LANGUAGES GERMAN-ENGLISH-FRENCH simultaneous translation


ALTE FEUERWACHE, Bühne


 

 

03.06.2021  11:00 - 19:00 h (GMT 09:00 - 17:00)


Is democratic malaise revealed in the face of a global pandemic? Arts, protests and utopias in viral times

africologneDIALOGFORUM – FOCUS: POWER.MOVEMENT.DEMOCRACY

The COVID-19 pandemic has readdressed the question of who legitimately can determine and control our freedom of expression, movement and opinion. Who controls whom? Which values and principles apply and which do not, during a time, when everything seems to evolve around maintaining health and public safety, benefitting the public good and prevailing economic conditions. How can defending public health as a public good and the resulting restrictions be brought in line with each other? Africa’s democratic deficit is reflective in the lack of protection of individual rights as well as the inadequate protection of public freedoms and unequal economic models, which ultimately lead to a social polarization. In an international system that has been characterized by considerable power asymmetries, it is of utmost importance, to consider democracy beyond the national level. Furthermore, to rethink international ‘best practices’ of solidarity, which safeguard the political, economic and cultural sovereignty of the African countries.

Among others, the programmed informal talks will bring together artists, authors, activists and researchers.

 

PANELS: 1. Art as a form of political resistance and an avant-garde laboratory of utopias | 2. Civil liberty and political freedom at a time of a global pandemic | 3. Africa’s democratic deficit: the share of responsibilities attributed to Global North | 4. Democracies without elections and democracies that exclude their populations: What needs to be done?

CONCEPT Dr. Ndongo Samba Sylla, Development Economist and Author/ Senegal, with the collaboration of Kerstin Ortmeier DIRECTION/MODERATION Dr. Ndongo Samba Sylla WITH Dr. Koulsy Lamko, Writer, Dramatist, Poet and Musician/Chad; Aissata Ahmed Bal „Até Aycha“, Art Director, Researcher Institut of Law Dakar/Senegal; Smockey, Activist and Rapper/ Burkina Faso; Baba Aye, Representative for Health and Social Services, Unionist and Activist/Nigeria ; Stephanie Sally Wanga, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics/England; Sinzo Aanza, Author/DR Congo; Firoze Manji, Intellectual and Publisherr/Kenia; Sèdjro Giovanni Houansou, Author/Benin; Mabrouka M’Barek, Intellectual and Politician/Tunesia; Ibrahima Xalil Niang, Socologist/Senegal; N.N.

 


Program Overview

11-12.30 pm (9H - 10H30 GMT) - Panel 1: Art as a Form of Political Resistance and an Avant-Garde Laboratory of Utopias


In an undemocratic regime art is often viewed as a subversive social activity. The reasons for this rejection, which is sometimes outright hostile towards artists, is easy to identify. More often than not the arts have functioned as an alternative channel for democratic expression, an instrument for national education that, among other things, made the politicization of suffering and injustice visible. Art has contributed to people engaging in positive a dynamic social and economic developments. Beyond the arts’ role in political resistance, they also function as an avant-garde laboratory for utopias. By engaging people to release their imaginative powers, artists were able – under certain circumstances – to turn what was initially regarded as politically unimaginable to something that is politically unavoidable. Echoing a slogan from May 1968: Has the time came to use our imagination?


KEYNOTE Dr. Koulsy Lamko, Author, Dramatist, Poet and Musician/Chad
OTHER DISCUSSANTS Aissata Ahmed Bal „Até Aycha“, Art Director, Researcher Institut of Law Dakar/Senegal; Smockey, Activist and Rapper/ Burkina Faso

 


12.30 - 12.45 pm (10H30 - 10H45 GMT) - Break



 
12:45 - 2:15 pm (10H45 - 12H15 GMT) - Panel 2: Civil Liberty and Political Freedom at a Time of a Global Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has readdressed the question of who legitimately can determine and control our freedom of expression, movement and opinion. Who controls whom? Which values and principles apply and which do not, during a time, when everything seems to evolve around maintaining health and public safety, benefitting the public good and prevailing economic conditions. Most countries, regardless of their level of development, have responded to COVID-19, under the pretext of ensuring safety and security, by restricting civic and political rights. In Africa particularly the working class, more specifically those workers engaged in informal work, have been hit especially hard by these developments. How can the rights of individuals and communities in this new normal caused by the pandemic be brought in line with each other? What is the balance between collective health as a public commodity and the associated restrictions?


