Online-Event in cooperation with the Max Weber Kolleg: ‚Mark Terkessidis: Wessen Erinnerung zählt? Koloniale Vergangenheit und Rassismus heute‘

Mark Terkessidis: „Wessen Erinnerung zählt? Koloniale Vergangenheit und Rassismus heute“

Über Deutschlands koloniale Geschichte wird in jüngster Zeit heftig debattiert. Es geht um kolonial belastete Straßennamen, um die Bestände von Museen und die Frage nach dem kulturellen Erbe insgesamt. Im Mittelpunkt stehen ehemalige Kolonien in Afrika wie das heutige Tansania und Namibia. Doch muss die Perspektive sowohl zeitlich als auch räumlich erweitert werden. Der deutsche Kolonialismus begann nicht erst 1884 mit der Berliner Kongokonferenz, sondern bereits im frühen 16. Jahrhundert mit den Aktivitäten der Handelshäuser der Fugger und Welser in Lateinamerika. Und er fand keineswegs nur jenseits des Salzwassers statt. Auch die deutschen Expansionsbestrebungen in Richtung Osten (Polen) sowie in Richtung Südosteuropa und Osmanisches Reich hatten eine koloniale bzw. imperiale Dimension. Mark Terkessidis, renommierter Migrations- und Rassismusforscher, schlägt für die Geschichte des deutschen Kolonialismus einen größeren Rahmen vor. Nur so werden die Position Deutschlands in der Welt sowie aktuelle Migrations- und Fluchtbewegungen verständlich. In einer globalisierten Gesellschaft muss sich der Raum der Erinnerung demokratisch erweitern.

Mark Terkessidis ist freier Autor und hat u. a. für taz, Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit und Süddeutsche Zeitung geschrieben sowie Radiobeiträge für den Deutschlandfunk verfasst und im WDR-Radio moderiert. Er promovierte über die Banalität des Rassismus und unterrichtete an den Universitäten Köln, Rotterdam und St. Gallen. Zuletzt veröffentlichte er Interkultur (2010), Kollaboration (2015) und Nach der Flucht (2017).

Die Online-Veranstaltung der Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Thüringen in Kooperation mit dem Max-Weber-Kolleg der Universität Erfurt findet am Mittwoch, den 24.06.2020, 19 Uhr statt.

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Sanam Roohi shares insights on the current situation in India

Solidarity protest at University of Erfurt

Against CAA and police brutality on protesting students in India

By Sanam Roohi

On Friday, 20 December 2019 some 40 people including students of University of Erfurt and Fachhochschule Erfurt, members of the Max Weber Kolleg, and other concerned citizens and students from Thuringia gathered in solidarity with the protestors and students of different universities and educational institutes who were protesting against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and were met with brutal police violence on 15 December 2019. Those gathered unequivocally condemned the highhandedness of the government of India and this police brutality on protesters, in the spirit of solidarity with the students and protestors in India.

Why protest CAA?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the two houses of Indian Parliament and became an Act on 12 December 2019. The Act amends the existing Citizenship Act of 1955 to explicitly make ‘illegal’ migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religions who came to India prior to 2014 as eligible for Indian citizenship. It ostensibly leaves out of its purview persecuted Muslims from these countries, the Rohingyas from Myanmar and Tamils from Sri Lanka. The Act is highly discriminatory and arbitrary at best, violating secular ideals of the Indian constitution. Yet, if taken together with NRC or National Register of Citizen, it will be devastating for the social fabric of the country.

What is NRC?

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah has reiterated time and again that the Citizenship Amendment will be followed by the nationwide implementation of NRC by 2024 to throw out ‘infiltrators’ or illegal immigrants. Once adopted, every person living in India will have to prove with documents that they are a citizen of the country to have their names included in this register. If they do not have requisite documents, they will be deemed living illegally and stripped of their citizenship and thrown in detention camps. We learn this from the limited enrolment of NRC in the North East Indian state of Assam between February 2015 and August 2019 after which almost 1.9 million people failed to get their name registered in the NRC and many were put in camps.

