A section of our library with its hand-made rocking cradle is on exclusion from power due to race and gender, believing that in this study we can find the causes of war, genocide and slavery, undoing these trauma crimes against our common humanity. These shelves contain books on the Holocaust, on Aborigines, on Native Americans, on Afro-Americans, on Roma, on women. Its shelves are built by Roma women who participate in our Alphabet School on Sundays while speaking together in Romanì, their language descended from Sanscrit.
Genetics: Biologically we are generally either female or male in order to reproduce the species. Culture and law have tended to further differentiate and define our gender status. Our DNA carries our haplogroup coding from the past, the male through the incomplete Y chromosone, the mitochondria for both. Our DNA can be altered by trauma, perpetuating it to future generations. We can also maintain, or attempt to restore, our cultural and linguistic purity or lose its identity and its language to a dominant other - or we can share our heritage.
Tectonics/Migrations: To study this genetic coding as it makes up distinct racial groups with their concomitant cultures, art forms (such as embroidery, tattooing, scripts, etc.), and languages, requires us first to look at the template of plate tectonics, the shifting of land and sea masses and the patterns of migrations through time. Gondwana becoming Pangaea, then separating. For instance, Brazil, Africa and Australia were once the same land mass which drifted apart. It is thought that man, Adam, our common ancestor, began in Africa, while the Americas were later populated from the Asian land mass in the Clovis migration by the bridge of the Bering Straits, yet in Brazil archeologists have found far earlier traces of human activity in cave paintings, tools, a skull, connected with Africa. While the Aborigine in Australia date back 50,000 years. The waves of Semitic migrations took place around 5000 years ago from Iraq's Fertile Crescent and its record keeping in cuneiform to Canaan, Phoenicia, Palestine, the Israelites adopting and adapting the Semites' Ugaritic alphabet for written Hebrew. Our own Indo-European makeup and our languages come from migrations similarly around 5,000 years ago, and which adopted and adapted the Phoenician runes, pirated as the Greek and Roman alphabets - while the migrations of the Roma from India reached Europe a thousand years ago. The Indo-European migrations to North America began with the Icelandic settlers a thousand years ago.
Interruption: A young Roma mother and her child have come. The baby carriage has broken. She asks for help for carrying her baby. So we put little Sonia in the wooden rocking cradle we had made and which we keep in the library while I sewed for her a marsupial, giving her mother material and needle and thread so she can sew two more.
Aurica was noticing the design I had painted on the cradle and around the chandelier that I had copied from the fresco in the villa of the Cardinal Bessarione in Rome when I was twenty-one and with my first baby, fifty-six years ago. I was telling her of how the Renaissance began because this Greek scholar brought manuscripts from Constantinople to Italy, and briefly re-joined the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. We as women know we cannot be rigid amongst such needs as Aurica's and Sonia's, that we must drop the intellectual essay-writing, the false paradigm for the real world, to care instead manually and physically for the nurturing of a baby's body, mind and soul, and once that task is finished, then we can return to the abstracting computer. And can share together that intellectual world of cosmopolitan enriching cultures, too.
The Roma, like the Palestinians, are subjected to much discrimination and poverty. They are for us the Jungian 'Other', who is really everything about ourselves we cannot accept. Genetically the Roma are like ourselves, as Indo-Europeans, from India, though in a later migration, coming to Europe a thousand years ago. Because of that discrimination they are generally denied access to land, to water, to decent housing, to education, to medicine. Genetically the Palestinians are not like ourselves. Instead they are from the Fertile Crescent, the Semites, their genetic makeup that of the Jews, most so with the Sephardim, less so with the Ashkenazim, who are mixed with the Khazar converts to Judaism. The Palestinians are denied access to their land, to water, their homes destroyed, in punishment for desiring freedom. How can we learn to see the 'Other' as ourselves? To stop projecting our 'Shadow' onto scapegaot others. To stop the bloodshed. To stop the trauma.
I was in the United States before Civil Rights. I came from Europe where we idealize Native Americans. I saw park benches and drinking fountains labeled 'Whites Only'. I heard people say of Black Americans, who had been their slaves, that they were congenitally criminal and subnormal. I hear people say the Roma are thieves in their DNA. I saw - and see - how enslavement requires this Platonic mythology, Plato's 'Myth of the Metals'. That illiterate slaves are only iron, that educated people are silver, that the king is golden. It is a lie but if both oppressor and oppressed can be made to believe it, how very convenient it is for the rich, for the privileged, for those in power. The settlers fail to subdue the indigenous peoples, so massacre them, and/or corrall them on reservations, next they import foreign workers to build their land, again along racial lines, using the greatest contrasting skin colour. First from Africa, next from Latin America. Or outsource manufacturing to China and Bangladesh. Women no longer sew their own clothes. They do not know who does. The clothes themselves become less beautiful.
