“Reach Out and Hold on Another Night” – with Behrouz Boochani – April 22 – 8 pm (CET)

On radical solidarity and transnational home-making in resistance to hostile environments and militarized borders

You are kindly invited to attend the screening of a conversation with the Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani, author of the award-winning No Friend But the Mountain. Writing from Manus Prison (2018), and his translator Omid Tofighian (University of Sydney), with Lorenzo Pezzani (Hostile Environments, Goldsmiths), followed by a panel discussion with Behrouz Boochani, Ashika Singh (Catholic University of Leuven) and Naïma Charkaoui, moderated by Luce Beeckmans (Ghent University).

As part of the long-term research “Hostile Environment(s)” led by architect Lorenzo Pezzani, this conversation departs from the question of how we can imagine spaces of resistant sociality and home-making in an age of intensified hostility against those racialized as outsiders.

Between 2013 and 2017 the writer and journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally held at the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. He was able to communicate the experience he endured through text messages to the philosopher Omid Tofighian, who translated them from Farsi into English and who edited the book No Friend but The Mountains. The making of this book, as well as the process of translation, has been seen by both of them as an act of resistance against the violent ideology constructed and perpetuated by national borders. The book also documents the many practices of daily, precarious sociality that the community of refugees imprisoned on Manus Island developed to resist the violence of incarceration.

How might such experiences suggest the development of transnational practices of radical solidarity and home-making that challenge the system of global apartheid underpinned by militarized borders?

The streaming of the conversation will be followed by a panel discussion where Behrouz Boochani and the researcher Ashika Singh (Catholic University of Leuven) and author Naïma Charkaoui (Het Opengrenzenmanifest, EPO, 2021) will expand on issues of home-making in displacement. The conversation will be moderated by Prof. Luce Beeckmans (Ghent University).

The event will take place April 22 – 8 pm (CET) and will be streamed on https://www.twitch.tv/z33be (No registration is required)

Luce Beeckmans is Assistant Professor in Architecture and Urbanism related to Migration and Diversity at Ghent University and senior postdoctoral researcher at the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Her current research concerns home-making and housing in relation to migration and diversity. In her work, she combines insights and methods from different (and traditionally quite separate) fields, including urban theory, planning and design; urban ethnography; migration studies; urban and human geography; urban sociology, urban governance, as well as post-colonial studies, de-colonial theory and critical, intersectional and feminist thought. Overall, her most important research topics are urban segregation and encounters; urban agency and citizenship; spatial appropriation and place-making; housing and diversity; and global religious spatiality. Furthermore, she has proven expertise in data visualization and deep mapping by means of digital technologies. Apart from numerous publications and conference participations, this has resulted in various exhibitions (co-curatorship and contributions) and public debates (chairing and participating).

Behrouz Boochani (Kurdish-Iranian 1983) is a journalist, human rights defender, writer and film producer. Boochani is the co-director, along with Iranian film maker Arash Kamali Sarvestani, of the documentary Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, has published numerous articles in leading media internationally about the plight of refugees held by the Australian government on Manus Island, and has won several awards. His memoir, No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Nonfiction in January 2019.

Naima Charkaoui studied political sciences and has been working since 2001 on issues related to human rights, inequality and racism, mostly in civil society organisations. In her recent book ‘het opengrenzenmanifest’  [The openborders manifesto] (EPO, 2021) she argues that we should more explicitly talk about ‘open borders’ as a desirable and feasible goal to pursue. Earlier she published a book on the personal impact of racism and how to deal with that ‘Racisme: over wonden en veerkracht’ [Racism: on wounds and resilience] (EPO, 2019) and she has a monthly column on mo.be.

Lorenzo Pezzani (IT, 1982) is an architect and researcher based in London. He is currently Lecturer in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since 2011, he has been working on Forensic Oceanography, a collaborative project that critically investigates the militarized border regime in the Mediterranean Sea, and has co-founded the WatchTheMed platform. His work has been used as evidence in courts of law and published across different media and academic outlets, as well as exhibited and screened internationally. Hostile Environment(s) is a long-term project initiated by Pezzani in 2019.

Ashika Singh is a researcher and advocate for migrant’s rights. Having recently completed her doctorate in architecture and philosophy at KU Leuven on the topic of home-making in refugee camps, she is now a volunteer for the UK civil liberties NGO Statewatch and further exploring the intersection of housing rights and migrant activism in Europe. Her publications can be found in Political Geography and Architectural Histories, and she is a co-editor of the forthcoming book, Making Homes in Displacement: Critical Reflections on a Spatial Practice, published by Leuven University Press.

Omid Tofighian is an Iranian-Australian philosopher and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Sydney. He is known for his research on Ancient Greek philosophy and his translation of the award-winning book by Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani, No Friend but the Mountains from Persian into English.

In collaboration with the Ghent Centre for Global Studies and the Hostile Environments Research Platform.

22.04 to 22.04.21