzählen« geht dieser Frage nach und gewährt wertvolle Einblicke in die Praxis der palästinensischen mündlichen Überlieferung. Mit methodischer Gründlichkeit, kenntnisreicher Sensibilität und Kreativität arbeitet Kawthar El-Qasem das Phänomen der Inversion als Modus Operandi der Überlieferung heraus: Inversion bedeutet eine Vertauschbarkeit, mit der das Eigene (wieder-)hergestellt und weitergegeben werden kann. Mit der Erzählung wird ein Kippbild erzeugt, dem Umkehrbarkeit, Kontingenz und Transformation eingeschrieben sind. Das, was zwischen verschiedenen Deutungen liegt, wird dabei zur Ressource.

Lesung / Präsentation und Buchbesprechung

>Abu-Lughod (1991) und die Empirie – Eine Neudeutung palästinensischer „Ehre“ mit einem Blick jenseits der feministischen Brille

> Dekulturalisierung – ein brauchbares Konzept in der rassismuskritischen Forschung und Arbeit?

> Protokolle aus einem Nicht-Ort: Othering, Rassismus, Kolonialismus – Raumvernichtung als Grundmerkmal dekulturativer Prozesse

> Das Unvernehmen (Rancière, 2002): Das Unvermögen der ‚Nicht-Anderen‘ als eine Verfehlung der ‚Anderen‘ und ihrer Räume

> Inversion als kontingenzbewusste, zeit- und raumschaffende Strategie

> Brothering – Lässt sich Othering umkehren?

> Derridas (2011) Gabe-Thematik und die Fiktion der wahrscheinlichen Realität (Esposito, 2007) – Bezüge für ein Gegenlesen rassistischer Regime

 

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SPEAKING FEMINISMS | Preliminary Exercises 6th Exercise with a series by NOMEN Collective: Unfree: Racialized Bodies in the European Neocolony

May 2nd, 2017 | 4pm – 8pm Free entrance – donations welcome

Savvy contemporary, Plantagenstraße 31, 13347 Berlin

Please register here:  collectivenomen@gmail.com

NOMEN_Savvy_edited-5

In this exercise day the NOMEN Collective unpacks the notion of neutral bodies in the public sphere by exemplifying racialization in the European Neocolony through three different lab talks and one art performance. European debates around women’s bodies have brought once again to the fore how certain religious bodies are reinscribed as unfree in the secular public sphere; it has also reproduced the racialized female body as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists on both sides have contended, that the existence of the (religious) female body is either a matter of choice or of oppression. NOMEN aims at complicating the discourse by demonstrating that an alleged neutralization of bodies is actually marking certain bodies as too religious, too violent, too particular and as deserving to be excluded.

NOMEN Collective will take up certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities of racialized knowledge-production, religious positioning, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the neocolonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we want to highlight the phenomenon of racialization that confines certain bodies in their political agency and fail the promise of political equality. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries in Europe have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of political structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity onto old and new minority subjects. 

We contend that the colony is here and now. Further, that it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. We will explore in this exercise, what certain body formations hold and what they foreclose.  The event will have four parts each opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story. 

#1 “How secularism structures racial and religious bodies – Or how I was barred from speaking about this” by Sultan Doughan

This lab deals with the notion of neutrality in speaking and representing in public as a racially marked researcher. By taking the example of  two cartoons from the Charlie Hebdo context, the talk will ask where the line is between race and religion, between satire and hate-speech and who is in charge to decide that. 

#2 “Male Religion and Female Freedom” by Hannah Tzuberi 

This lab discusses contemporary notions of the “religious”: How a sphere marked as “religious” is being identified, what kind of practices it is allowed to entail, and what happens to those, who do not comply.

#3 “Colonized Narratives of Violence against Women of Colour” by Armeghan Taheri 

By means of storytelling, this lab critically examines how the Violence against Women-discourse perpetrates colonial narratives that become disempowering and limiting for women of colour affected by violence.  It dismantles the reality that violence against women of color cannot be decontextualized from racism and classism. 

#4 “The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground” by Adi Liraz 

Through a four-chapter-performance, Liraz will re-create a process of embodying history/ies and being alive as shaped and shifted by the colonial gaze of German and Israeli nationalisms, and will explore the inscribed past of previous generations of her family in her own body of existence, marking the connection between the personal and the collective.

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin. NOMEN aims at the creation of spaces, in which discursive boundaries are blurred through participation, reflection and disturbance. By creating this possibility we want to reframe social issues and claim a political and ethical citizenship. In our actions and general conduct, emotions play a key role. Emotions are not the irrational, embarrassing and private side of us, but rather the substance out of which our political and social concerns are made of. Relatedly, our bodies and the body are the central locus and the starting point to think about political issues. Although as NOMEN we seek to include all genders, sexualities and religions in order to generate political action, our aim is not to dissolve communal ties and religious particularities. Quite the contrary, we aim to demonstrate unresolvable particularity, unspeakable truth in order to generate a new ethical frame for marginalized forms of political and social life. NOMEN Collective is carried by six permanent members: Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Patricia Piberger, Nahed Samour, Armeghan Taheri, Hannah Tzuberi.

nomensiteblog.wordpress.com          www.facebook.com/NOMENCollective/

About the speakers:

Sultan Doughan is an anthropologist and writer based in Berlin for field research for her doctoral thesis. She engages with the question of citizenship, racialization and religious difference for Jewish and Muslim minorities in the field of historical-political education. Sultan is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective. 

Adi Liraz is a multidisciplinary artist and curator. Liraz received a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and an MA from the Art Academy Berlin Weißensee (“Art in Public Context, Spatial Strategies”). She is part of the duo ExDress, member of the Association of Performance Art, Berlin and a founding member of NOMEN Collective. Her personal page is called adiliraz.com

Armeghan Taheri holds a LL.M. degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in Human Rights and International Law. As a daughter of Afghan activists, she learned how to turn legacies of trauma, loss, survival and fight into intellectual knowledge.   Armeghan is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective. 

Hannah Tzuberi has a PhD in Jewish Studies and lives with her family in Berlin. She deals with secularism, religious practice and contemporary configurations of Jewishness in Germany.  She is also a blogger: mandolinaforpresident.wordpress.com. Hannah is a founding member of the NOMEN Collective.

*by using the words female or woman we refer to every person who identifies herself as such. The example in the talks, however,  are based on persons who are read as women in public. 

Please register under the following email address: collectivenomen@gmail.com

On SPEAKING FEMINISMS: 

How does the meaning of ‘feminism’ change in different contexts and times? And, what can we learn from historical feminist practices? “Feminism”, Yemisi Aribisala writes, “cannot be globally defined because Pangaea broke into pieces 250 million years ago and many wild waters and hazardous bush must be traversed to evangelise my kind of savage. The world is not one.” On the other hand, Science-fiction writer Octavia Butler describes it in terms of the act of writing yourself into the world: “You got to make your own worlds. You got to write yourself in it.”

How do we – women, men, transgender, not-men – write ourselves into the world? And, how do we unwrite an already written page? How do we imagine a different language, another collective politics from the perspective of feminist practice today? When vulnerable communities continue to be threated by racism, xenophobia, acts of bullyism, and violence against women, gay and trans-people, we feel the urge to address these and other questions in an attempt to mobilise and develop new feminist politics and practices.

For this series of preliminary exercises, our point of departure is the acknowledgement of a deep, and we hope productive, disagreement on the meaning of and the contemporary valence of this term. Perhaps this is already what feminism is about, a form of collective non-alignment. Through a series of performative events, talks and workshops, SPEAKING FEMINISMS enacts the multiple histories, struggles, and voices that define ‘feminism’ as both a practice and a concept.

The series is curated by Elena Agudio, Federica Bueti and Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro.

More information about the series here

[Would you like to bring your kids? We will provide a self-organized child care. If interested please send an email until Friday, APRIL 28th, to communications@savvy-contemporary.com with subject line child care and tell us the age of your kid(s). The child care will cost a small fee, the amount of which will depend on the number of children.]