The Biblical geneaology of Adam, Eve/ Shem, Ham and Japheth is largely validated by the studies of genetic sequences. We are one, but, with patterns of nomadic migration and/or indigenous isolation, we come to differ, to separate. Traumatically we tend to enslave what seems to be most the 'Other'. Traumatically we tend to wage war against what is most ourselves. Civil War. Which is an oxymoron. Recently the worst wars have been fought over 'nationalism'. Julian Benda, in Trahison des Clercs, the Betrayal of the Intellectuals, prophetically warned against political nationalism. Yet our different genes, our different histories, our different languages, are treasures, both old and new. Internally, the dominant group may silence the 'Other', the Romans obliterating the Etruscan culture and its language, the Spartans enslaving the Helots. This will create a military caste. In its classism lie the seeds of Empire. From which, in the nineteenth century, nations sought freedom, Poland from Russia, Hungary from Austria, Ireland from Britain, Europe from Napoleon, Italy from the Pope, the Austrians, the French, the Spanish, a fracturing, a cantonization. Just as also religion splinters into warring sects. In the twentieth Germany and Italy sought to be Empires. Now America is Empire. Eisenhower warned against the Military/Industrial complex. It is really the Military/Industrial/Academic complex and it seeks to brainwash whole populations into being the Myth of the Metals, into being the iron of slaves, the CEOs, the silver, all subservient to the 'gold' of a tyrant.
Neuroscience: Years ago I worked with Julian Jaynes on his book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, in which he discussed the cultural evolution, through religion and education, of the brain, shifting it from a balance of the right and left hemispheres to becoming left hemisphere dominant through literacy, a culture we adopted with the alphabet from the race which invented it, the Semites. Shem's descendants. Bible, Gospel, Koran shaped the Middle East, Europe and the East, become the genetic coding of our neighbouring cultures. While Chinese culture in the Far East adopted a different literacy. The problem with left hemisphere dominance is that it is less flexible, prefering linearity, and it rigidly differentiates itself from the Other. It becomes Pharisaical (a word which means 'separation'). For centuries education was carried out with flogging, with sexual trauma, with paedophilia, religion even resorting to genital mutilation, of both genders, as these short-circuit the brain's electrical chemistry. It produced a result that seems rational but is not, that seems to be conservative of values but can be insanely destructive of them, leading to Holocausts. Jayne's theoretical work was later validated by the neuroscientist Jill Bolt Taylor's own experiencing of a cerebal shutdown in My Stroke of Insight. Naomi Klein brilliantly describes this social engineering carried out through 'Shock Doctrine'. And warns us against it.
In Florence the Romanian Roma are forced to sleep in the hard streets in the rain. In Rome they must live in the mud of camps. In Romania in social housing with concrete. They were the slaves of the monasteries and the nobles from the Middle Ages until Uncle Tom's Cabin was translated into Romanian. They were taken away to gulags with no shelter, no food, just the bare earth into which they had to dig for shelter. The grandmothers as small orphan girls remember walking back to Romania from the killing fields. Roma were massacred in the Holocaust. No reparations were paid to them. They cope by not remembering the past, not thinking of the future. But they have told me that what would work for them would be garden cities, where Roma and Gadge (non-Roma) families could live together, with workshops and vegetable gardens, a market, a library, an orchestre, with bicycles and buses, not cars, to downsize from petroleum dependency. For me they garden magnificently in a cosmopolitan anti-slavery cemetery in the heart of Florence, where slave and noble, Austrian and Hungarian, Russian and Pole, Swiss and English, women and men, even the Romanian nobles who once owned the Roma as their slaves, lie peaceably side by side. Elsewhere the Roma are not allowed to work or to sell, they can only beg or steal for survival, here they restore tombs, harvest lavender, make cradles and library shelves, and learn, for the first time for many of them, how to write their name, the alphabet.
Homer says that when a man becomes a slave he loses half his soul, his life energy. But he also tells of Achilles in Hades wishing he could be his father's poorest slave and alive instead of King of all the Dead. 'Death is a slave's freedom'. Best of all is life and freedom, the love of God and neighbour, not worldly power or wealth or fame.
What if Palestianian and Israeli could live together, as families, in garden cities? What if we downsized our economies from its militarized globalization, those airport checks, the control of all our electronic communication? What if we studied each others' languages, our shared alphabet in its genetic forms, Hebrew characters, Arabic script, so we would be less threatened by our different likenesses? What if we shared our manual skills, our books, our music, our land? What if we became Citizens of a Gardened Earth? And raised our babies, skin on skin, cradled, loved? Repairing the cracks of the world (tikkun olam/תיקון עולם). Healing our human DNA from its Cain and Abel trauma?