Support needed for Werkstatt der Kulturen…
There is currently a media witch hunt against the director, Philippa Ebéné, because of her decision to cancel the exhibition “Die Dritte Welt im Zweiten Weltkrieg” (The Third World in the Second World War). Accusations against her have been defamatory and shocking.
The exhibition was intended to be an hommage to Black people and People of Color worldwide, who contributed to resistance against the Nazis. Not much is known about the contribution of Black people and People of Color in the war effort. This exhibition was to address that balance and to pay our respects to those people.
Philippa Ebéné has come under extreme criticism however because she decided to cancel the exhibition when it became obvious that it also contained information about Nazi collaborators.
But this was not the point of the exhibition in the first place. In the end all the good deads would have been put on par with, or perhaps even outweighed by the heinious crimes of a few individuals.
This was not an issue about denial or censorship, as has been claimed.
It was an issue of respect for the context.
We do not know of any other memorial event which says “yes they were good & should be remembered, but there were these other guys… learn more about them now…”
The aim of the month long programme of events was to say “thank you”. Unequivocally.
This is what Ms Ebéné struggled to achieve. When it was clear that this would not happen, she cancelled. The exhibition had to move to a different place.
A brave, important action, for which she is now being unjustly hounded in the press, comments call her even antisemite, fascist etc.
Philippa Ebéné was awarded UNESCO’s Toussaint Louverture Medal for her “contribution to the struggle against domination, racism and intolerance” in 2008. She’s a Black woman.
The senate’s “commissioner for integration”, Günter Piening, determined in a meeting held past week in her absence that a copy of the exhibition that displays australian, US- and UK- soldiers as part of “Third World” and puts Nazi collaborateurs together with fighters for resistance only because they’re all not white, be shown in the “Werkstatt der Kulturen” starting September 1st.
It is even likely that Phillippa Ebéné will lose her job as director of the Berlin-based Werkstatt der Kulturen.
This is unheard of. Please raise your voices & pens wherever you can!
“Its nonsense to accuse Frau Ebéné of antisemitism”, says Anette Kahane (…), head of the Amadeu-Antonio-Foundation und herself Jewish. The core of the conflict lies in the fact that there is “no sensible debate here in Germany about racism and the meaning of Whiteness and Non-whiteness”, criticises Kahane. “Here the dominant view remains, that we should be discerning about the individuality and uniqueness of Europeans, but we can afford to make broad sweeping generalisations about all others”. The other people involved in the conflict obviously do not understand Frau Ebéné’s perspective of this issue: “One should simply listen to her, instead of silencing a much needed discussion with an accusation of antisemitism”, says Kahane.