Carnival AL-Laji’in 2016

Hello? Come out! Be heard and be seen.
Welcome to the culture of

Carnival Al-Ladji’in*
(*Arabic for Refugees )

Von Ahmed Shah (Refugee Club Impulse)

12697158_1148027535210430_4073839106642817372_oWhy now?
War, poverty and ecological crisis, caused by the economic- military- imperial sytem and interests of the rich in the industrial nations, are ripping apart the lifes of millions around the world. That is why many have fled there homes, that is why some are here. We need to tell these stories.
We are here, …
„Wir schaffen das!“, said Angela Merkel. What exactly? Opening the door for a few weeks in order to then close it more firmly with a draconian overhaul of the Asylum Laws? What kind of ‘Welcome Culture’ is that? „Wir schaffen das nicht!“, scream the haters of refugees and rant on about the islamic invasion of our welfare state. The right is smelling its oppurtunity. We need to rise to the challenge.
…and we will fight, …
The history of the world is the history of migration, from our origins in the mass migrations from Africa till today. That is why we are not begging for charity but calling for solidarity. Migration is a human right. It is my right and it is your right. Without upper limits or contingents , transit zones, third state ruling, Frontex, Schengen, without a ban on working, barriers to education, and so on.
…freedom of movement is everybody’s right!

12698355_1148028581876992_3002904703667450798_oWho cares?
That is why the Refugee Club Impulse and many other groups and individuals have come together under the umbrella of the My right is your right campaign that launched a demonstration for refugee rights on March 21st International day against Racism last year.
– We are some of the many volunteers who are spending their time helping wherever they can while the state not only fails to deliver on the basic human needs of refugees but is occupied with ways of cutting resources and putting up more burocratic barriers and borders.
– We are supporters of the refugee activists who brought, with thier marches, occupations and hungerstrikes, the issue into the mainstream of german poltics despite police repression and orchestrated media campaigns against them.
– We are refugee activists in the ‘homes’ and elsewhere who are siezing cultural tools to tell our stories sending a message to the political and cultural establishment: Noone gives us a voice – we take it!
– We are workers in the culture industry who want to break out of institutional lethargy, sideline commentary and paternalistic sympathy and open up our stages and our craft to a movement for change.
And we are many more …

12698612_1148028998543617_871991523827889169_o(1)What now?
On March 20th 2016 (a Sunday), a day before the International day against racism (unfortunately a Monday) we want to launch a pageant through the streets of the capital giving visibility and audibility to stories of existence and resistance from across the world. We want to unite in a carnival of cultural reistance to the ruling (dis)order.

12694835_1148029531876897_3657464019959793844_oWhy carnival?
The carnivalesque has nothing to do with what we associate with most of carnival as it is today: the celebration of supposed ethniceties in traditional dress, elitist affairs or commercial booze ups.
According to Michail Bachtin, (Russian philosopher and literary critic,1895 – 1975), carnival is a popular ancient heritage where art and life meet. It’s a collectively performed play, allowing moments of accute exaggeration and grotesqueness. Blurring borders between actors and spectators, it reveals a rich variety of voices that join to deny tradition, desobey rank, and stimulate real human exchange. Rather than being isolated atoms our bodies are part of a constantly developing and expanding collective participating ‘in the potentiality of another world’.
Carnival is a celebration of social life as it could be, not as a thought but the expression of a ‘second life’, releasing subdued creativity, independent of ruling ideas, lived out live and direct in the unity of material bodily beings. It festively exposes the present system as transitory, exchangable and attached with a sell by date.
Bachtin rediscovered the carnevalesque in the literature and drama of the great modern story tellers. The carnevalesque here too is polyphonic, it has many voices. And many languages. It is when and where the: ‘Languages of heteroglossia, like mirrors that face each other, each of which in its own way reflects a little piece, a tiny corner of the world, force us to guess at and grasp behind their inter-reflecting aspects for a world that is broader, more multi-levelled and multi-horizoned than would be available to one language, one mirror.’
In fact the author’s voice becomes only one of many, it does not dominate in monologue, it is part of a dialogue, a debate. The carnivalesque promotes a culture of laughter from below directed at those in power and privilege. It is an underground, non official culture, with a rebelious popular tradition that makes grotesque fun of, inverts, subverts and usurps all that is established.
The grotesque, according to Bakhtin,
‘discloses the potentiality of an entirely different world, of another order, another way of life. It leads man out of the confines of the apparent (false) unity, of the indisputable and stable.’

12633522_1148030145210169_3221190160171103861_oSo what?
Mimicry and mockery of the higher orders has determined the form and content of much of carnival in the Carribean. The Nottig Hill Carnival in London was born out of the resistance against racist riots in the 50’s. And the Nazi threat in the 70’s in England was beaten off by a combination of Rock against Racism Carnivals uniting reggae and punk, and black people with dissaffected white working class youth, (celebrating this with the chant: We are black, we are white, together we are Dynamite!) on the one side and direct confrontation with marches of the fascist right on the other.
We want to put this spirit of protest and rebellion back into street carneval and rediscover the carnevalesque in our streets, our protests and our movement. This means demonstrating for our political demands against a hostile state and a right wing enemy. It also means celebrating our unity against their attempts to divide and rule us.


What’s up?

Before the event we want link up with the activities of those in the homes, on the streets, in groups and in the theaters. Then we want to arrange to meet up on the day of the event itself where we hope to have fixed and mobile stages, move through the city, with several stops where differnt groups can catalyse the action, and end with a big rally and concert.
We’ve already collected some ideas about cultural action that we could do.
Die Verhältnisse zum Tanzen bringen: We want to develop political slogans into dance steps for the pageant that can be eagerly and easily copied by others. We need movement of all – there are no spectators!
Hakawati or the art of storytelling: We want people to tell their stories simultaneously in groups at the stops on the route. There are many voices to be heard!
Asyl Parcour: We want to recreate the rigours of the Balkan route and the burocratic jungle through on site acrobatics. That’s body language!
Flash the Mob: We want to collect the best of ant racist street actions and performances getting under the skin of state racism, Pegida and the AFD. All power to the imagination!
Masquerade: We want everyone to get masked up: paint youself a mask on the road or bring your masks and costumes with you. We are who we want to be!
Carnival parade floats: We want to have a show of artistic sculptures paraded through the streets sending messages to whom it may concern. Art meets life!
Rhythm and Speech: We want to musicalize our words, our speeches and demands with sound system intervention. A Remix of time, space and language!

What about you?
But there is plenty of space for more ideas. If you want to join us, please do.
Contact Refugee Club Impulse:

Or My Right is your Right :

My Right is Your Right Büro: Room # 325 Palais im Maxim Gorki Theater, 10117 Berlin

And remember to save the date!

Carnival Al-Ladji’in 20 March 2016 Berlin

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