Yesterday Afghan-Dutch comedian Dara Faizi died. Only 25 years old he was trying to build himself a career and he already had his own show ‘Gevaarlijke gedachten’. In the spring of 2013 he invented his alter ego Bijan; a refugee from Iran (Faizi was an Afghan refugee) who has always felt like a Dutchman. To accomplish his integration into Dutch society Bijan created a new political party Leefbaar Holland (Liveable Holland – referring to a series of parties with similar names that can be characterised as populist, secular, anti-immigrant). This new party aims to stop immigration to the Netherlands.

The next video is a campaign video for this party. Through this satire Dara Faizi wanted to confront people with their own prejudices and for a short period of time people on social media actually wondered if this party was real or not. Faizi’s campaign was the prelude to the movie Refugees, who need them which appeared in the theaters in the major Dutch cities. In the campaign video Faizi plays with different realities, different discourses and identities, challenging the usual expected and accepted answers to questions such as ‘Who am I’ and ‘What am I supposed to be’.

I never met him in person, but I followed his career and actually used the video a few times in some of the courses I teach. So I guess this is sort of a tribute to him.

The trailer of the film Refugees, who needs them?