My writings seek to deconstruct the narration of current affairs as distributed to the public. By taking a linguistic hermeneutic path I attempt to reveal the rhetorical devices grounded within the techno-scientific calculative culture that is characteristic of liberal democracies. I relate particularly to the self-contradictions in the Zionist discourse regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its mutual interaction with world politics.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Exiled writers -The Joy of Translation

Ariella Atzmon©
In every one’s life there are moments when the need for translation is inevitable. Translation has to do with the complexities of understanding, interpretation and mainly with explaining ourselves to ourselves and to others. In this paper I shall limit the discussion to ‘text’ translations, where one undertakes the role of being his (her) own translator.
From the various nuances given to the word ‘translation’ I choose to concentrate on the aspect of translation as a challenge for increasing the extent of addressees exposed to a written text. Although the word text refers to everything articulated by any specific language, (such as a film, a folklore story or an item in the news), I shall deal with translated written materials only.
The act of self-translating can be seen as a vital urge for being heard and understood. It is a manifestation of the human desire for recognition (Kojeve). The subtleties of translation weave together intricacies of interpretation, hermeneutics and semiology. As such, translation detects the most enigmatic problem where self-referential messages are addressed between two systems of linguistic signs. If translation is an endless journey within the maze of language, where diverse signifiers are striving to tackle an elusive signified, then self-translation is an even tougher mission.
In her inspiring book ‘Lost in Translation’ Eva Hoffman describes ‘translation’ as a project of “explaining my self to myself…back to the beginning, and from the beginning onward.” The moment the signified seems to be captured, it turns into another signifier. But despite all that, the act of translation should not be seen as an agony, but rather as a gratifying activity of the human scene. The journey of translation is not an affliction but a creative transfiguration of becoming. The translation of my own writing into another language is where pleasure and pain are ecstatically intermingled. If Jouissance occurs when pleasure and pain are twisted, then the character of jouissance is revealed with joy, as my own (translated) written text becomes a source of pleasure.
This text deals with the issue of writers in self-imposed exile, those who choose to shift their writing to a host language. I shall not venture beyond this subject to deal with theoretical attitudes to literary translations. But between the view that regards the translator as a competent mediator who attempts to match two signifiers to arrive at an equivalent signified, and the theory of the translator as an inventor of signifieds in a move, I shall opt for the second stance. This is predicated on the view that literary translation is not merely a mediation between cultures represented in texts, but rather an hermeneutic act of ‘thinking the between’. In line with this view, the translator is a hermeneutic messenger between cultures rather than a passive agent between source and target texts. Choosing a word is an intentional act that produces the content. Thus, the translator of his own written text is privileged to modify his own translated messages. Just as Hermes, as the Gods’ messenger interpreted any message according to its addressees, so the translator is allowed to play the part of Hermes. Hence, revision of the signifier/signified interrelation, while crisscrossing the boundaries of two languages, is fully justified.
In keeping with the Heideggerian idea of ‘Language as the home of Being’, language defines what the human subject is able to know about the world and about himself. As human beings we are shaped by language. That’s what Wittgenstein means by a ‘Language Game.’. According to Wittgenstein “an interpretation is something that is given in signs,” so that no interpretation can be understood without a rider. Our native sign systems keep the rider in control. The rider navigates our ‘free associations.’, so that the crosscutting between cultures becomes restricted by principle.
Right from the beginning our capability to interact with others and to exchange ideas depends on an acquired linguistic competence. Hence, the more we are acquainted with our mother tongue the more we are able to carnivalize language subversively. The reality of being exiled or displaced from a primary bonding confronts people with the inability to juggle metaphors adroitly. It is where the sense of estrangement, of being muted, intermingles with loss of identity and nostalgia. In Kojeve articulation “it is only by being ‘recognized’ by another, by many others, or - in the extreme – by all others, that a human being is really human, for himself, as well as for others… For only in this case can one reveal a reality in speech…” The nightmare of not being heard and understood, is a fundamental threat to the self as ‘the discourse of the other’ (Lacan). Being displaced from a native tongue is a dreadful threat to one’s human existentiality. In Eva Hoffman words: it is that the signifier has become severed from the signified. The words I learn now do not stand for things in the same unquestioned way they did in my native tongue. Hence, the worst is the loss of an inner language, the lack of interior images, where the path to assimilate the external world is blurred. But the metaphor of ‘getting lost’ in translation might be misleading. Being the translator of my own writings is a route for turning the necessity for translation into a virtue, turning the torture of moving between languages into a gratifying enterprise. It is a moment when from the strong comes the forth sweetness. The more we internalize the idea that all interpretations are games, shaped by the meanings in use, the more the gateway to other languages is widened. The flexibility of translation is dependent upon feeling at home with our native language, which is bound to the basic condition of human existence, namely: recognition. Lack of recognition means despair. The radical disjoining between word and thing “is a desiccating alchemy.” It is the loss of a living connection. Therefore, the topic of ‘being my own translator’ takes us beyond language into the realms of nostalgia, loss of identity, rootlessness, floating and being unseen.
