Bruggen slaan tussen statushouders en woningcorporatie Rochdale


Bruggen slaan

Door Marit Timmerman. ‘Building bridges’. Met deze term heeft Freek Colombijn mij drie jaar geleden tijdens een open dag overtuigd om antropologie te gaan studeren. Nu, drie jaar later, heb ik heb ik de kans gehad om met mijn thesis onderzoek degene te zijn die bruggen bouwt. Van eind april tot midden juli heb ik samen met vijf andere antropologie studenten; Dorenda ten Hoopen, Kirsten van Muijden, Nathalie Pijnaker, Whitley Roefs en Franka Wijers; onderzoek gedaan naar de ervaringen van statushouders in en rond Amsterdam met hun huisvesting, en naar hoe zij hun sociale netwerken, solidariteit, participatie en integratie in de wijk en in de Nederlandse samenleving ervaren. Lees verder

“I belong in Africa”: African-Americans going ‘home’

Sankofa. Image: Damiyr Saleem Studios

Sankofa. Image: Damiyr Saleem Studios

By Marije Maliepaard        The Ghanaian ethnic group of Akan is (among other aspects) known for their Adinkra symbols. Symbols that represent concepts and are often connected to proverbs. They are used in African fabrics, clothes and pottery and nowadays also in logo’s, advertisements and wall paintings. One of their symbols of a bird stretching back to get an egg, named Sankofa, has become an important representation for Africans in the diaspora. The combination of the symbol and the associated proverb ‘se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi’, which translates to ‘it is not wrong to go back for something you have forgotten’ embodies precisely what returned African-Americans feel: a desire to return home, to the soil of where their ancestors were taken from.

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Verlaten kerkhoven: over leven en dood

p1040295Door Ton Salman       We mogen vermoeden dat het de doden niet echt dwars zal zitten: waar ze begraven liggen en hoe eenzaam dat is. Eenmaal dood, is de last van eenzaamheid en de lust van gezelschap of bezoek (of andersom) immers voorbij. Een mening of een gevoel bij hoe eenzaam, mooigelegen, nabij of veraf, herdacht of vergeten of anoniem iemand begraven is, is dus een zorg van de levenden en de nabestaanden. In mijn ervaring kunnen die er terdege iets van vinden, zelfs in de wetenschap dat de overledenen onwetend zijn. Een illustratie daarvan is de situatie waarin een begraafplaats zelf terecht is gekomen op een inmiddels verlaten, verwoeste of niet meer vindbare plek. Daar wordt de eenzaamheid van de doden dubbel gevoeld, door degenen die daarvan weet hebben. Dat de doden dan twee maal verlaten zijn, is een besef van de levenden, en leidt bij die levenden tot extra deernis voor de verlaten doden. Zó alleen en in de steek gelaten, wordt gemeend, horen zelfs de doden niet te zijn. Lees verder

Stable Instability: renewed turmoil in Ethiopia (part 2)


Qilinto prison burning, Addis Ababa 3 September 2016.  Opposition voices state that not the fire but the prison guards killed more than 60 inmates, most of them political prisoners fleeing and trying to reach safety. © Ethiogrio

(This is the second part of an earlier published article)

By Jan Abbink        Next to the demands for more economic rights and protection, the wider background factors of the spreading protests were: mounting dissatisfaction with authoritarian party politics, the interfering presence of party cadres in local life, the lack of accountability of the government, unresolved land allocation issues, lack of proper compensation for those removed from the land, the dismantling of civil society organizations in the last decade, the lack of political and civic freedoms, and the lack of a well-working justice system (as people say, one cannot really bring complaints against the government and get one’s right in the courts).

There is also a longer-term social dynamic involved: large groups of youth are unemployed, and there is still a large urban underclass that is often excluded from high school or vocational education and from jobs. New cultural-political youth movements – in both the classical political sphere as well as in the cultural domain – are seen with suspicion by the government and under close scrutiny. Also, emerging local ethnic elites in the various regional states have been cautiously putting forward new demands – and, paradoxically, their emergence and assertiveness is an achievement of the ‘ethnic politics’ of empowerment that the Ethiopian ruling party and government instituted since 1991 and which has led to many smaller ethnic groups getting ‘special districts’. The ethno-regional rivalry is now also seen in the serious tensions within the ruling party, where the four branches, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) are not always in agreement with the dominant Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  Lees verder

Colombia between hope and fear


By Lieke Prins        When I initially left my house in Amsterdam to live in Colombia for three months I had planned to go to Chocó and study Afro-Colombian small-scale gold miners and their resistance strategies against large-scale mining companies. However, the first night in my new house with my new roommates in Medellin made me rethink my initial plans and inspired me to change in course of my research.

On the first night we were sitting on the floor of our apartment, getting to know each other. One of my roommates, an anthropology student of the Universidad de Antioquia, Ana Paula, had made us a simple dinner and aguapanela, a sweet sugary drink from Colombia. The small talk you normally have when you meet new people lasted for only two minutes; the conversation soon got a more serious tone and the two girls started to discuss the developments of La mesa de Havana – the peace negotiations between the insurgent group the FARC and government Santos. Lees verder

Stable instability: renewed turmoil in Ethiopia (part 1)

qilinto-burning1By Jan Abbink    Ethiopia in 2016 is seeing a new round of major turmoil: massive protests and demonstrations have led to severe state repression, with more than 600 people killed by security forces, thousands injured, and tens of thousands arrested (as of September 2016). The story gets somewhat repetitive, as many rounds of political and ‘ethnic’ clashes have occurred in the country since 1991 when the current regime took power.

This time, the protests of masses of unarmed students, youths, peasants and others started peaceful – i.e. there was no agenda of armed insurrection ‘fed by diaspora Ethiopians and foreigners’, as the Ethiopian government likes to assert. But early this month, the protests turned into a full-blown revolt, notably in the northern Amhara Region, populated largely by Amharic-speaking people that have felt regionally and politically marginalized for many years. Lees verder

My final week in Cuba: A new layer of asphalt for Obama and the Rolling Stones

Niew asfalt DSC_0470By Caroline van Slobbe     Now, it is all over. I went to Cuba, wrote my MA thesis, and in July received an email that I graduated. Wow, that sounds so simple, and quick. Still, when I look through my pictures or lay down in the park (I finally have time for that), I recall some of the great moments. I will share some of them here:

For once I do not smell the pollution of the vintage cars when I cross the street in front of Hotel Capri, because the smell of fresh asphalt is even stronger. We are close to the United States Embassy. The sound of drilling machines hurts my ears. Drips of paint are falling down from above; the facades and balconies are rapidly (but not so carefully) given a fresh color. Park benches and fences too. Suddenly the usual garbage on the street corner is gone. And everyone knows: Obama will pass here, in this street! Lees verder