Festival Focus 2016: Newcomers

Festival Focus 2016: Newcomers

“When you’re a foreigner, a newcomer, a displaced person, your memories inside your head are your only home. Everything else is foreign.” Lojze Kovačič, 1928–2007

The title of this year’s topic was inspired by Lojze Kovačič, who was never able to shake the feeling of foreignness, the feeling shared by as much as a third of the global population, according to the International Organization for Migration. Newcomers of all types are undoubtedly part of our common experience and migration one of the most important phenomena of our time. Migrants aren’t stopped by oceans, nor fences or walls. The inflow of immigrants into Europe, which used to be a boon to the economy, has not ceased for the past couple of decades. For the longest time, immigrants had been coming in silently and gradually, until they started drowning en masse in the Mediterranean. However, the constant crisis in the Maghreb and other parts of Africa and the culmination of the Middle Eastern conflict of interests finally resulted in endless lines (or “swarms”, as put by the British Prime Minister) of migrants young and old, educated and uneducated, who are seeking new opportunities or merely a place where they could live in peace that their home countries with their shattered infrastructure and communities are not able to provide any more.

For almost a year, we’ve been witnessing a crisis that we can’t even give a name to, much less resolve; we sometimes call it a humanitarian disaster, sometimes a security crisis, and reactions to it range from the quietly hostile to the openly hostile. Assertions of the limits of various European countries to receive the newcomers are gaining legitimacy and becoming the voice of reason in the minds of many, and the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, which had been sealed off from the world for too long during the Cold War, are showing no understanding and are being openly racist, forgetting about the mass migrations that occurred immediately after World War II and in the 1950s.

Newcomers, refugees, nomads and migrants will thus be the focus of the events that make up this year’s Fabula festival. The topic is also connected to the numerous displaced authors and intellectuals, from Nietzsche, Mickiewicz, Heine and M. Yourcenar to our contemporaries, Hemon, Rushdie, etc. This will also provide a context for a consideration of the increasingly nomadic aspects of the academia.

Virtually all segments of the festival, from Fabula before Fabula to Young Fabula, with their participants, visitors and guests coming from across Europe, from the “Balkan migrant route” to the Europe’s Europe in Brussels and the traumatized and terrified Paris, will ponder, study, give meaning to, write, draw and listen to – the newcomers.

Date Title Venue City
Barbarians at the Gate Cankarjev dom Cultural Center, Klub CD Ljubljana
Child Refugees Slovene Cinematheque Ljubljana
Academic Nomads National Gallery (Auditorium) Ljubljana
Teofil Pančić and Mitja Čander: Travellers of the Balkans among Newcomers, Foreigners, Friends Modrijan Bookstore Ljubljana
Book Brunch: Samira Kentrić - A Letter to Adna (Pismo Adni) Pritličje Ljubljana