“Anu אנו نحن: Mizrahi Writers in Berlin” is the very first literary group to bring together Jewish and Muslim authors & poets with heritage stemming from the Middle East, Asia and north Africa. They aim to revive the lost Jewish-Muslim dialogue through literature and art. Living together in exile in Berlin, Jews and Muslims are redefining their mutual existence in the diaspora.
- Mizrahi Jews were living in Muslim countries for more than 1000 years. “Anu “אנו نحن’s events revive this long history and set a new framework for present and future options of coexistence. More than 100 years ago in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa, Jews and Muslims lived in a fruitful dialogue with each other, and were culturally and spiritually connected. After the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire, the two World Wars, and the rise of Jewish and Arab nationalism, the two people became disconnected. The Jews of Muslims countries had lost their home, territories, belonging and language as they were pushed to resettle in the new established Jewish State. While Mizrahi Jews were being lured to Israel by Zionists, the same Zionists who were expelling Palestinians from historical Palestine. Zionism and the establishment of Israel contributed to dismantling a fruitful cultural and spiritual dialogue. As new immigrants in the new Jewish state, Mizrahi Jews were requested to leave behind their “Arabness” and become part of the Zionist melting pot. With the loss of language, culture, names and shared past, the memory of a Jewish-Muslim dialogue was lost as well.
- Berlin offers a rare meeting point between Jews and Muslims. It is a city that gathers today exiles and expats from the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. A diasporic space was created, a space for a dialogue that cannot take place today in the cities in the region these immigrants and refugees left. An Iranian Jew cannot travel to Iran from Israel; a Lebanese cannot come to meet Israelis in Tel-Aviv. From this unique standpoint, “Anu אנו نحن” is reimagining possibilities for a different kind of poetic, one that reflects on a past of co-existence, where territories were open for travel, where borders did not separate languages and cultures. We wish to continue the Muslim-Jewish dialogue, here in Berlin, more than 70 years after it was interrupted.
- “Anu אנו نحن” offers as well unique model for fighting Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The participants of Anu אנו نحن’s events learn together about the joint past and the segregated present, and in doing so they symbolically break the walls and stereotypes separating Jews and Muslims. The writers, poets and musicians in the events share their personal narratives and search for a common ground for uniting against racism in contemporary Germany.
- “Anu אנו نحن” emphasizes greatly voices and narratives of women and queers and the feminist struggle of Jewish and Muslim women of the region. They explored the differences and mutual experiences of women from the Middle East, Asia and north Africa today, aiming to deconstruct patriarchal notions and discourse.
- The members of “Anu אנו نحن“ are supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and object the unjust and violent occupation of the West Bank, Gaza strip and the Golan Heights. “Anu אנו نحن” attempts to promote a discussion which objects to militant form of nationalism of any sort. They bring to the surface the ways in which the Zionist colonial project intensified discrimination against Jews in the Muslim world, and contributed to the unrest in the Middle East. “Anu אנו نحن“ promotes a peaceful dialogue regarding the future of the region and our members share a passion to see peace in Israel/Palestine.