Screening: The World Like A Jewel in the Hand

The World Like A Jewel in the Hand – Unlearning Imperial Plunder (II)
العالم كجوهرة في كف اليد
אלעלאם כג׳אוהרה פי כף אליד
[2022, 58 min]
Objects held captive in museums and archives outside of the places from where they were looted are only the visible tip of the iceberg of the mass colonial plunder of Africa. Substantial wealth was accumulated through the extraction of raw materials, labor, knowledge and skills, including the “visual wealth” attained by putting people in front of the colonizers’ cameras. This long and enduring ransack, cannot be addressed through the discourse of restitution, especially when arguments are made in support of the restitution of individual objects; rather, it requires a questioning of the imperial foundations of the world in which we live. Within the wide landscape opened by this questioning, the world like a jewel in the hand, focuses on the destruction of the Jewish Muslim world that existed in North Africa. It insists on making it imaginable and inhabitable again.
Before the colonization of North Africa by the French, this was the world of my ancestors. The film insists on my – our – right to refuse to conceive this world as over. In it, we examine a variety of media and objects, alter and re-contextualize troubling photos by juxtaposing them with information about the circumstances of the plunder and respond to the call of our Jewish ancestors in the Muslim world who, in the late 1940s, urged their fellow Jews (who spoke, feared, and dreamed in Arabic) to resist the European Zionist campaign to destroy Palestine, and with it the entire Jewish Muslim world.
Speaking as an Algerian Jew, I use the camera to question, and thus refuse, the way Algerian Jews, like other Jews who live(d) in other Muslim countries, were transformed into an extinct species, but instead of accepting the verdict the film presents them as invitations to resistance, reinterpretation, and reclamation of a world deemed “lost.”
Join us for a screening of the second film in the series ‘unlearning imperial plunder’ by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and organizers from anti-colonial/anti-imperialist networks in Berlin:
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is a theorist of photography and visual culture, film essayist, and independent curator of archives and exhibitions. She is a professor of Modern Culture and Media and the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University. Her research and most recent book, Potential History (Verso, 2019), concern key political concepts/institutions: archive, sovereignty, plunder, art, return/repair, and reversal of imperial violence.
Leil Zahra Mortada is a transfeminist queer activist, researcher and artist/filmmaker born in Beirut. Their work focuses on anarchist politics, oral histories, nationalism, border and migration, and decolonialism. Their films includes the archival project “Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution” and the awarded experimental short “Breakup in 9 Scenes”; among their varied research areas are also digital security and music projects such as Sound Liberation Front.
Ma’ayan Zohra Ashash is Jerusalem-born activist of maghrebi-Jewish origin, member of several groups and initiatives focusing their work on anti-colonial, anti-capitalist and queer-transfeminist collective organizing. She is passionate about research, political education and autonomous learning as tools for community building and strengthening processes. She is currently completing a double degree in the EuMIGS network of Master Programmes in Migration Studies.
Sana Tannoury-Karam is a writer and a historian of the modern Middle East, with a special focus on the cultural and intellectual history of the left in Lebanon during the Mandate period. She also writes on the subjects of memory, exile, and belonging. Tannoury-Karam is currently a EUME fellow of the Forum Transregionale Studien (2020-2023), and an incoming Assistant Professor of Modern Middle East History at the Lebanese American University (2023)



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AL.Remise Cultural Program During October – December 2022 was Supported by: