That’s My Girl:
A Conversation with Mona El Omari
We come into being through a variety of processes, but one of the most salient may be knowledge production. What we know and how we come to know it are filtered through our experiences. There is no way to filter out the insidious ways in which white supremacy, especially as it manifests in academia, influences what is considered knowledge, what is valued as an acceptable way to gain knowledge, and who is viewed as knowledgeable or as having the potential to create knowledge. So, we ask how to challenge the institutions we work within to create and nurture resistive forms of knowledge? Here, we think about the relationships between oppression and knowledge in order to discuss various ways to sustain ourselves in order to survive, thrive, and create spaces of belonging on our terms.
I get hung up on the ways we as marginalized communities fall into that neoliberal logic in which suffering is privatized. Yes, I am responsible for myself, but don’t hold me accountable for everything without acknowledging the power structures within which we live. The privatization of success and suffering is a trap that we are at risk of falling into. It’s one of my biggest criticisms of how we do and frame empowerment. Nobody is an island. You’re always standing upon the work of other people who came before you and who are walking alongside you.
—Mona El Omari
Mona El Omari is a social pedagogue/social worker, certified non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy, and systemic individual/couples/family counselor. She is currently in training to become a systemic therapist, and she is a systemic counselor with Ambulante Maßnahmen Altona e.V., a Hamburg-based NGO in the field of radicalisation prevention and deradicalisation within the judicial system. Further, she freelances as an empowerment trainer and political educator. Her areas of focus include transformative justice, intersectional and decolonial critiques of and approaches to psychotherapy, community empowerment, and Queerness and Islam. Mona is a music nerd who enjoys good food and anything by a large body of water. She also loves the sun and the right kinds of shadows.
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