What does radical self-love look like?

Sometimes it looks like moving your family across the world so you can finally write a memoir.

For people living with mental illnesses, the emphasis on self-love and some of its assumed performances can be alienating. For people who have C-PTSD or have grown up in dysfunctional homes of continuously traumatizing incidents, the term self-love can ring hollow. As one friend recently said, it simply doesn’t penetrate.

And that’s ok.

In the times when we are stuck in our own programming, even when we have the dual awareness to recognize we are stuck but we can’t do much about it, it is important to realize that putting one foot in front of the other, or even just longing to, is self-love.

It is not actively destructing.

It is still you in there.

For me, a big part of practicing self-love has been doing things for myself, even when I don’t feel the love: booking therapy appointments in advance (even when my brain is telling me it’s hopeless so why bother), booking home support like cleaning services (even when my brain is telling me I am worthless because I need help to do basic things), or any other steps (small and large) I might take towards helping myself continue to survive.

It is a common thing among folks living with mental illness that we can only feel in memory, never in the present moment. Our nervous systems have been trained expertly to shut down in the here and now as a protective mechanism.

And that’s ok.

That is your body loving yourself.

A big part of healing is in rolling one’s consciousness forward to now. In building one’s own safe spaces and then allowing one’s self to feel in those spaces. Even if little by little.

Radical self-love looks like such commitments to survival, even when your brain tells you that you do not want to survive. Radical self-love even looks like simply yearning to take these steps, even when your brain tells you that you cannot go on.

This is an act of radical self-love.

I am set to begin a sabbatical or leave of absence from my advocacy work with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) on August 1st.   The community work I have set in motion will graciously be continued by my committee of dedicated directors and volunteers. This leave will entail me and my family moving to Morocco for six months to visit family and make space for the research and writing of a creative non-fiction memoir

About the project:

Why do you want to enter? Simon Levy asked me outside the entrance of the Casablanca Jewish Museum he founded and directed as of 1997. An armed Moroccan military officer stood close by, listening to our conversation. When I replied that I wanted to see the Moroccan Jewish artifacts inside, he seemed surprised, and gestured to the hijab covering my head. He said, it is not often that we have your people visiting the museum, before waving for me to follow him inside.

Five years later, I was sitting in Levy’s old office with the new museum director, Zhor Rehihil, who took over primary curatorship after Levy’s death. We were talking about my research project and dropping names of historians doing work on the departure of Jews from Morocco between 1948 and 1968. I was explaining my interest in the silences of its memory, particularly the anxieties brought on by the Holocaust and a host of other issues largely absent from both Jewish and Muslim memories.

The Holocaust had nothing to do with Morocco, she protested. I let her finish without agreeing or disagreeing, wrapping up our conversation with a promise to keep in touch and update her when my work was completed. As she was walking me out, she looked at my hijab and said, you know, that headscarf will make your research very difficult. Trust, in this field, is a complicated thing.

It was only in wading through the multivocal, emotionally-charged and often painful memories of the departure that I would come to recognize the truth of her observation and how my own work might come to be perceived because of my identities. I also came to notice patterns of belonging and rootlessness in my own story as a convert to Islam, living in a foreign country, descendant from immigrants and married to a man who also gave up his place of origin as a Mediterranean migrant.

The pursuit of homelands, both literally and figuratively, shape my experiences – both a physical and an internal migration echoed in the movement of the people I have studied and how the memory of their journeys is expressed.

What does it mean to search for home as a Muslim convert, wading through established communities? What does it mean to exist as a racialized Muslim woman in Canada, in an era of rising Islamophobia? What does it mean to immigrate to another land in pursuit of the familiar? For myself, my ancestors, my spouse?

Deeper than this, what does it mean to look for home as a wandering soul? I can hear the revolutionary chants of the Arab Spring protesters on the television my first time in Morocco: Jannah, jannah, jannah, Jannah al-wataniya. Paradise, paradise, paraside, Paradise the homeland. 

The project that I am working on is a creative non-fiction memoir, a true novel of sorts, that will braid together these stories of migration and homeland, combining my academic research with stories from my life and those close to me. I am unsure yet if the writing I am making space for will become a graphic novel script that I will commission an illustrator for, or it will remain a work of prose.

I am asking for support while I take some time off from my advocacy work to travel back to Morocco for visual research and to conduct additional interviews for the writing of this work. As I said, my sabbatical begins August 1st and will continue for 6 months. I hope to return to Canada with a complete first draft and have set up a mentorship relationship with a Professor of literature and writing to ensure I achieve this goal.

All I have to offer is my participation. All I am able to do is take each voice in the turbulence of remembering and listen to them equally. I cannot do this without your support.

To learn more about this act of radical self-love and this project, to support it and to access exclusive benefits that I am providing for my supporters, please visit my Patreon account: https://www.patreon.com/homeland/


16265681_10154323322850753_2679466403133227560_nNakita Valerio is an award-winning writer, academic, and community organizer based in Edmonton, Canada. 

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Thank you so much for having me today. And thank you everyone for being here. I would like to reiterate that we are situated on Treaty 6 territory and that these are the traditional lands of Indigenous people who have lived, gathered and passed through here for many thousands of years. They are still here and it is on you to insure that that is forever the case.

16266094_10154741616835568_4442016807838499565_n

I also want to acknowledge that I am a white, cis woman, the child of Italian immigrants to this land, and the mother of a beautiful, Arab girl, a convert to Islam and all those things are combined, I am afforded certain privileges and I pray that I am using these to the advantage of every person, people of every gender, orientation, religion, ethnicity, ability and anything else we use to identify ourselves.

I came here today to inform you that the day you were born was not the day you came out of your mother’s womb. The day you were born was the first time you witnessed injustice and you decided to take a stand. Deep down inside you, alarms bells started ringing and a call resounded through the center of your being. A call to take action, a call to stand up and use your voice to say, “No, hatred will not live here, Oppression will not be tolerated, injustice will not be served today.”

The day you heard that call may have been November 8th, when the one who shall remain unnamed was legitimized in his hatred and misogyny, and propelled to the highest institution of the most powerful nation in the world. And we will oppose him. And all echoes of him at home.

That day might have been before. It might have been after. The day you hear that call might be today, right now.

For it is a call I am issuing. This is not a call to silent prayer but a call to submission of the ego in the service of others, even if those others are a future self in need of your present compassion. It is a call of recognizing that any of us could be oppressor or oppressed and that many of us are both, and we’re standing on a fine line and you are choosing dignity, respect and compassion that every single one of us has earned by virtue of our existence.

16174868_10154323328225753_4521973566451025355_n

It is a call to make space for one another, to take space when it is not yielded, to recognize that we create the worlds we live in, and that hatred and love take effort of an equal measure. The day you were born was the first time you saw hatred in action and you chose Love.

Fierce love. Love that dismantles and is disobedient. Enraged love. Disappointed love. Grieving Love. Love that refuses to accept anything less than solidarity, anything less than taking care of one another.

Taking care of one another does not only mean fixing dinners and giving shoulders to cry on – though those things are important. No, taking care means a commitment to the idea that, even if I have never met you, I love you and I respect your right to a life of dignity and hope, a life of self-actualized growth and I will fight for you.

16179689_10154323306640753_5248592538589663217_o

I do not accept that black, brown, Muslim, Sikh, and Jewish people with varying orientations and degrees of ability are made the collateral damage in the bulldozing path of a historical lie spun incessantly about racial and social superiority, while those who spin it hold our planet, our children, our wealth, our future, our collective soul hostage. I do not accept how they divide us. I do not accept that our trauma and violence are painted as intrinsic to who we are, while they cover their colonization in the fog of words, in a war of semantics, in imperial programming. I refuse to normalize their hatred.

