In defense of IHRC and Ramon Grosfoguel

On December 8, 2018, the Islamic Human Right Commission (IHRC), member of the Decolonial International Network (DIN), organized a successful conference in London with the theme Islamophobia and Silencing Criticism of Israel.

One of the speakers was Ramon Grosfoguel, founder of DIN. Ramon stated that Israel is an extremist state that practices and promotes terrorism against civilian populations while simultaneously has the audacity to accuse those who resist its crimes of being “terrorist”.

He outlined the double standards that are currently in place. For example, one can freely send and raise money for the IDF (with many celebrities recently attending and promoting a fundraiser with the exact aim) but those doing the same for Hamas or other forms of Palestinian resistance are immediately labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorist supporters.’ People across the board are fearful of announcing their support for Palestine lest they too are painted with this unsavoury and undeserved brush.

He explained that there is an institutional framework in place to criminalise the supporters of Palestine. Israel micromanages every person, group and institution that criticises Israel. The Israeli lobby is automatically aware of every kind of criticism – even if it has no real impact. There is always a response to criticisms of Israel regardless of who they are from. In particular, those who are proponents of BDS will always find themselves under fire. Artists, musicians and actors who come out in support of Palestine are also labelled ‘anti-Semitic.’ Israel winning public support and opinion in the West is a major strategic operation.

On December 22, 2018, the right-wing news site The Telegraph in the UK published an article attacking IHRC and Ramon with the title: Group awarded more than £140,000 of EU finding described zionism as a ‘criminal enterprise’. It invokes Dave Rich, head of policy at the Community Security Trust, which claims to monitor anti-Semitism, and quotes him against Ramon and the IHRC: “This speech evokes classical antisemitic conspiracy theories, with its talk of global Zionist frameworks and lobbies controlling what people think, and it does so to encourage people to support terrorist groups that are banned in this country. It is yet another example of the IHRC’s extremism.”

The Telegraph calls for an end to the funding of the participation of IHRC in a European research project on Islamophobia. This kind of attack is an illustration of what Ramon in the conference called the “micromanagement” of every person, group and institution that criticises Israel. Now the “micromanagement” he spoke about is applied to his own speech.

It reminds us of the days of slavery on the plantations of the Americans where enslaved Africans were monitored in each and every movement in search of a sign of protest and resistance. That kind of micromanagement was effective in the short term on some plantations in some periods, but could not prevent the historical demise of the system of slavery. And so it goes for Zionism. Its micromanagement of resistance can cause inconvenience and problems in the short term, but one day justice will prevail and Zionism and the apartheid state of Israel will cease to exist.

Genocide Memorial Day in London and Brussel

This year London and Brussels are the venues where the annual Genocide Memorial Day is being organized, a day focused on remembering man’s inhumanity to man. It takes place on the third Sunday of January each year.

In London the theme is ‘Genocide as a tool for colonialism’.

Venue:  Sunday, 20 January 2019 from 12pm – 4pm, P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton St, Kings Cross, London NW1 1JD.

In Brussels the Bruxelles Panthères are organizing a conference with the theme: What Belgium owes to Congo’. Speakers are Sandew Hira, coordinator of DIN, Véronique Clette-Gakuba, researcher at ULB, Toma Muteba Luntumbue, art historian and Martin Vander Elst, researcher at the Laboratory of Prospective Anthropology (UCL).

Venue: Friday, January 18, 2019 from 19:00 to 22:00, Pianofabriek, Fortstraat 35, 1060 Saint-Gilles.

For Malaysia see

Institute for Decolonization of Suriname

Suriname, a former Dutch colony in Latin America, is going to set up an Institute for Decolonization of Suriname (DEKOSUR). After Venezuela that has set up a National Institute for the Decolonization of Venezuela and Bolivia with a Ministry of Decolonization Suriname is the third country in Latin America to undertake a systematic approach at decolonizing society. In its message to the people at the celebration of the 43rd day of independence the ruling National Democratic Party of Suriname stated that political independence is not enough and independence in thinking is needed. “The concept of Decolonizing The Mind is embraced and propagated by the NDP,” says the declaration.

