#BacktoEarth: Tout-monde (Whole World)
A new perspective on Earth with authors Sulaiman Addonia and Annemarie Estor (Belgium), Amahl Raphael Khouri (Egypt) and Vamba Sherif, with Chris Keulemans (moderator) and singer-songwriter Shishani. In English.
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The image we have of our world is purely human, making it human-centric. It's up to us to offer non-humans a voice and a stage. This program created by Nisrine Mbarki gave the floor to the non-human elements of our world. It was an existentially poetic evening to experience the world from a different, more holistic, perspective.
The term Tout-monde (whole world), coined by the Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), advocates the use of language and poetry as a tool of resistance. We can see the world from the point of view of other people, animals, plants and even objects by identifying with them. In the Netherlands, writer Eva Meijer calls on philosophers, writers and artists to get to work on this.
We discussed this theme with writer and journalist Vamba Sherif, who is continually seeking the history of his family in North and West Africa, irrevocably linked to the African earth. In his novel Het land van de vaders (The Land of the Fathers) he tells about his native country of Liberia, where since time immemorial a religion of nature gave worship to trees, rocks and rivers.
We asked three authors to give a voice to beloved non-humans. These were the Eritrean-Ethiopian author Sulaiman Addonia; the Belgian essayist and poet Annemarie Estor; and the Jordanian transgender playwright living and working in Berlin and Cairo, Amahl Raphael Khouri. In their works, the search for an individual, free voice plays an important role. All three are especially adept at taking on alternative voices lacking in the usual perspectives on the world, and therefore of great value.
The authors read their resulting stories on locaion, in their own habitat, and were filmed by Ahmed El Saaty (Khouri), Shalan Alhamwy (Addonia) en Nils van der Linden (Estor). Afterwards, writer and journalist Chris Keulemans led a live conversation with Addonia and Khouri to reflect on what thoughts the assignment raised.
With an earthy and powerful voice, Shishani brought disparate worlds together and was thereby the ideal singer-songwriter to engage us with the non-human.
Read the pieces commissioned for this program by the Winternachten International Literature Festival The Hague here:
(Find the Dutch-language versions here/Lees hier de Nederlandstalige versies)
'Murder, Migration and Mother Love, the Making of the Novelist Sulaiman Addonia, interview, The Guardian, 2019
Video: Chris Keulemans interviews authors Rosabelle Illes (Aruba) and Antoine de Kom (Surinam), Winternachten Festival 2020
Amahl Raphael Khouri
Video: conversation with Amahl Raphael Khouri; host: Alice Guthrie, Arts Canteen, July 2020
Video, as of 58'40'': performance by Nisrine Mbarki in Fatena's Poëziësalon, December 2020