The day you were born was the first moment you witnessed power in action and you said no to it. Where you traced its institutions, its circulatory system, feeding life into those who designed it and relegating the rest of us to despondency and despair. You deserve better than a life of despair.

Answering the call is a commitment to replacing despair with kindness, even when kindness means blocking roads and lobbying governments. Especially when it means that.

So I want to ask all of you and please let me hear a beautiful Yes:

Do you hear the call?

Do you hear the call today?

We are not here to feel good about ourselves. We celebrate who we are and we resist in our joy but we are not here to joke around about what is happening south of the border, around the world, in our own backyard, in our families. We are here to make a public declaration to do better and to stop those who won’t.

16265681_10154323322850753_2679466403133227560_n

The work does not end here, it starts right now.

I want you to turn to the person next to you, put your hand over your heart, look them straight in the eye and face their humanity. Thank them for being here today. Thank them for taking a stand and answering the call of Justice.

Repeat after me:

I am here for you.

I will always be here for you.

I will defend you.

I will use my voice

In the face of your oppression.

I will work for justice.

I hear the call.

And I answer it.

Very good.

Hear this call today, everyone, I am holding you accountable Let it echo every day in every action you take.

It is history calling, wondering what side you will be on.

It is our duty to memory, wondering how selective you will be.

And it is the scales of justice calling, wondering what your balance look like.

All our lives hang in the fold.

Thank you.


Nakita Valerio is an award-winning writer, academic, and community organizer based in Edmonton, Canada. She recently completed graduate studies and work as a research assistant in History and Islamic-Jewish Studies at the University of Alberta, as well as a research fellowship on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism for The Tessellate Institute. Nakita serves her community as the Vice President of External Affairs with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC), as an advisor for the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life,  and as a member of the Executive Fundraising Board for the YIWCL Cree Women’s Camp. Nakita is the co-founder of Bassma Primary School in El Attaouia, Morocco and is currently working on a graphic novel memoir weaving her experiences abroad with her community work and research.

Photography: Lindsey Catherine Photos & Media

Video: Radical Citizen Media

Join The Drawing Board community in congratulating owner and editor-in-chief, Nakita Valerio, on being the recipient of the Sir Guy Carleton Graduate Scholarship in History. This award is endowed by the late Mrs. Agnes Agatha Robinson and is one of two scholarships awarded annually to graduate students of outstanding merit: one in English and Film Studies and one in History and Classics. The award comes with significant funding which will be used to fund her studies in Edmonton and research abroad. Join us in celebrating this monumental honour.

The tentative title of Nakita’s thesis is: Remembering the Departure of Morocco’s Jews: Personal Memories, Cultural Representations, Historiography and Silences


nakita

Nakita Valerio is an award-winning writer, academic, and community organizer based in Edmonton, Canada. She recently completed graduate studies and work as a research assistant in History and Islamic-Jewish Studies at the University of Alberta, as well as a research fellowship on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism for The Tessellate Institute. Nakita serves her community as the Vice President of External Affairs with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC), as an advisor for the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life,  and as a member of the Executive Fundraising Board for the YIWCL Cree Women’s Camp. Nakita is the co-founder of Bassma Primary School in El Attaouia, Morocco and is currently working on a graphic novel memoir weaving her experiences abroad with her community work and research.

 

Someone fell off the metro platform as the train was pulling away. Or they were pushed. Or they jumped. My eyes are untrustworthy and deceive me but my ears can still hear the scream as they went down. My heart can still feel the residue of disbelief I felt when I saw a figure tumbling.

