Six Sirens and a Broken Oud
This chapter is based on my 2014 visit to Israel for a family reunion, the timing of which coincided with the Israeli Defense Forces’ bombing of Gaza and missile attacks over Israel. Practices of life mapping tied to place and memory resonated throughout my visit. During my weeklong trip I experienced six missile alerts and bought a damaged Oud in the Jaffa flea market, which I later repaired. These events are used as motifs for exploring a dynamic and ongoing reconfiguring of identity, in line with Stuart Hall’s notion of “identity as becoming,” in which “cultural identities are the points of identification, the unstable points of identification or suture, which are made within the discourses of history and culture” (1990, p. 226). In exploring the links between personal identity, liminality and border zones, I reference a number of filmed and written documentary works about Palestine/Israel’s physical and psychic borders that interrogate the region’s divergent and conflicting narratives: the joint Palestinian-Israeli film Route 181: Fragments of a Journey in Palestine–Israel (Sivan & Khleifi, 2004), the films of Elia Suleiman, and the roving adventures along Israel’s border of Israeli writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami for the online publication 972 Magazine.
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