Although each of these topics needs further elaboration, I shall concentrate upon those aspects of translation where translation operates as a talking cure. When the writer’s urge to be heard and understood by an audience in a new location manifests nonstop attempts to transform distant meanings into genuine inner expressions; it becomes an endless endeavor to bridge the word that lies on the tip of the tongue with a deferred foreign meaning. This heuristic progression is where panic, stress and desire become entwined into a joyful scene. At the moment the intangible insight flickers into view there is joyful relief. As if the writer reaches his own Eden, where words are shaped in new collages, created as a patchwork quilt by overlapping different realities, one upon the other. In a mysterious indefinable way, the seeds of these vigorous, insightful expressions infiltrate the host language. Signs are transfigured into hybridized meanings. Thus languages evolve in an evolutionary process of change. The profound contribution of exiled writers to their host language has always been greater than acknowledged. Assuming that the center is defined by its margins, it is marginality that re-constructs its canonic textualities.
Evolution and change are carried out by a tendency for preservation (Epigenesis) and mutation (leaping, inconsistent skipping). Preservation functions to duplicate what is in existence, that which ‘remembers itself.’ Preservation and repetition are nailed in a contract of shared meaning that can be seen as constructive negations, a driving force for new mutation. The mutation is created not via the replacement of something with something else but rather via overcoming the given for what does not yet exist (Kojeve). Writers and poets are creative generators of linguistic mutations. The minutes of silence trigger a plunge into the abyss of the inexpressible, namely - the kingdom of the aesthetic act, the origins of new mutations.
The concept of the Double Bind may assist in understanding the paradoxical oscillation between consonance governed by repetition and dissonance created by unpredictable singular mutation. The DB is an essential condition of human beings, which are doomed to oscillate between preservation and mutation. Poets and writers are mostly immersed in an immanent yearning for an authentic voice while submitting to the communal, public linguistic diktat. The inescapable DB oscillation that constructs realities through the invention of words elevates human being to the heights of the sublime. Exiled writers’ fiction transforms particular primordial experiences, located in time and space, into allegories and abstract symbols of deconstructed existence (Ramdin 1977).
For the exiled writer transplanted into a new language, the burden of the DB is doubled. The self-translator/writer constructs a new reality by deconstructing both source and target language, celebrating archaisms and jargon. Thus, the DB swings from singularity towards abstractness, all the while getting closer to its peak. The exiled writer is blessed by the phantasy of starting to dream in a foreign language. Some things get lost in the passage between the source and the targeted language and this lack of precision takes the writer into the realm of the inexpressible…. where new metaphors are generated in pursuit of the inner voice. It is in translation that the DB oscillation is revealed in its full intensive sway, when one’s own writing becomes subversive, not because of the rule, but in spite the rule.
Our generation has produced more refugees, migrants and displaced people than ever before. A huge mass of people is confronted with a loss of identity. Attaining a hybrid identity is a shocking experience, which only very few are able to transform into a constructive process. Edward Said describes this floating in the abyss between languages as a crossing of boundaries, where life means telling my stories of the past in an estranged foreign language. There is no chance of help coming from the new surroundings. In Eva Hoffman’s words: “you have to invent yourself every day by your own means… Nobody knows your past so you have to convince people who you are, and you want them to believe you….it is a re-imaging the self every new day…”
However, working between languages the exiled writer can not escape the need for negotiation. To clarify this point I shall use Homi Bhabha’s concept of hybridization (Bhabha: 1983), whereby two cultures retain their distinct characteristics and yet form something new. From a psychoanalytic aspect, Bahbha introduces the role of anxiety as a sign of danger. But danger can also indicate that something new is emerging, viewing translation as gratifying joy rather than misery.