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Ein Zuhause für Umm Ahmed

Eigentlich war ich sauer, so ziemlich. Weder Laura noch Umm Ahmed hatten mir rechtzeitig abgesagt.[1] Es war ein Freitagabend im November, kalt, grau und verregnet. Ich hatte meine Tochter noch in der Musikschule in Kreuzberg abgegeben und war sofort nach Westhafen hochgefahren, damit ich Umm Ahmed bei der Wohnungsbesichtigung behilflich sein konnte. Nachdem ich vergebens auf Umm Ahmed gewartet hatte, besichtigte ich die 3-Zimmerwohnung alleine. Ich entschied, dass ihr die Wohnung gefallen würde. Sie war gut geschnitten, sauber gehalten, mit einer Einbauküche bestückt. Was könnte man noch von einer ordentlichen Wohnung erwarten? Aber wo war Umm Ahmed überhaupt? Die Vormieterin, eine Physiotherapeutin in ihren Mitt-Zwanzigern, hatte nur formale Fragen: Wieviele ziehen ein? Wie hoch ist ihr Einkommen? Ich erklärte ihr die Situation, nämlich, dass ich nur Mentorin und Übersetzerin sei. Die eigentlichen Mieter eine Flüchtlingsfamilie aus Syrien. Ihre Augen weiteten sich: „Haben die überhaupt ein Einkommen?“ fragte sie mich ein wenig beherrscht. „Ich weiß nicht ob die Vermieter das so gut finden“, fügte sie entschuldigend hinzu. Das Jobcenter zahlt die Wohnung. Die Miete ist also gesichert, sprach ich bestimmend. Ok, und wo ist die syrische Familie, fragte sie mich.

Ich lief noch einmal auf die Straße und lief sie im Regen auf und ab. Einen Regenschirm hatte ich auch nicht mitgenommen. Vielleicht hatte sich Umm Ahmed verlaufen. Laura erreichte ich schließlich und sie war überrascht, dass Umm Ahmed nicht erschienen war. „Das kann nicht sein, sie suchen verzweifelt eine Wohnung. Ich habe ihrem Sohn alle Infos weitergeleitet und mehrmals Rücksprache gehalten. Der spricht eigentlich ganz gut deutsch“, versicherte mir Laura. Vielleicht waren wir einfach alle gerade lost in translation? Obwohl Laura sich mehrmals bei mir entschuldigte, wurde ich das Gefühl nicht los, dass hier etwas fundamental schief gegangen war. Wahrscheinlich wusste Umm Ahmed noch nicht einmal, dass sie heute eigentlich eine Wohnung besichtigen sollte, hätte können. Ich konnte sie aber auch nicht erreichen. Sollte ich einfach nach Hause gehen und mich um meine eigenen Probleme kümmern? Hatte ich nicht selbst genug liegengebliebenes Chaos in meinem Leben? Was machte ich hier eigentlich? Nach insgesamt einer Stunde vergeblichen Wartens erreichte mich ein Anruf von einer jordanischen Whatsapp-Nummer. Sultan, Habibty, ana asifa jiddan. Umm Ahmed sprach aufgeregt, es ist ein Mißverständnis. Wo bist du? Komm‘ rüber auf einen Tee. Ich kann dir alles erklären. Ja, kommst du? Komm, wir trinken einen Tee, redete Umm Ahmed mir gut zu. Und so wie ich in die erste Situation geraten war, geriet ich in die nächste. Ich lief also zum Flüchtlingshotel.

Ich war nicht wirklich verloren. Es war nur etwas merkwürdig im Industriegebiet des Westhafens unterwegs zu sein. Ich lief in einer Art Niemandsland zwischen Fabrikschornsteinen aus dem letzten Jahrhundert und riesigen Straßenkreuzungen als einzige Frau, gar einziger Mensch, in diesem Regen. Schließlich kam ich an die Brücke. Von der Brücke aus konnte ich die Hotellichter schon von weitem sehen. Ein Zimmer zwei Hochbetten, pro Person pro Nacht €50,-, 4 Leute pro Zimmer. Ein Bad mit WC für alle Zimmerinsassen. Eine Küche gab es nicht. Im Erdgeschoß gab es 16 Kochplatten für insgesamt ca. 200 Flüchtlinge. Dennoch hatten mich Dalia, Selma und Umm Ahmed letzten Sommer zum Essen eingeladen. Dalia war meine eigentliche Mentee, Selma und Umm Ahmed waren ihre Weggefährtinnen, Nachbarinnen und Freundinnen. Wenn ich Dalia traf, traf ich immer zusätzlich Selma oder Umm Ahmed mit. So war es auch mit dem Abendessen gewesen. Dalias Mann hatte nach dem Abendessen eine Wasserpfeife angemacht und so saßen wir alle zusammen und redeten über ihre Fluchterfahrungen. Umm und Abu Ahmed erzählten von ihrer Odyssee. Sie waren zuerst nach Jordanien geflohen und hatten dort mehrere Monate verbracht, um zu sehen, ob sich der Krieg vielleicht noch beruhigt. 6 Monate später war ihnen klar, dass dieser Krieg nicht so schnell enden würde und dass auch Jordanien keine Chancen bot. Der Einzige, der Arbeit fand, war Ahmed, Umm Ahmeds Erstgeborener. In Syrien hatte er gerade sein Abi bestanden und wollte eigentlich studieren. In Jordanien wurde er als Kellner zum Hauptversorger der Familie. Die zwei jüngeren Kinder gingen zur Schule. Von Jordanien aus hatten sie den minderjährigen Sohn auf die Flucht nach Deutschland geschickt. Nach Ankunft in Deutschland hatte er es geschafft, innerhalb eines Jahres die Familie nachzuholen. Alle waren nun in Deutschland, bis auf Ahmed, der rechtlich gesehen zu alt für die Familienzusammenführung war und seit ca. 6 Monaten alleine in Jordanien wohnte. Lam Shamal war das Wort des Abends, weil sie Familienzusammenführung nicht aussprechen konnten. Selma hielt sich während des Gesprächs zurück und versank immer wieder in Gedanken. Ich konnte mir gut vorstellen, dass sie bei ihrem Mann und ihrem zweijährigen Sohn war. Selma hatte ungewöhnlicherweise die Flucht allein mit ihrer Tochter angetreten. Lam Shamal, wiederholte ich immer wieder und dass es ein Recht ist, dass es schon klappen wird. In sha Allah.

Im Hotel angekommen, ließ ich Umm Ahmed anrufen. Ich darf nicht hoch und soll in der Lobby warten. Die Lobby ähnelt einer Rumpelkammer. Zwischen zusammengepferchten Spiegeln, Buddhastatuen und Leuchten sowie hochgestellten Stühlen auf klobigen Tischen spielen mehrere Kinder ein Spiel. Es ist eine Art Händeklatschen mit arabischem Gesang. Witzig diese Kinder denke ich, ihr Spiel geht einfach weiter, zwischen diesen hochgestellten Stühlen, trotz der Flucht und trotz der veränderten Umgebung finden sie sich und spielen ihr Spiel weiter. Das können vielleicht nur Kinder. Einfach weiterleben und ihr Kindsein ausleben, wann immer sie es können. Ich setze mich an einen Tisch und warte. Innerhalb von wenigen Minuten taucht auch Umm Ahmed auf. Sie ist angezogen wie immer, schön elegant, in einem schlichten Schwarz. Sie trägt einen klassischen schwarzen Mantel mit Lederpatchwork an der einen Seite. Ihr beiges Kopftuch unterstreicht ihre grünen Augen. Sie ist eine stattliche und gepflegte Frau mit einem sehr freundlichen Gesicht. Ich schätze sie auf Ende Vierzig. Wir umarmen uns zur Begrüßung. Ich merke, dass mein Ärger nachlässt, ich freue mich einfach sie zu sehen. Sie fasst an meine nasse Jacke, du bist durchnässt stellt sie fest. Umm Ahmed setzt sich hin und entschuldigt sich mehrmals dafür, dass sie meine Zeit so in Anspruch genommen hat. Wir hatten Laura abgesagt, weil die Wohnung €40 zu teuer fürs Jobcenter war. Aber €40, das ist ja nicht so viel Geld, da hätte man doch noch einmal mit dem Jobcenter reden können, erwidere ich. Umm Ahmed antwortet nicht und zuckt nur mit den Schultern. In dem Moment kommt ihr Mann rein und stellt ein kleines Tablett mit einer Flasche Wasser und einer Orange auf den Tisch. Wir begrüßen uns kurz. Er und Umm Ahmed schauen mich verlegen an. Während er wieder rausläuft, erzählt Umm Ahmed den Kopf zur Seite geneigt und den Blick nach unten: „Die Kochplatten waren alle besetzt, deswegen können wir dir nur Wasser anbieten“. Ya Salaam, Umm Ahmed, ich dachte schon etwas Schlimmes sei passiert, sage ich keck. Ya Sultan, wir haben eine Wohnung gefunden, aber wir mussten €4000,- aus eigener Tasche zahlen, sagt Umm Ahmed weinerlich. Ich merke wie mir ein Kloß im Hals stecken bleibt und greife nach der Wasserflasche. Wie jetzt, an wen musstet ihr das zahlen? Wir haben monatelang nach Wohnungen gesucht, verstehst du, aber wir bekamen nie eine Zusage oder das Jobcenter weigerte sich das zu zahlen. Entweder war die Wohnung zu klein oder zu teuer. Immer gab es irgendein Problem und dann haben wir es so gemacht, wie es alle machen. Wir haben €4000,- an den arabischen Makler gezahlt. Tausend Euro pro Person Kopfgeld, der hat uns eine Wohnung besorgt, wir haben den Vertrag unterschrieben. Es ging nicht anders, es geht nicht mehr. Ich kann hier nicht mehr leben. Dieses Hotel, diese Straße, meine Kinder, mein Leben. Mir ist alles fremd, ich habe mein Leben verloren, wer ich war, wie wir waren. Mein Ältester in Jordanien, zu alt für Lam Shamal. Das Geld hatten wir für ihn aufgespart, um den Schlepper zu zahlen. Er wartet schon seit Monaten darauf und jetzt haben wir das ganze Geld an den Makler gezahlt. Wir konnten nicht anders, egal wie wir es machen, machen wir es falsch. Irgendetwas bleibt zurück. Yikhrab beithom, rutschte es aus mir heraus: „Möge ihr Haus zusammenbrechen!“ Damit meine ich diese Makler, die aus dem Leid der Geflüchteten ein Geschäft machen. Umm Ahmed bebt mit dem ganzen Körper und wischt sich die Tränen aus dem Gesicht. Keiner weiß wie das ist, wenn man kein Zuhause mehr hat.

