Support the Cultural Spaces in Berlin which Support Palestinian Voices

The Closing of oyoun should be a warning to all Artists who believe in Freedom of Speech

I wanted to take a moment in this incredibly dark times to give a huge thank you to the spaces in Berlin that support us activists and artists who have been fighting to show solidarity with Palestine and the people of Gaza visible, and continue to host us and our work.

Two months into a brutal war killing thousands and displacing nearly 2 million people, and anyone operating in the public sphere is obligated to speak up and act, if not at very least be vocal for the purpose of staying relevant. artists need places to show and perform, and activists, educators and academics need places to educate, to hold discussions, to meet in order to organize events, demonstrations and trainings.

It’s absurd, if not unforgivable, that the German government, media and general public discourse has instrumentalized the October 7th attack to advance its own narrow nationalist goals. The so-called combatting of antisemitism, now blatantly conflated with any critique towards Israel, is something that unsurprisingly doesn’t protect Jews in Germany or has anything to do with antisemitism at all, and shows a clear goal of political repression towards POCs, Muslims and migrants, and more so if we dare speak up against Israel’s war and obliteration of Gaza.

So now, two months into the genocidal war on Gaza, artists, activists, academics, educators, public figures and just people active in the public sphere with a conscience have two arenas that we have to operate in: one is in relationship to what’s happening in Palestine, and the other one is what’s happening to us here in Germany as we speak up and act. For us to continue to act, we need spaces.

Oyoun is one of the few state-funded space that I can think of that continued to host cultural and political events relevant not only to opposing this genocidal war but to the repression of people here in Berlin after October 7th. It’s not surprising that it has been a target of the Berlin institutions and media actively seeking to shut it down. Almost all other state-funded places kept their silence, even at risk of becoming irrelevant, in order to not risk losing their funding.

But many other independent, underground spaces – theaters, cafes, clubs, bars, educational facilities – both existing and brand-new – have opened their doors for us to organize meetings, soli parties, sit-ins, teach-ins, performance events, screenings and more. You are in the minority, but you are so vital at this exceptional times. And for this: thank you so much!

Here is who I could think of. Please add to this list!

Acud * Aeden * AGIT * Am Flutgraben * Casa Kua * Failing Femmes * Film Arche * FU (for its students) * Karanfil * Kiwa * Café MadaMe * Moos Space * Oyoun * Oya * Panke * Refuge * Theater X * Tipsy Bear * UdK (for its students) * Zielona Gora