[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] BLACK LIVES MATTER – Solidarity Message

Some brief remarks from the editors, Rosalba Icaza and Zuleika Sheik

When we spoke of breath in our introduction to this series, on how oppression takes the breath away, we could not imagine that a few weeks later our worlds would reel from the death of George Floyd, which brought into the mainstream the deaths of countless other black bodies across the Global South at the hands of law enforcement. To us the link between the state carceral system and the lockdown and its exacting of violence on black bodies is explicit. It cannot be ignored. For this week’s feature, we offered this space to the ISS Black Community, based at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, who wrote a Message of Solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and that was featured on ISS website. We are grateful to ISS Black Community as they granted us permission to reproduce it in full here. 

by the ISS Black Community

Who are we? 

Day by day I keep asking this question as reasons fly out the window when I see the monstrosity perpetrated against each other. Today it is racism, tomorrow it is gender inequality, ethnicity bias, religious conflict, everyday it’s a constant struggle over one divide or the other.

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[COVID-19] Conviviality in Quarantine

by Serena Stein

As Covid-19 accelerates in the United States, we are only beginning to come to terms with new realities of  ‘distancing,’ immobility, and enclosure that jeopardize the conviviality  and deeper bonds that sustain us. As infection and dis-ease spread throughout the world, the belated arrival of coronavirus to the United States was an opportunity to prepare for disaster that was largely squandered. As we now know, the fleeting window for better preparedness was undermined by disbelief, fueled by misleading statements from government officials, and namely the president. The following poem, written on Sunday March 15, is now a kind of artifact of a strange moment of incongruity, refusal, and impending doom in the brief interim before more severe measures were implemented to reduce coronavirus transmission in the American arena.

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Identity, ‘Britishness’, and Leaving the EU: What will decolonisation look like for the UK now?

by Vanessa Bradbury

I felt a deep sadness on the 31st of January 2020, as the UK left the EU. It was a sadness that seemed to run much deeper than the repetitive ‘what ifs’ of politics, policies and trade deals echoing through news channels. A sadness that seemed personal, and, as I was trying to understand and reflect on these emotions, brought me to question the ambiguity of identity, ‘Britishness’ and, ultimately, what this farewell will mean for the wider project of decolonisation.

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Indigenous Sovereignty and the Canadian Colonial State: Pipelines, Orcas and a Poem

by Budd L Hall

I live in Victoria, British Colombia on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations. Indigenous people have been living in British Colombia for at least 16,000 years.  It is the home of 52 different First Nations with about the same number of languages.  Continue reading “Indigenous Sovereignty and the Canadian Colonial State: Pipelines, Orcas and a Poem”

Development: a failed project

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It’s time to abandon development and think about postdevelopment instead.

by Julia Schöneberg

“They talk to me about progress, about ‘achievements,’ diseases cured, improved standards of living. I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out. They throw facts at my head, statistics, mileages of roads, canals, and railroad tracks. […] I am talking about natural economies that have been disrupted – harmonious and viable economies adapted to the indigenous population – about food crops destroyed, malnutrition permanently introduced, agricultural development oriented solely toward the benefit of the metropolitan countries, about the looting of products, the looting of raw materials.”

– Aime Césaire (1950): ‘Discourse on Colonialism’

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As scholars from the Global South, we must resist being complicit

by Laura Loyola-Hernández

This intervention is written from someone who is from the Global South and working in a Global North institution, often encountering racism, xenophobia and “white fragility;” someone in between borders, juggling dos lenguas, two epistemologies and cultures.

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CALL FOR PAPERS AND CONTRIBUTIONS: Post-Development: Decolonial Alternatives to Development

Since the 1990s, the Post‐Development critique has sparked debate in development theory and policy. It rejected the entire paradigm of ‘development’ – that there are ‘developed’ and ‘less developed’ countries, thus a universal scale, and that the former can be found in the industrialised West. It furthermore criticised the paradigm’s colonial continuities – a Eurocentric perception of difference as backwardness, legitimising interventions by claiming to ‘develop the underdeveloped’ instead of ‘civilising the uncivilised’, and allowing for the preservation of a colonial division of labour. In the light of these fundamental points of disagreement, Post‐Development perspectives declared ‘development’ as beyond reform. Instead of alternative development, they argued, it was necessary to look for alternatives to development. These were to be found in concepts and practices beyond those Western models (to be more precise: those that were hegemonic in the West) which were to be universalized through ‘development’. Concepts and practices arising out of disillusionment with the false promises of ‘development’, inspired by non‐Western cultural traditions were presented aspotentially bringing forth a Post‐ Development era.

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[How Do We “Know” the World Series] About International “Experts” – Critical Thinking and an Inferiority Complex

by Janita Bartell

The following are reflections on my 3.5 years of working as a Research and Learning Manager for a local Cambodian NGO. I do not wish to reveal names of people, organizations or sectors in this essay as I believe these details might distract from the underlying pattern across most people, organizations and sectors.

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Torpor and Awakening

by Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti

I am from a family with Indigenous Latin American and German ancestry. I have been to many different countries and lived in different places. I believe this is partly because the Indigenous tradition my family comes from is nomadic. They see the earth as a living entity, and if they stay in one place they believe the land gets sick. They travel to where their ancestors send them, and this and other important messages are conveyed through their dreams. I married into a Cree and Blackfoot family where ceremonies are performed with the Blackfoot in Alberta. My son also married into a Maori whanau (family) in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

This inter-weaving of bloodlines gives me a perspective of many different Indigenous communities. I am no expert in any of them, and I do not speak for any of them. I also find it difficult to pinpoint only one place where I “come from.” In part, this is because I believe that the earth is alive and upset about fences and divisions. It is also because the tradition of being always on the road, crossing many different types of borders means one has to feel the pathway itself as a place too: one that enables you to see different patterns, different connections, as well as many similarities, and that offers a different kind of contribution to the whole. From this place, I would like to offer a story that speaks to the crossroads and the in-betweens.

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Solidarity as Development Practice? – Insights from Volunteering Practices in Global South Communities

by Christopher Millora

The tendency to frame ‘poor’ and ‘vulnerable’ populations as subjects and recipients of development programmes continues to persist today. In international volunteering, so-called ‘global south’ nations seems to be often framed as ‘beneficiaries’ and ‘hosts’ of services delivered by volunteers from the so-called ‘global north’ nations. There is also the widely known “dominant status model” which suggests that those with higher socio-economic status tend to volunteer more as they have a surplus in money, time and expertise. While these narratives do not argue that volunteering is only the domain of the rich, their persistence seems to eclipse the valuable role of volunteering and helping activities by ‘vulnerable’ populations, for instance, within the global south.

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