Being bi-cultural does not mean to feel at home in two cultures. Quite the contrary, it implies rootlessness, where rootlessness alludes to the joy of being released from the metaphor that likens human beings to trees. It is the nationalist biblical metaphor of viewing human beings as rooted plants that sends so many of us to search for their roots. When one imagines oneself as a singing bird, self-translation can be seen as an enchanting glide, crossing boundaries in a ceaseless game between metaphors and metonymies. The translator gets engaged in the navigation process which, is in itself a work of art, where the pleasure of self-translation is amplified.
Another aspect of the DB, refers to the fundamental categories of continuity and discontinuity. Languages are digital systems of symbolic signs, where the gaps are significant as the organizing syntax of those systems. The combination of the discrete digits, is a whole termed analog. The analog is always extended beyond the sum of the single parts as it includes the editing code. There is always an excess of meaning created despite the rigid syntactic rules.
Oscillation between the analogue perception and its privatized, digitalized articulation is a DB issue. We swing to and fro between the inexpressible analogue perception of dreams, and the necessity to communicate by contractual digital signs. If we imagine metaphorically the signifiers which are available for expression as flashes of light appearing in our consciousness, and the gaps as areas of darkness, then each particular signification gives an illusory sense of a continuum enlightened screen namely, reality. Actually, each discourse lights up and leaves behind dark spaces. Thus, every language is distinguished by the wealth of certain words, and the poverty or shortage of others. The implications are that what is left dim are those parts of experience which are repressed, censored or forgotten. These darkened spaces confront us with the inexpressible. Writers and poets are those who dive into the dark recesses of language, illuminating those hidden gray zones by metaphorical substitutions and allegorical devices. All writing is imposed by silence, the listening to our inner voice. ‘Minding the gaps’ of language means awareness of the twilight zone, which cannot be expressed within linguistic signs. The art of translation that has to mind two systems of gaps, is the DB in its extremity. Self-translation is a work of art where the writer is projected beyond the void of thinking ‘the between’ within the boundaries of his native language, into the abyss of a foreign un-promised land. But the pain of translation rewards those who are courageous enough to face the glare of language.
I shall conclude by pointing to writers in self-imposed exile, who shift their writings into a more widely spoken language in protest against their own people. Writers who refuse to share their ideas with the majority of people in their homeland. It is the shift to another language, which is essentially part of the protest.
It is when exile stops being conceived as a dead end of nostalgia and regression, when rage is substituted by a constructive creativity. For the exiled writer there is nothing like a ‘promised land’, what remains clear is the promise of rootlessness.
I shall end this paper with the odyssey of the Hebrew as both target and source language, wandering from the Diaspora to Palestine and back to Exile, questioning whether Hebrew is a Jewish or an Israeli language.
The renaissance of Hebrew from a formerly holy tongue into a lively, spoken language was an enchanting process accompanied by the frenzied invention of neologisms. The pioneer writers of the 19th century, who translated themselves from European languages into Hebrew, had to deal with a rich but archaic language that was definitely Jewish. The act of translation was a fascinating enterprise of originality and creativity accomplished by inventive minds that carried in their cultural baggage the plenitude of the languages they were born into. Zionism, proclaiming Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, hijacked Hebrew, making it into the Israeli national language. Hebrew became the hallmark of the Israeli collective identity, it turned into a symbol of unification replacing the ancient Jewish religious tradition.
Oddly enough, as a fluent spoken language, Hebrew has lost its primary multiversity and turned into a poor vernacular loaded with slang and vulgar jargons. In the course of secularization, the hermeneutic nature of Hebrew was inverted into a signalized speech censored by a ‘language police’, i.e. ‘The Hebrew Academy of Language’. Thus, the distinguished richness of the grammatical conjugation (that compensate for the poverty of synonyms) is forgotten. In an attempt to adopt European modes of idiomatic speech, the kaleidoscopic nature of the Hebrew linguistic sign had gone astray. The Jewish secular young generation are no more familiar with the ‘study of the Torah’, where the sign is bounded to a variety of hermeneutic interpretations.
Alas, under the circumstances of an estranged and impoverished Hebrew invaded by a blend of tasteless vulgar slang, in which the language gets out of control, there is no other choice left for an attentive Israeli non-Zionist writer, but to become a self- imposed exiled writer. That is why we trace these days a route of Jewish writers but this time it is away from Palestine into Exile.
Gershon Sohlem, who very much opposed Hebrew’s revival into a daily spoken language anticipated that people who attempt to communicate in God’s holy language will be marked by arrogance and the assumption of omnipotence. He was right!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Homeland as the Gift of Destiny: Homecoming, between dwelling and settling.

