Language, Writing and Memory in Contexts of Migration:
A Conversation/Book Signing with Sinan Antoon in Berlin
(Hosted by Mayadin al-Tahrir)
Tuesday, April 18, 7 pm.
Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, Greifswalder Str. 4, 10405 Berlin
«Who am I?
This is a question that others ask,
but have no answer.
I am my language
I am an ode, two odes, ten.
This is my language» - Mahmoud Darwish
In a global context of unprecedented movement and migration, in which more and more people move and make their homes in new geographies, where notions of ‘native’ and ‘foreign’ regularly intermingle, questions of identity and memory arise on a daily basis. We comb through our personal recollections, collective memories, and official and unofficial histories in search of answers to questions of both foreignness and newfound familiarity. We fear that, with time, we may lose something of ourselves and our culture, as we adapt into and are accommodated by new settings. Between the two realities of, on the one hand, coping with the heaviness of a past that is not yet over, and on the other, facing a setting that defines you as ‘other,’ language and writing take on new meaning and weight.
Iraqi writer and academic Sinan Antoon has long grappled with complicated notions of memory, identity, expression, and displacement in situations where people are uprooted from places and pushed onto the wheels of mobility by forces of war, conflict, violence, and political and social decay and disintegration. We invite you to join us in conversation with Antoon about the political and cultural meaning of language, writing and memory in contexts of migration. Antoon will sign copies of his newly-released novel The Baghdad Eucharist (Ya Maryam) (Hoopoe, 2017)