Friday 17, November
Protesters unveil banner for Palestine mock-exhibition at HKW
Early on Friday morning, unknown protesters unveiled a huge banner at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, announcing a mock exhibition: Decolonise Palestine: Cartographies of Complicity. This action comes on the back of a series of protests in recent weeks taking aim at Berlin’s cultural institutions.
Another recent incident at Berlin’s State Library on Unter den Linden saw protesters conceal speakers in the bookshelves and broadcast statements such as “Stop the genocide” and “Your history is repeating” through the halls of the library.
Berlin is currently divided on the issue of the war in Gaza. Protests demanding a ceasefire continue to draw thousands to the streets, but many of the city’s cultural institutions remain cautious in their statements over the issue. The cultural centre Oyoun in Neukölln was threatened with having its funding withdrawn after they hosted an event from the organisation Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East which was deemed unacceptable by the city’s politicians.
As for the protester’s specific choice of HKW, it remains unclear. The institution has released no major statement on the topic. But the institution is far from apolitical – HKW presents itself as a leader of anticolonial thought and a champion of art from the Global South. But before taking on his current role, the HKW’s director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung explicitly distanced himself from a 2014 Facebook post in which he had written “They will pay millions for every drop of blood in Gaza! Palestine will be free… come what may!”.