[…] The essays in this issue were written months before the horrors which are now unfolding in the Middle East. As I write this editorial, I am aware that it may now be more difficult for some of ROOM’s readers to read Diana Moga, a Jew, and Abdel Azziz Al Bawab, a Palestinian, describing their experiences. “Dispossession is simply an ingredient of my identity,” writes Bawab in “A World Not Good Enough.” “And yet this identity, so saturated with pain, I came to realize is a nuisance to others.” For Diana Moga, “Psychoanalysis has been a way to hold on to conflicting world views, a way to make sense of (her) fragmented past and the pluralities of (her) identity.”
I am writing this email to tell you about our meeting yesterday with IPA subcommittee at the U.N. We talked about women’s situation in Afghanistan and they talked about my writing which is published in ROOM 6.23. They mentioned that my writing in ROOM 6.23 helped them. They also said that they will have programs for women in Afghanistan and we will work together on that….
Early on February 10, 2002, I sat in a large, crowded room in Kabul, Afghanistan. With coats pulled tight against the icy blasts from broken windows, representatives of the Afghan Interim Authority’s Ministry of Education prepared a plan to open Afghanistan’s schools at the traditional start time, Nowruz, the New Year….
At the time of publication of ROOM 10.23, we witnessed the state of Israel announce the collective punishment of the besieged Gaza Strip, cutting off water, food, electricity, and fuel to a population of 2.3 million, half of whom are children….
This communication is a response to the two articles published in ROOM 6.23 about the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and on the West Bank: Naftally Israeli’s essay “From Erasure to Exclusion” and Richard Grose’s book review of Lara and Stephen Sheehi’s book, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine….
“It has been almost two years since we were waiting for you to take action. We expected you to not be just a viewer,” Shegofa Shahbaz wrote to the UN. But because she wasn’t sure the UN would read a letter written by a nineteen-year-old college student sent on behalf of all the Afghan girls whose lives have been shattered, Shahbaz sent it to ROOM, hoping we might publish it, hoping it might find its way to the UN. Of course we will publish it, we told her. We will publish it in English and Dari so that other Afghan girls might find strength and hope through these words that they might be heard—that they will be recognized.
I love this name, the space it brings with it. It feels ready for me to fill it with whatever I need to. Sometimes, that’s all we need—a space, and time to fill that space and maybe just the silence that comes within and is held there. It feels nourishing and it also enlivens those moments when a creeping dissatisfaction occurs as to how one is doing in this heavy, wide, and unruly war-torn world that we belong in. Memories also slide out when we are in this place of reverie.
The chorus of interlocking voices heard in ROOM 2.23 echoes [Albert Camus’s] experience of suffocation, exile, and threat while challenging us to revisit the “notions of our existence” and make new use of what we find.
There is a “deep and somber unity” when the different impressions of our senses enter into “correspondence.” So writes the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard in his seminal book The Poetics of Space. It is this “correspondence” that allows us to receive and transform the immensity of the world into the intensity of our intimate beings. There is an intimate “everydayness” that runs through all the essays in ROOM 10.22. And much as residual impressions from the day are transformed nightly into dreams, the synergy of these writers forms an unsettling social dreamscape.
“Nowadays, I am acutely aware of the power of transgenerational trauma that has come to life in new circumstances. I feel like it’s getting scary to speak openly. This is what was passed down to me from my ancestors from the USSR, what the people already lived during the oppressive Stalin years.”