Ich versuche gut auf Umm Ahmed einzureden und strecke meine Hände über den Tisch zu ihr aus. Umm Ahmed, sieh es doch mal so. Ihr werdet bald in eure neue Wohnung ziehen. Ein neues, besseres Kapitel in eurem Leben beginnt nun. 6 Monate später habt ihr das Geld wieder zusammengespart, um deinen Sohn aus Jordanien zu holen. Du baust dir nun eine zweites Zuhause in Deutschland auf und wenn der Krieg in Syrien endgültig vorbei ist, kannst du auch in deine alte Heimat fahren, in deine alte Wohnung. Umm Ahmed lächelt, aber es ist ein müdes Lächeln. Sie legt ihre Hände in meine. Wir haben kein Haus mehr in Syrien, es wurde dem Erdboden gleichgemacht. Wir haben nichts mehr. Meine Eltern sind darin gestorben. Wir hatten ein bescheidenes Leben und ein schönes zweistöckiges Haus, meine Eltern wohnten unten. Wir waren schon in Jordanien als die Bomben fielen. Wir haben sie dort verloren. Wir haben alles verloren. Warum, ya rabbi? Wir haben doch niemandem etwas getan. Wir hatten nur ein Leben, das wir gut führen wollten, keiner von uns war politisch. Was wussten wir, was die Freie Syrische Armee oder die Regierungssoldaten bedeuteten, worum sie eigentlich kämpften. Wir waren einfach nur gefangen im Feuer des Gefechts. Wir sind geflohen und fliehen immer noch, wir kommen nicht an. Mein Ältester in Jordanien, allein und unglücklich, mein Jüngerer ein Unruhestifter, er kommt mit den Lehrern nicht klar. Immer gibt es Beschwerden über ihn in der Schule. So war er nicht in Syrien. Einzig meine Tochter ist mir geblieben, schluchzt Umm Ahmed.

Deine Tochter ist jetzt deine Zukunft Umm Ahmed. Für sie ist alles noch offen. Sie wird hier in die Kita gehen, deutsch lernen, wahrscheinlich Abitur machen und studieren. Sei für sie da. Ich höre mich selbst sprechen und weiß nicht so recht, ob das vielleicht auch schon zu hart ist. Hatte ich gerade so gesprochen, als ob aus Umm Ahmed und den anderen nichts mehr werden würde? In sha Allah, ya Sultan. In sha Allah, es tut mir leid, ich habe deine Zeit in Anspruch genommen. Du hast sicher viel zu tun und musst jetzt zusehen wie ich weine, du wolltest nur helfen und jetzt siehst du mich in diesem Zustand. Ich habe mich so lange zusammengerissen, manchmal fand ich einen kurzen Augenblick und wollte weinen. Aber es ging nie, und jetzt kann ich dir endlich gute Nachrichten verkünden, aber die Tränen kämpfen sich hoch. Es tut mir leid, prustet es zuletzt aus Umm Ahmed heraus. Vielleicht bin ich gekommen, damit du endlich weinen kannst, Umm Ahmed. Ist doch schön, dann war mein Kommen nicht vergebens.

Es ging also nicht um die Wohnung oder um den Tee, es ging darum dir beim Weinen Beistand zu leisten. Beim Sprechen halte ich meine eigenen Tränen zurück, tief im Inneren weiß ich, dass Umm Ahmed etwas braucht, das ich ihr nicht geben kann. Sie braucht ein Zuhause mit ihrer Familie, mit allen, mit Ahmed, der in Jordanien ist, und ihren verstorbenen Eltern. Hier in Deutschland wird sie jetzt endlich eine Wohnung bekommen, aber bis es ein Zuhause ist, müssen sich gewisse Dinge ändern und alte Wunden heilen. Gott soll dich belohnen ya Sultan, mögen alle deine Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen. Allah khaliki Umm Ahmed sage ich, du bist für mich wie eine ältere Schwester. Es wird alles gut von nun an, in sha Allah. Ich sollte mich auf den Weg machen, es ist schon spät. Was ist mit der Orange, lass sie nicht zurück. Nimm sie mit. Iss sie auf dem Weg, beteuert Umm Ahmed.

TFB1

Performance by Adi Liraz, Berlin 2017

Eine Stunde später sitze ich alleine in der Küche. Mein Mann bringt unsere Tochter zu Bett. Obwohl ich Hunger habe, kann ich nicht essen. Ich schaue auf meinen Teller und frage mich, was das ist, dieses Gefühl. Manchmal ist das Verlangen danach so groß, dass es nicht in ein Schloß passt. Dann, zwischen vier ineinander greifenden Händen lebt es auf und erweckt auch die Herzen zum Leben. Das Gefühl heißt zuhause. Dieses Gefühl habe ich selbst auch schon vergessen. Umm Ahmed hat mich wieder daran erinnert. Ich nehme die Orange aus meiner Jackentasche und spüre wie es gleich in mir regnen wird. Lass sie nicht zurück. Nimm sie mit, höre ich Umm Ahmed noch einmal sagen. Du hast so Recht Umm Ahmed. Sie haben alle Recht, die für die Familienzusammenführung mit ihren Liebsten kämpfen. Es geht nicht allein um Wohnungen oder um Sozialleistungen. Es geht um ein zuhause, auf ein Leben mit seiner Familie, mit seinen Nächsten und Liebsten. Sie haben Recht, aber Lam Shamal allein wird ihnen dieses Recht nicht erteilen. Kein Staat und kein Gesetz kann hier rechtschaffend sein. Ich halte die Orange an meine Nase und rieche daran, während es in mir fürchterlich gewittert. Meine Augen geschlossen höre ich nun dem gleichmäßig fallendem Regen zu.

Sultan Doughan

[1] Alle Namen sind frei erfunden.

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NOMEN Lab #4 The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground

adis-lab-2

Our bodies carry our personal and political histories. These histories reinscribe our internal and external world. Our actions in any social space are to a certain extent guided and shaped by these scripts. Sometimes, to such an extent that we reproduce our ancestral past without any conscious awareness. Who are we to judge, decide, chose in life, when we do not always understand in what kind of political time we were born into, and what kind of personal desires it already produced and destroyed? Who are we then as descendants of those who have not fought their last battle? Is it possible to have an inward gaze and be able to separate what is ours and what is not? What good is it to do that?

