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Public Silence and Latent Memories

Yitzhak Rabin and the Arab-Palestinian Citizens of Israel

Tamir Sorek

This article examines how Yitzhak Rabin is remembered by Palestinian citizens of Israel by juxtaposing analysis of references to him in the Arabic press in Israel with analysis of three surveys among Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel from November 1995 until July 2008. The findings suggest the existence of a latent nostalgia for Rabin's second term as prime minister (1992-1995) as a period when being Israeli looked like a realistic option for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Paradoxically, the image of Rabin among the Arab citizens of Israel moved in opposing directions in each of the two spheres of memory examined. At the public level, the extensive and mostly sympathetic attention given by some Arab political actors before 2000 was transformed into silence in the post-2000 period. The individual-based surveys, however, showed that Rabin's image remained salient and the sympathy felt for him even increased.

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Jakob Norberg

Hannah Arendt and Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich produced influential accounts of the postwar West-German population's silence or inarticuleteness. The Mitscherlichs claimed that this silence was symptomatic of a blocked process of mourning; Arendt saw it as a legacy of brutal totalitarian rule. However, both viewed the rapid economic recovery as evidence of the German inability to engage in discursively mediated therapeutic and political processes. Frantic busyness was a form of silence. This paper presents a critical reassessment of these approaches. By drawing on Albert Hirschman's theory of exit and voice, it argues that economic activity possesses a communicative dimension. The alleged retreat from politics is not a symptom of muteness but rather indicates people's preference for an alternative mode of communication. Arendt and the Mitscherlich may be right in assuming a correlation between the postwar economic recovery and ostensible political apathy, but lack the conceptual means to clarify the relationship.

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The Power of Silence

Sonic Experiences of Police Operations and Occupations in Rio de Janeiro's Favelas

Sterre Gilsing

two hills away from mine, has written, “[It is] apparently ‘quiet.’ Right now not even the dogs are barking,” before concluding that there is “a spooky silence” in the favela at the moment. 2 I put down my phone and make some tea. Tiago remains

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Silence Sits in Places

Chronic Illness and Memory in Northern Morocco

Federico Reginato

The returns to the subject still map out … dangerous anthropological terrain – raucous terrae incognitae and landscapes of explosions, noise, alienating silences, disconnects and dissociations, fears, terror, machineries, pleasure principles

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India Halstead

the gendered body and that of contemporary feminist theorists. From Laura Mulvey's concept of the fetishistic male gaze to Luce Irigaray's symbolic ideas about female fluidity, to Adrienne Rich's discussion of feminine silence, changing perceptions of

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Mark Thurner

The echoes that Andrés Guerrero hears and shares with us here are strictly inequivalent: the one is an echo of an archival silence, the other of sensational newsflashes. The newsflash conjures more telling silences, and perhaps a film (Biutiful comes to mind); but the echo of such silences demands not film but theory. How so?

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Pity Silenced

Economies of Mercy in The Merchant of Venice

Alessandra Marzola

Shakespeare’s sonnets is not coincidental, for here it is pity that, either as a social or a private shock-absorber, outdoes mercy in terms which seem to compensate for its silencing in The Merchant . Removed from God and steeped in the exchange economy of

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Shades of Darkness

Silence, Risk and Fear among Tourists and Nepalis during Nepal's Civil War

Sharon Hepburn

The conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepalese state, from 1996 until 2006, resulted in thousands of "disappeared" and dead Nepalis, and, especially after 9/11, a sharp decline in tourism in Nepal. Yet the tourists who came had good journeys. Based on ethnographic research, this article explores how these two worlds—of tourism, and the darkness of war, variously experienced—coexisted in the winter of 2002 in the lakeside resort of Pokhara. The article describes how the culture of silence that emerged during the war permeated interactions between Nepalis and visitors, and that there are shades of darkness as well as shades of fear. Situations are not black and white and people's experiences are contingent on contexts and backgrounds that are diverse and complex. Complementing studies of dark tourism, that is tourism about darkness, this is a study of tourism in darkness.

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The “power of silence”

Spirituality and women's agency beyond the Catholic Church in Poland

Agnieszka Kościańska

This article looks at various models of women's agency in Poland in the context of religion. Based on fieldwork among members of two feminized religious milieus—a new religious movement the Brahma Kumaris and an informal Catholic fundamentalist group—this article discusses the role of silence in ritual and everyday life as a form of agency. From the perspective of feminist discourse, particularly Western liberal feminism, silence is often interpreted as a lack of power. Drawing on informants' experiences, under Polish gender regimes, particularly as they relate to the organization of public and private spheres, silence is shown to be a fundamental component of agency. The analysis of silence displays the complexity of religious issues in Poland and serves as a critique of assumptions about religious homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religious authority in Poland.

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Mark Solomon

'The Praise of Silence' is a reflection on silence in the face of the mystery of the divine, and on divine and human silence in the face of suffering and evil, as well as on the author's own ambivalence about silence. It begins by considering three traditional translations of Psalm 65:2: 'Praise is fitting for You, O God, In Zion', 'Praise waits for You, O God, in Zion' and the Targum's interpretation, 'To You silence is praise, O God, in Zion'. The last of these is the main focus of this article. Rashi explains the verse in two ways: firstly, the futility of multiplying words in praise of God, so that the best praise is silence. The roots of this doctrine lie in a Talmudic story, paralleled by a saying of Jesus and by teachings in other religious and philosophical systems, both Eastern and Western. The via negativa of Maimonides is the most powerful expression of this in Judaism. Rashi's second interpretation shifts the focus from human to divine silence, and suggests that God is to be praised for remaining silent in the face of the destruction of the Temple and the blasphemy of the wicked. This derives from a passage in Midrash Tehillim which culminates with the Psalmist's own commitment to stay silent in the face of suffering, a stance which is in tension with the moral imperative of speaking out in the face of evil. This imperative is expressed both by the mediaeval poet who rebukes God's silence in the face of Crusader atrocities, and by the motto of 1980s AIDS activism: Silence = Death. The third part of the article looks at another difficult Talmudic passage which contrasts the silence enforced by human tyranny with the voluntary silence of those who suffer at the hand of God. Two contrasting stories in the Talmud have God, on the one hand, commanding Moses to be silent in the face of the inscrutable divine will, and on the other hand, to speak out in aid of God's work. In conclusion, there is 'a time to be silent' in the face of mysteries beyond our grasp, but 'a time to speak' when we must protest against human evil and end avoidable suffering.