I turned to the woman next to me and said, “Someone just got hit by the train.” She nodded her head slowly. Her face did not change. “I think I saw that,” she replied, and just went on staring into the distance. She was wearing a burgundy wool toque and a shirt that carried an ironic message that I can no longer recall. Torn jeans and converse sneakers. A necklace with an arrow pendant. She carried a pillow with a worn out cover on it – the kind your grandmother pulls out of her linen closet when you come for a mid-twenties sleepover and it conjures up the nostalgic vignettes of your childhood. Memories passed through my head like strangers as I glanced at it and the hand-woven blanket folded beneath it — the souvenir everyone picks up on the resort beach in Mexico and uses as a picnic spread on summer days in Hawrelak Park.

She was quieter than I expected as I stood up, craning my neck to see what was going on and if I could do anything. Memory is a funny thing and begins to be shaped into the form of narrative within seconds of a record being made. Or maybe simultaneous to it. Scribes in our mind take in the necessary details, filtering them based on past preferences and priorities, and filtering everything else out. I can see the pout of this woman’s lip but do not know what the person who fell (or was pushed, or jumped) was wearing.

There is a blur of fabric burned into my mind and the scream I can still hear. And then the people on the platform above them as the train pulled away: they are on their phones, walking back and forth but no one is looking down yet. Did someone fall? Is someone calling the emergency number? Did I imagine it after all? Are they all talking on their phones, oblivious to what happened?

A man in a lime green shirt and shorts is pacing a bit and his head keeps looking southward down the tracks into the distance. A woman in a long skirt and black tank top is looking north and ahead. An unnerving silence comes from the platform. More people arrive, awaiting the new train that will pull into the station

Concrete barriers stand between the train platform and the street I am on. Somewhere between those barriers and the platform is a body that should not be there. Soft flesh and warm blood sit upon cold steel. Are they alive? Why is no one on the platform saying anything? Why is no one looking at the tracks?

A woman runs from the end of the platform, her plastic sandals slapping the surface. I feel confirmed in what I saw for a moment because there is an urgency in her strides, but she turns to the door where the stairs lead to a pedway without glancing at the tracks.

Who is there on the tracks? The word suicide jars into my head and I dismiss it, swiping it away in anger. Its appearance is enough to bring up the feelings of anguish and agony that I know only suicidal people have felt. If it is suicide, their turmoil is quiet now as this person rests on the tracks. Are they facing up or down? Are they alive, watching the clouds pass in the longest moments of their life?

The next train is about to pull in but stops far before the station. An officer of the peace jumps off and pounds down the platform to a spot just beyond where I had seen them fall. My heart flickers because someone had to have called him. The man in the green shorts is pacing now and more people are arriving on the platform. Sirens blare in the distance confirming my untrustworthy eyes. There is no longer a question when the woman in the tank-top peers over the edge of the track and her hand flies up to her mouth as she backs away. I can see the person on the tracks in her reaction. I can see their twisted and broken body. I think of their mother who knows that body inside and out, who carried it and coddled it, who nurtured them. The word suicide flashes in my head. I know not all mothers have been good to their children. A knot in my stomach makes me want to go to the track and hold the person’s hand in case they are alive, and alone with the clouds and the sounds of people pacing just above them.

My eyes saw a lot of fabric when they fell down. The word Muslim pushes out the word suicide in my mind. “This is why I always stand back from the platform,” I think. “They were pushed,” I think. My eyes scan for someone suspicious running away, but no one is running. No one is even pacing anymore. Everyone is trying not to look at the tracks and now dozens of people are on the platform, their hands flying to their mouths like a wave as they step back from the edge and what they have seen.

Maybe they just fell down. Maybe it was an accident.

Everything is too quiet over there and my mind turns to thoughts of my best friend and how I am unsettled by how she treats the suicide of her father. It is a matter of fact. It is his “cause of death.” And that is the way it should be treated – something which people die by. But as someone who has been on the other end of the gun too many times, you imagine it would be more than silence and a twisted body on the tracks. That what we always imagined freedom to be could look like more than simply death.

Emergency vehicles arrive on the scene and workers rush to set out orange pylons as a buffer of space between them and oncoming traffic. People and their cars continue to flow northward. Life immediately carries on, passing the person on the other side of the barriers, quiet now on the tracks.