“The colonial gaze is shaping my body in two ways. By doing so it re-inscribes an older unfinished history of persecution and saving life into my corporeal presence. First, the colonial gaze defines my body as privileged, desired, and hierarchized in relation to other bodies that it deems abject. In the second way, my body is a fetishized token standing for the afterlife of a 6 million dead. In both ways, my body is used as a tool of oppression. Yet, my body is located in a space where it should not be living, but rather be commemorated as death, its existence in this space is an act of resistance to the German politics of memory and to the Zionist project of a homogeneous Jewish homeland.

As such, my body contains many moments of a past that are mine personally and it is shaped by the genocidal brutality that is supposedly humanity’s responsibility.” Adi Liraz

Through a four-chapter-performance, Adi Liraz will re-create a process of embodying history/ies and being alive as shaped and shifted by the colonial gaze of German and Israeli nationalisms.

By creating an organic space made out of those experiences Liraz produces new channels to share those experiences collectively. The interactive performance aims to create a temporarily set counter-public and community. How we act upon this and in this will define how we can have an empowered space of belonging. In the second part of the lab, we will  reflect verbally and collectively on what we have produced. What good did it do for us and as a form of political action?

Adi Liraz is a multi- and interdisciplinary artist, curator and activist. In her work, she often bridges private and public experiences, discourses and spaces. She reflects on her personal and collective identity, particularly on her role in society as a migrant, woman and mother. Liraz received a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem (2001) and an MA from the Art Academy Berlin Weißensee (“Art in Public Context, Spatial Strategies”, 2014). Adi is a founding     member     of     the     NOMEN      Collective.      adiliraz.com

The lab is the fourth and last one before our winter break, from a series of NOMEN Labs: The Body and the (Neo)colonial Gaze, by the NOMEN Collective

The body -particularly the female body- has become center attention again in the last weeks because of the debated burka- (Germany) and burkini- (France) ban. While the debates have brought once again to the fore, that Europe reinscribes religious bodies as too particular in the secular public sphere, it has also (re)produced the body of the religious woman of color as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists have contended on both sides, that the existence of the religious female body of color marked by cultural difference is either a matter of choice or of oppression. However, we in the NOMEN Collective would like to complicate this discourse. By aiming to unpack the notion of neutral bodies in neutral publics we will offer a mini lab series on the body and the (neo)colonial gaze in our contemporary political context.

The aim of the lab series is to demonstrate the ongoing work an alleged neutralization of bodies is doing to actually mark bodies as too religious, too political, too hysterical, too particular. While all of these claims and counter-claims about female bodies are certainly not new, we would like to use the space of the lab as a creative way to talk and re-enact certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities in order to raise awareness for processes of knowledge-production, religious practice, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the (neo)colonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we also want to complicate the notion of choice vs. oppression by reflecting collectively on processes of socialization into a communitarian subjectivity, a professional practice or a religious tradition. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity. Further, the neocolonial is also a way to integrate postcolonial and decolonial intellectual movements into issues of political dominance within the heart of the empire/nation-state.

The colony is here and now, it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. What do certain body formations hold and what do they foreclose? We would like to perform and discuss this in the lab with an intimate circle of participants. The lab will be opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story, that will turn its gaze into these analytic categories and broader questions of whose bodies become permissible and have access to upward mobility and whose bodies remain marked and signs of alterity. After the short input of 20-25 minutes, we will turn into a discussion, reflection and tool-making how some of these issues can be turned around and become tools of empowerment. The lab will work as a crucible to simmer and cook ideas that have validity in their practice. Artists, activists, community workers, and people of color are particularly encouraged to participate, share their perspectives and to carry some strategies into their field of activism.

The lab will be held in English.

Since we would like to keep an intimate atmosphere and the space cannot contain more than 25 people, we ask all interested to register to the following address until Sunday, December 18th: collectivenomen@gmail.com. Please introduce yourself briefly alongside with your registration.

Tuesday, December 20th 2016, from 7 – 9:30 pm at Bilgisaray, Oranienstraße 194, Berlin Kreuzberg

This is the final lab in a series of 4 lab-talks!

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin by Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Armeghan Taheri and Hannah Tzuberi and joined by Patricia Piberger and Nahed Samour.

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NOMEN Lab #3 Colonized Narratives of Violence against Women of Colour

armeghans-lab-4

Photo credit: Omar Sobhani

The focus on violence against women (VAW) has had some extremely important and beneficial consequences for women worldwide. Yet, the VAW discourse has succeeded partly because of its reliance on the victim subject. This talk will critically examine how the international women’s rights movement has reinforced the image of women of color as the victim subject. It will assess the legal framing as well as state mechanisms around VAW and their role in post-coloniality. What does this mean in concrete terms when we, women of color, experience violence, especially within our own communities? Who are we seen as representing when we call shelters that are run by dominant white churches to seek support? Who are we seen as representing when we call law enforcement officers to seek help? How are our bodies marked in these very moments? Moreover, can mechanisms that construct themselves through violence be used to protect us from violence?

Armeghan Taheri was born as an Afghan refugee in Iran before her family sought political asylum in Germany. Due to her personal experiences, she became passionate about questions of justice, domination and resistance and the connection between knowledge production and the politics of empowerment. She holds a LL.M. degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, in Human Rights and International Law. In her past research she focused on intersectionality as a legal approach to adjudicate violence against women, armed violence, and land and property rights of indigenous communities. Currently, she works in the private sector and is one of the co-founders of the NOMEN Collective.

The lab is the third from a new series of NOMEN Labs: The Body and the (Neo)colonial Gaze, by the NOMEN Collective

The body -particularly the female body- has become center attention again in the last weeks because of the debated burka- (Germany) and burkini- (France) ban. While the debates have brought once again to the fore, that Europe reinscribes religious bodies as too particular in the secular public sphere, it has also (re)produced the body of the religious woman of color as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists have contended on both sides, that the existence of the religious female body of color marked by cultural difference is either a matter of choice or of oppression. However, we in the NOMEN Collective would like to complicate this discourse. By aiming to unpack the notion of neutral bodies in neutral publics we will offer a mini lab series on the body and the (neo)colonial gaze in our contemporary political context.

The aim of the lab series is to demonstrate the ongoing work an alleged neutralization of bodies is doing to actually mark bodies as too religious, too political, too hysterical, too particular. While all of these claims and counter-claims about female bodies are certainly not new, we would like to use the space of the lab as a creative way to talk and re-enact certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities in order to raise awareness for processes of knowledge-production, religious practice, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the (neo)colonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we also want to complicate the notion of choice vs. oppression by reflecting collectively on processes of socialization into a communitarian subjectivity, a professional practice or a religious tradition. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity. Further, the neocolonial is also a way to integrate postcolonial and decolonial intellectual movements into issues of political dominance within the heart of the empire/nation-state.

The colony is here and now, it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. What do certain body formations hold and what do they foreclose? We would like to perform and discuss this in the lab with an intimate circle of participants. The lab will be opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story, that will turn its gaze into these analytic categories and broader questions of whose bodies become permissible and have access to upward mobility and whose bodies remain marked and signs of alterity. After the short input of 20-25 minutes, we will turn into a discussion, reflection and tool-making how some of these issues can be turned around and become tools of empowerment. The lab will work as a crucible to simmer and cook ideas that have validity in their practice. Artists, activists, community workers, and people of color are particularly encouraged to participate, share their perspectives and to carry some strategies into their field of activism.

The lab will be held in English.

Since we would like to keep an intimate atmosphere and the space cannot contain more than 25 people, we ask all interested to register to the following address until Sunday, December 4th: collectivenomen@gmail.com with a short introduction to who you are.

Tuesday, December 6th 016, 7 – 9.30 pm at Bilgisaray, Oranienstraße 194, Berlin Kreuzberg

Next lab:

#4 Tuesday, December 20th: The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground, lab art performance by Adi Liraz

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin by Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Armeghan Taheri and Hannah Tzuberi and joined by Patricia Piberger, Nahed Samour and Anid Stone.

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NOMEN Lab #2 In Search for the Anticolonial Jew

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This talk is not about Jews as such. It is about the use and function of the figure of the Jew in the context of German anti-colonial activism. My question is if the German context, within which the “Jewish voice” is endowed with a particular function, allows for autonomous maneuvering, or if the Jew as a “good other within” is not signified in way, that even his/her opposition to the colonial will be ultimately trapped within the mechanisms of hegemony.

