De Berlijn Blogs: (Un)Locked Lives

By Mirjam Dorgelo It has been 1.5 years since I came back from my anthropological fieldwork research in Berlin and three days since I handed in my final thesis addressing the dynamics of commemorative and spatial practices at Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen; the former secret Stasi research prison in Berlin where eyewitnesses, once imprisoned there as political prisoners, now work as tour guides. The previous Berlin Blog post I wrote while still in the field doing research. This post, in which I will summarize some of the findings of my research, not so much closes the series (I hope), but indicates an ending of a specific time frame, my life as an anthropology student. Lees verder

Some Thoughts on 50 Years of Independence in Burundi

Colloquium in Brussels to celebrate 50 years of Independence of Burundi (picture by Lidewyde)

By Lidewyde Berckmoes Two weeks ago I was invited to give a talk in a colloquium organised in Brussels in light of the 50 years of Independence of Belgium’s former colony. The colloquium, with the title ‘at the cross-roads,’ was organised in the beautiful Palais d’Egmont, giving the meeting a very formal but also celebratory aura. Speakers and guests invited were mostly prominent Belgian and Burundian diplomats, scholars, and civil society representatives: for instance, two former presidents, the ambassador, and a professor who has been publishing about Burundi since the 1960s. I was well aware of my somewhat different standing, but felt honoured to be one of the speakers. Finally, I thought, I could share my research findings on the predicaments of youth with people who may actually have some influence in Burundi!

Excited about my upcoming adventure in Brussels, I was chatting about it with a few of my youth interlocutors over the internet. One of them, a very talented young student, answered to my question on what I should not forget to say in my presentation: “I hate the idea that people in Europe think that Burundian youth do not like to work. If some of us steal or kill, it is to survive! It is hard to find a job in Buja (Bujumbura)!” Lees verder