If it is suicide, people who think about it do not realize how many others will come to their rescue. Within moments. Mere minutes after the scream (which I can still hear) and the tumble, there are dozens of emergency workers on the scene. Ambulances and fire trucks arrive. Uniformed people rush to cut the metal of the fence (or the tracks?) and the screech of a saw slices the thick air. These workers were just minutes away. Would they come if you told them you were thinking to jump? If you told them the dark thoughts you carry with you? If you told them you sit on the bench so you don’t think about jumping, or you stand back from the edge so someone won’t push you and take away the power of jumping from you? Or do they only arrive when you have already thrown your body down into the quiet space between the barriers and the platform where soft flesh does not normally go? When does an emergency become an emergency?

Maybe they just fell down. Maybe it was an accident.

A stretcher is loaded with something. It looks like a pile of warm microfleece blankets, impossible to contain a person. The stretcher is loaded on the ambulance. Hope flashes around my heart as the ambulance lights twirl. Its siren starts up as the door is slammed and the driver turns the wheel to carry the body from the tracks to the hospital. As they are pulling away, cars going north move off to the side. Someone is blaring hip hop music that can be heard above the sirens. They just arrived. They do not know that a body was on the tracks where no soft flesh should ever be. They do not turn down their music. My bus arrives and I remember my body, moving it into the space of the bus, sitting it down to be carried away to home where my family is waiting for me.

Later that evening, I am in the home of my colleague, surrounded by his family and friends. I sit with older women from the Pakistani community and listen to their stories, smiling with them, feeling welcomed by them. One woman, the mother of a young man I knew in secondary school, is veiled in a beautiful red floral scarf and noor shines from her face. She is smiling as she tells us a story about her grandchildren forming an assembly line to help her pick sour cherries from the tree in their backyard in order to make chutney. Since the cherries attract wasps, they have to be careful while pulling the fruit down by the handful but the harvest is worth the risk because the sourness from the cherries beats the tamarind sauce of the previous year. Webs of lineage forged by love are woven in her words, prerequisites for such a story to have happened. The world floods through those words, carrying family and histories in them – each word saturated with a sense of colour and richness even she might not recognize, though she speaks them.

Liberation is not found in what can only be simple death. It is found in the undulations between joy and heartache of each moment we embody and how richly we are able to live in the spaces between. I listen to her story and think of the person on the tracks, not knowing their fate, quiet since the flooding stopped, and the scribes of memory are silent.


This article was written by Nakita Valerio, owner and editor in chief of The Drawing Board. Nakita  is an academic, activist and writer in the community. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in History and Islamic-Jewish Studies at the University of Alberta.  Nakita was named one of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 under 30 for 2015, and is the recipient of the 2016 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, as well as the Walter H. Johns Graduate Studies Fellowship. She has also been honoured with the State of Kuwait, the Queen Elizabeth II and the Frank W Peers Awards for Graduate Studies in 2015. She has been recognized by Rotary International with an Award for Excellence in Service to Humanity and has been named one of Edmonton’s “Difference Makers” for 2015 by the Edmonton Journal. Nakita is also the co-founder of Bassma Primary School in El Attaouia, Morocco.


While there is not yet any evidence that this incident was a suicide, if you are suffering with suicidal ideation or are contemplating suicide, please call 911 for emergency medical assistance in your area. For more information on mental health services in Edmonton, Alberta: click here. For everywhere else, please contact your local health service provider.

