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The promise and agony of migration: Formation of identity across memory as a voyage and distance as exile

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In the last decade, death boats in the Mediterranean have stolen the lives of thousands of people escaping wars in Iraq, Syria and Gaza. Immigration in Palestine started in the twentieth century with young people escaping to Western countries to dodge forced military service imposed by the Ottoman Empire during World War II, while tens of thousands of Palestinians found themselves forced to leave their cities and villages to dwell in refugee camps still exist today. I worked on a drama with students and teachers that arose from this complex and multifaceted historical context. It is a subject that influences and is influenced by people’s lives. Travelling between different geographies has changed our perception of identity through deconstructing and re-examining it. In light of this, the drama on which I worked was able to explore the concepts of place, distance and the ‘other’ in relation to people’s fate. We explored the meaning of identity as a ‘cultural and historical definition of the individual or group of people’ and as an individual’s identification card (passport), then looked at the relationship between them.
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Keywords: drawing; identity; memory; migration; refugee; story; teaching; writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: A. M. Qattan Foundation, Palestine

Publication date: August 1, 2019

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