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The central theme of the Festival “SOHO in Ottakring  2018”, that took place from 2nd to 17th june, was

Beyond Discomfort: Of Working on the Community

When the ground jolts and anxiety for a secure future spreads like a fire, the delicate flame that stands for democracy is extinguished in the hearts of many people. The discomfort and thus the power of social division grows, which eventually leads to the exclusion of the “others” and the “weaker”. If this becomes reality, we all lose in the end.

The value of democracy comes with tangible things: education, fututre perspectives, social affiliation, quality of work. The flexible individual, who may not bind himself or herself and flutters from (virtual) place to place, is therefore not a sustainable future model.

Democratic values seem to be coming increasingly meaningless and are being questioned in the face of the many crises that affect the lives of everyone in more or less disconcerting ways. Will democracy survive?

In an endless entanglement of causalities, the complexities of problems and challenges that future generations will inherit might no longer be manageable.

On the other hand, it is amazing how quickly a system of interdependencies threatens to collapse when the wheels are stalled – whether by natural forces or by endless conflicts over power and resources such as in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The consequences are eradication, flight, radicalization, poverty, death. We all perceive the devastation.

When a democratically organized, “safe” world feels threatened and a nation state is caught in the whirlwind of world events, the neo-liberal system reveals its destructive force. Under the cover of democracy, it continues its path of human exploitation and resource destruction – in a post-colonial tradition, as long as it may.

In this context, working on the community has a special significance. The commitment of Civil Society is essential for solidarity and social cohesion. The power of solidarity experienced during the “refugee crisis” in the fall months of 2015 is an example.

In small steps and with patience, trust and the desire for sharing must grow again. The creative potentials of art can provide a concrete impetus for new forces to unfold.