“Dancing Auschwitz”


Via The Chutry Experiment I came across this YouYube video, filmed by artist Jane Korman, of a Holocaust survivor and his family dancing it up at several different concentration camps in Germany and Poland.  This is Part 1:

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Trauma and Philosophy [blog]


I just stumbled across a blog, Trauma and Philosophy, maintained by Frank Seeburger, a philosopher at the U of Denver. It’s quite excellent and includes close readings and brief reactions to a wide range of literature related to trama including Lifton’s book on Nazi doctors, Felman and Laub’s book on trauma, musings on Heidegger, Henry and Nancy, and this is not even close to being exhaustive. Do check it out. Here’s Seeburger’s rationale:

Recently, my thinking and research has come to focus on the intersection of a number of concepts or figures/tropes of diverse provenance but sometimes surprising convergence: (1) ‘trauma,’ in the sense at issue–to cite a definitive example–in Freud and psychoanalysis; (2) ‘event,’ as that term comes to be deployed in the works of such continental European thinkers as Heidegger, Derrida, Badiou, and Žižek; (3) ‘truth,’ as used (some might say abused) within that same European philosophical tradition; (4) ’sovereignty,’ primarily in the political sense at issue in contemporary discussions centering around the recovery of the thought of Carl Schmitt–for example, and especially, in the works of Giorgio Agamben; (5) ‘representation,’ in both the political and the philosophical-literary senses—the ‘image’ of my title; and (6) ‘the political,’ in the sense of that term in which such recent continental European thinkers as Jean-Luc Nancy and Phillipe Lacoue-Labarthe would distinguish between ‘politics’ and ‘the political’.”That nexus of concepts first began to come into focus in my thought in connection with a class I taught at the University of Denver in fall term of 2005. My work on those themes in conjunction with that class soon resulted in an article which has since been published online in The Electronic Book Review (“9/11 Never Happened, President Bush Wouldn’t Let It: Bob Dylan Replies to Henri Bergson”). Since that time, I have continued to work with the interconnections of the concepts involved. Then, in December of last year, I resumed, after a long gap, the practice of keeping a regular “philosophical journal,” more or less restricting my entries to recording my responses to what I was reading at the time in the relevant literature on trauma, a literature which I have been continuing to explore to the present. Continue reading

Trauma and Reconcilation: Some (scattered) thoughts on Encounter Point


Here are a few more scattered and hopefully better than mediocre thoughts about Encounter Point. In the documentary we meet several Israelis and Palestinians who join the Bereaved Families Forum, a group in which Palestinians and Israelis who have lost family members in the conflict advocate nonviolence and reconciliation together. One of these people is Robi, profiled on the film’s website:

In 2002 a Palestinian sniper killed a group of Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint. Robi’s son David was one of them. Robi is haunted by the loss of her son, and the knowledge that he was posted to defend an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory to which he was politically opposed. After David was killed, Robi joined the Bereaved Families Forum. She speaks in support of Israeli/Palestinian reconciliation throughout Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and internationally. Robi says that all of her work is aimed at furthering understanding between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

Towards the end of the film, Robi learns that the sniper that killed her son and subsequently became a folk hero was arrested by Israeli authorities. She decides to reach out to the family by writing a letter with the intent of meeting both the family and the sniper himself, all of whom were quite willing to meet her. This is both moving, but also gestures towards a sophisticated ethical position. Throughout the film we hear both Palestinians and Israelis expressing similar positions, namely, “we don’t have to forgive in order to reconcile.” On the way out of the theater I overheard the people in front of me talking to each other, one of whom suggested that the film documents a Christian ethic of love thy neighbor, turning the other cheek etc. This seems very wrong to me. In fact, I’d venture to say that such an ethical position has little to do with Christian ethics. Now, the documentary itself conjured up a number of themes/concepts dealt with by Derrida and Levinas. Not least, encounter, hospitality, forgiveness, trauma and ethics. Continue reading