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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







Where did I come from and where am I today?

An identity problem: born in Iraq (Babylon) and grew up in a new country
By Ilana Avissar

A profile of an identity problem

Many of the people who were born in Iraq and raised in another country, suffer from an identity problem. The question which bothers them is: "Who are we?" The lives of these people in a foreign society are mostly influenced by stereotypes and stigmas in that society. During the process of forming an identity between "east" and "west" an identity crisis occurs, followed by an attempt to create harmony between both sides.
Those who identify with their earlier traditions, show much interest in the family, the tradition and the past. Those who adopt the non-traditional perception, tend to come closer to their external environment and deny, to a certain extent, to their culture of origin.
In the 30s, researcher Henry Moore developed a test for personality research: TAT (Thematic Apperception Test). With the help of that test it is possible to explore ones personality, especially thoughts and dreams, as well as needs and emotions, conflicts and ability to deal with problems.
With the aid of the TAT test, researcher Mcclland found that the difference between people in performing different tasks originates in the differences in people’s sense of achievement.
It is therefore clear that the need to achieve and to be accepted in the new society may create a conflict in a person who has left the country of his birth for another country. This conflict may express itself in putting extreme efforts into trying to merge within the new environment, as a part of the achievement.
Consequently, he will deny aspects of his past, assuming that his life will be happier that way. But the new culture does not have the power to supply him with the longed- for happiness, and that is where the conflict begins.
At the elementary school age, boys and girls form their personality. The pressure being put on them is immense and so they tend to rebel against "system" as well as their mother tongue, heritage and customs. Later they look for the benefits of the foreign culture, and forget, in time, the benefits of their original culture and the treasure of their legacy and religion.
His past becomes a burden, as it were a hump upon his back, and his sense of self becomes incomplete. And all of that because of his country of birth. Instead of understanding the past, merging with the present and controlling the future - he is drown to the new culture. The result: a conflict. Instead of his soul being divided into two different complementary halves. It is divided into two opposite parts, which do not go hand in hand with each other.
Later on, he carries the conflict with him, trying to stand out in fields that are important to his surroundings and unconsciously mists his past. This process is based on the "Learning – Encouraging" mechanism. When a person receives encouragement – and becomes accepted by his surroundings, he wants even more to adopt its behaviour and distance himself from his past (language and culture). But, the past that is denied constantly reminds himself of its existence, for it is embedded in his ID.
The fact is that while people come and go and friends change, he always remains with himself and his family, who remains there always and support him in times of need- spiritual and physical. This notion, that his family is ever true to him, and gives him love and warmth at all times, triggers a conflict within him: for the very family he denied - are the ones who help him when he is in real need.
Solutions to the problem
How then can it be possible to create harmony and solve the identity conflict?
Man tends to be deceived by the new environment, and forgets that it changes, dies out and is replaced, while he himself and his family will always remain. But, as always, the solution is to respect everything and try to understand and study it thoroughly. That is why man must first be at peace with himself. He must study all the aspects of his being: the past the present and the future. Instead of a conflict these aspects will become the strings of his life. Like the strings of a musical instrument, each different from the other, but yet together creating a harmony, they will form a piece of a wonderful music. He must learn to appreciate each string in itself, because together the melody they make is his true image, his melody.
This can be the bridge of love for ourselves and for others, appreciation of the culture, which we came from, and appreciation of the culture in which we live in today. And so the solution is appreciation, respect and love: of the past, the present and the future.
If a person will not appreciate himself and his past, how can he expect others to appreciate him?




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