Hannah Tzuberi has studied Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies in Berlin. She has a PhD in Jewish Studies (Rabbinic Studies) and is author of a blog (Mandolinaforpresident), that deals with the figure of the Jew and the Muslim in the making of “New Germany.”

The lab is the second from a new series of NOMEN Labs: The Body and the (Neo)colonial Gaze, by the NOMEN Collective

The body -particularly the female body- has become center attention again in the last weeks because of the debated burka- (Germany) and burkini- (France) ban. While the debates have brought once again to the fore, that Europe reinscribes religious bodies as too particular in the secular public sphere, it has also (re)produced the body of the religious woman of color as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists have contended on both sides, that the existence of the religious female body of color marked by cultural difference is either a matter of choice or of oppression. However, we in the NOMEN Collective would like to complicate this discourse. By aiming to unpack the notion of neutral bodies in neutral publics we will offer a mini lab series on the body and the (neo)colonial gaze in our contemporary political context.

The aim of the lab series is to demonstrate the ongoing work an alleged neutralization of bodies is doing to actually mark bodies as too religious, too political, too hysterical, too particular. While all of these claims and counter-claims about female bodies are certainly not new, we would like to use the space of the lab as a creative way to talk and re-enact certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities in order to raise awareness for processes of knowledge-production, religious practice, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the (neo)colonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we also want to complicate the notion of choice vs. oppression by reflecting collectively on processes of socialization into a communitarian subjectivity, a professional practice or a religious tradition. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity. Further, the neocolonial is also a way to integrate postcolonial and decolonial intellectual movements into issues of political dominance within the heart of the empire/nation-state.

The colony is here and now, it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. What do certain body formations hold and what do they foreclose? We would like to perform and discuss this in the lab with an intimate circle of participants. The lab will be opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story, that will turn its gaze into these analytic categories and broader questions of whose bodies become permissible and have access to upward mobility and whose bodies remain marked and signs of alterity. After the short input of 20-25 minutes, we will turn into a discussion, reflection and tool-making how some of these issues can be turned around and become tools of empowerment. The lab will work as a crucible to simmer and cook ideas that have validity in their practice. Artists, activists, community workers, and people of color are particularly encouraged to participate, share their perspectives and to carry some strategies into their field of activism.

The lab will be held in English.

Since we would like to keep an intimate atmosphere and the space cannot contain more than 25 people, we ask all interested to register to the following address until Sunday, November 20th: collectivenomen@gmail.com with a short introduction to who you are.

Tuesday, November 22nd 2016, 6 – 8.45 pm at Bilgisaray, Oranienstraße 194, Berlin Kreuzberg

Next labs:

#3 Tuesday, December 6th: Colonized Narratives of Violence against Women of Colour, lab talk by Armeghan Taheri

#4 Tuesday, December 20th: The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground, lab art performance by Adi Liraz

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin by Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Armeghan Taheri and Hannah Tzuberi and joined by Patricia Piberger, Nahed Samour and Anid Stone.

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NOMEN Lab #1 Producing knowledge as a minority anthropologist – When being a neutral observer is not an option Lab talk by Sultan Doughan

sultans-lab-2

Art detail by: Shirin Neshat

The discipline of anthropology has long been held accountable for accelerating an imperial European project in non-European colonies with colonized subjects. The stereotypical image of the white-man sitting in his safari-suit underneath a tree and observing a group of brown bodies go about their lives is not simply a caricature of knowledge-production, it also symbolizes the unbiased neutrality of the disinterested scientist. Although, there has been a critique of knowledge-production of anthropology through “the writing culture debate,” the question of neutrality, political bias and objectivity still prevails. In this lab talk, I will talk through some experiences of being a minority anthropologist, whose plea to observe actors in their daily work became a contentious issue of being too political, too biased, too opinionated and not objective at all. While I have tried to remain neutral and more passive, moments of expression or participation became, involuntarily so, instances of disrupting the orderly norm. Further, my presence would cause unrest, anxiety, and tension as if I were an investigative journalist who was there to unmask my research interlocutors. In this talk, I will explicitly talk about my positionality in my research as something that was already decided for me by my interlocutors as either evil or good, supportive or offensive, but never as simply neutral or objective. By owning the methods of anthropology I have overcome my own anxieties of producing distorted knowledge. Rather, this talk is about embracing my subjectivity in producing the knowledge, that holds true for many minorities in contemporary Europe today. While my talk is about my specific fieldwork as an academic, I contend that many of the experience I made as a woman from a minoritarian and highly problematized religious and ethnic community are valid for women of color in professional fields that are dominated by majoritarian actors and norms. The lab will be about how to use one’s own positionality to debunk accusations of fraud, bias or one-sided work. My claim is that there is no neutral position, but certain positions are not marked as producing politics, but simply knowledge.

The lab is the first from a new series of NOMEN Labs: The Body and the (Neo)colonial Gaze, by the NOMEN Collective

The body -particularly the female body- has become center attention again in the last weeks because of the debated burka- (Germany) and burkini- (France) ban. While the debates have brought once again to the fore, that Europe reinscribes religious bodies as too particular in the secular public sphere, it has also (re)produced the body of the religious woman of color as a problem that needs further regulation, disciplining and policing. Activists have contended on both sides, that the existence of the religious female body of color marked by cultural difference is either a matter of choice or of oppression. However, we in the NOMEN Collective would like to complicate this discourse. By aiming to unpack the notion of neutral bodies in neutral publics we will offer a mini lab series on the body and the (neo)colonial gaze in our contemporary political context.

The aim of the lab series is to demonstrate the ongoing work an alleged neutralization of bodies is doing to actually mark bodies as too religious, too political, too hysterical, too particular. While all of these claims and counter-claims about female bodies are certainly not new, we would like to use the space of the lab as a creative way to talk and re-enact certain sentiments, emotions, and sensibilities in order to raise awareness for processes of knowledge-production, religious practice, intra-communal struggle as always already complicated by the (neo)colonial gaze. While we agree, that there is no neutral body, that all bodies are produced and made productive through subjugation and discursive webs of power, we also want to complicate the notion of choice vs. oppression by reflecting collectively on processes of socialization into a communitarian subjectivity, a professional practice or a religious tradition. The notion of the neocolonial is important in pointing out, how certain power asymmetries have older genealogies, but come in a new disguise not by simply exercising brute power or change of structure, but by turning older colonial questions into questions of culture and cultural normativity. Further, the neocolonial is also a way to integrate postcolonial and decolonial intellectual movements into issues of political dominance within the heart of the empire/nation-state.

The colony is here and now, it holds untamed subjects and their performing bodies. What do certain body formations hold and what do they foreclose? We would like to perform and discuss this in the lab with an intimate circle of participants. The lab will be opened by one NOMEN Collective founding member with a personal story, that will turn its gaze into these analytic categories and broader questions of whose bodies become permissible and have access to upward mobility and whose bodies remain marked and signs of alterity. After the short input of 20-25 minutes, we will turn into a discussion, reflection and tool-making how some of these issues can be turned around and become tools of empowerment. The lab will work as a crucible to simmer and cook ideas that have validity in their practice. Artists, activists, community workers, and people of color are particularly encouraged to participate, share their perspectives and to carry some strategies into their field of activism.

The lab will be held in English.

Since we would like to keep an intimate atmosphere and the space can not contain more than 25 people, we ask all interested to register to the following address until Sunday, November 6th: collectivenomen@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 8th 2016, from 18 o’clock at Bilgisaray, Oranienstraße 194, Berlin Kreuzberg

Next labs:

#2 Tuesday, November 22nd: In Search for the Anticolonial Jew. Reflections on Conversion in and out of Judaism, lab talk by Hannah Tzuberi

#3 Tuesday, December 6th: Colonized Narratives of Violence against Women of Colour, lab talk by Armeghan Taheri

#4 Tuesday, December 20th: The Fluid Body on an Uneven Political Ground, lab art performance by Adi Liraz

Sultan Doughan is a PhD. Candidate in the department of anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her current doctoral thesis deals with citizen-making for religious minorities (Jewish & Muslim) in the field of historical-political education as an after-product of Holocaust education in contemporary Germany. Doughan holds a M.A. in Arabic Studies, Islamic Studies and Political Science from the FU Berlin, where she graduated with a master’s thesis on “The imaginary historian in the Atlas Group Archive.” The Atlas Group, a fictional archive that reorganizes what can be said, visualized and known about the Lebanese Civil War, is an art project by the media artist Walid Raad. Doughan’s interest include questions of secularism, affect, ethics, embodiment, performance and performativity, memory, historiography as an instrument of domination, habitus as well as the political and art practices in highly regulated and state dominated spaces for minority subjects. As part of her early and ongoing scholarship she has studied in Sabanci Üniversitesi, Istanbul, Damascus University,  University of Chicago. She is currently based in Berlin as a fellow of the Wenner-Gren Foundation (New York City) for the study of anthropology. She is one of the four founders of the NOMEN Collective.

