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Realizing Nonviolent Resilience

Neoliberalism, Societal Trauma, and Marginalized Voice

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Edited By Jeremy A. Rinker and Jerry T. Lawler

Current neoliberal social and economic realities have had enormous impacts on the abilities of oppressed groups and marginalized communities to realize resistance and innate resiliencies. How does the ubiquity of neoliberal economic forces exacerbate traumatized populations’ helplessness, and, thereby, influence their inability to grapple with their oppressors and engage in fruitful change solutions? This edited volume asks how nonviolent conflict practitioners might intervene to ‘treat’ traumatized, and often marginalized, populations suspended in the predicament of ‘acting in’ and ‘acting out’ their collective traumas. Treating trauma is an integral aspect of successful peacebuilding work. This work aims to explore the role of trauma in peacebuilding and illuminate the ways that neoliberal marginalization impacts trauma-informed peace work.

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Chapter Six: Interrupting the Cycle of Violence: Art, Marginalization and Collective National Trauma in Iraqi Kurdistan (Autumn R. Cockrell-Abdullah)

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Interrupting theCycle of Violence: Art,Marginalization, andCollective NationalTrauma in Iraqi Kurdistan

AUTUMN R. COCKRELL-ABDULLAH

This essay considers the work of The Concept Art Group, in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the presentation of their show Visible Body/InVisible Body through the frames of memorialization of collective trauma, neoliberalism, and marginalization. These frames will help us to consider how the work of these artists serve to create a safe space for the discussion of social problems, particularly those problems that are often dismissed from the nationalist agenda and pushed aside in the name of the creation of a modern Kurdistan. In doing so, these artists interrupt the cycle of emotional, spiritual, physical, and/or psychological violence through visual art forms (Shank & Schirch 2008: 5). In addition, the artwork presents marginalized themes of resistance occurring within Kurdish society, including the erasure of minorities and marginalized groups from histories, polarizing political landscapes and the culture of surveillance, serving to resist dominant nationalist narratives that conflate Kurdish national identity and movement for independence.

What, then, does effective nonviolent resistance look like on the ground in marginalized communities, at the intersection of nationalism and neoliberalism? The Anfal genocide, the mass killing of as many as 100,000 Kurds by the Ba’ath regime, considered by most Kurds to be a collective trauma shared by all Kurds, is a cornerstone of the Kurdish nationalist narrative. This has been both a result and a means of nation-building that bolsters Kurdish nationalism and calls for...

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