An Unbearable Heartache

karin lofthus carrington and susan griffin

in Transforming Terror

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251021
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949454 | DOI:
An Unbearable Heartache

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Healing the effects of terror and terrorism, an essential step in the process of transformation, must begin with an understanding of trauma. Trauma is the inevitable result of violence. The effects of trauma lodge in the flesh so that despite every attempt to forget, the body remembers. With even the slightest trigger—an unexpected burst of light through a window at night, a loud sound, a shadow falling suddenly across the road—those who have suffered from violence can be sent into a state of panic or anxiety. Traumas that occur in warfare become lodged in collective memory and thus erode whole cultures and civilizations. If we are to end the cycle of violence created by trauma, it is crucial to grasp, not only intellectually but emotionally, what trauma is like. For this reason, this chapter features several stories about this experience. It includes reflections after 9/11 and the ill effects of nuclear weapons, as well as poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Nelly Sachs, Ariel Dorfman, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Keywords: Rainer Maria Rilke; Nelly Sachs; Ariel Dorfman; St. Thomas Aquinas; poems; nuclear weapons; violence; trauma; terror; terrorism

Chapter.  12407 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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