Longing is a scar inside the heart and a country’s fingerprint on the body. But no one longs for his wound, no one longs for pain or nightmare, but for what was before. For a time when there was no pain except of primary pleasures that melts time, like a sugar cube in a cup of tea, and for a time of heavenly images.[1]

Erasure illustration example heidegger derrida philosophyThe “exilic gap” refers to a period of time between the fall of Judah and the return from Babylon when the historical texts and materials available to us are silent. Historians and theorists have tried to account for this silence in memory but have failed to come to a consensus on what the gap means and why it may have occurred. Theories include having limited or lost evidence (Momigliano) or that any evidence related to the period is ahistorical and overly creative; however, these have been dismissed as they not only fail to account for the numerous texts available before and after the gap, but also fail to account for why this “creativity” did not extend into the exilic period as well. That being said, other scholars have postulated that the silence itself is a form of creative and intentional inculcation to produce a collective memory for ideological reasons. In a comparative examination of “gaps”, Katherine Stott follows this line of thinking and puts forth a functionalist understanding for the gap among the ancient Israelites. Prior to this, however, Stott, dismisses the possibility of accounting for the gap in terms of trauma by misunderstanding the effect of trauma (particularly spatial trauma) on collective memory. Using spatial and trauma theory, the concept of Derrida’s erasure, and in reference to the work of Ehud Ben Zvi, I will show how the creation of the narrative gap was, indeed, purposeful for ideological reasons, but was also a narrative technique that allowed the trauma from displacement and place-destruction (felt by returnees and remainees alike) to give meaning to the post-exilic period.[2]

In studying the exilic gap, most scholars overlook the primacy of place in impacting the narrative told and accepted by the community after the return(s).[3] In his illuminating essay “Wisdom Sits on Places”, Keith Basso looks at the connection between place and text-building as an integrative process. Just as dwelling in a place stimulates the self-conscious experience of it in the subject, so too does the place become “a product and expression of the self whose experience it is” (Basso 55), and thus, places come to “generate their own fields of meaning” (56). In this reciprocal, mutually-defining process, there is the possibility of it being a private affair; however, as Basso points out, “tangible representations of it are commonly made available for public consumption”(Ibid). In sum, historiographical texts, rituals, myth, and other cultural expressions end up (at their core) as representations of “where and how [we] dwell” (57).

When we apply this understanding of cultural texts to the biblical accounts of exile in the book(s) of Ezra (and Nehemiah), the importance of place in understanding the gap comes to the fore. This can be fully understood by looking at the relationship between displacement, trauma and memory. Katherine Stott’s treatment of the effect of trauma on memory is cursory, at best, and ill-informed at worst.[4] While she notes that “amnesia” is allegedly a common method of coping with trauma and that this can be extended to collective remembering, she ends her refutation of the trauma theory with a poorly formed question, asking why then “memory of this experience [exile] was not completely expunged”(Stott 52). Lacking the adequate space here, I will simply note that there are numerous scientific studies that are published annually on how trauma imprints memory – many with admittedly conflicting conclusions, including the fact that amnesia is not the only response nor the most common, particularly in mass, communal trauma. The only thing known for sure is that everyone deals with trauma differently and it is imprinted in ways that are impossible to predict.[5] Additionally, the definition of trauma itself is something not agreed upon and it does not always take the form of “unspeakable horror”, as some authours hypothesize.[6]

Now, some scholars would go so far as to question the level of trauma that could have possibly been experienced in the exile, citing the few exilic documents that point to good experiences in Babylon and the fact that not everyone returned as evidence. Others claim that because of the common grammar of a hopeful future memory of return and restoration, the Israelites could not have been traumatized but might even have accepted exile enthusiastically. These are gross underestimations of the power that place holds over self-definition and memory formation. Displacement, depopulation and destruction (all visible forms of violent change in the landscape) would have been a significant enough affront to the Israelite self-understanding as to cause a rupture in social memory as wide as the gap itself.[7] For those who remained, bearing witness to this destruction and displacement would constitute its own form of trauma as well.[8]