By Ariella Atzmon

Inspired by Heidegger's 'Elucidations of Holderlin's Poetry'[1], the question to be asked is: What is meant by homecoming? How do people transform a place into something they call a home? By possessing a land and settling, or by ”coming to rest” through dwelling?
Arriving in one's homeland, meeting with the countrymen there, those who are dwelling on the same native soil, should be handled with ”care”. Heidegger insisted on a proximity between the poetic notion of the word “dwelling” and the word "care" as referred to the 'care of homecoming’. Heidegger affirmed that dwelling and building are not the same! ”Letting-dwell” means getting closer to the nature of something, with respect to the nature of the word HOME. The existence of human beings subsists in the nature of dwelling. To dwell does not mean to occupy a house or a lodge. Dwelling implies the mortality of human beings living temporally in the world to reveal the immortality of sky and earth. A life that dwells means to one that builds in keeping with a kind attentive modesty to the breath of past traditions, taking care for an approaching future.
The notion of homecoming as a refuge, a shelter as an urge for letting-dwell, is completely negated by the notion of the word “settling”. Mastering a land by erecting settlements that are not intended for cultivating and growing things, but only for the sake of declaring a Jewish presence and ownership of the land, stands in contradiction to what is meant by LETTING DWELL. Right from the beginning, Zionist settling was marked by 'tower and stockade'[2] as the manifestation of an accomplished fact. The Zionist call for the REDEMPTION of the lands of Palestine was an aggressive abuse of a HOMECOMING. Lands belong to those who dwell there, therefore the use of the word REDEMPTION was vicious from the beginning. Redemption from what? From whom? Under the slogan of ”making the desert bloom” Zionism defined the place as a desert and thus completely ignored the villages, towns and the people already living there. The joy of return can not be accomplished simply by the arrival on the shores of one's tribal birth. A genuine homecoming should be echoed by the immeasurable shifts that the place had experienced. In his poem "Homecoming/to Kindred Ones" Holderlin reflects upon the burden of homecoming: "What you seek, it is near, already comes to meet you" but….one's returning home has not yet been reached merely by arriving there. If a place is inhabited by one's beloved people it is still hard to win…. Things get more complicated when what is "sought does not come to meet" when the inhabitants are differentiated by their past, present and future expectations, which do not conform with those of the one that arrives. But the minute those who arrive proclaim "to redeem" the land, and settle in their ”promised possession” the place is destined to a disastrous, irresolvable, endless clash.
This phenomenon is not new. The whole history of humankind is crammed with colonial conquests, genocides, atrocities and violence perpetrated against natives of invaded lands. Our planet has always been full of homeless people, exiled refugees, and ”asylum seekers”. So relating to the words Diaspora, exile and homelessness there is a need to make a distinction between the Jews and all other people that are dispersed from their homeland. What distinguishes the Jewish Diaspora from other dispersed groups, is that while the latter were expelled from a homeland where they were dwelling, the Jews by their rootless nature were never really familiar with the experience of dwelling. Hence by being blind to what is meant by dwelling, the wandering Jews' search for a refuge, or what they call a ”national shelter”, is accomplished by mere settling. Jewish Zionists defend their colonization of Palestine by pointing at those dark chapters of other nations' history. They remind us of the atrocities against the American Indians, or the wrongs done to the Australian Aborigines. True, to colonize a land, killing and shunning its indigenous inhabitants is evil, but to return to what is claimed as one's homeland lacking the ”care of homecoming” is a unique historical heartless and shameless phenomenon. Approaching one's homeland with disrespect is worse than a malicious conduct, it is inhuman.
It is the one and only case in the whole of history that a tribe’s ”homecoming” is followed by such an obsessive drive for the devastation of the whole texture of what is claimed to be its own native soil. It is not merely the oddity of the singular historical event, what is at stake is the despicable irreversible damage that the region and the world experience. In their fanatical enthusiasm to build a European spot in the heart of the Middle East they were determined to vandalize the landscape bringing into reality the apocalyptic verse: "the rugged shall be made level".
