Excerpts from Palestinians born in exile: diaspora and the search for a homeland by Juliane Hammer.
“for many Palestinians having a homeland and feeling at home are not part of the daily experience”
"migration and cross-cultural upbringing experienced by the young interviewees have resulted in a life that will time and again pose the question of whether to stay or move on. There is no end, let alone a happy ending, to being “between” cultures, homelands, and loyalties"
"otherness as a lifelong burden
"If feeling at home is a condition for staying, what exactly does it mean to be at home?"
And from Victoria Mason’s article, “Children of the ‘Idea of Palestine’: Negotiating Identity, Belonging and Home in the Palestinian Diaspora.”
"As those born into the first and then 2nd exilic generations had less and less (if any) lived experience of the homeland, this resulted in “not only a loss, but a lack of something. The basis of identity is not only lost, but never existed, and the dream of ‘returning’ represents a search for identity as much as for a place" (p. 274)
I enjoyed both the book and article immensely, learned a lot from both, and even initially reacted to these excerpts in the sort of cathartic manner that comes from finally finding an articulation for your discomfort or even sadness… but then I wonder why these authors focus so greatly on problematizing complex identities- as if even those who are tied to a single nation and have an understanding of their homeland don’t have complex identities? Each statement is legitimate, but I think more attention in the scholarship around homeland and identity-building should be paid to the ways in which individuals are privileged for having multiple cultural, ethnic, etc. identities.
Is my complex identity a problem?