5. What can you infer about sacred spaces, after reading the introduction?
“While Western media spotlight the protest, rightly claiming the importance of political voicing, the swinging lens from political spring to winter ignores creative resistant and simplifies history- with its ebb and flow of traumatic experiences and economic challenges-which carves sacred spaces into communities.” From this excerpt from the introduction I can tell that sacred spaces can be transformed by history into communities. As a result of traumatic experiences and economic challenges, sacred spaces can breed commonality, understanding, or a sense of mutual importance. Sacred spaces are physical locations, but the power they hold cannot be felt in human hands. These spaces bind people together and serve as a reminder for what they hold dear. There are no limitations to what a sacred space could be: a church, a park, a street corner. It only needs to be depended on by people who surround it. Like roots to a tree, sacred spaces nourish and grow a community. The more connected a group of people are to a space, the more sacred it becomes and it fuels the bond holding the community together. However, these are often the spaces that are wounded in battle by bombs, violence, and attack. They are perhaps the most vulnerable and optimal targets for enemies during a time of war because of the impact they have on the community bonded to them. Imagine the fear felt by a child who sees a park where they once felt peace, safety, and fun, now made unrecognizable by rubble, injured neighbors, and foreign soldiers. The loss felt when sacred spaces are destroyed can either tear a community apart or fuel it to fight back.
2. “The journey of a researcher” does not follow a simple path. Select a quote from the preface or introduction, which considers the author’s journey, starting questions, or identification. Explain why the quote is significant.
“Also in Iraq, I took on a third gender, shifting realms where my husband could not. Shifting to male and females spaces, I sat with men discussing politics, then helped in the kitchen. Neither fully male, nor female, I was a third body-mamosta.” (xiii). I found this quote particularly interesting when thinking of a “simple path” that is not followed by a researcher. Most importantly the researcher notes the shift in gender roles as she flows through them. As a researcher it is essential to know the cultural boundaries associated with your sex. This quote is important because it brings up the issue of gender and views on gender across cultures. Different insecurities arise for a woman researcher in a culture where women often fall silent. Although she may be allowed to speak, you wonder if the men are really listening, if they can hear what she has to say over their recognition that she is a woman. When they answer her questions are they censoring it in a way they would not had she been male? This quote also shows the identity experienced as the researcher as she realizes that she no longer falls into the usual identification of either gender, thus becoming “mamosta”.