KEYNOTE Baba Aye, Representative for the Health and Social Services, Unionist and Activist/Nigeria
OTHER DISCUSSANTS Stephanie Sally Wanga, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics/England; Sinzo Aanza, Author/DR Congo


 
2.15-13.15 pm
(12H15 - 13H15 GMT) - Break



 
3.15-4.45 pm (13H15 - 14H45 GMT) - Panel 3: Africa’s Democratic Deficit: The Share of Responsibilities Attributed to the Global North


Africa’s democratic deficit is reflected in the lack of protection of individual rights as well as the inadequate protection of public freedoms and unequal economic models, which ultimately lead to a social polarization. The causes of this situation are not merely internal but oftentimes related to external influences. There are numerous examples of unpopular African leaders that have been openly endorsed by the West and the disastrous economic consequences of neo-liberal policy dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been well documented. The unfair trade and migration policies of the European Union towards Africa ultimately endorse political regimes that are not especially keen to bear in mind their population’s wants and needs. In an international system that has been characterized by considerable power asymmetries, it is of utmost importance, to consider democracy beyond the national level. Furthermore, to rethink international ‘best practices’ of solidarity, which safeguard the political, economic and cultural sovereignty of the African countries.


KEYNOTE Firoze Manji, Intellektueller und Herausgeber/Kenia
OTHER DISCUSSANTS Sèdjro Giovanni Houansou, Author/Benin; N.N.


 
4:45 - 5:00 pm
(14H45 - 15H GMT) - Break
 

5:00 - 6:30 pm (15H - 16H30 GMT) - Panel 4: Democracies Without Elections and Democracies that Exclude their Populations: What Needs to Be Done?


Africa’s evolution from a de-facto one-party state to a multi-party system gave hope for more civil society involvement and taking into account the society’s needs. However, the result is not the expression of the will of the people but rather a democratic system that economist Thandika Mkandawire considers as “choiceless” and economist Samir Amin characterizes as a “low intensity democracy”. In short, regardless of the election results, important political and economic policies remain unchanged. The people have no chance to be heard by those in power. Even more so, characteristic for the African democracy is the systematic exclusion of citizens. According to the United Nations Africa has the youngest population in the world, in fact arguing that there is a “massive age gap between Africa’s young majority and their leaders” and it is particularly this group that is continuously excluded and ignored in formal political committees. Recently however, the uprising of the Senegalese youth in March 2021 have shown that changes are happening. A challenge ahead is increasing civic and political participation in countries where young people make up the majority of the population. But how?


KEYNOTE Mabrouka M’Barek, Intellectual and Politician/Tunis
OTHER DISCUSSANTS Ibrahima Xalil Niang, Sociologist/Senegal


 
6:30 bis 7:00 pm (16H30 - 17H GMT) - Concluding Remarks

 

FOCUS: POWER.MOVEMENT.DEMOCRACY

This year we are focusing on two issues: the development of democratic processes as well as the discomfort caused by current limitations of public freedoms and fundamental rights. The musical theatre play Le Syndrome de la Pintade will be shown at the Schauspiel Köln. The activist and rapper Smockey processes through satire his experiences as a “Mouvementist” for the social movement Le Balai Citoyen, dedicated to sensitize the public regarding political processes. Among others, these authors have been commissioned to write plays for our thematic focus: Sinzo Aanza (DR Congo) and Sèdjro Giovanni Houansou (Benin). The dialogFORUM will also focus on this thematic focus and will be led by the Senegalese development economist Dr. Ndongo Samba Sylla.

 

The dialogFORUM is FUNDED by Stadt Köln