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Postponed! Dialogue forum with Patras Bwansi, Noa Ha and Joshua Kwesi Aikins: “Post-colonial migration and the Humboldt-Forum”, Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 7pm, August-Bebel-Institut

As part of the series of events on 'Decolonial Objections to the Humboldt Forum' AfricAvenir would like to invite you on Wednesday, 23. April at 7 pm to an open discussion/panel forum with Patras Bwansi (artist and human rights activist, co-initiator of African Refugees Union ARU), Joshua Kwesi Aikins (political scientist and activist ISD) and Noa Ha (critical urban researcher). Under the theme “Post-colonial migration and the Humboldt Forum”, we will discuss the existing connections between two very special places in Berlin Mitte: On the one side of the city is the Humboldt Forum/Berliner Schloss where the “cultures of the world are set to become partners to the most distinguished square in Germany”.  Juxtaposed to this is the Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg, which has come to symbolise a transnational movement of refugees from all over the world who are demanding their right to social participation.

The Ethnological Museum in Dahlem hosts a collection of more than 500,000 ethnographic, archaeological and art displays from Africa, Asia and the Americas. But the people, who are the heirs to these cultures, are denied access to German and European societies. A restrictive foreign policy denies them entry while at the same time preventing the return of these works of art to their countries of origin.  Given the context, the motto of the Humboldt Forum, “Connecting the world as much as possible” smacks of cynicism.

While cultural objects and works of art can be enjoyed on “the most distinguished square in Germany”, people are being pushed off to shelters and deported. As former Malian Minister of Culture and Tourism Animata Traoré commented in 2006 at the opening of the Musée du Quai Branly said: “Our works of art have civil rights in a space to which we are denied access”. Refugees in Germany have protested vociferously against the repressive asylum policies for over a year now. Under the slogan: “We are here because you are destroying our countries”, they are confidently drawing attention to the colonial and neo-colonial circumstances that have forced them to migrate to Europe.

The panel discussion will shed light on how the historical pillaging of their cultural heritage and the ongoing limitation of cultural empowerment has become part of their struggle. Patras Bwansi, Co-initiator and Member of the African Refugees Union, calls for a change in perspective on global relations and outlines his vision of a “welcoming culture”. The colonial roots of central Berlin and present urban development in German cities and cultural policies will be one of the main themes in the panel discussion with Joshua Kwesi Aikins and Noa Hoa afterwards.  

Patras Bwansi is a painter, textile designer and an activist for refugees’ rights and against homophobia. In 2001, he submitted an application for asylum in Berlin. From there he was sent to the immigration department in Munich, where he was assigned to the centre for asylum seekers in Breiteberg (Passau). In 2011, he started political activities in Passau and in 2012 joined the No Border Camp in Cologne / Düsseldorf and later the protest movement on  Oranienplatz (Berlin). There he initiated the African Refugees Union and organized campaigns and workshops for refugees.

Noa Ha is an Asian-German urban researcher and activist. In her Ph.D. on migrant practices in street-trade, she examined the production of urban space from a decolonial and racist-critical perspective and public space policies. In her work as an activist, she is involved in korientation –an Asian-German network and in the decoloniality Europe network. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Berlin-Brandenburg Migration Council.

Joshua Kwesi Aikins is a political scientist and Ph.D. candidate at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology. As an activist of the Straßeninitiative and the Initiative Black People in Germany, he was co-responsible for renaming Berlin-Kreuzberg’s Gröbenufers into May-Ayim-Ufer. His research focuses on the interaction of western and indigenous political systems in Ghana, representations of the African diaspora as well as post-coloniality and the policy of commemoration in Germany.

Wednesday, 23 April
7 pm

13353 Berlin
S/U Wedding (Ringbahn, U6, Bus 120)

The event will be held in English.

The event is part of the No Humbodt 21! campaign
More information: no-humboldt21.de

In cooperation with August-Bebel-Institut and Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland e.V..

With the friendly support of the county office for international cooperation Berlin.

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