ON THE TIP OF YOUR TONGUE
While the word ‘ambaradan’ in Italian means a confused or chaotic situation, a hullabaloo, its origin actually refers to the Ethiopian massif in the region of Tigray, Amba Aradan, where in 1936 the Italian army used chemical weapons [including mustard gas and phosgene] to commit an atrocious war crime. The word ‘zombie’ tends to make one think of films and catatonic hordes of the living dead who slowly attack humans; in reality it is of Congolese origin, from the word ‘nzumbe’, [meaning spirit, fetish] and was used to identify the workers in Caribbean plantations: while the word ‘menelik’, used in Italian for the small Carnival whistle that unrolls like a long paper tongue, was given this name to make fun of the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II, accused by the Italian colonisers of being a liar with a forked tongue.
Starting from the word ‘ambaradan’, OHT explores the invisible form of racism that is still on our lips and on the tip of our tongues. While etymology tends to trace the origins of language almost exclusively to Greek and Latin, ON THE TIP OF YOUR TONGUE deconstructs this hegemonic origin, revealing the ghosts of Creolized language. Hybrid words, of uncertain etymology, which hide a monstrous origin we are incapable of seeing due to the painful reality it refers to.
- A cura di OHT - Office for a Human Theatre
- With the contribution of the