The importance of mourning, vision and support

I am about to travel to Manhattan for 10 days for a holiday and as I look through my travel guides I am drawn to two main sites, great art and commemorations to human disasters. My desire to go to MOMA, the Guggenheim, The Met, Whitney and New Museum of Contemporary Art might sound like overkill but for me they embody my desire to see the best of human ended ors to connect, communicate the truth. To tell our story eloquently and with creativity which allows for change. My desire to go to the African Burial Ground, where an estimated 15,000 enslaved Africans were buried outside Trinity Church in the 17th and 18th Centuries is a less obvious choice. I also look forward to visiting Irish Hunger Memorial and to the Tenement Museum and the tour to the banks where so many poor immigrants lost everything in the Wall Street Crash. I will visit the Museum of the Indian America, a Civil Rights tour of Harlem and the Museum of Chinese in American, which offers an insiders view into immigration, cultural identity and Racial Stereotyping. In the past I have often tried to shrug off my desire to go to these sites saying, I like to do something depressing on my holidays, but a good friend helped me to reframe what I am actually doing from her vantage point as someone interested in Intergenerational Trauma.

Emblem of bird of peace.
I stumbled across this tiny memorial in Italy. In a country remarkable for its lack of state funded memorials to its facist past and with anti-immigrant present the need for mourning is pressing.

While I am not Irish, African, Chinese American or a Native American I feel a deep need to mourn violence which has happened and continues to occur across our planet. Violence in the form of the last 7,000 years of Patriarchy has defines and continues to define all human life on this planet and to destroy the environment and animal life. Outside a few pockets of continuous Indigenous, Earth based culture, which treasures interconnectivity, respect and inclusion of all needs for most people on the planet life consists of separation, scarcity and/or powerlessness, which Miki Kashtan uses to define violence. From our global intergenerational trauma we live with the choice of flight, fight and freeze, responses which can only maintain the violent status quo. Miki Kashtan says that to respond differently we need to mourn, to do more touring than we probably imagine is necessary and then some more, to hold a clear vision of what we want, and for this leaders in nonviolence are where I get my inspiration from and support, because we cannot do this work alone.  And so it makes sense that when I travel I want to enjoy the best food, beautiful natural and man made places, to exercise, treat myself and have fun. These give me a vision for what I love about life and support along the way, but I also need to mourn the losses we have had and continue to suffer as being part of human culture and I morning these globally.  And interestingly I am asking my primary school if I can go for a visit to meet a place of deep grief in myself and my classmates, a pilgrimage into my person heart of trauma in this life.

wrought iron stairway detail.
Although the merchant made his money through insurance of boats from the Atlantic Trade Slave, this Heritage building in Glasgow bears no marks to locate the riches in the context of Colonisation and brutality.

I am also curious as I have booked to go on a tour of the UN complex in New York and am unsure if that is a place of great global yearning to make the world a better place or a place to mourn the loss of a shared goal, having been to Sarajevo and seen the site where the people dug underground to bring provisions and let out dying civilians despite the UN presence blocking them in and out of the city. In light of more allegations against UN forces raping and brutalising the most vulnerable I am having difficulty conceptualising this monument, which I fear is to a project where as a collective we did not grieve enough and so the institution designed to prevent World War 3 is entrenched in violence despite its aspirations to be otherwise.

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