Monday, May 22, 2017

Blackness, and Faki Festival 2017, 23-27 May

***This writing platform is temporarily revived over the next week, for Faki Festival 2017***

In closing this writing platform last year, I partly acknowledged that my voice - and as this is largely a personal project, it is my voice - is not the best one to do the work that needs to be done. That situation has not changed, and poring over South African black rights activist Steve Biko's writings, part of this year's festival theme of 'Blackness', only reinforces this sense of doubt that my own position is of any value to public discourse at the moment. This quote, for example: "Nowhere is the arrogance of the liberal ideology demonstrated so well as in their insistence that the problems of the country can only be solved by a bilateral approach between black and white" affronts me with the impossibility of my own position -  in this case, invited to moderate discussion and interviews at Faki Festival 2017.

To put it in plain terms: Just how, following what I view as two major race-hate events in the United Kingdom and United States in 2016, am I able to lead discussion regarding a topic such as Blackness with any legitimacy? What possible answers can I discover? Is there even any productive position to find?

But let me (and I will let myself) get up off the floor, and attempt.

Statue of Steve Biko outside East London's City Hall, South Africa (Creative Commons)

Ironically, the controversy surrounding Faki Festival this year can be seen as a microcosm of where the world is at in terms of its economic and cultural pressures. Besieged by dramas, including the threatened closure by Zagreb City Council for not having 2 fire exits in every room (a specification almost none of the official buildings in Zagreb adhere to) and reeling under the departure of its long-term curator Irena Curik who planned much of the festival, not to mention tackling a difficult theme head-on in a country not known for its racial tolerance, it is clear that, whatever happens, Faki 2017 is going to take precarity to a whole new level.