For two thousand years "sat the Jews, by the rivers of Babylon, where they wept remembering Zion", but it took them only 50 years to turn Zion into a polluted place, where the rivers are poisoned with industrial filth and the seashores are contaminated by sewage. A land where the old Holy city of Jerusalem is a wretched place deprived of municipal services and the new city is crowded with beggars, messianic lunatics, and poor ultra-orthodox living on charity, as if the old European ghetto had been transported to the heart of the Judea's mountains. When the first pioneers the 'HALUTZIM' disembarked on the seashores of Jaffa they zealously compared their homeland to a beloved woman whom they promise to clothe with a dress of asphalt concrete and mortar. This drive to bury the Terra Sancta under a coat of concrete, to bulldoze and crack its mountains, to construct separation walls and to offend their next-door neighbors, manifests gross insensitivity regarding a homeland as a 'gift' that should be treated with com-passion. A belongingness to a homeland denotes responsibility and commitment to its history, and not the other way round. People who are oblivious to the idea that a homeland is a gift of destiny do not deserve the gift. The Jewish occupation of Palestine is distinguished from all other White Man colonization, since apart from indifference to the place and its inhabitants, it epitomizes an oblivious attitude to their own History. (excellent)
Just after the 1995 Oslo agreement, on the very day the Israeli Army evacuated Ramallah, handing it over to the full control of the Palestinians, the town was in a carnival mood, and the long-forbidden Palestinian flag was hoisted everywhere. In his impressive book 'Strangers in the House'[3] the disillusioned Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh describes how in the same evening on his walking way home he saw "…in the distant hills to the west, just below the line of the glimmering lights of the coast, a single red light." Wondering what it could be, he wrote, "A new house built on the vacant hills? But it was too remote an area …. A solo picnicker celebrating the liberation of Ramallah?" But then he realizes that the light is moving… that it is the rear light of a car driving through the 'liberated zone'…. And this was the end of the carnival… Shehadeh realizes "…that it was a new bypass road being built to serve the settlers of Dolev and Beit-El, to connect them through an alternative road to Jerusalem." and this was the burial of the Oslo agreement! "The hills where he used to go for walks and enjoy the changes brought by the different seasons to the land would become unsafe with armed settlers and soldiers traveling the new road." (this is a very moving segment. Seeing it from the eye of a single person with a name, very nice touch)
Seven years later the number of Jewish settlers doubled, "…their new houses are built on our flattened hills. They drive on straight wide roads that burrow through hills that have been cut in half. The scramble for land is ruining this afflicted landscape… while Israel prospers, our towns and villages continue to be squeezed." The whole enterprise of Israeli settlers' expansion is planned to disrupt the territorial contiguity of the Palestinians. What a shameful homecoming!
Recalling that it is language that tells us about the nature of a thing, let us be reminded that in Hebrew the word dwelling is LISHKON from the word MISHKAN that has the etymological link to SHAKHEN which means neighborhood. And thus, dwelling and 'thinking of your neighbor are entwined.
People live in the place they dwell, people who build their houses in one place and go to work in another place, leaving their houses in the morning and coming back at night using bypass roads and avoiding their neighbors are not dwelling.
Dwelling is cultivating the land, sharing its natural resources, water and the opening landscape with the neighbors. "Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build…” It is placing a house on the wind sheltered mountain slope facing the right direction. It is adjusting the building to the regional weather conditions, for a long winter place a overhanging shingle roof whose proper slope bears up under the burden of snow, and an arched building for living in a desert[4]. Ecology is not about dwelling. Building should be letting-dwell. Being a ”friend of the earth” is not just protesting against pollution or trying to save nature by the conservation of ”fauna and flora”. Being a 'friend of the earth' means an awareness of our being a temporal stance in time and space, an episode in history of a place, a singular strand in the weaving of collective group memories. The ecological aspect is only a narrow facet of the wide theme concerning the man and earth relationship. Ecology and green politics is a materialistic, scientific, and calculative mindset about quantification of pollution and global warming forecasting the end of this planet. Ecology ignores homelands, history and traditions and it is blind to joy and grief of people as it calculates only the damage done to earth.
