As homework for this session we were tasked to write a reflection on “How to truly decolonize – Can we dance?” by Elnathan John published by ZAM Magazine.
We started of the class by reading and discussing our individual reflections. My reflection is posted below:
There are many interesting points raised throughout Elnathan’s piece.
One of the things that resonated most with me is the concept that the language we (and more importantly large cultural institutions) use can have an immense impact on the development of empathy towards ‘the other’. Elnathan gives the example of the Hausa language where it’s apparently common to casually use discriminatory language when referring to someone passing away who is not part of the muslim majority.
Elnathan also touches on the influence of the internet. In many ways it connects us all, but we are also very divided because of it. This is expressed mainly in the way of Elnathan feeling like he is trapped in a reactionary position. He say’s it’s far easier (and less dangerous) to reach an audience by reacting to what an international politician said about his country, rather than by publicly addressing his country’s shortcomings himself.
He then goes on to talk about self reflection, and how it is a great tool to look at how you might be part of a system that also causes damage to to you. But then he also points out that it is a tricky thing to actually use when talking to others about decolonization. This because if is often abused by the oppressors point out to their subordinates that there is some sort of ‘good side’ to being oppressed.
During our discussions the group acknowledged that they did not know that much about the history of the project we’re working with. I don’t necessarily feel that way myself, I’ve always been interested in this history.
The group also spent a lot of time discussing the difference between occupation and colonization. Which seemed a bit counter productive to me, but I just went with it.