[…] 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.”
For some years I have been warning publicly that we are heading into a third global conflict, and this, at times, led me to feel quite down about the prospects for humanity. This third global conflict is not simply a rerun of the disasters of the twentieth century, for before 1945, however terrible a war was and however many people died, the world would repair itself and in time the population of the world could be restored. With the threat of nuclear war and the reality of climate change, humankind has brought about the very real danger of our own demise.
I am writing to share my personal narrative and reaction to recent events at APsaA and in the Middle East. I am Jewish, and I lived in Israel from the time I was five, when we immigrated to Israel from Romania in the midst of the Lebanon War, to the time I was fourteen, when we left as the sirens wailed during the Gulf War. I watched Holocaust documentaries every year on Remembrance Day from the time I was eight years old.
[…] I don’t think it’s melodramatic to say that the field of psychoanalysis remains guilty for its historically hideous treatment of LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming individuals—a history which this event is trying to reconcile with. It’s no secret that until frighteningly recently, homosexuality and transgender identity were thought of as mental disorders, and the psychoanalytic “debate” about the pathological nature of non-heterosexual identity remains frighteningly echoed alive today.
The demand for Palestinian erasure arises from a larger socio-historical structure, present mentally as a blueprint that maps out people’s presupposed positions in the world. Positions imposed historically through violence and valued differentially according to colonial logics. This map is unconsciously pulled upon to be reproduced externally, in an injurious gesture echoing the original colonial trauma that birthed the world attempting to be reproduced.
It had been a morning of running errands, and I was driving home to make lunch. I live on a major thoroughfare in the heart of Pittsburgh, adjoining the neighborhood of Garfield, a predominantly Black working-class neighborhood. As I turned the corner, I found the street blocked by police motorcycles and patrol cars. I was ordered to turn around. I parked nearby and then returned on foot to my street, again to be stopped by a patrol officer, who demanded to know where I was going. When I pointed to my house, he asked for my ID and then told me to go ahead to my house but “No farther; we are in the midst of an active shooter situation.” The neighborhood was in lockdown.
The obsessions I look into the least in session are those centered around true crime. Call it countertransference; call it a lack of professional curiosity. Label it what you will, but what remains is an utter absence of interest in the very stories that keep many of my clients perched on the edge of their seats, breathless as they recount a tale that has captured their full attention that week.
[…]I had been photographing rain within the hearts and throats of flowers when I saw the pages on the wet bench that overlooked the West Side Highway and beyond to the racing waters of the Hudson. Looking more closely, I recognized the pages as the play Antigone. The two pages on top, 206 and 229, upside down from each other, were not consecutive. Had the reader taken the chunk of the book containing missing pages 207–228 because they had particular significance? Or was the intent to highlight these two remaining pages in the hope that a passerby would pause to read them. To alert them—me?…
I have been honored to be a group facilitator in the Writing for Friendship program serving young women from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and fourteen other nationalities represented among the students attending the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. […] We breathe in the relative calm of our collective pause, and we share moments of beauty or experiences of kindness we observed over the previous week. And then I invite them to write, to give words to their strengths, their stories, their dreams.
We’d have looked a motley crew, if it hadn’t been so dark. Five of us were on a midnight mission, a small band in dark clothing, struggling up a black hillside a few miles outside Rifle, Colorado. For every dusty yard gained, we slid back a step or two, trudging past broken boulders and scattered sagebrush in our climb up the mountain. No flashlights, since we were planning a criminal act. We tried to be quiet in case there was a guard. The nearest ranchers were in bed, miles away.