Rodaan Al Galidi on Historical Taboos

It’s strange that no one believes that I’ve been through a nine year asylum procedure. When I tell people they cannot believe that their system has something like that on their conscience.

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When I was living in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the system was hard. You always had to be careful. Reading books was very dangerous since if you read there was the possibility you would think

 

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Rodaan Al Galidi on Labour Force/Humans

Everyone gets their money back. 
Europe will be an empty and cold continent in 90 years. It will be an unhealthy place as a result of its unhealthy air. Everything in the ground will have run out and the Europeans will have long hoisted their sails and left. Just as with the Indians, we will write about them very beautifully and say that they wrote nice poems and novels, brought the greatest changes to the world, and created the best democracies and human rights. In each country, the immigrants will build a museum for the last two Europeans. For example, in Groningen there will be a museum with two Hollanders. Sadly, they won’t be able to hear about how great they used to be, and how after the 20th century they had their worst period ever – and how before that, they were the greatest captains of the ship of life.

 

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Rodaan al Galidi on Flirting with Stereotypes

If humans accepted stereotyping as something natural, it will only make them more curious about others as opposed to being afraid of – or afraid for – others.
As an Iraqi (i.e. me), I see it this way: Wow, look at all these sleepwalkers. They don’t know how rich they are in both money and happiness. Phhh, it’s a shame they need a war to realise that. A huge shame.

 

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Kinan Azmeh

Kinan Azmeh  (c) Omar Basha

Kinan Azmeh  (c) Omar Basha

Kinan Azmeh is a clarinet player and composer. Hailed as a “virtuoso” by the New York Times and "Incredibly Rich sound" by the CBC, Kinan is one of Syria’s rising stars. His utterly distinctive sound across different musical genres is now fast gaining international recognition. He was the first Arab to win the premier prize at the 1997 Nicolai Rubinstein International Competition, Moscow. Currently Kinan is finishing his doctoral work at the City University of New York.  

 

Kinan Azmeh on Historical Taboos

I am not someone who believes in taboos in the first place, and I feel that it is my duty as an artist to challenge those whenever possible and expose them to the public as much as possible. Also I am not sure there should be a one national taboo for any culture. However, I do acknowledge that many taboos in the Arab world are religious ones or culturally associated with religious practices or understandings.  On the other hand, the most striking European taboo that I see – which is not only European but also American – is the whole discussion that comes together when discussing Israel's present and past. Even though it is a topic that has been discussed over and over among scholars, I do feel from many European friends a hesitation in discussing this in public and criticising Israel policies.
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Kinan Azmeh on Labour Force/Humans

I hear lots of talking about tolerance between people. I think this is the wrong approach. Once usually tolerates what he/she does not like. What we are discussing here is not tolerance but acceptance, accepting that there are people in the world who look/act/behave differently that what one is accustomed to. Integration should start on the most basic level: education. Integration begins in the family, school, university all the way to the applicable laws that protect every citizen's right to be different. Having a ministry of integration is a sign that the society in which it exists is having major issues.
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Lina Ben Mhenni

Lina Ben Mhenni.jpeg

Lina Ben Mhenni is a Tunisian Internet activist, blogger and university linguistics teacher. Lina has been awarded the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award and El Mundo’s International Journalism Prize. During the rule of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, she was one of the few bloggers to blog using her real name rather than adopting a pseudonym to protect her identity.

 

Lina Ben Mhenni on Historical Taboos

For more than 35 years, my country Tunisia, along with other North African countries, had belonged to the French colonial empire. A long period during which Tunisians suffered too much as they were slaves within their own territories. After bloody battles and continuous sacrifices, colonialists left our country. Nevertheless they left their traces. One of the most important of these is French language, which today constitutes a real taboo for Tunisians. Indeed, under the French protectorate, this language was imposed through institutions, and especially through education, which proved a strong factor for its dissemination.
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Lina Ben Mhenni on Next Generation Please!

Each time I have been invited to talk about my country, about our revolution and the Arab Spring, the conference room had been overcrowded with generous people eager to understand what is going on in Tunisia and in other Arab countries, eager to be part of the change and ready to help.
I will never forget the tears I saw down the cheeks of many of the people who were carefully listening to my speeches. I will never forget the sweet words I have heard and that will always resonate in my mind. Those people who feel the sufferings of the oppressed and who are ready to do whatever they can do to make the difference.  In very dark times, be sure that those people will be present to help humanity.
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Bogomir Doringer

Bogomir Doringer

Bogomir Doringer

Bogomir Doringer grew up in Yugoslavia as it began to fragment. He nevertheless managed to experience and collect traces of the country’s unique culture. Film introduced him to methods of portraying a layered understanding of hidden horror, human destruction and finally, injustice. Having grown up in this environment and having witnessed the loss of human values through war, he was inevitably led to a life of critical thought and deep examinations of socio-political issues, which he chose to explore through film and art. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy where his work was nominated for the best graduation work and graduated cum laude from the Master of Film program of the Nederlandse Film en Televisie Academie. In his projects, he works with fabricated socio-political issues represented by mass media that he finds intriguing because of their content or the way in which they are treated by media or society. Doringer starts his work from media fabrications, and use them as a basis to challenge the relationship between fiction and reality. In this respect, Doringer takes fiction as something temporary, something that has an expiry date. He sees himself as a storyteller of ‘unwanted stories’. His recent project "Hospitality" on which he have been working for the last 4 years is stressing the problem of ex-military and military personal who after coming back from their missions and interventions is suffering from different kind of diseases due to exposure and use of the depleted uranium munition. By interviewing these people he gives a voice to all those who live in bombed areas.

 

Chrissie Faniadis

Chrissie Faniadis

Chrissie Faniadis

Chrissie Faniadis is a consultant, lecturer and project manager, currently in charge of communications strategy at Culture Bridge, a new funding body under the Swedish Ministry of Culture. She is a dedicated defender of cultural policy and its contribution to society and is a member of several European networks. Chrissie is an avid public speaker and moderator, and has extensive lecturing experience, most recently at the Universities of Lund and Stockholm.

 

Chrissie Faniadis on Historical Taboos

I have always been fascinated by national taboos, those things people do not talk about. Personally I don’t think taboos are static or permanent, I think that they eventually come up to the surface, to the forefront of the social debate. It is by facing and eliminating taboos that society moves forward. But it is not an easy or given process. Sometimes taboos represent a shameful or guilt-ridden past, and we find ourselves collectively trying to suppress it, and maybe compensate for it.
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Chrissie Faniadis on Flirting with Stereotypes

As an avid student of human behaviour and a keen observer of people, I find that stereotypes are all around me. Everyday I hear or read about all manner of stereotypes. They can be gender-related, like “that’s such a typical guy thing to do!”, or profession-related, such as “spoken like a true lawyer”. But I think the most prevalent stereotypes are the ones related to a certain nationality or culture.
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