Voices Through Walls

Why voices? Why through walls? Walls contribute to the obstruction of voices, and it is difficult to learn about oppression when it is silenced. Yet voices need to be heard through a wide spectrum of formal and informal communication, including language, artistic and literary expression, documentation and journalism, and more. We hope that our Voices Through Walls platform provides the opportunity to break the cycle of oppression and silence and communicate our stories through the walls, both real and virtual, that exist today throughout the world.

We are mainly interested in the consequences of violence and of political and military conflicts, which manifest as historical trauma, causing uncertainty and fear and affecting people’s well-being and interactions with their environments. Many communities have experienced forms of trauma that have become prominent elements of their histories and spatial memories. To broaden the approach, VoicesThroughWalls.org aims to collect personal stories of everyday experiences of place, trauma, and uncertainty. We hope that the site not only educates, but offers the opportunity for healing by way of communicating our collective experience as human beings.



(Palestinian children running towards the Israeli West Bank Barrier. Picture taken by Justin McIntosh, August 2004.)

Poem "I Am There" by Mahmoud Darwish



I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.

I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…



I come from there and remember,
I was born like everyone is born, I have a mother
and a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends and a prison.
I have a wave that sea-gulls snatched away.
I have a view of my own and an extra blade of grass.
I have a moon past the peak of words.
I have the godsent food of birds and an olive tree beyond the kent of time.
I have traversed the land before swords turned bodies into banquets.
I come from there, I return the sky to its mother when for its mother
the sky cries, and I weep for a returning cloud to know me.
I have learned the words of blood-stained courts in order to break the rules.
I have learned and dismantled all the words to construct a single one:



—Mahmoud Darwish
Translated by Anton Shammas from “The Bed of the Stranger,”
Riad El-Rayyes Books, Beirut, 1999.



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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like a great course!