Friday, May 28, 2010

Avigail Abarbanel – Spare a thought for a new generation of Palestinian Refugees

justiceMy husband Ian and I have recently moved from Australia to the Scottish Highlands. It has been three months since we arrived here and we are still feeling an enormous sense of dislocation. We feel lost, confused and insecure much of the time. This is despite the fact that we chose this move ourselves, that we have been planning it for years, that we have reasonable financial back-up, that we have all our possessions and even our cats with us and that we absolutely love it here. This beautiful green and serene environment around us is precisely what we were looking for.

All these uncomfortable feelings that we are experiencing are a part of the process of adjustment to a big life change. It is an inevitable process that our brain goes through each time our reality changes in a significant way and we lose everything that was previously familiar to us. We cannot speed this process up, and we cannot avoid it. (See my paper on adjustment to change ‘Grief and how to deal with it — a no-nonsense approach to grief’ at or It doesn’t matter whether we initiated the process ourselves or whether it was imposed on us, we have to adjust to our new reality. It’s uncomfortable and it’s going to take time before we feel sufficiently familiar with our new environment and start to feel ‘normal’ again.

In our case Ian and I are dealing only with the effects of this adjustment process and it’s really hard. Imagine what people feel on top of all that, when they do not choose to leave and the dislocation is brutally forced on them by powers that they cannot fight. Imagine what they feel when they are not allowed to take their possessions with them, when they know their houses and their land will be stolen by the same forces that are kicking them out, when they are forced to move somewhere where they do not want to be, where the living conditions are far worse than where they come from, when they are torn away from loved ones without any consideration for the emotional effect it has on them and when they have no certainty about work, about their citizenship, or anything really. Read more.

Palestine think tank

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