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Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, right, are guided through the exhibition by Hartmut Dorgerloh, General Director and Chairman of the Board of the Humboldt Forum Foundation, left, in the Berlin Palace, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021, during the ceremony marking the exhibition opening of the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of Asian Art of the National Museums in Berlin/Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Humboldt Forum Foundation. (Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP)Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, right, are guided through the exhibition by Hartmut Dorgerloh, General Director and Chairman of the Board of the Humboldt Forum Foundation, left, in the Berlin Palace, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021, during the ceremony marking the exhibition opening of the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of Asian Art of the National Museums in Berlin/Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Humboldt Forum Foundation. (Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP)

 

“We will only be able to understand and overcome the deeper roots of everyday racism if we shine a light on the blind spots of our memory and if we face our colonial history much more than we have done so far,”  German president  said. Acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who also spoke at the ceremony, called on Germany and all of Europe to live up to its democratic values and return the art and especially spiritual objects, stolen from Africa, Asia and Latin America. She also demanded that German schoolchildren learn more of the country's colonial past, which is currently an afterthought in many schools' history curriculums. “All countries have parts of their history that they are not proud of,” Ngozi Adichie said, adding that “a nation that believes in the rule of law cannot possible be debating whether to return stolen goods. It just returns them.”

 

 

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center left, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, center right, and Monika Grutters, Minister of State for Culture, are guided through the exhibition by Hartmut Dorgerloh, General Director and Chairman of the Board of the Humboldt Forum Foundation, left, in the Berlin Palace, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021, during the ceremony marking the exhibition opening of the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of Asian Art of the National Museums in Berlin/Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Humboldt Forum Foundation. (Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP)

Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks during the ceremony marking the exhibition opening of the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of Asian Art of the National Museums in Berlin/Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Humboldt Forum Foundation in the Berlin Palace, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday Sept. 22, 2021. (Britta Pedersen/dpa via AP)

 

Germany's president called on Germans to face the country's cruel colonial past as he opened a new museum in the capital's center that will be home to two of Berlin’s state museums. The Ethnological Museum and the Museum for Asian Art both contain artifacts that were looted from countries in Africa and elsewhere. “Especially the countries in Africa have lost an immense part of their art through the raids of the Europeans,” President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at the official opening ceremony of the Humboldt Forum.




“The injustice committed by Germany during colonial times must concern all of us, the entire society,” he added. The Humboldt Forum — located in the heart of Berlin, next to the neoclassical Museum Island complex — features collections of African, Asian and other non-European art in a partial replica of a Prussian palace that was demolished by East Germany’s communist government after World War II. Among the artifacts are the famous Benin Bronzes, which were looted from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now southern Nigeria, by a British colonial expedition in 1897.




The Ethnological Museum has one of the world’s largest collections of historical objects from the kingdom, The decision was taken earlier this year that German museums should work on a restitution plan with museums and authorities in Nigeria, and the Berlin museums authority said in July that it was moving forward with plans to return the Benin Bronzes next year. The British Museum, which also owns hundreds of artifacts from the former Kingdom of Benin, has said it doesn’t currently have plans to return parts of its collection. Addressing Germany's colonial history more generally, Steinmeier raised the killing of tens of thousands of people in German-ruled Namibia over a century ago. Germany has been negotiating compensation payments with Namibia in talks that opened in 2015, and are likely to come to an agreement in the near future. Steinmeier said that current racism, discrimination and violence against those who are perceived as different and foreign in Germany are in some ways also related to Germany’s colonial past.



“We will only be able to understand and overcome the deeper roots of everyday racism if we shine a light on the blind spots of our memory and if we face our colonial history much more than we have done so far,” he said. Acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who also spoke at the ceremony, called on Germany and all of Europe to live up to its democratic values and return the art and especially spiritual objects, stolen from Africa, Asia and Latin America. She also demanded that German schoolchildren learn more of the country's colonial past, which is currently an afterthought in many schools' history curriculums. “All countries have parts of their history that they are not proud of,” Ngozi Adichie said, adding that “a nation that believes in the rule of law cannot possible be debating whether to return stolen goods. It just returns them.”



The collections of the Ethnological Museum and the Museum for Asian Art include about 500,000 objects, which were previously housed in museums in the city's Dahlem district. Around 20,000 of those will be shown in the Humboldt Forum, German news agency dpa reported.

 

 

 



Top U.S. trade official to have meeting with WTO chief on Wednesday


U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will have an online meeting on Wednesday with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organization, Tai's media office said, weeks before it holds an import ministerial conference.

Katherine Tai confirmed as U.S. Trade RepresentativeTAI

Tai spoke by telephone earlier this month with the head of the WTO and acknowledged the "difficult logistical challenges" facing the upcoming WTO conference. The global trade watchdog is due to hold a ministerial conference of its 164 members in November and December, which is set to be a critical test of Okonjo-Iweala's leadership.