Am I proposing that the gap is amnesiac in nature due to trauma? Absolutely not. Amnesia implies unconscious forgetting for the purposes of survival and is not a mutually-exclusive term with trauma. Unconscious forgetting is not what happened in post-exilic Judah. Instead, I might call it purposeful non-remembering as a response to the trauma of displacement. In a point that is left unexplored by Stott, she notes that the identity of the Israelites was “based on a connection to the homeland…” (55). While she incorrectly, assumes that this results in a shortening or deemphasis of past events in which the bond between the people and the land was broken, I am going to put forth the idea that the exilic gap actually functions as an erasure (sous rature) in the Derridan form, emphasizing the magnitude of displacement, its effect on the Israelites and the importance of social reconstruction through text-building once the people and land were reunited.[9] For this, I invoke Ben Zvi who argued that the concepts of “total exile” and “empty land” were put forth by the returnees and accepted by the remainees (for whom it was a counterfactual narrative) because they represented a continuation of common metaphors and grammars with which the community identified itself.[10] Presumably, this comforted anxieties about identity that had arisen in the period of exile by offering an identifying link to their collective past. While this functionalist approach is correct on one level and offers us insight into the process of community re-building as the land was repopulated and the temple was rebuilt, it doesn’t give us enough insight to what function an exilic gap might serve. Rather than, like Stott, trying to account for how the gap happened (eg. lost documents or amnesia), we need to continue the functionalist approach and look at it as its own narrative technique. What purpose did it serve and why was it used? The concept of the erasure is apt here, particularly when we consider that the post-exilic period was a literal (re)writing of the community narrative that took place upon return. Erasures function as words crossed out above other words, whose meanings are not exact but are necessary to fully comprehend what is written. In this construction, the gap or absence facilitates an understanding of the return or presence in a manner that would be less meaningful without it. The significance of the return could not be understood without knowledge of the exile, but the exile could not, in itself, be made present; its absence attests to the presence of return.

Much work remains to be done, particularly on a closer textual level, but the theoretical framework is made a lot clearer at this point. Instead of abandoning the inevitable trauma that displacement might have brought forth in those who were exiled and those who remained, it can be used to better understand a functionalist framework of text-(re)writing upon return, particularly when the form of the narrative crafted on return is considered at face value. Future points of contention that must be addressed are the transfer of traumatic story-telling from those exiled to the next generations of those returned (as they were, undoubtedly, not the same people), trauma of the remainees and how this problematized self-identification, and how counter-narratives that have surfaced might fit into this understanding. This will have to be discussed at another time.

 

Appendix A

Basso, Keith H “Wisdom Sits on Places: Notes on a Western Apache Landscape” in Senses of Place. Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso, eds. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2001; 53-98.

Brace, Catherine, Adrian R. Bailey, and David C. Harvey. “Religion, Place and Space : A Framework for Investigating Historical Geographies of Religious Identities and Communities” in Progress in Human Geography Vol. 30:1, 2006; 28-43.

Coleman, Simon and John Eade, eds. Reforming Pilgrimage : Cultures in Motion. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.

De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984; 115-130.

Sheldrake, Philip. Spaces for the Sacred: Place, Memory, and Identity. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Smith, Jonathan Z. “In Search of Place.” In To Take Place. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987; 1-23.

Smith, Jonathan Z. “Here, There, and Anywhere.” In Relating Religion: Essays in the Study of Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004; 323-339.

Tweed, Thomas A. “Crossing: The Kinetics of Itinerancy” in Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006; 123-163.

Works Cited and Referenced

Anderson, Nicole. Derrida: Ethics Under Erasure. Bloomsbury Studies in Continental Philosophy. 2012.

Basso, Keith H “Wisdom Sits on Places: Notes on a Western Apache Landscape” in Senses of Place. Steven Feld and Keith H. Basso, eds. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2001; 53-98.

Ben Zvi, Ehud. “Total Exile, Empty Land and the General Intellectual Discourse in Yehud” in The Concept of Exile in Ancient Israel and its Historical Contexts. E. Ben Zvi and Christoph Levin, eds. Berlin/NY: de Gruyter, 2010, pp 155-168.

Carr, David M. “Reading into the Gap: Refractions of Trauma in Israelite Prophecy” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, p295 -307.