IDS has the following goals:

  • Conducting a scientific research into the history of Suriname from this decolonial vision.
  • Producing a six-volume encyclopedia about the modern history of Suriname.
  • Promoting other publications about the history of Suriname.
  • Developing international networks on decolonization of science.
  • Providing educational programs on the (de) colonization of the mind and decolonization of history and science.

Moejinga Aboikoni-Linga will be the general director of IDS, who will have a staff of eight people. Sandew Hira, coordinator of DIN, will be the scientific director.

Institute for Decolonization in Venezuela

During the Third Decolonial School held in October 2018 in Venezuela Enrique Dussel proposed the foundation of an institute for the decolonization of Venezuela. Soon afterward Ernesto Villega, a former minister in the cabinet of Hugo Chavez, got the responsibility to formally set up a National Institute for the Decolonization of Venezuela. In a conversation with several intellectuals and activists, among them DIN founder Ramon Grosfoguel, Houria Bouteldja and Sabelo Ndlovu, Maduro emphasized the need for such an institute.

Nicolas Maduro, Ramon Grosfoguel and Enrique Dussel

Third meeting of Franz Fanon Foundation at Rutgers University

For the last ten years, the Frantz Fanon Foundation has explored the connection between Fanon’s work and the unfinished project of decolonization in dialogue with a large number of scholars and activists across the global north and south. The Bandung Conference of 1955 has been an important reference in the Foundation’s path, and the Spirit of Bandung has remained a profound and compelling inspiration.

The Rutgers Advanced Institute of Critical Caribbean Studies, and, particularly, its Decoloniality Cluster will host an international encounter with Fanon’s work. The Institute has served as a link between the Frantz Fanon Foundation, which is an international organization, the Rutgers, New Brunswick campus, and regional and local spaces such as the Lazos Community Center in Downtown New Brunswick.

The Rencontres will count with the participation of scholars, artists, and organizers who will not only share their cutting-edge work with each other and all the attendees, but who will inform decolonization projects taking place locally. These projects advance the decolonization of knowledge, critical theory, the human sciences, civic engagement, medical practice, aesthetics, and other areas of knowledge production and creative activity.

For more information click here.

Declaration DIN on the case of Tariq Ramadan

In early 2018 the Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan was arrested in France on charges of rape and assault. Since then he has been kept in solitary confinement without adequate medical services that would enable him to be treated for the debilitating condition, multiple sclerosis, from which he suffers.

The case of Tariq Ramadan is typical of how the French justice systems treats Muslims with a record of combating Islamophobia and Zionism. Ramadan is being denied the right to bail and due process. He has been denied the right to presumption of innocence, a fair and equitable judicial procedure, and fair treatment by the French justice system which has dealt with others accused of near identical crimes very differently.

DIN acknowledges the rights of complainants, that their cause be heard without prejudice or injury to their honour, but also demands respect for the principles which guarantee the integrity of French justice.

 

The Decolonial University: One Step Closer towards Pluriversality

Dina El Odessy

Despite the new-fangled challenges and opportunities presented by the advent of the 21st century, the hegemonic and uniform nature of the postmodern colonial world order continues to inform educational, economic, social and cultural institutions all over the world.

Now more than ever, there arises the need to narrate the different and more diverse variations of the human story that were silenced for around five centuries.

In attempting to address this yawning need, both the Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues in Spain (Global Dialogue), headed by Dr Ramon Grosfoguel and the International Institute for Scientific Research (IISR) in Holland, headed by Sandew Hira, have come together to put decolonial thought and ideas into practice through annual summer schools and Decolonizing The Mind courses. These event, which have attracted a growing number of researchers and activists from different parts of the globe, have been the first sown seeds to developing the Decolonial University (DU) Global Dialogue and IISR are members of the Decolonial International Network.

In contrast to the traditional Eurocentric concept of university, with its characteristic emphasis on the concept of universality in all forms of knowledge, the DU is a higher education e-learning institution that does not pretend to adopt any sense of universality. On the contrary, it promotes “pluriversity”, acknowledging and respecting the historical fact that there are inclusive and distinctive ways and modes of producing knowledge.