The WTO has not concluded a multilateral deal for years. WTO members are set to negotiate a range of topics at the meeting, including trade, the COVID-19 pandemic as well as agriculture and fisheries.

 

 

 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes TIME Magazine's Photo Cover, Listed Among 100 Most Influential People Globally



World-Economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a former Nigerian federal minister who hails from the Eastern region of the country. She has to her name, several global recognitions, and presently heads the World Trade Organisation, WTO. Ngozi has just been listed among 100 most influential people across the globe by the TIMES Magazine, including making the magazine's photo cover.




Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are the founders of Archewell wrote the below introduction  note for cover :


"
What will it take to vaccinate the world? Unity, cooperation—and leaders like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
As the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization, a 164-member group of nations that oversees trade across the world, Okonjo-Iweala took on the role of director-general this March at a watershed moment for our global health and well-being. Make no mistake, her job affects every person, family and community.




As we face a constant barrage of vaccine misinformation, bureaucratic slowdowns across both government and industry, and the rise of variants that underscore the urgency of the situation, Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access. Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing. This is partly because, despite the challenges, she knows how to get things done—even between those who don’t always agree—and does so with grace and a smile that warms the coldest of rooms.



The fragility of our world right now cannot be overstated. Just over a quarter of the nearly 8 billion global population is fully vaccinated. Achieving vaccine equity is a global duty of compassion for one another. Our hope is that guided by strong leaders like Ngozi, we can get there soon. "




And Okonjo-Iweala thanked TIME for the selection and the royal couple for the introduction note : "Honored and privileged to be on the cover of Time Magazine and to be recognized as one of the World's Most Influential Leaders! Profound thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their kind words. All Glory to God! "

 

 

The German Chancellor and the celebrated Nigerian feminist author discussed politics, and how they are influenced by social media — and fashion.

Renowned Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chancellor Angela Merkel were the guest speakers at a panel held at the Düsseldorf's Schauspielhaus theater on Wednesday, alongside journalists and entrepreneurs Miriam Meckel and Lea Steinacker. Their discussion focused on their own commonalities and differences, particularly as women: Adichie, as a leading feminist author and thinker, and Merkel, as the world's most powerful female political leader.


At the event, the German chancellor made headlines for stating publicly for the first time, "Yes, I am a feminist."  But the two women also discussed several other topics, including the state of democracy, social media, and even fashion.



Connected with democracy
Merkel was introduced with a selection of praiseworthy labels she has been given over the past years, including "defender of the liberal West."  Merkel reacted to the tribute by saying: "I am happy that, following the German reunification, I have been able to stand up for liberal, democratic values and can work for a free society, as chancellor," all while adding, "But one needs to look beyond exaggerations and thankfully there are many people who feel connected with democracy, and that makes me happy."

Angela Merkel and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in conversation | Culture |  Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 09.09.2021

As Merkel pointed out, her last days as chancellor — a position she has held since 2005 — have been marked with "apocalyptic" floods and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the country's takeover by the Taliban. Amid such chaos, is there hope for a better world? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pointed out that the world has survived many political catastrophes. "So I think there's reason to be hopeful but in a way that is very cautious. But it also requires political will. I really think that there is a certain failure of leadership … the things going on today, they were not inevitable. They did not have to happen."




Transmission of democratic ideals: a never-ending process
But are only leaders to blame? "In order to preserve democracy, we need more than just politics," said Merkel, adding that culture, history — the question of where we come from and where we're heading — need to be preserved to keep a society together.



"We [politicians] cannot order others to do this ... Good politics can stimulate, but cannot force democracy. If everyone decides to break traffic rules, we cannot make everyone a police officer. The constitutional democracy lives off the fact that it has a high degree of acceptance among its people and this acceptance has to be learned by every new generation."



Democratic values appear to be eroding in many countries, including Poland and Hungary in Europe, where populist governments have curbed many rights, including freedom expression and freedom from all forms of discrimination based on sex, sexuality or gender.
Adichie discussed the way some politicians manipulate people's discontent and use that as an excuse to introduce undemocratic laws: "What I feel, watching the US — it's my second home after Nigeria — is that we need to have an educated and informed electorate, otherwise it's very easy to manipulate people," she said.



Intolerance and social media
Social media can be used to inform, "but it can also be very dangerous in keeping us from truth," she added. Some platforms, she said, "thrive on conflict. People go on these platforms and the goal is conflict, the goal is to misinform." So, Adichie asks, how do we create an informed electorate and how do we tell people the truth? In her view, people need to read more. "When I say read, I don't mean read text messages or tweets," she noted. "I mean, read something that is continuously long and makes sense, that is punctuated and has good grammar."

 

 

 

The term “model minority” has a specific history in the Asian American community, but I can’t think of a better embodiment of its concepts than Larry Elder, the Black Republican gubernatorial candidate who has made a career of saying the things white people love to hear about Black people. Elder’s deeply held beliefs about race just happen to comfort the most racist, far-right wings of the Republican Party. He does not believe systemic racism exists, says that Black Lives Matter caused rising crime rates and that all people of color in America need to combat racism is a pair of bootstraps by which to pull themselves up.