Darwish, Mahmoud. In the Presence of Absence. Poem XIV. Sinan Antoon, trans. Archipelago Books: Brooklyn, NY, 2011.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, trans. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1967.

Garber, David G. “A Vocabulary of Trauma in Exilic Writings” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, pp 309-22.

New International Version Study Bible. Ed. Kenneth L. Barker. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002. Online. http://www.biblegateway.com

Kirmayer, Laurence. “Landscapes of Memory : Trauma, Narrative and Dissociation” in Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory. Paul Antze and Michael Lambek, eds. Routledge: New York, 1996; 173-198.

LaCapra, Dominick. “Trauma, Absence, Loss” in Critical Inquiry. Summer 1999: 25, pp 696-727.

McNally, Richard J. “Debunking Myths About Trauma and Memory” in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Nov 2005: 13, pp 817-22.

Rumfelt, Janet L. “Reversing Fortune: War, Psychic Trauma and the Promise of Narrative Repair” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, pp 323-42.

 

Stott, Katherine. “A Comparative Study of the Exilic Gap in Ancient Israelite, Messenian and Zionist Collective Memory” in Community Identity in Judean Historiography: Biblical and Comparative Perspectives. G.N.Knoppers and K.A Ristau, eds. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbraums, 2009, pp 41-58.

 

Trigg, Dylan. “The Place of Trauma: Memory, Hauntings and the Temporality of Ruins” in Memory Studies. January 2009: 2, pp 87-101.

 

Van Der Kolk, Bessel, and Onno Van Der Hart, “The Intrusive Past: The Flexibility of Memory and the Engraving of Trauma” in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, Cathy Caruth, ed. John Hopkins U

[1] Darwish, Mahmoud. In the Presence of Absence. Poem XIV. Sinan Antoon, trans. Archipelago Books: Brooklyn, NY, 2011, p 111.

[2] It should be noted that for the purposes of space, I will assume the reader’s familiarity with many of the concepts in this analysis and will make use of citations for clarification where necessary.

[3] For a list of what I consider to be helpful sources regarding the primacy of place/space, please see appendix A.

[4] This is, in part due to her lack of exploration of key questions when the modern concept of trauma is applied theoretically and retrospectively to the ancient Judean community. An excellent negotiation of this anachronistic but provocative critical approach (especially from a linguistic perspective) is found in David G. Garber’s article “A Vocabulary of Trauma in Exilic Writings” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, pp 309-22.

[5] For further information, please see: McNally, Richard J. “Debunking Myths About Trauma and Memory” in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Nov 2005: 13, pp 817-22. ; Van Der Kolk, Bessel, and Onno Van Der Hart, “The Intrusive Past: The Flexibility of Memory and the Engraving of Trauma” in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, Cathy Caruth, ed. John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1995; 158-82.

[6] See: Carr, David M. “Reading into the Gap: Refractions of Trauma in Israelite Prophecy” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, p295 -307.

[7] For a deeper (but not without controversy) analysis of the multi-layered trauma of displacement in this specific context, please see Rumfelt, Janet L. “Reversing Fortune: War, Psychic Trauma and the Promise of Narrative Repair” in Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts, Brad Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob Wright, Eds. Society of Biblical Literature, 2011, pp 323-42.

[8] An interesting assessment of the effect of place, particularly ruins, on traumatic memory can be found here: Trigg, Dylan. “The Place of Trauma: Memory, Hauntings and the Temporality of Ruins” in Memory Studies. January 2009: 2, pp 87-101.

[9] Please see Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, trans. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1967.

[10] For the complete argument, please see Ben Zvi, Ehud. “Total Exile, Empty Land and the General Intellectual Discourse in Yehud” in The Concept of Exile in Ancient Israel and its Historical Contexts. E. Ben Zvi and Christoph Levin, eds. Berlin/NY: de Gruyter, 2010, pp 155-168.