Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Depths of Colonial Wounding

I've been thinking a lot lately about this. What is the extent of colonial trauma?; how deep does it go really? Where is the line between personal psychological/emotional trauma and colonial trauma? For example, if one becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, how does colonial trauma enter into the analysis of the individual's descent into addiction?

A friend recently quoted Salman Rushdie's Imaginary Homeland where he says something about modernity being thrust upon the colonized peoples and being forced to either accommodate it or succumb and then not having the language to articulate it's blow on the psyche.

And if colonial trauma devastates both the colonizer and colonized, what can we - the decolonized - do to address the wounds of modernity itself?

But how and where to begin the healing? I recently got news that someone I love is a drug addict. The telltale signs were always there but her parents didn't want to look in that direction for a long time. Now they have to face this together. It is easy to blame a lot of factors: the crowd she hang out with, her artistic self in search of the altered state of creativity, her freespirit, her low self-esteem, her sense of failure to meet parental expectations, postmodern anxiety and angst, nihilism. Words come easy. But where do we begin?

I have no answers to this. Only questions. For now.

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