NOMEN Collective for Ethical Art and Political Practice was established on March 2016 in Berlin by Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Armeghan Taheri and Hannah Tzuberi and joined by Beate Klammt, Patricia Piberger, Nahed Samour and Anid Stone.

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Darf ich?

(von Anid Stone)

Integration ist gerade ein beliebtes Thema. Viele schreiben darüber. Viele reden darüber. Viele fordern mehr Integration. Es werden neue Regeln geschaffen. Dies und jenes muss man wissen. Deutsch sprechen. Und da kommen wir zu dem anderen wichtigen Teil dieses Themas. In was soll /darf / möchte man sich denn integrieren? Ins Deutsch-Sein. In die deutsche Gesellschaft? Das deutsche Gesamtbewusstsein?

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Die Identität Deutsch-Sein ist nämlich ein sehr spannendes Phänomen. Ich beobachte es schon länger. Und es kommt immer etwas Neues dazu.

Spricht man etwas an, was man als „typisch deutsch“ bezeichnet, wird das gerne ausführlich in Frage gestellt. Was das denn schon sei? Typisch Deutsch? Ob es das denn gäbe. Es sei ja nur ein Konzept. Man bräuchte ja nicht die Identifikation.

Wenn allerdings ich mal erwähne, aus gegebenem Anlass, dass ich mich nun mal nicht 100% deutsch fühle, fallen Reaktionen erstaunlich betroffen und kämpferisch aus. Natürlich sei ich auch eine Deutsche! Wo denn das Problem liege?

Ich bin vor zwanzig Jahren nach Deutschland gekommen, als Kontingent-Flüchtling. Seit etwa zehn Jahren habe ich einen deutschen Pass. Dass ich deutsche Bürgerin bin, wählen darf und Steuererklärungen mache, würde ich nie abstreiten. Und ehrlich! Ich bin so glücklich um diesen Pass. Und dieses Land liegt mir am Herzen. Wahlen, die das ganze Land betreffen, nehme ich auch wirklich ernst. Und ich habe auch einen großen Platz in meinem Herzen für die deutsche Literatur. Die meisten Deutschen, die ich kenne, haben z.B. Goethe nicht unbedingt gelesen. Auch nicht im Unterricht. Man kann sich ja die Antworten für die Hausaufgaben aus dem Internet kopieren. Und Thomas Mann und seine Buddenbrooks! Was für ein Werk! Und ehrlich, ich hab auch gerne ein bisschen im neuen Testament gelesen. Christliche Werte. Deutsches Kulturgut. Aber ich würd mich trotzdem nicht als deutsch bezeichnen, nicht zu 100%. Ich sage: Ich habe einiges aus der deutschen Kultur in mich integriert. Aber bin ich integriert?

Sie fragten „Woher kommst du?“. Auch aus Interesse. Nett und freundlich. Aber es verweist darauf, dass ich von woanders her komme. Sichtlich nicht von hier.

Sie sagten: „Wie!?  Du kennst das Krümelmonster nicht? Das geht nicht!“. Warum eigentlich nicht? Ich kenne andere Monster und Hexen. Und ich liebe sie. Cheburashka berührt mich tief in der Seele. Das Krümelmonster nicht. Muss ich mich dafür nun entschuldigen und es noch nachholen?

Sie sagten: „Mach lieber kein Deutsch-Leistungskurs. Es ist nicht deine Muttersprache.“ Ich habe damals schon Gedichte geschrieben.

Sie sagten: „So kannst du dein zukünftiges Kind nicht nennen.“ Aber mit Namen wie Julia, Tobias, Lena oder Paul habe ich keine Assoziationen. Ich musste ernsthaft Recherche betreiben um zu verstehen, was der Insider-Joke ist zu Namen wie Kevin oder Jaqueline. Als ich nun endlich jemanden fand, der mir kompetent erklären konnte, was es mit diesen Namen „auf sich hat“, war ich eher traurig als belustigt.

Sie sagten: „Du kannst aber gut deutsch.“ Lobend, überrascht, erfreut.

Sie sagten: „Du bist ja gut integriert, da brauchst du dir ja keine Sorgen machen. Gut integrierte Ausländer sind ja ok.“

Ich bin irgendwie integriert.

Aber wenn ich mal einen Kommentar über die langen deutschen Wörter mache, soll ich die Ausländernummer nicht so raushängen lassen. Dabei find ich es einfach genial. Ich mag die deutsche Sprache.

Ich werde korrigiert, wenn ich einen Fehler mache, der sich offensichtlich eingeschlichen hat – weil sonst lerne ich es ja nie.

Sie wollen, dass ich mich 100% dem Deutsch-Sein verschreibe, ohne Kompromisse. Sie selber „fühlen sich garnicht deutsch“.

Dabei will ich mich einfach nicht auf eine Beschreibung festlegen. Ich bin mit der jüdischen Geschichte aufgewachsen. Die Geschehnisse vor dem zweiten Weltkrieg in Deutschland, in der Sowjetunion unter Stalin und unsere Flucht.  Und auch islamische Werte haben mich geprägt. Die Bescheidenheit und Fürsorge. Das Dankgebet vor dem Essen. Das „Wenn Allah es so will“, demütig, wenn man Aussagen über die Zukunft trifft. Das christliche Vertrauen in Gott und in die Wunder, die man aus dem Glauben heraus vollbringen kann. Kants Imperativ. Die Reserviertheit der Hanseaten und das Temperament der ehemals sowjetischen Nationen. Die Leidensbereitschaft und der Sturkopf von Russland. Und wie liebe ich Bach und Rachmaninow. Religiösen Gesang in Moscheen, Synagogen und Kirchen. Deutsche Präzision und Pünktlichkeit. Sowjetisches Problemlösen. Deutsche Direktheit. Tatarische Küche. Deutschen Rap.

Bin ich integriert? Darf ich kulturell vielseitig geprägt sein? Darf ich aufhören mich zu rechtfertigen? Darf ich so bleiben, wie ich bin? Kann ich akzeptiert, respektiert, vielleicht sogar gewertschätzt werden?

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Ich bin nicht hier geboren. Und ich erinnere mich noch an einiges, was war, bevor ich in Deutschland war. Es gab wenig zu essen. Und wir wurden angegriffen, vertrieben. Wir mussten unsere Heimat verlassen. Alles war fremd. Ich habe die erste Klasse in Deutschland besucht. Sie sagten: „Kauf dir mal den Tüte Deutsch!“ Hab ich gemacht. Bekomme ich nun eine Armbinde? Wo drauf steht „GEZ bezahlt!“ und eine wo drauf steht „Tüte Deutsch gekauft! Erfolgreich integriert!“ Weil sie sagen: Du brauchst doch keine Angst haben vor Nazis! Vielleicht hab ich dann keine Angst mehr vor gewaltbereiten Nazis, mit so einer Armbinde. Vielleicht fühle ich mich nicht mehr angesprochen, wenn sie sagen: Wir haben genug von denen aufgenommen!

Vielleicht zählt es dann ja was, mit meiner Armbinde, wenn ich auf die brennenden Asylheime aufmerksam mache. Vielleicht wird es dann nicht als ängstlich und affektiert weggewunken.

Aber hier kommt einer meiner deutschen Werte: Ich mag keine Armbinden mit Symbolen drauf…

Also darf ich was sagen? Könnt ihr meine Wirklichkeit anhören? Darf meine Wirklichkeit ein Teil von Deutschland sein? Darf ich?

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The Dividing Line: About Sheitels and Judaism

(by Bat Aher [1])

According to Jewish Law, a woman’s hair is her “nakedness,” and as such it must be covered. From marriage onwards, its sight is reserved for the husband only. Its sensuality is hidden and veiled, clouded for every-(male)-one else. שייטל – Sheitel is Yiddish for wig and, together with headscarves and hats, it is one of the permitted and accepted ways of female hair-covering in rabbinic, normative Judaism. “Jewish women in Italy were donning wigs as early as the 16th century. As wig-wearing became popular in Europe in the 18th century — think Marie Antoinette — Jewish women followed suit.”[2]

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I live in Berlin, Germany, at the moment. But originally I’m not from here: my look, my skin, my bodily features, my language, my manners are foreign in this place. And – as a Jewish religious, married woman – I wear wigs, hats and headscarves every day.

