Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Never Again Ever - Holocaust Memorial

It was a real privilege to speak at Never Again Ever's Holocaust Memorial at the weekend. A tricky brief: detecting patterns from past genocides to inform lessons for preventing contemporary violence - and in a cabaret style. Referring to the Nazi holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda, I talked about processes of othering - how groups are seen as distinct - and how these groups become the subject of hatred or fear. I then reflected on how violence moves from the unthinkable to the inevitable through shifting norms and institutions.

The mass atrocities that have taken place in Congo in the last couple of decades manifest these patterns in a particular way: much of the population of Congo has been 'othered' for their lack of economic purpose within a globalised market; they are also - ironically - feared as their existence and way of life pose critical challenges to mainstream processes of development, which has been pursued largely through the sale of mineral assets and agricultural land. Through the narrative of 'rational violence' the deaths, particularly in eastern Congo, have come to be seen as inevitable, and my speech was about unpicking the apparent inevitability that groups of people will be killed.

Here are the props: the mask representing the othering, the umbrella the fear, and the £10 the apparent inevitability of the market and the deaths that it implies in this context.

It was great to meet a former VCD student there and current SOAS students!
Here's the whole caboodle: http://neveragainever.org/2015/02/02/14th-february-2015-4-to-7-pm-the-nazi-holocaust-is-history-right-a-unique-never-again-ever-memorial-activism-programme-of-speakers-and-performances-to-pass-on-the-legacy-of-survivors/

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