Many poor citizens in India do not have proper documents like birth certificate and because many have not finished school, they do not have their school leaving certificates too. Not only will NRC be an administrative nightmare for the bureaucracy it will create unparalleled fear among Indian citizens. While Hindus too can be excluded from the NRC, the Citizenship amendment act indicates that Hindus will get citizenship even if they are illegal or without documents. But Muslims, unable to prove their citizenship will be deemed illegal!

Taken together with the anti-Muslim sentiments prevalent in India since the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014 and again in 2019, it has created a lot of fear among the Muslim citizens of the country.

Protests and police brutality

The passing of the bill to an Act was followed by widespread protests from Indian citizens who argued that it goes against the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution and the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to everyone irrespective of their religion. Students joined in the protest at some universities – prominent among them were Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. On the night of 15 December, the police stormed into these university campuses, entered canteens, girls and boys hostels, prayer rooms and libraries and physically assaulted students, including those who were not protesting, to instil fear. Students were flushed out and campuses were vacated in the middle of the night, some were arrested and the whereabouts of a few Aligarh students is unknown. These incidents of police brutality inspired other universities across India and abroad to join in the protest. Apart from attacking university spaces, the police in large parts of central and Western Uttar Pradesh, Mangalore in Karnataka and Assam opened fire killing more than 30 people, most of them in the state of Uttar Pradesh within 24 hours between 20-21 December 2019. The state government also arrested more than a thousand protestors to instil fear.

Despite police brutality, the protests have not stopped but spread from one city to another in the last one and a half months. These protests are unprecedented in the history of independent India. It is for the first time Muslim women, many of them wearing hijab have come out to the streets to protest in large numbers, joined in sizeable numbers by anti-right groups, left organisations, student bodies, lawyers groups, Sikh community members and ordinary citizens who stand against the CAA and NRC. Shaheenbagh area in Delhi has become a symbol of this non-violent resistance of the current right-wing government. Women of Shaheenbagh have come out to protest against the CAA and NRC and have shown exemplary spirit in taking care of each other in turns as others sit out to protest. Women of other cities like Kolkata and Mumbai have followed suit.

Meanwhile, the government has not only continued with the CAA, it has also started rolling out NRC in Uttar Pradesh and in Karnataka.

Qudsiya Contractor gives a working paper on ‚The teacher and the aalim – Religious imagination in the making of public Muslims in a Mumbai slum‘

This paper looks at how the objectification of religious imagination
influences Muslim’s coping of their changing worldly realities. It looks at
the role of new religious intellectuals in addressing the shrinking Muslim
presence in the public sphere in urban India through newer styles of
religious leadership embedded in a broader understanding of the religious
imagination itself. These new religious intellectuals among the Muslim
poor I argue see the role of secular education coupled with a religious
imagination as essential in order to protect one’s self interests as a Muslim
yet be integral to a larger and diverse public. Islamic knowledge and
behavioural conduct combined with secular education is hence seen as a
way of fashioning the lives of the modern Muslim subject. In other words,
embracing modernity with Islamic values is seen as a way of refashioning
the Muslim self.

Simone Wagner gives a working paper on ‚The Cistercians of the Upper Rhine. Foundation, Relationships and textual Production of female monasteries‘

This paper overviews the history of three south-western female Cistercian monasteries (Günterstal, Wonnental, Marienau) from the 13th to the 15th century. In order to analyse the specific and non-specific characteristics of female Cistercian monasteries in contrast to their male counterparts and other non-Cistercian female communities it focuses primarily on three different aspects: 1. the foundation of the monasteries and their affiliation to the Cistercian order, 2. their relations to different worldly and religious actors such as the father abbot as well as cities and 3. the written record of the monasteries.

Applying to all examples the relationship with the order was complicated and it is unclear whether they all were incorporated into the order or if this question was important for contemporaries. However, all communities developed a Cistercian identity. Nevertheless, they were also in (close) contact to other non-Cistercian religious actors and their religious lifestyle resembled other female communities. Equally, the relationship with cities was quite important for the south-western monasteries. The women had options to shift the boundaries being normatively imposed on them. Men and women did work together regarding administrative business and the nuns didn’t always adhere to strict enclosure. Their written record — though perhaps quantitatively not comparable to the men’s – should also be taken seriously and offers a lot of inside in 15th century religiosity.