Parents

Crisp

This morning I visited the graves of my parents in Jeruzalem. It was a beautiful day, crisp but sunny.
My sister started talking to the dead parents, but I remained silent. I only said to her: "Mama would have liked it that we came here together."

S

Goal

Good

Today I sneaked from sister's settlement into Tel Aviv where I had some pasta in hotel Montefiore.

The website states that their restaurant is 'a mandatory culinary experience for travelers to Tel Aviv and locales alike.'

Mandatory is rather a big word, but the food is good, service slow but fairly charming and people watching pure pleasure.

Unfortunately I felt too sick for prolonged people watching and my sister was calling as well.

Yesterday she declared: "My goal in life is to be a good human being."

I answered: "My goal in life is to be a good author."

But today she admitted that she teased me a lot while we were young (she is 8 years older) - I enjoyed the teasing and the competition between my sister and me when we were young.

She wanted real conversations, but to me teasing a beloved one or a family member can be as good as a decent conversation

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Zeal

Element

It's always time for René Girard, Robert Pogue Harrison in NYRB:

'Violence and the Sacred deals almost exclusively with archaic religion. Its argument is more hypothetical and abstract, more remote and less intuitive, than what Girard put forward in Deceit, Desire, and the Novel. The same can be said for the main claims of his next major book, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (1978; the title comes from Matthew 13:35). There he argued that the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Gospels expose the “scandal” of the violent foundations of archaic religions. By revealing the inherent innocence of the victim—Jesus—as well as the inherent guilt of those who persecute and put him to death, “Christianity truly demystifies religion because it points out the error on which archaic religion is based.”*

Girard’s anthropological interpretation of Christianity in Things Hidden is as original as it is unorthodox. It views the Crucifixion as a revelation in the profane sense, namely a bringing to light of the arbitrary nature of the scapegoat mechanism that underlies sacrificial religions. After publishing Things Hidden, Girard gained a devoted following among various Christian scholars, some of whom lobbied him hard to open his theory to a more traditional theological interpretation of the Cross as the crux of man’s deliverance from sin. Girard eventually (and somewhat reluctantly) made room for a redemptive understanding of the Crucifixion, yet in principle his theory posits only its revelatory, demystifying, and scandalous aspect.'

(...)

'Some of Girard’s most acute ideas come from his psychology of accusation. He championed legal systems that protect the rights of the accused because he believed that impassioned accusation, especially when it gains momentum by wrapping itself in the mantle of indignation, has a potential for mimetic diffusion that disregards any considered distinction between guilt and innocence. The word “Satan” in Hebrew means “adversary” or “accuser,” and Girard insisted in his later work that there is a distinctly satanic element at work in the zeal for accusation and prosecution.'

Read the article here.

Reading Girard, almost twenty years ago, was a revelation to me.

What Girard has to say here about the satanic element in the zeal of accusation is extremely important.

And I believe also that Christianity is basically an attempt to end all religions; without the scandalous aspect Christianity is nothing but a mix of humanism and conservatism.

And although there is also plenty of madness to be found The New Testament, the protection of the accused is a cornerstone of christianity.

S

God

Government

And now the deluge - Der Spiegel on the Apocalyps (By Uwe Buse, Hauke Goos, Laura Höflinger, Alexander Jung, Timofey Neshitov, Marc Pitzke, Claas Relotius and Alexander Smoltczyk.)

'Ioane Teitiota -- this citizen of one of the flattest and most remote countries on Earth, one that could hardly be located any further from the scientists in Potsdam -- has a plan. He wants the world to know what is coming its way. Not just the flooding, but also the people and nations that will be forced to flee from climate change.

From his bamboo hut, Teitiota has sued the United Nations. He is seeking to become the first person ever to be declared a climate refugee.

He has sought asylum in New Zealand and is now seeking it worldwide because it is becoming difficult to live in his homeland, with the sea now seeping into the groundwater and the only things hanging from the palm trees are dead leaves.

Thus far, the people fleeing from Kiribati have not been recognized as refugees by any country in the world. The Geneva Conventions offers protection only to those who are persecuted on the grounds of their race, religion, nationality or political convictions. The Supreme Court of New Zealand ultimately ruled that none of those things apply in Teitiota's case.

But Teitiota refuses to give up. He wants the UN to amend its 1951 convention to include the term "climate refugee." He knows full well that his case, focusing as it does on a major issue to which no country in the world has provided a binding answer, is running up against a legal loophole in international law. Yet it is a question that will only become more pressing in the future: Do people fleeing from droughts or floods have the same right to protection as those escaping wars or persecution?

At the 2017 UN World Climate Conference in Bonn, where Kiribati's former president also spoke, UN experts estimated that 20 million people are already fleeing heat, drought, storms or floods. A World Bank study has warned that this figure could reach more than 140 million by 2050.

They are the inhabitants of the islands in the Pacific -- Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands -- who contribute the least to global warming and yet their lives are already threatened by increasingly violent cyclones.

Just like the inhabitants of the three atoll settlements London, Paris and Poland. They fled to South Tarawa like tens of thousands of others from all parts of the archipelago. The capital of Kiribati is already one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Close to 5,000 people live within one square kilometer, almost as many as in Hong Kong, only without running water or apartments in skyscrapers. The population of Kiribati is growing, even as the amount of inhabitable land is shrinking.

Three years ago, the government of Kiribati purchased 25 square kilometers of land on an island in Fiji, a distant neighbor, for the equivalent of 6.5 million euros. It's intended as land for refuge -- the kind of promised land Ioane Teitiota has been asking God for every day. The country is already using that land to cultivate grains and coconut palms to secure food supplies for its people. According to the country's plan, most inhabitants are to be resettled on the foreign island by 2040.

The name given by the Kiribati government for its emigration program is "migration with dignity," which the country's new president feels is nicer than the word "flight."

Teitiota is standing at his beach again in front of the wall of sandbags as the sun sets on the ocean's horizon. "There must be enough room someplace in the world," he says. The sea now lies calmly in front of him, as if it has been stretched until smooth. God willing, he says, he'd even go to Germany.'

Read the article here.

Migration with dignity, it sounds indeed much better than "flight" - perhaps this is the future: mankind will be divided in migrants with dignity, and migrants without dignity. And the rest.

One could even say the future is already here.

S