Violence in the Middle East tends to manifest in ways other than the Elliot Rodger-esque narrative of a young, entitled man without overt political impetus shooting up whole streets in projection of the anguish of a bottomless sense of alienation. It is nonetheless symptomatic of a parallel underlying cultural oppression, toxically projecting the values of belonging--alienation’s more passionate brother. It too is not monocausal. It too is further perpetrated by a fixation on shallow solutions that detract from focus on our collective mindset of violent conquest. Our very adherence to belonging encases us in predefined social spaces, their boundaries structured with a rigidity that is no longer feasible and is often destructive. Ironically enough, this destruction is often couched in terms of maintaining and defending land, religious value, honor, and bodies. It unfortunately belies a sense of duty in staking claim that is entitled in its own way, systematically upheld by a tolerance for violence.

Foucault’s theory on Panopticism posits that people who perceive that they are under surveillance act according to the values and rules set forth by the entity that is believed to be watching over them. Consequently, despite not being able to ascertain whether they are indeed being watched, such people continue to act in such manner out of fear of persecution or punishment. This theory is traditionally applied to institutions such as hospitals, prisons, schools, and workplaces. In this paper, I used Foucault’s theory to analyse the values, behaviour, and action of Palestinian women and the seemingly invisible entity that encourages them to uphold gender roles, believe in their inferiority as women and the superiority of men, and perpetrate discrimination and violence against women in various aspects and means. I argue that Palestinian women are oppressed and kept under surveillance through the narratives and oral history that emerged in the aftermath of the 1948 Nakba as a form of resistance to the dominant narratives of the Zionist project.

To think of cycles of production as maintainers, same-makers, rather than introducers of expansion and difference seems absurd. Indeed, we tend to view ideologically insular communities, prototypically religious ones, as resistant to progression precisely insofar as their ideological representation is immutable, self-referential in its own sense of legitimacy, producing little that is new. Arab village Druze communities are a particularly unique case of this phenomenon due to the esoteric nature of their ideological knowledge. Information is undoubtedly transferred, but through secretive channels designed to exclude the bulk of community members, with said secrecy garnering public acceptance precisely as legitimate. The information is encoded, in a way, much like our DNA. And like our genetic information, it must be passed on through carrier vessels of some sort. In his study of communal ideologies in Druze village culture, Oppenheimer [1] described the process: Younger and middle-aged men are, for the most part, uninitiated and are largely unconcerned with religious questions. Their knowledge of their religion is often restricted to the vaguest notions; although they are all aware of the doctrine of reincarnation, they generally seem to pay little attention to it. If asked about religion, they customarily say that religious affairs and secret knowledge are safely in the hands of the old men and, to some extent, of the women. (p. 625)

Excessive stress can epigenetically alter an individual’s DNA and affect mental health. For instance, women who have been exposed to domestic violence have been found to have psychopathological alterations in their behaviors and in their hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning. However, these changes are reversible, because people can change their genetic makeup by changing their thoughts and beliefs. This provides an opportunity for domestic violence survivors to acquire behavioral and cognitive practices that support healthier epigenetic modifications in the expression of genes. The use of strategies centered on spirituality has been proposed as a skill that can enhance resilience, which is the ability to adapt to stress and adversities. Similar to the epigenetic mechanisms involved in excessive stress, resilience can also alter gene expressions, which can support healthier neuropsychological functioning. The conclusion I draw from the review of recent research is that for victims of domestic violence, enhancing their spirituality through prayers, meditation, or cognitive reframing can lead to neuropsychological changes that can offset the negative psychopathological alterations that occur during excessive stress.

Although there has been much social, legal, and international effort to eliminate discrimination and violence against women [1], the problem of violence against women continues to persist globally today. In the academe, much research has been conducted to measure [2,3], understand [4], and seek solutions [5] for violence against women. Researchers have explored the issue of violence against women from different perspectives and disciplines, including education [6], political science [7,8], anthropology [9,10], sociology [11,12], and psychology [13,14]. They traced the motivations behind violence against women, exploring social, cultural, and religious reasons. Some researchers have focused on analyzing and understanding the opinions and experiences of victims of violence, while others have focused on the perceptions of the perpetrators of such violence. Studies have also measured and analyzed the effects of violence, discrimination, and threats on the women’s physiological, emotional, and psychological well-being [15]. Taking a different approach, I will utilize post-Jungian theories to describe and understand the effects of violence against women in the Middle East on the ecology of the region, and also to determine how the rehabilitation of nature and Mother Earth can be instigated through post-Jungian psychological constructs and theories.

Oppression of women and violence against women are two experiences whose origins are debatable, but whose existence is anathema to a large proportion of humanity. Some cultures permit or even legislate the oppression of women, while some cultures indirectly allow it [1]. There are a wide range of actions across cultures that perpetuate the oppression of women and the appearance of condoning violence against women [2]. These actions include economic disadvantages, disproportionately lenient sentences or legal ramifications for oppressing women or committing acts of violence against them, difficulty in bringing successful legal actions against perpetrators of oppression or violence against women, laws that treat women differently than men, and general sexism in various segments of society.