This memory of Jacob Freud’s, which he tells his young son Sigmund, triggered off revenge fantasies in the latter.
In Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Freud explains how he developed an identification with Hannibal, whose sole driving force was vengeance on Rome from conquering Carthage.
In The Interpretation of Dreams, there is a slip in which Freud calls Hannibal’s father Hasdrubal instead of his actual name, Hamilcart.
In his notes to the first edition, he interprets this error as associated with the contempt he felt toward his father due to his reaction faced with the antisemitic incident on the sidewalk. He sees an oedipal element in it, a way in which he is better than his father – he is the winner in his own home. In one of his letters to his old friend Fliess, he writes: “Hannibal and Rome symbolize to the young boy the contrast between the stiff-neck of Judaism and the institutionalization of the church…”. He goes on: “My yearning for Rome is very neurotic and is connected to my youthful adoration of the Semitic hero Hannibal.”
Conquering Rome means victory in their own home. To beat the conqueror in his own home. To rise up and throw off his yoke.
The Arab word for uprising is “Intifada.”
Hassan Jawadra, a 16 year-old resident of the village of Bir Basha, near Jenin, murdered Private Eden Attias in Afula, as part of the “wave of stabbing terrorism” that has swept over Israel throughout October. When questioned, the killer said that he committed the act as revenge for the arrest of his relatives and the insult to his father’s honor in the form of a false arrest by “The Jews”.
Ever since the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) have been present in the Occupied Territories, the honor of the father has been continually trampled. The heads of families would be targeted when soldiers invaded homes, during curfew, the older men would be herded to the nearest open lot… before the watchful eyes of household members.
when IDF soldiers come through his door, the father who quietly picks up his skullcap from the street, the same father who needs to be renamed.
And so, knife in hand, the sons sacrifice themselves to make fathers for themselves. They are not led to the mountain to be bound for sacrifice but they leave alone for suicide missions, under the name of a father who will be made present by their very death. To die in order to be the son of an autonomous orphanhood which ends as the reality of death appears.
The burden of the honor of the father, which weighs down on the boy, is described by Lacan.
Lacan describes the burning bush – as it appears in chapter 3 of Exodus – and emphasizes the use of the word “Sa gloire” – that is the glory of this god speaking to Moses, telling him “As you go to them, you shall tell them that my name is I shall be what I shall be.”
This is the name that shall be. This is the name that you shall lead to them, engraved on your blade, in their own street, and the one with which your father shall become such that only interruption by an angel of the Lord himself could overcome.
Such binding, which expands the father to the level of an interlocutor of God himself, no longer needs the father who is allowed to remain in his village, while his son plays binder and bound at once.
Death, says Lacan, can constitute, in the narcissistic register, the possibility of a symbolic regulation of the real.
Could it be the Intifada spreading through our country is trying to make the symbol real?
Could it be the resistance (another meaning for the word Intifada) is the same resistance to the overlordship, the authority, the one that holds our truth – a primeval imaginary position, which we encounter in every mini-Intifada in the clinic?
And now the candle youth2 encounters the stabbing youth.
Youths that are shouting their humanity – in the face of those who question it –laying the weight of the names of their fathers, the recognition of that of which Hegel speaks in his Phenomenology of Spirit, before them.
“Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself, when it exists and because it exists as such, for another self- consciousness; That is to say, it exists only if it is recognized.”
Imaginary recognition whose reality is etched time and time again, perforating myths that are imaginary but no less necessary. Rising up and stabbing.
1 In Hebrew the word for Intifada and the word “youth” share a root.
2 The name given to the youths who gathered to mourn after the murder of PM Yitzhak Rabin at the square where he was shot.