The headscarf (in German Kopftuch) is an issue per se. Alongside the Beschneidungsdebatte (“circumcision-debate”) of 2012, there is an ongoing Kopftuchdebatte, with repeated bans on headscarves for teachers and never-ending controversies, specifically targeting Muslim women, who have my unconditioned sympathy. Generally, Germany – and even its liberal, international outpost, Berlin – still has a problem with religious and ethnic diversity. On a very banal, prosaic level, this means that when you put on a headscarf (or, for that matter, a kippah and tzitzit), you have to deal with a series of everyday embarrassing, up to really annoying situations, such as being stared at, reprimanded, instructed by absolute strangers about the right way to behave, or treated badly and condescendingly by sellers or by your dentist. When I wear a hat (especially in winter, when everyone else also has a nice Winterhut) or a wig, the amount of harassment diminishes consistently and my quality of life is slightly improved. I kind of blend in.

What makes the difference is that wearing a veil marks the fact that you voluntarily made a choice: a wrong one. Being ‘brownish’, not-‘Arian’ looking, born in a ‘less developed’ country, not having German as your mother-tongue is not your fault – although at the end it is, a little bit: something intrinsically amiss in your attitude or culture caused you to find yourself in such a bad situation that you had to leave your original place and move to a better one – Germany. But still, you can improve, you can learn, and therefore be treated nicely. But a woman, who wears a headscarf is intentionally labelling herself, thus consciously “othering” herself, causing the surrounding people to “other” her as well. She does not only adopt a mark which conveys a backward, primitive, degenerate message: She says straight to your face that she wants to be different from you; colorfully and blatantly she marks her person, so as to distance herself from the norm, tracing a boundary-line.

I had the opportunity to talk with a Muslim woman, who told me about a conversation she had with a member of a commission for granting scholarships. The man told her thoughtfully that he’d understand what it means to be discriminated against because of your looks: when he is in Paris, he feels people treat him in a disparaging way because he is German. Then he paused. He gazed at her headscarf, and added: well, but I don’t intentionally put a tag on my forehead, saying: “I’m German.” From his point of view, this is what this girl – and myself – are doing: we dissociate ourselves from society at large, and provoke our discrimination through hate-arousing religious markers and a deliberate act of self-othering. We actively dis-integrate ourselves. And we thus deserve to be cut off from the rights of the norm. This is what we want.

The accusation of self-inflicted “othering” through embodied practice and self-inflicted metaphysical alterity is a very old charge against Jews. Body-modification and -adornment practices such as circumcision or a distinct style of clothing, voluntary delimitation or even deprivation through the dietary laws of Kashrut and other restrictions represent an auto-demarcation (Stempelung). They construct a barrier, which keeps alive a sense of difference: I surely see my Jewish practice as a means of installing difference, that is, difference is also an end in and of itself. The wish to be absolutely dissimilar is a (not ‘the’) motor of Jewish culture.

However, I don’t get the conclusion that is inferred from this, namely that marking yourself as different means that you irritate, look for a contest, negate the other’s righteousness, or create disharmony within society. Outward markers of religiosity are a glaring strategy to differentiate oneself from others, and a way of self-determination through estrangement. However, they are not necessarily a means of “othering” or asking to “be othered” in a discriminating way: Yes, they create opposition poles, but these are not necessarily connoted negatively. Religious symbols are not a declaration of aversion and conflict. Moreover, self-authored difference is not self-imposed insularity. To blame someone, who is being discriminated against, of provoking this discrimination is a difficult move: the inscription of one’s body is not a self-inflicted stigma; rather, it represents the desire of being recognized as worthy and equal despite/because deliberate difference. Jewish distinctive garb wants to convey the statement that difference is a value in and of itself, and not an unavoidable or at best, to be “tolerated” defect of human nature that we wish to overcome in our hearts.

Jews have always actively created or (re-)produced difference and differentiation.

The Rema, Rav Moses Isserles, the halakhic champion of Ashkenazic and Polish Judaism prescribes (Yore Deah 178) that a Jew must deliberately “differentiate from them in dress and other practices.”

“While distinctively Jewish appearance might imply a symbolic rejection of the dominant society’s supposed values, such as “idolatry” or “licentiousness”, it was more fundamentally a performance of difference. Jewish sartorial differentiation… was not compatible with a modernizing ethos of homogeneity. … [Polish reformers were] charging that Jewish clothing and hairstyles produced and perpetuated difference, which … threatened to undermine social harmony. Traditional Jewish attire was … deemed clannish and visibly repugnant, while Jewish hairstyles were said to encourage the spread of the scalp infection known as koltun.”[3]

And here I return to my Sheitel, my wig. My university peers (all non-Jewish women), with whom I spend my free time between master-courses, have always known that I’m kind of an exception in our group. For instance, we are all at the same age, but I’m the only one who is already married. Our friendship is based on our common interests and we are aware that there are slices of our lives that we cannot share with one another. The only thing, which really poses a difficulty in our relationship, is my Sheitel. This is völlig bekloppt (batshit insane) for them. Of course, also the headscarf – I have been repeatedly asked how dirty my hair and my scalp are – but the Sheitel is the ultimate division point.

The term Sheitel is most probably derived from the German Scheitel, meaning parting (of hair going in opposite directions), but also more generally ‘division,’ ‘separation’, from scheiden, ‘to separate.’

I don’t mind that my university friends don’t understand my Sheitel. As a Jewish friend once said to me: “No one understands why we put on Sheitels.” Indeed, even the Muslim girl from the scholarship interview was shocked. She honestly said to me that she doesn’t find it modest to cover the hair with fake hair that resembles your own, whereby most people around you are tricked, they don’t know it is a wig and think this is your real hair.

I have come to the conclusion that Sheitels are a quintessentially Jewish phenomenon in many ways. There are two main aspects here. The first is the difficulty to cope with a majority society which pushes you to abandon the distinctiveness and foreignness of your Jewish attire and to damp down your public performance of difference; in other words, to suffocate your alternative, rebellious message. To put on signifiers of radical difference is so much time- and energy consuming, so exhausting, that at a certain point you just wish to blend in, to be unnoticed at work, to get that job, to be listened to, to effortlessly and unseen sneak in to the accepted parameters of decency, elegance and respectability. When you live several years in Berlin, you understand why you need that sometimes, in order not to collapse. Your soul is constantly squeezed by the animosity and prejudice of the external world. In a veil, you are a political activist on the barricade. So on the one hand, the wig is your vacation.

Yet on the other hand, the wig is particularly repugnant to my German, non-Jewish friends who know that I wear it, because it is the last outpost of Jewish uncanny and obstinate difference, of faithful adherence to a national-religious custom and belief, in spite of everything. Secretly, hidden like Marranos, but nonetheless upholding it, tricking and resisting assimilation, in spite of the attempts to make the Jew desist from perpetuating her deep-rooted creed and her dissemination of difference. For the woman who wears it and for those who ask about it, her wig is a boundary line: it keeps a private sphere away from the external possession desire. Like the veil, it is not only a means for concealment, but for signaling the presence of a secret.

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Wigs were not always thought of as repugnant: there were times in which everyone in Europe wore them. They came from the general culture, but their continued use in Judaism makes them a device contributing to the perpetuation of Jewish distinction (as for instance, the polish Streimel that originally was not specifically Jewish – the moving of symbols and their displacement is a well-known cultural phenomenon). Reiterative difference – declined differently in different times and places, according to the situation – is descriptive of the Jewish creative force that wants to imitate the Divine act of creation by separation.

The second idea, which a wig represents, is the recognition of the value of two contradictory truths and the tension this creates. A woman’s hair is a beautiful gift and a part of female expression. On the other hand, the practice of covering has also significance as part of a manner of existence that does not want to forget the virtue of modesty. The wig compromises and combines the sparks of these sincere ideas, accepting and legitimizing the two different points of view they entail.

According to Judaism, there are indeed many ways – each containing a fragment of truth – to arrive to God and good. Everyone should be free to follow her own way, also if that means that she has to ignore the harmonizing and homogenizing needs of “progress” and “civilization.” Tsar Nicholas said that Jewish distinctive dress was one of the “chief reasons their progression towards civilization had been held back.”[4] I think he is right. But I also think that – since what he held for civilization ended up in terrible massacres – it is a good thing.