Palestine is the piece of earth where tribes from the desert met with men from the sea, where the wandering merchant and the nomad shepherd exchanged goods with the rural native, where prophets preached and denounced kings, where tribes were clashed in imperial conquests. Peace and prosperity were rare episodes in the history of Palestine. We can trace it in the biblical Jewish prayer for peace and tranquility "God who makes peace in heaven, may he make peace for us and for all Israel, and say Amen"[5]. But then we shall realize that this blessing is directed solely for the benefit of the children of Israel…. Hence, no wonder that the biblical promise of dwelling "to sit under one's vine and fig-tree" is interpreted by the Israelis as bestowed to their own settlements. While they pray for peace under their fig trees they go for raids, bulldozing, burning and uprooting Palestinian olive plantations that are thousands of years old. The question to be asked is: how can homecoming be materialized by such a destructive drive for uprooting trees, destroying the habitat of people that dwelt in the region for so long? Only a people afflicted by detachment can be so inattentive to another people's authentic wish to dwell. The problem with the Jews is that they refer to God's covenant regarding the Promised Land in legalistic terms. Jews (secular as well as orthodox) refer to the Bible as a document of legal rights to the lands of Palestine. However law and justice can never be equated, but when a pseudo-legal attitude takes over, it is even worse, since it obstructs people from thinking and acting in an ethical way. This is why in the case of the Jews the prospect of dwelling is cancelled beforehand. To understand what history grants us is a virtue given only to those who have the ability to dwell. Right from the beginning the Zionist homecoming carelessness of the homeland's own special nature, of its thrilling past was evident. There was a failure to grasp the homeland as a gift of destiny.
The mutual covenant between God and his chosen people never included 'strangers', since Gentiles were always considered by the Jews as non-beings. It is clearly declared in the 1967 victorious song of praise "Jerusalem of Gold":
"Jerusalem of Gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs
How the cisterns have dried
The market place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City
And in the caves in the mountain winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho"
As if all the years before the Jews occupied the area, the people that were living there were non-entities. As if under the Jordanian rule the place was deserted. I would say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just a struggle over the same piece of land, it is a bitter battle between people that dwell and those who attempt to settle.
"Dwelling means that prior to being ”at home” there is the need to keep it preserved in its essence. Granting this feeling of ”being at home” is the essence of a homeland."[6] Homecoming should be founded on a thoughtful reflection of what being ”at home” means. One needs a prior knowledge of what the home is like. What is its nature, what is the best in it. To romanticize the Homeland by repeating a myth is not enough. Idealizing the Homeland as the place of ”milk and honey” is good for prayers but not as a guideline for erecting a state. The Zionists imagined Zion as a place where they will feel ”at home” and thereby fulfill their destiny. They thought of cultivating it and turning it back into the land of Milk and Honey, but at the same time they lacked any knowledge about the place and its inhabitants. Right from the beginning, there was no intention of dwelling.
A homeland is not a geographic site we approach via the jargon of tourism or by folkloristic tales. Homeland is not nature in itself, not fauna and flora for itself, homeland means to dwell poetically. Thinking of homecoming poetically is to accept that: what comes near is still remote and concealed and that the nearness to the origin is something quite mysterious[7]. Dwelling in a Homeland should not be maintained by military power, street marches, parades of tanks and cannons. It should not be exhibited by F16 formation flights, or military jets causing supersonic blasts that shatter the windows of the neighbors in Damascus. Dwelling is not dominating the sky and earth but rather staying in peace with nature where sky and earth are facing each other.
Homecoming is a modest attempt to dwell as near as possible to the hearth of the homeland, and to get nearest to its origin. In the faithfulness to its origin neighborhood is grounded. By poetically dwelling, Heidegger means that without remembering the past of the homeland the poems are empty and shallow.
To dwell means to stay in a place. The thousands and thousands of Israeli Jews queuing at the doors of the Polish, Estonian and the Lithuanian Embassies begging for an EU passport, do they have the intention to dwell?
We may conclude that the aspiration of ”Homecoming” does not stop people from being steeped in homelessness. The old role of the Wandering Jew being dispersed among the gentiles is still being played out awaiting those who do not dwell. By reading Heidegger we acknowledge that not every attempt to find a refuge, a shelter or a home is aimed at dwelling. Building a separation wall, concrete barricades, bypass roads, and settlements surrounded by barbed wire fence is an appalling example of how to survive in a land as long as you can without dwelling in it.

[1] Heidegger, M., (1996), Holderline's Poetry, (Humanity Books: NY)
[2] The system of building Jewish settlements in Mandatory Palestine".
[3] Shehadeh Raja (2002 ), Strangers in the House, (Profile books)
[4] Heidegger, M., (2001), Building ,Ddwelling,Tthinking, in: Poetry, language, Thought, (Perennial
classics) p. 158
[5] The last verse in the Jewish mourning prayer to the dead which appears in Job 25:12. Since the 67 war this verse became the Hymn of the peace movement in Israel.
[6] Heidegger 1996, p.36
[7] ibid 41

Submitted to IMISE conference in Rome (Summer 2006)