And I don’t think Elder’s sudden prominence is an accident. Fielding a "model minority" candidate will probably become a common electoral strategy for the largely white Republican Party as it attempts to maintain control of a rapidly diversifying nation. Model minority candidates can help affirm far-right perspectives on racism while offering a defense against the charge that the Republican Party is too white. This strategy "allows the GOP to recognize race and racism, but it lets them off the hook with respect to changing any policy about it," said Janelle Wong, a professor of American studies at the University of Maryland. "It allows them to address race but also minimize it."



Which means that going forward, we’re going to hear a lot of racial fearmongering and talk of these mythical “bootstraps” that open a magical door to the American dream. As preparation for this coming onslaught of cultural propaganda, I thought it would be instructive for us all to learn how to recognize a model minority candidate and learn what the term really means.According to Ellen Wu, an Asian American studies professor at Indiana University who wrote a book on the model minority effect, "model minority" is also an idea, as well as a reference to a specific history. “Playing the good minority is a strategy that many different people have used, either by minorities themselves or as a label that people have projected onto various individuals or groups to further an agenda,” Wu said.




Journalists and academics began applying the term to Asian Americans in the 1960s to explain why Japanese and Chinese Americans were attaining financial success. Besieged by increasingly specific demands for racial justice by Black civil rights activists, white leaders eagerly seized upon the model minority narrative as a strategy for tamping down those demands. To white observers, Asian American success meant that American racism against Black people wasn’t actually all that bad.
At the same time, the United States began to selectively admit rich and educated immigrants from Asia. Visa categories favoring academics, students, doctors and engineers would become the prime demographic determinants of the modern-day Asian American community. 


What it meant to be a model minority shifted dramatically, Wu said. In the decades leading to the ’60s, being a “good” minority meant ostentatious displays of patriotism, like flying American flags, speaking fluent English, volunteering for the military and celebrating the Fourth of July. After decades of selective Asian immigration, the term “model minority” came to be associated with things like education, economic productivity, science and medicine — in part because so many recent Asian immigrants were in those fields.



But throughout history, the term is always premised on the idea that there is an "unmodel" minority — that some races are "bad" and others are "good." The kind of behavior seen as "model" changes according to who America's current "unmodel" minority is. But to me, being a model minority is always a strategy for avoiding the negative effects of racism and xenophobia by ingratiating yourself to the powerful.



Which brings us back to Larry Elder and the first characteristic of the model minority candidate.
First and foremost, you must declare that systemic racism and white supremacy do not exist, or at least aren't nearly as bad as everyone is saying. This message will turn you into a political darling almost overnight. If you will publicly comfort the Republican base's anxieties about racism, conservative stardom awaits. Elder checks that box, as he's been one of the nation's most vociferous racism denialists since before it was cool, a longtime mentor of former Trump advisor and white nationalist sympathizer Stephen Miller.



“Someone who comes from a background like Larry’s and is willing to say all these things about racism — that’s a really affirming message for white Republican voters,” said Rudy Alamillo, an assistant professor of political science at Western Washington University who has studied the efficacy of Republican appeals to the Latino community. Second, the model minority candidate takes their own personal success or wealth as proof that America is a meritocracy. They often wield their biography as if it single-handedly disproves all racism and hardship. They take deep pride in the fact that they are a special, talented member of their race who overcame discrimination. And their belief in their own merit is premised on accepting their community's inferiority. Think of it as first stepping on the people around you so that you can appear to be pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.




Immigrant communities are especially susceptible to these appeals because they're a major part of the narrative that brought people to America. And that's why Elder has had more resonance than I expected in Asian American and Latino communities, as recently chronicled by my colleagues Gustavo Arellano and Anh Do. But just because hard work can overcome racism doesn't mean racism doesn't exist. And more people are starting to reject this kind of appeal. A 2019 AAPI Data survey found that 55% of Asian Americans and a majority of Californians overall reject the "bootstraps narrative."




Third, the model minority candidate will play up their ties to their minority community when it benefits them, but they probably won't have too many real connections with their community. People rarely want to hang out with the person who's throwing them under the bus, as my colleague Donovan X. Ramsey found last week. We all probably know a Larry Elder. It's not all that surprising that an intellectual, bookish kid who grew up facing pernicious stereotypes in a poor neighborhood became a vociferous racial contrarian who takes fierce pride in bucking trends and stereotypes. I can attest to that: When you're a person of color, you find yourself living your life in rejection of the stereotypes applied to you. But in rejecting them so strongly, we often end up allowing those stereotypes to define us.


Democrat or Republican, and no matter what race you are, I guarantee that you don’t want to elect a model minority candidate. If they’ve decided to sell out their own people, why would they treat the rest of us any better?

 

 

Making room for the unexpected, in more ways than one - Los Angeles TimesFrank Shyong is  a Los Angeles Times. columnist. This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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