We are all refugees in a strange land


We are all refugees in a strange land

DEBORAH STEINMAIR has read a disturbing book about people’s cruelty to people, about displaced people who don’t manage to find a foothold anywhere, and about the stories that help us survive.

OUR planet and its inhabitants suffer from a multitude of diseases. You don't even have to read books to become aware of this fact. But sometimes, no, often, I read a book that sheds new light on the causes and effects of our universal trauma. Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin is  such a book.

Have you heard of intergenerational trauma? Grief, mourning and trauma reflected in people's DNA over generations – the children of Holocaust survivors never went through what their parents had to go through, but they inherited anxiety and depression. Plus, they were raised by damaged people. Even their children are not unharmed. Yes, there is such a thing as cellular memory.

It is therefore rather frivolous to say, for example, to a black young person in South Africa: You are born free. You were in the most expensive schools. BEE is on your side. You are no longer disadvantaged. For that human being was shaped in part by the anger, disappointment, humiliation, and trauma of his ancestors. Who knows how long it will take to dilute that genetic cocktail?..

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