The curriculum of the DU is focused upon the integrative relationship that binds human beings with nature and the cosmos from the diverse vantage points of world civilizations; and from a decolonial perspective that departs from the exploitative approach of “modernity”. In so doing, there will be a number of multifarious courses that attempt to revisit the economic, social, political, geographic, and cultural dimensions that define such a relationship. Essentially, the DU is led by three guiding concepts:  combating mental slavery through decolonizing the mind, acknowledging the contributions of different civilizations to human knowledge and promoting critical learning.

Accordingly, since the vision and curriculum of the DU is not one of docility but empowerment, the learners will be given the space and opportunity to develop critical knowledge and praxis through a number of student-centered pedagogies, which aim to present students with a transformative learning experience. For example, one of the early courses that will be presented in the DU e-learning platform is the “Decolonising Education” module, which aims to deconstruct how the machinations of colonialism employed education as a tool of subjugation, in order to perpetuate its supremacist fallacies and break the ontological and epistemological worldview of the subjugated nations. They will also research how the systematic institutionalization of learning and mass education, based on discipline, categorisation and market needs, is only a relatively nascent development that has been popularized and normalized as the one and only method of education.  

In this module, learners are expected to embark on a journey of discovery from the past to the present, back and forth, in order to discover how holistic pre-modern paradigms of learning in Africa, India, Asia and America provided alternative and, at many times, progressive education. They will also be introduced to contemporary innovative models of education throughout the world, particularly the ones that aim to focus on creativity, empowerment, critical thinking, spirituality, holistic education, and multiculturalism. By the end of the module, students will be able to transform the gained knowledge into action through designing an educational model that aims to escape the stamp of old and neo-colonialism, through reimaging alternative school designs, structures curricula, pedagogies and assessment methods.

By institutionalizing the DU, our attempt is not only to reclaim the past, but also to redesign the possibilities of the future in spite of the seemingly grim and bleak present status quo.  Our hope is to share and care for the whole planet we inhabit by crossing the fabricated dividing binary lines of the colonial experience that falsely separated a decentralized world into East/West, center/periphery and so forth.

The Decolonial University is going to early 2019 and, as a prominent expert in your field, we invite you to join us by providing your valuable feedback and suggestions on the nature of the courses that could be provided. We also welcome your suggestions on the content, pedagogy, and the educational material that could be used in the upcoming “Decolonising Education” module.

We invite you to embark upon our new and exciting journey as we work together to march towards a hopefully more accepting and diverse world.

 

 

Hatem Bazian: Islamophobia, “Clash of Civilizations”, and Forging a Post-Cold War Order!

In this article Hatem Bazian provides an in-depth analysis of the phenomenom of islamophobia. Bazian argues “that Islamophobia is an ideological construct that emerges in the post-Cold War era with the intent to rally the Western world and the American society at a moment of perceived fragmentation after the collapse of the Soviet Union in a vastly and rapidly changing world system. Islamophobia, or the threat of Islam, is the ingredient, as postulated in Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis that is needed to affirm the Western self-identify after the end of the Cold War and a lack of a singular threat or purpose through which to define, unify, and claim the future for the West. Thus, Islamophobia is the post-Cold War ideology to bring about a renewed purpose and crafting of the Western and American self.”.

Developments in DIN

DIN has embarked on a trajectory to use ICT-technology in organizing the network. A survey on about the viability of a Decolonial Academic Network (DAN) showed that there is a need for a digital infrastructure for the network. DIN has found an IT company to sponsor this infrastructure. Recently Amrit Applications has started building a database of past, current and future research and a database of vacancies for academic positions.

DIN has also found a project manager in Egypt who has volunteered to lead the decolonial university project, a Moodle based online university. She is currently working to set up a first course on decolonial pedagogy.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission, member of DIN, is launching a toolkit that provides an actionable Counter-Islamophobia Toolkit aimed at combatting the numerous facets of growing Islamophobia across the EU. The launch will be held on September 26th  in European Parliament in Brussel.

Israel denies visa for talk on decolonisation exposing Einstein

The Palestine Technical University, Kadourie, Palestine, is organizing the Sixth Palestinian Conference on Modern Trends in Mathematics and Physics PCMTMP-VI, 5th-8th August 2018.

Decolonial mathematician Prof. C.K. Raju was invited to give two plenary talks (scheduled on 7th and 8th Aug) on
Decolonising mathematics: how and why it makes science better (and enables students to solve harder problems).

Israel denied him a visa. Read more.