1.can you introduce yourself ?
My name is Karina Griffith, I am the curator of Republik Repair
2. Tell us about Republik Repair
It is a Black perspectives’ festival on the topic of reparations, and the full title is “Ten Points, Ten Demands, One Festival – Republik Repair: Reparatory Imaginings from Black Berlin Republik Repair is for continuing work that has already been done here in Berlin, in Germany, in Europe and beyond. Its about thinking about repair. Especially this idea of Reparatory imaginings. It is hard to translate, but for me it is about creating a space to imagine what reparations and what a repaired state, a repaired body feels looks and smells like. It is a space that creates new realities
3. Could you give a brief description to people who do not know what Reparations are….
I could tell you first of all what I think reparations aren’t. There is this German word, “wiedergutmachung” wich I find fully insufficient, because there is no way to make good again a Genocide, there is no way to make good again the constant Institutional, Structural Hinderance of the people. I think Reparations is a process, so it took a long time to create the situation that we are in, where certain groups of people Black People are systematically denied equal rights and equal access. Reparations is definitely a process that will take at least as long to repair what was created. The situations we are currently in.
4. Do you think there is a difference in the kind of Reparations that the people living in the Diaspora need from those who are actually living in the countries where things happen ?
Well I would say things happen here too, things happen everywhere. But yeah, definitely this is a certain point of view that I come with, you know. And I always say as an Immigrant we really know how to pack. I am always packing things from my experience in Canada, my experience in the Caribbean , which is why for me it makes perfect sense to bring an idea that comes from the Caribbean here to Germany. We are so used to getting raw materials from the Caribbean and now we have these raw materials for talking about Reparations also from the Caribbean. For me that was sort of the idea behind creating this festival, these ten points speak to the Black experience everywhere. Rather than asking for a sum of money before we can even think about what it is going to cost to repair the situation that we are in, we have to think about what the situation is in the here and now, how are the affects from the past still being perpetrated and played out in the present.
5. Are you from the Caribbean ?
My family migrated from Guyana to Toronto. And Guyana is a country many people don’t know much about, sometimes I think that is a blessing, because it is a country that is rich, not just in Gold and Rainforest, but it is a country that is rich in Culture, Courage and Strength. It is in South America but part of the Caribbean, it sometimes gets lost.
6. Where do you see the Solutions for Reparations in 10 years ?
In 10 years I would like to see representatives from the German government actually show up to the court case where they are being sued in New York. I would give them 10 years, if they would just show up to the hearing that would be great – because the fact that they just do not show up speaks so much to what happened and what continues to happen. Speaking about the representatives from the Nama and the Herero organisations who are seeking reparations for the genocide in Namibia and there has been a process that has started in the US, and it is stalled because representatives from Germany just don’t show up. So in the next 10 years if somebody would actually attend, that would be great.
7. Do you think that the demands of Reparations that the Nama and Herero people are making are the same to the Caricom “10 points” or are they asking for something different ?
They are asking for a full formal apology, they are asking for Reparations, but again they want a conversation you know ? And I think it is really wonderful that so many different processes are happening at the same time because there is so much strength in these things happening currently, so I think in a Way they are asking for a very similar thing which is a process to begin.
8. How would you describe black Berlin today ?
Black Berlin today is beautiful , it is strong it is diverse. I think it is really Courages. Black Berlin today is a product of Black Berlin yesterday, which we can not forget the work of ADEFRA , ISD. Black Berlin today is the future of Berlin.
9. What do you think of the state of Black People generally ?
You know I have had the privilege of living in two different countries in the last little while and what I am seeing is black people coming together and just being fed up. I think that perhaps my parents generation really believed that my generation and the next generation wouldn’t have to deal with racism, they where really optimistic when they left Guyana and came to Canada and thought that they would have a better life that they would be escaping something. But finding the same problems in a different way, I see that black people are coming together and demanding more – and this is really wonderful on the one hand its sad because I wish that that dream that my parents had could have been true, that time heals all wounds but they cant be just one side thats putting in on the work, so I am seeing now that black organisations black families black groups just demanding that work come from both sides.
10.What do you hope to feel at the end of the festival ?
At the end of the festival I hope to feel that there is energy to keep going. I want the end of the festival to be the beginning of something else. So that just like the Caribbean community met for years before they came up with there ten point plan in 2014, I would like the community that we have created here to continue to think about our manifesto : what is it that we want from all the diversity that is black Berlin.