Link | ‘…the privilege of forgetting’… Article about erasure, by Nabil Echchaibi

  • Dipika Kohli
  • 12 Jul 2020
  •   Comments Off on Link | ‘…the privilege of forgetting’… Article about erasure, by Nabil Echchaibi

Statues of colonialists coming down—or not, because some oppose ‘editing history’—is a big topic right now on the web.

I found this article particularly illuminating, and well-written. Here’s a bit of it, with the link to the full story at the end..

‘But this insurrection against sanitised history is the direct result of a relentless disease called the privilege of forgetting…

‘Some of us will not forget because the humiliating traces of statues live inside our memory. For this Moroccan writer those traces are etched in the strange Latin spelling of my last name. Those two “chch”s in my name are the jumbled phonetic rendition of an Arabic sound a French colonial officer dismissed as too strange to capture. I hear their echoes when my father was called le petit indigene (the little Indigenous) by his French tutor during colonisation. And I felt its debris in a postcolonial education system which semantically muted its students and made them feel culturally disqualified by privileging Western knowledge as the norm and consigning many of us to a role of mere responders. ‘ —From an article published by Nabil Echchaibi in AlJazeera here:


Writing what’s not normalized, but vital to learn and know about, too

A small footnote. Part of the entire reason I started writing Kismuth and making S P A C E the magazine was exactly because I felt, like the writer does here and says, that the ‘Western knowledge as the norm’ is troubling. To me, it’s hugely obnoxious, unfair and irritating. Go around the world as much as I tend to do, and you find out just how very much is missing from the things we were ‘taught’, in other words, there is huge learning to be had in that which they exclude. ‘They’ aren’t me. Ergo, I moved to another hemisphere.

I make stories about people I meet, where I meet them, and they’re real, and they’re theirs. I find these folks on the road, myself, get to know them, deeply and not trivially, so that I can honestly share what I learn. And share with them, too, reflecting back what I heard and giving people I meet something to hold, something to give away to their own friends something to say, ‘This fits. This is me.’ Because I check in, a lot, to make sure I heard them right. I share these stories, too, with the handful of people who subscribe to S P A C E. Why? Because of an echo of this feeling… that so much is missing and so much can’t be forgotten just because it’s uncomfortable for a certain set of those who are in power...

A sentiment which Nabil Echchaibi puts together so articulately, in the link. Check it out.