Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

In Cairo: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Visitations. The wake. What was left in a wake, after death?

Homelands. The feelings which might develop seeing a loved one die, alone.

If Abraham wasn’t strange enough, planning to kill Sarah’s son, there was the strangeness of Isaac.

In all of the years that Jacob was away, did you ever notice that Isaac never once went to visit him? And if it had been simply a matter of anger at the stolen birthright, there is never mention that Isaac had ever met his in-laws. And as a consequence, if that had been me, I think I would have questioned exactly whether my husband or whether my father loved me. One of the basic tenets of love is the witnessed pursuit. And in the stories about Isaac, there was a missing pursuit about everything.

Isaac was a badly damaged man, after what had happened to him when Abraham took the knife in the name of God to him in that moment on Mount Moriah. His growth in the way of feelings which might develop out of what had happened on Mount Moriah seemed stunted. And as the sons of Isaac surely must have come to appreciate, it seemed perfectly reasonable for any man to lose trust not only in his father Abraham, but in the God of Abraham. So this guy Isaac suffered one of the first cases of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome ever recorded in history.

Invisible. Like you never even existed at all. The feelings which might develop if you came to wonder if your father ever loved you, as if you never even existed at all. Battle fatigue. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The hostility which came to someone forced to go to war, forced to annihilate another tribe. And afterwards, note the symptoms, reflected in a form of missing pursuit like Isaac showed in the search for a wife. And were there further symptoms reflected in a form of missing pursuit of the God of Abraham? Symptoms that were felt by anyone living in a home or a homeland with someone with Battle Fatigue or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

“You don’t care who I am.” Invisible. The feelings which might develop from the plumbing of the land, with so much Battle Fatigue Where the dead are buried like the unknown water and sewer pipes in the modern world.

Banked time: What went on here in this place in history? And as in all of these stories, to sense a lingering hostility as well as the inherited things which had gone before you. When you inherited so much in all of human history, with so many people who felt that they could annihilate other tribes.

Time quantified, neatly stacked away, wrote Louise Erdrich, banked in both history or on premises called institutions. Left in a wake, after death. Feeling loved? Was there a sense of missing love in these stories between the men – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob?

Concerning the mystery of the visitations, had Jacob also sustained a form of missing pursuit, by not ever going home? Was he bothered by having to live in a totally different environment from the one he was born into? With the feelings which might develop in such an environment. In an environment without much feeling except fear and hoodwinking.

Living in the wake. Of fear. Of mistrust. Of competition between brothers and sisters. With the pride over all of this craziness of religion — the “unbelievable most ticklish but loving form of destruction” as people quit believing in each other. To take a quote from Louise Erdrich. Chosen people who felt that they could annihilate one another. Before they considered the outside tribes.

Born into the holy land. Born into a time of annihilation, with fear of ending up with nothing in times of darkness, of war, of rebellion, of drought, of another war. What was it like waking up today in Cairo, in an atmosphere of another annihilation? There were so many badly damaged men living in the environment of war and rebellion, who wanted to extend the damage to another generation. And then there were the refugees, like the hundreds of thousand Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians, Kurds, all living life with their wives, as Jacob lived his life with his wives. Only now, if you note a certain irony, it was the hundreds of thousand invisible exiles like Jacob. With their dream about a Promise Land.

What was left in a wake, after death? Did you feel the same kind of invisible battle that the Muslim Brotherhood had, with their own brothers, so much like the same recorded struggle in the Hebrew Bible?

If Ibraham wasn’t strange enough, planning to kill Hagar’s son, there was the strangeness of Ishmael, per the reading on Eid-al-Fitr. Ramadan was over seven days ago. Muslims are recommended to use different routes to and from the prayer grounds on the day the end of Ramadan was celebrated — based upon the story read that day, and not for their own personal safety. When the young, when it came to the disoriented understanding of some kind of true sacrifice, an imposed sacrifice, were never going to exactly do as the elders were doing.

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