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[1] For the story of Bito shel Aher (‘the daughter of the Other’) sees bHag 15b.
[3] Dynner, Glenn, “The Garment of Torah: Clothing Decrees and the Warsaw Career of the First Gerer Rebbe,” in: Dynner, G. and Guesnet, F. (eds.), Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis, Leiden and Boston: Brill 2015, p. 100-102.
[4] Dynner, “The Garment of Torah,” 105. [3] Dynner, “The Garment of Torah,” 105.

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HUNGER – Vom Hunger nach einem lebenswerten Dasein / HUNGER – About being hungry for a livable life

(English after German)

HUNGER – Vom Hunger nach einem lebenswerten Dasein
Im Zentrum dieser Ausstellung sowie ihrer Begleitveranstaltungen stehen unterschiedliche Auffassungen von und Verhältnisse zum Hunger. Jenseits dominierender Perspektiven präsentieren wir die Arbeiten von Künstlerinnen diverser Bezüglichkeiten und Marginalisierungen. Wir nähern uns den drängenden Fragen von Hunger, von Sichtbarkeit und vom Politischen. Zugleich versuchen wir diese zu reartikulieren: Wie steht’s mit dem Hunger nach Leben, nach Nahrung, nach Bildung, nach Frieden?
Was ist mit dem Hunger danach, mit allen individuellen Unterschieden und Eigenheiten als menschliches Wesen anerkannt und zugleich nicht zum „Anderen“ gemacht zu werden?
Uns beschäftigt der Hunger danach, Vorurteile zu überwinden. Frei von Erwartungen zu handeln, ohne das „Exotische“, das „Unbekannte“, den „Savage Slot“ repräsentieren zu müssen. Der Hunger danach, akzeptiert zu werden. Ohne Forderungen danach, sich zu verändern, sich zu „integrieren“, sich zu assimilieren.
Der Hunger danach, den persönlichen Wünschen und Hoffnungen entsprechend leben zu können, leben zu dürfen.
Letztendlich der Hunger in und nach unterschiedlichen religiösen Praktiken. Danach, dem nahe zu kommen, was Göttlich ist. Schutz und Fürsorge in der eigenen Gemeinschaft zu finden, aber ebenso eine behutsame Beziehung zum eigenen sterblichen Körper zu pflegen.

HUNGER – About being hungry for a livable life
In this exhibition and its accompanying events, we will present different perceptions of hunger: We will feature the works of different artists, from various backgrounds and from different marginalized groups, offering a perspective on hunger that differs from the one of the common gaze. In perhaps unexpected ways we will approach issues related to hunger, visibility and the political. Our aim is to articulate them anew:
What about being hungry for life, for food, for education, and for peace? What about the hunger to be recognized as a human being with all differences, without being ‘othered’? Further, the hunger to overcome prejudice, to act without the expectation of representing the exotic, the unknown, the savage slot. Hungry to be respected and to be accepted without expectations to change, integrate or assimilate, but to live as one wishes to live. Lastly, the hunger in different religious practices: to get closer to what is divine, to find a common good in one’s community but also to develop a relationship of care with one’s mortal body.

Kollaboration von NOMEN Collective mit der Salaam-Schalom Initiative, produziert von dem NOMEN Collective.
In Rahmen der 48 Stunden Neukölln – Offizielle Fanseite / collaboration of NOMEN Collective with the Salaam- Schalom Intiative in the frame of the 48 hours Neukölln art festival
NOMEN Collective für ethische Kunst und politische Praxis wurde von / Nomen Collective for ethical art and political practice was founded by: Sultan Doughan, Adi Liraz, Armeghan Taheri and Hannah Tzuberi (gegründet).

event´s picture

detail from I have issues with my body by Danielle Malka

KÜNSTLERINNEN / ARTISTS:

– Danielle Malka: I have issues with my body, (2014)

– Deborah S. Phillips: für Wein/for wine, für Brot/ for bread, Besondere Anlässe/ special occasions, Regen /Rain, Ungeheuer/Monster (2016)

– Sanija Kulenovic: Safe Space: Welcome (2015)

– Anid Stone: Selbstblick (2016)

– Adi Liraz: Neutrality/Neutralität (2016)

– Nine Yamamoto- Masson: Crave / Ascesis / Shape-Shifters: Trilogy Circuit (2016)

Kuratiert von/ curated by Adi Liraz

Austellungsöffnungszeiten / exhibtion opening times: Fr 21:00 bis Sa 02:00 Uhr, Sa 11:00 bis So 02:00 Uhr, So 11:00 bis 19:00 Uhr

Begleitprogramm / events program HUNGER:

Freitag /Friday 24.06.2016
Ab 21 Uhr / from 9 pm Performance von/by Adi Liraz: My Fluid Body (2016), durational

Samstag / Saturday 25.06.2016
18.30 – 20.00 Uhr / 6:30 – 8 pm FASTEN – Religiosität und Hunger(n) / FASTING – Religiosity and Hunger(ing)
Round Table:
In einem Round Table befassen wir uns mit der religiösen Praxis des Fastens. Besonders interessiert uns die bewusste Entscheidung dazu, sich in den Zustand des Hungerns zu versetzen und damit zugleich einen ganz anderen Hunger zu befriedigen. Den Hunger nach dem Göttlichen, nach der religiösen Gemeinschaft, nach einer intensiven Auseinandersetzung mit sich selbst. Zudem fragen wir nach den konkreten Erfahrungen fastender Menschen innerhalb einer säkularen Gesellschaft, in der Religiosität zuerst von marginaler Bedeutung zu sein scheint.
Das Publikum ist herzlich zum Austausch eingeladen.

In this discussion we will engage with the religious practice of fasting. We are especially interested in the conscious decision to enter the state of hunger in order to satisfy a different kind of hunger. The hunger for the divine, for a religious community, for an intense engagement with oneself. Moreover, we also inquire about concrete experiences of fasting persons in a secular society, where religiosity seems to be of marginal significance.
We invite the audience to participate in a discussion with us.
Moderiert von / moderation: Anid Stone und Patricia Piberger

21.00 – 22.00 Uhr / 9 – 10 pm Interaktiver Austausch zu den Themen der Ausstellung / Interactive engagement with the themes of the exhibition, moderiert von / moderation: Verena Deventer

Ab 22.00 Uhr / from 10 pm SÄTTIGEN – Nahrung und die Arbeit des Lebens / TO SATISFY – Nutrition and the Labor of Life
Performance inkl. Iftar Nachtisch/Dessert
In einer Performance nähern wir uns der Frage, was es eigentlich bedeutet satt zu sein. Mit welcher zumeist unbeachteten, alltäglichen Arbeit ist der Weg zu diesem Zustand gepflastert? Wie verhalten sich Nahrung, Hunger und Leben zueinander? Wir möchten die unbemerkte Arbeit des Lebens sichtbar machen und zugleich darauf verweisen, wie unterschiedlich diese Last in der Gesellschaft verteilt ist. Als Gruppe nicht-muslimischer Frauen können wir besonders zu Zeiten des Fastenmonats Ramadan die alltägliche Arbeit Fastender lediglich erahnen. Mit unserer Arbeit möchten wir Anerkennung dafür ausdrücken und (symbolische) Momente der Sättigung ermöglichen.
Die Performance wird zum Iftar (Fastenbrechen) mit einem kleinen Snack schließen, zu dem wir das gesamte Publikum herzlich einladen.

In this performance we approach the question of what it means to be full. How is the road to this feeling paved? What kind of unnoticed and everyday work makes it possible? What is the relation between nutrition, hunger and life? We would like to make the unseen labor of life visible and at the same time point out how differentially this burden is distributed in society. We, as a group of non-Muslim women are especially aware that during the month of Ramadan fasting persons are conducting a general labor. We would like to recognize that kind of labor and would like to make possible symbolic moments of symbolic satiation. The performance will close with a snack for Iftar to which we invite the entire audience
Mit / with: Patricia Piberger, Anid Stone, Verena Deventer, Adi Liraz, Deborah S. Phillips als ein Aktion von dem NOMEN Collective.

Adresse:
Rollberger Straße 26, Vollgutlager in der ehem. Kindl-Brauerei, in der zweiten Etage

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