Trauma and Uprooting
Diana Miserez, Author
Trauma and Uprooting came to be written about some of the most tragic occurrences of violence in our world over the hundred years from the outbreak of the First World War and the genocide of the Armenians in 1914 to the 2014 attempt of the « Islamic State » (ISIS) to annihilate the Yazidi people of northern Iraq. The takeover of Afghanistan by the hardline Talibans in August 2021 and the brutal invasion of Ukraine by the Russia of Vladimir Putin on 22 February 2022 added a short addendum to the book. The Introductory pages include an account of how the reality of trauma and post-traumatic stress, ignored for centuries, began to be realised only within the last twenty or so years of the 20th century – largely as a result of experiences of people who it can be said fall into three categories : international Red Cross staff working with refugees, who became increasingly aware by the late 1970s of the psychological suffering of many of those they were concerned with; senior American psychiatrists confronted in the late 1970s with the needs of former US military « vets » who were afflicted by their own strangely uncontrollable behaviour years after leaving Viet Nam; and Australian lawyers actively concerned about the limits of the existing legal processes in relation to claims people were submitting for psychological harm. Up to chapter 18, with one chapter covering human rights institutions and conventions, the causes of trauma – war, repression, ethnic ‘cleansing’, terrorism and other forms of organised violence - are described, along with the inevitable consequence for many, of flight and the start of an unforseeable future on foreign soil. The last two chapters of the book describe much of the extensive research and experience of senior psychiatrists in their years-long investigation of the ‘new’ field of trauma and what is frequently referred to as PTSD, pointing to some of the methods elaborated to relieve and perhaps eliminate people’s suffering. The annexes include material that is liable to be valuable in relation to various approaches practitioners can adopt in trying to deal with people’s trauma/PTSD. Trauma and Uprooting has already been widely acclaimed by international humanitarian organisations, in relation particularly to the very demanding fieldwork in which they engage all over the world.