Dissolving Territories Part II

4+ Airport

Wednesday, Mai 22nd 2019, 7pm, @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest speaker: Nahed Awwad

© Google Maps

Airports are often described as so-called non-places. But what does this mean?

No airport can function without an armada of people working behind, in front of and under the scenes of regular airport operations. Airports are nowadays capitalist (private) entities that not only enable the mobility of millions of people, but also generate the livelihoods of millions. In many places, airports are important employers who engage tens of thousands of people. For them, the airport is neither a gateway nor a transit point: it is a fixed point in their day to day lives.

However, not everyone who counts airports as part of their everyday working lives is allowed to walk through the futuristic entrances through which travellers enter and experience this place. People who work in the low-wage sector at airports walk through countless back doors, through which they are supposed to silently disappear again. This also includes thousands of Tamil workers.

Today, they are employed as cleaning staff, baggage handlers or security officers at airports globally.. Their skin colour or supposed origin has become part of heir daily uniform. Many of these workers are former asylum seekers who escaped the racist persecution and genocide of Tamil people in Sri Lanka with aeorplanes. In a narrative twist, they today often work exactly in the places in which they arrived as travellers without return tickets.

In our next event, we ask ourselves what it mean when people who used to enter airports in order never arrive have become the enablers and softeners of the mobility of privileged citizens? If airports are non-places, are they consequently non-people?

As part of the event, we will be showing excerpts from the film »5 Minutes from Home« by Nahed Awwad: www.nahedawwad.com/5-minutes-from-home/

The event will take place in spoken English. The location including the bathroom is wheelchair accessible.

Nahed Awwad is an independent filmmaker; She has worked with well- known Palestinian filmmakers, local Palestinian TV stations and later international networks. In 2004 she got her film diploma from the European film college in Denmark and has released eight documentary films between experimental, short and feature length. Awwad’s films were screened at various international film festivals, including HotDocs film festival, Canada 2013, Dubai international film festival in 2012, Vision du Reel Film Festival, Nyon, Switzerland in 2005 and 2008 and the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 (Cinema Sud). In 2009 she was granted the International Trailblazer Tribute -Middle East Trailblazer in MIPDOC.

»Dissolving Territories« part II is funded by the Regional Centre for Civic Education Berlin.


In the second part of Dissolving Territories, different questions in the context of the violent expulsion of state territories and the creation of new social landscapes, infrastructures and communication channels will be examined and discussed from a decidedly Tamil perspective. Dissolving Territories will focus on eelam-tamil voices and approaches, voices and life-worlds that have always remained unheard. With this series we want to look at memory cultures and the construction of narratives through the lens of a Tamil point of view and thus attempt to discuss territorial and cultural-geographical questions as well as deconstruct local myths around the themes of flight and resistance in Germany.