Accepted paper:

Wives of Palestinian life prisoners, between mourning and melancholia

Author:

Lotte Buch Segal (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

With a point of departure in wives of life prisoners in the occupied Palestinian territories this paper seeks to flesh out some thoughts on the entanglement of intimacy, temporality and the possibilities of mourning in the case of a Palestinian husband being sentenced for life by the Israeli state

Paper long abstract:

Despite the recent prisoner's swap between Israel and the Palestinians there are at current approximately 5000 Palestinians serving sentences in prisons in Israel due to their activities of resistance against the Israeli state. Some of these men are sentenced to life. With a point of departure in wives of life prisoners in the occupied Palestinian territories this paper seeks to flesh out some thoughts on the entanglement of intimacy, temporality and the possibilities of mourning in the case of a Palestinian husband being sentenced for life by the Israeli state. In these instances the man in question is absent for the entire lifespan of his wife yet the paper will argue that in contrast to, for instance as-shuhada, the Palestinian martyrs, the detainees cannot be mourned since they are only absent but have not been lost. Whereas widows of as-shuhada have a claim to mourning wives of detainees might be thought of as confined within the space of melancholia. This, I argue is due to the fact that they supposedly still share the intimacy of a conjugal marriage even though the one part of the conjugate is utterly absent from the weave of everyday life -and will continue to be so. The paper thereby sheds light on the possibilities of mourning and the politics of affect surrounding the conjugate marked by confinement in one of the worlds most prolonged conflicts.

panel W085
Mourning, intimacy and the special character of the conjugal relationship