Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew

Coming-together in Mourning:
Indigenous Knowledge and Embodied Practices in Search of the Politics of Solidarity

As an ongoing effect of the ghosts of violent pasts, a culture of fear and indifference has actively been cultivated in Ethiopia. As a result, some are engaged in armed conflicts—a root cause for massive violence, displacement, and death of innocent people. In these ongoing precarious conditions, the responses of individuals as well as of collectives range from expressions of grief to that of rage. Whereas the latter implies the danger of destruction and irreversible damage, the former searches for the potentialities of a coming-together for collective healing. In such precarious moments, communities should claim the right and, most importantly, the responsibility to openly and collectively lament victimizations. The research is driven by the desire to work with the notions and practices of mourning as an aesthetic, pedagogical, and political element imagining a different ‘We’ through collective thinking. The project recognizes that working with such affective states cannot only be imagined through the mainstream languages of politics but mainly through indigenous knowledge and embodied practices residing within communities. In that regard, the research investigates how indigenous knowledge and embodied practices can synergize with contemporary thoughts and theories toward working with ecologies of knowledge around the subjects of loss and mourning. 

Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew, Care & Become, 2019, Meseret Haile
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