VPRO Backlight

Anger as a weapon according to Pankaj Mishra

Anger. A word often heard in the 21st century. The anger of a lone wolf and the anger of nationalists. Anger, fed by Trump, the Brexit, IS, Catalonian separatists and even the Hindu supremacy in India. Pankaj Mishra is attempting to explain this phenomenon. Where does this anger come from and how can this ever lead to something good?

The Indian writer Pankaj Mishra, born and raised in India but since 2006 a resident of London, published the book this year Age of anger: A History of the Present. Herein he attempts to explain where his so-called ‘great wave of paranoia hatred’ comes from. Who is the target of this anger and what has this led to during the past decade?

With the view of a relative outsider Mishra observes the deepening identity crisis taking place in Great Britain following the Brexit. A country still divided by large-scale class differences and unable to distance itself from its colonial past. A country where the political elite have become estranged from its electorate and where xenophobia appears to gaining even more ground.

Mishra reveals the contradictions between the British elite and the working class. On one side the British elite, clamping onto the past with all its might: represented in the financial heart of London, the City, where every year the new Lord Mayor of London is inaugurated with a parade containing many great ceremonial elements. And the working class who are under pressure in the social housing alongside the expensive real estate of the very prosperous Kensington. A neighborhood where last summer the disastrous fire in Grenfell Tower took place resulting in at least 71 deaths. The protesting survivors of this blaze and now using their anger to better their position. How can they, through the eyes of Pankaj Mishra, see to it that something good actually comes from this anger?

With: Met: Pankaj Mishra (author), Lord Jeffrey Mountevans (Lord Mayor of London), Zeyad Cred (neighbourhood resident of Grenfell Tower) and Samia Badani (neighbourhood resident of Grenfell Tower).