Subalternity and the Hazara diaspora

by Michelle

Writing my paper on subalternity, I have come to see it as a way of metonymising identity in questioning representation. Spivak differentiates between Vertretung, rhetoric as persuasion, and Darstellung, rhetoric as trope, and she exposes the complicity of the two being conflated as a unified, essentialised subject. More about this at the Deakin symposium (‘The Political Imagination’). Ali Alizadeh, Lyn McCredden and Ann Vickery have accomplished much in creating this space for a marginalised discourse which needs to be received and endorsed for Australian postcolonialsm to move forward.

Whilst in Melbourne I hope to attend an event on the repression of Hazaras. Unsafe Haven: Hazaras in Afghanistan, and Only From The Heart You Can Touch The Sky (12 April- 9 June), are two exhibitions focusing on the contemporary arts, cultural and political life of Hazaras in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. Hazaras are a vital indigenous culture persecuted because of sectarian rifts but their human rights and security ought to be advocated by all parties and their allies, concerned in the region. Due, in part, to our historical links with Afghan immigrants and the influx of political and economic regfugees, Australia has one of the largest Hazara diasporas. The exhibitions feature works by photographer and writer, Abdul Karim and videos from Afghanistan; also paintings and calligraphies by Khadim Ali and Ali Baba Awrang as well as daily screening of films from Afghanistan.

Opening: 11 April (6-8 pm)
Opening address will be delivered by Julian Burnside
Address: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne 300
Afghan live music by Zia Sahil and Afghan food
All the events are free.

There are discussions scheduled over the next few weeks by historians and artists: Dr Mammad Aidani, Khadim Ali and Ali Baba Awrang travelling from Kabul and a forum on May 3, at which Julian Burnside and David Manne will speak.
Susan Scollay, co-curator of the State Library’s Love and Devotion exhibition is talking on May 17, 12-1pm about Weaving Words, the relationship between poetry and carpets in the Persian World.

Meanwhile in Balochistan province, Pakistan, Sunni terrorists continue to violently target Hazaras. There have been rallies and arrests after eight men were killed ten days ago. Their plight goes largely unnoticed while
strategic agreements are ongoing, and while NATO and the coalition forces continue their counter-insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Unsafe haven, by Abdul Karim