Editorial “Introducing Baghawat”

opposition, rebellion, uprising – بغاوت

Welcome to this first editorial for Baghawat, the place of the displaced. We – two displaced women – have created this platform and publication as a space where we can come together free of national borders, societal expectations, and normative constrictions. We are overt and proud anti-racists, queers, neurodivergents, refugees and migrants, anti-capitalists, feminists, anarchists. It is from these intersectional positions we inhabit in the world that we bring Baghawat to life. 

The idea for Baghawat came to us during the summer of 2020, a summer marked by the COVID pandemic, intermittent lockdowns, and social isolation, but also by the  Black Lives Matter protests where we all came together despite the strict lockdown — because the cause was important. 

It was a summer during which our isolation both literal and figurative came into sharp relief, as did our desire to come together. We saw society’s readiness to cast off and isolate those  who are no longer productive under the logic of capitalism. We saw the entrepreneurs being pitted against the vulnerable and we saw the sly moves made by those in power to render those divested of power responsible for a mess they did not create. We saw the Black Lives Matter protests throughout the world which sparked controversy in the Netherlands with the claim that these “race issues” were imported from the US and didn’t belong here. Just weeks later riots in migrant neighborhoods broke out — the dominant explanation for the riots? These were just migrant “scum” bent on destruction. We saw acutely what the Netherlands truly thinks of migrants — imprisoned in increasingly abysmal conditions within the Netherlands and at Europe’s border camps and they are systematically ignored by the Dutch state and mainstream media.

We saw all this happening and we became fed up. Not because this is the first time we have taken notice of such things, nor because under the conditions of the pandemic we had some time on our hands. We got fed up because we saw more clearly than ever how the voices of the marginalized are not absent but stamped out from the manufactured reality of this country. So we decided to step up and make ourselves heard. 

What you are reading here is the beginning of us stepping up. We refuse to be pushed to the margins where our voices echo in the vast blank chamber of the Dutch media landscape. We refuse to feel alone any longer. Because we are not alone, nor are you. Believing the key to change is people coming together, Baghawat is more than just an online journal or event page. Coming together is at the heart of what we aim to do with Baghawat. Together in ideas and feelings but also how we can concretely act on them. 

We are not alone.

We are Baghawat 

Our initiative will begin with a monthly newsletter highlighting recent publications on the website as well as global grassroots struggles that might have slipped under the radar. While it is neither possible nor responsible to meet in person under pandemic conditions, we hope our community can take root during these times of isolation and that our roots are strengthened when we can meet again. 

In the meantime, check out this beautiful piece of prose, written by Ghazaal Yousefi — an Iranian journalist, political activist, and refugee — about her experiences in a Dutch asylum seeker center. Or this article in which two philosophers reflect on the Dutch COVID policy a year into the pandemic. 

Get in touch with us — tell us what we can do together! 

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