I’ll do the rest of my morning media walk-through later. The blog entry by Centre Primo Levi resonates with a local incident yesterday; a brief attempt at sketching the relevant points here.
First, the incident: during a “case file meeting” with the head of a social service and three of the staff members – a psychologist, a judiciary youth protection agent and a social worker. Purpose: update on a family’s situation and available support for both the parents and the children. At one point in the discussion, facts were evoked about past events that led to the family’s exile. Followed by favorable comments on my part and the social worker on the girl’s commitment to a “normal adolescence”, as defined by her peer group here in France.
The psychologist’s reaction was to label the girl’s refusal to discuss the past as “denial”. The social worker and I objected strongly. Refusal to discuss degrading events has little to do with denial of them – at least in this specific instance – and a lot more to do with a determination to build or re-build a shattered sense of self-worth.
The girl did not undergo any of the more severe tortures inflicted on the asylum seekers seen at Centre Primo Levi in Paris. But the message is the same: in attempting to secure unequivocal proof on the how, the what, where and why of an asylum seeker’s claims, deeper and deeper harm is inflicted on the person’s right to intimacy – the first right stripped away in the physical and psychological aggressions.
Healthy cells have boundaries. Healthy humans have boundaries too. Denying someone access to information and/or choosing with whom, when and where to share or not has nothing to do with “denial” – quite the opposite.
I feel the need to write this down. I know it’s useful in terms of story, even if I’m not sure why or how. I would know if I wrote outlines first and stories later. But as one of my employers learned, who was an engineer by profession and a politician by trade, I could provide him an outline of his speeches – once the speech was written.
C’est comme ça.
In less somber mode, I must add that foreign dummies come in handy at times. They provide comic relief from the more local ones. I’m referring here to one Jeb Bush who provided a tiny moment of zen yesterday with his “French three-day work week” line of attack. Believe me, Jeb, I know many a French person and many an American one too who wouldn’t mind a guaranteed three-day work week with a predictable block of hours allowing for some – what do they call it?- quality time with the family.
Be it Jeb or our local brands, you have to wonder sometimes if politics produce the brain damage or if politics simply attract those already cracked in predictable patterns.
*someone had a bad moment yesterday that caused a violent need to shatter a neighbor’s car window. Call it the parking lot version of road rage. The culprit for the flower box knocked down in front of my house is more likely to be a neighborhood cat. The investigation continues.