This chapter is about the potential for using auto/biographical narrative enquiry in teaching and research to build small ecologies of learning, healing, dialogue and peace across trauma, and profound difference. This as part of an educational project to encourage active citizenship and democratic values in teacher education in Israel, among Palestinian and Jewish educators. Auto/biographical narrative workshops and research were used to chronicle common experiences of trauma, hurt and insecurity within the unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine. Here the other, for many Palestinians, is the Israeli Jewish coloniser over 70 years and more. For Israeli Jews, the other can be perceived as a would-be terrorist, uncivilised and bringing danger to the democratic, metropolitan light of Israel. The darkness of two unresolved traumas hangs over the work – the Holocaust for Jews and Al Nakba for Palestinians. The former is the murder of 6 million Jewish people in Europe during the 2nd World War. The latter, in English, means the Catastrophe: of the 1948 War with the putative state of Israel, and of dispossession and loss. How much can auto/biographical and narrative processes create small ecologies of light, hope and justice? The answer is not easy, but the effort worthwhile, if the alternative is continuing cycles of hatred and violence.
We live in times of profound crises: ecological, political, material, educational, spiritual and epistemological. A virus stalks the earth, and we are struggling as to how best to respond and understand. We are suffering from an epistemological malady of narrow, solipsistic thinking, under mantras like ‘evidence-based practice’. We separate ourselves off, as humans, from nature, from each other and even from ways of knowing. We find difficulty in creating deeper, psychic, intersubjective, social, ecological and spiritual sensibilities towards ourselves and our behaviors as well as myriad relationships. What is Lake Erie to us, what are we to Lake Erie? This chapter is about the power and ubiquity of turning away, of denial and the death wish, alongside the potential power of stories, and dialogue, to create interconnectedness and awareness of what we are called to do, and learn, in such times.