The Ethiopian Jewish Exodus: Narratives of the Migration Journey to Israel 1977-1985

By Gadi Benezer | Go to book overview
Save to active project

5

THE THEME OF SUFFERING

Suffering is a major theme in the stories of the exodus from Ethiopia. In this chapter I shall consider both the physical and the psychological suffering experienced during the journey. I shall describe these within the three phases of the passage of the Ethiopian Jews: those of setting out, of the journey within Ethiopia, and the experiences in Sudan.


The phase of setting out

A major source of pain and distress which many of the adolescents relate is that of separation. The different aspects of the separation, which were experienced as painful, are discussed below.

The first and most painful aspect was the rupture of the bond with their parents. Parting with their mothers and fathers, and sometimes with other relatives with whom they maintained very close contact, was felt to be hard and the cause of great grief. They knew that it was a separation that might last for a longer period than they had ever experienced before. They were hurt at the prospect of being far away from their parents, from their love and protection. This was especially hard in view of the fact that familial relations in Ethiopia, parental in particular, are extremely intense and a person without a family feels incomplete. 1 As Daniel recounts: 'Separating from our parents, parting from our loved ones, this was very hard. We parted in tears!' And Isaiah narrates:

Separating from one's parents at the age of 15 was a very difficult thing. Hard and hurting! My parents accompanied me a bit. At that time I cried…everyone was crying. My mother-I could not separate myself from her. I could not go forward. I would turn round, see her and cry. I turned round, saw her and wow, wow!

The second aggravating aspect of the separation was the disintegration of the families. Since the family is the social unit which Ethiopians consider the most important and in which they invest the most emotion, its breaking up during the process of setting out was experienced as greatly upsetting and emotionally disruptive. Agonising decisions and impossible choices within both nuclear and

-87-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Ethiopian Jewish Exodus: Narratives of the Migration Journey to Israel 1977-1985
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 254

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?