The first print edition of this bilingual text, “Un rêve de paix”, was published in November 2005, six months after the first issue of our electronic revue, temps-marranes.
A few hundred copies were printed and soon we were out of stock We were appealing to peoples’ sense of reciprocity, their mutual respect, to the human community as a whole. Our purpose, was a call to consider the question from a perspective other than the ideologico-politico-religious bargaining posture, it had not struck a chord on the political terrain, and this especially in the Israel-Palestine area.
A few weeks ago, desperate by the immutability of the situation, we decided to publish it again, this time on line. These last few days, thousands of women have been marching from Sderot to Jerusalem, through the desert, Israelis and Palestinians, together, « to demand a peace agreement ».
This, alone, would be enough to reactivate our hope! Are we naive? Perhaps, but we accept this, albeit with some fear for those fragile signals of a desire for a common march, these exchanged glances and words, these shared meals or experiences. All this expressed in an in-between gesture, a border language, salaam to the shalom and shalom to salaam.
PP et CC Photo : Brenda Turnnidge “Le mur”
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A dream of Peace
In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wish for peace is not necessarily an admission of weakness, as some people on both sides believe. Nor is it the fruit of a degenerative illness of the identity. As if, suddenly, to survive alongside the ennemy, each people had to sacrifice its fullness of being, its myths, and its singularity on the altar of peace.
Concerning this conflict, eveything or almost everything seems to have been said. However, since we have been living outside the area in question, we run the risk of venturing into further reflection. We endeavour to step aside and propose a preliminary stage to the negotiations which should follow. First of all, we dare to raise the question in its immaterial aspect. This could be considered an existential way of thinking and attitude, not limited to calculations and deals which at the same time makes room for hope. The conditions for a lasting peace would provide the bait for building a new era when both sides can live in harmony.
If hope is built on dreams, then this text should be the foundation of our dream of peace.
Yet we progress with a certain apprehension. Because in this conflict, each time we utter a word or an expression, we annoy or we hurt, we become the object of sarcasm or rejection, we are accused of naivety or Utopianism.
This has often eroded our courage. For the Jew who absolutely wants peace, it is difficult for his friends to make him keep his mouth shut out of essential, often unbearable loyalty. For those coming from the Arab world, it is much the same; they can no longer call for a traditional tolerance. We find ourselves as we do in all tragic moments where any concession is seen as dishonest not honest compromise and the asbolute of the only livable life. Where the ennemy can no longer be considered as another human beeing. Friendship between Israelis and Palestinians, mixes marriages, long-lasting exchanges, every partnership seems linked to heroism or tragedy.
Consequently, there is always a stage in discussions where we reach a complete deadlock. Within each community, we are treated as traitors and as a result, we no longer know who to speak to, what to think, or who to dream of peace with.
The ways towards a political settlement to the conflict do however exist, and have always existed, as proved through the unexpected and improbable events of History, even in the most inextricable of them. The bitter negotiations of sovereignty sharing in Jerusalem and those concerning the frontiers of a future Palestinian state had been outlined at Camp David and at Taba , where the painful compromise of an acceptable peace was reached. The Israeli’s exit from Gaza is an irrefutable illustration of this.
But dispair, disquiet, discouragement and revolt persist as if the problem was simultaneously there and elsewhere.
It has become clear to all that on the two sides, two logics clash and self-destruct indefinitely. A first one, which is material, is a matter of classical negotiation, and a second one, composed of spiritual, legal, historical and religious elements, which goes as far as becoming an amalgam and is both destructive and self-destructing on each side. The latter refers to an identity crisis.
A fondamental rupture
The second Palestinian uprising, known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, conveyed conflicting religious opinions and was characterized immediately by a high degree of violence. As if, on both sides, the Oslo accords, which had just partly opened the way to mutual recognition, had only been a misleading road map or at its worse, a nightmare coexistence in the eyes of the nationalists and religious leaders on both sides and which restrained Israel’s security or the liberation of Palestine.
In response to the suicide bombings, the ancient Talion law was put into practice during the multiple Israeli reprisals and the whole region sank into violence. And into despair. The construction of a separating wall along the green line inscribed political divorce both on stone and barbed wire. It led to the existential rupture between two peoples, condemned to look separately for unambiguous salvation within the media manipulation of compassion or through the cruel demonstration of force, this was doomed.
A “fondamental” rupture, as if the destiny of one had to inevitably pass through the denial of the other, as if the whole world had to take sides. Without doubt, this is where the situation over the past decades has presented more than we can imagine in the way of murderous conflicts, limits reached between madness and reason, especially related to border disputes, total confusion : insoluble, inexorable, extreme. On this “other world stage”, covering a distance as short as that from Thebes to Colonus and this time, for real, we are in front of the wall of barbed wire or concrete, a true symbol of tragedy, what Jacques Lacan refers to as the “ toughness” of reality.
And this situation just keeps repeating, going round in circles. Some see in it, the paradigm, and the “condensation” in the Freudian sense of an interminable war. What is surprising, is that total destruction has not taken place, that the two peoples, tired of fighting each other, are still there despite everything: isn’t there somewhere an old rule of war or chivalry on this strange state of affairs?
The exploitation of religion to achieve political ends
In France, faced with deadlock, the great Rabbi Joseph Sitruk called… to God: “ according to our faith, he said, God only interferes in History if man is persuaded that only He holds the solution. I believe the time has come to turn to Him.” Would God alone have the power to light up the way to peace? But to Jew or non-Jew , the idea comes to retaliate with these words by the young Carl Einstein : “ God is dead, and we continue to breathe a decomposed God ……. God constitutes the greatest tension of human forces, the most madly managed hypnosis; right now, we are there, fooled, pitiful in the midst of ruins which still shake mechanically … now it is man who martyrizes God.”
Man martyrizes God. And in the land of the Book, the land of Palestine promises to “flow with milk and honey”, while martyrizing God, doesn’t it martyrize the great Abrahamic idea of biblical monotheism, fertility of the multitude, the descendance of Ismael and Issac, generosity & alliances?
On the subject, neither extremist rabbis nor mullahs have anything to say. Calls for revenge, religious amnesia, essentialness of crimes committed on one side and the other have finished by drowning the efforts deployed in an amnesic blindness and deafness, undifferentiated and confused: the reign of hatred.
If the political solution keeps coming up against stumbling blocks, should we deduce that the right conditions are not united? Besides, what exactly should these conditions be? Aside from politics and diplomacy, what else must be untangled so that a real, lasting peace, may prevail and the disputes of over five decades settled?
A new hope seems to be dawning once again, intermittently, following the change in the Palestinian authority, the measures upon security matters, against terrorism, and the Israeli exit from Gaza. Do we have the choice not to believe in the omen of these pronounced words, acts and handshakes?
This is how, in recent years, key figures, like Leïla Chahid and Michel Warsharwski, who came to encourage the youth from the French suburbs and to warn them not to get led into an anti-Semitic logic. Mrs. Chahid even declared that : ”to commit anti-Semitic acts is murderous for the Palestinian cause”. Women in Europe and Israel organise meetings with children, psychologists and sociologists attempt to do likewise.
There is also the experience of Neve Chalom, the inter-community village created by a Christian clergyman. In August 2005, Daniel Barenboim, the renowned Israelo-Argentinian conductor organised the concert in Ramallah uniting young musicians from all of the Middle East, in the presence of Mrs Edward Said. Not to mention all those discreet, daily deeds, which occur spontaneously and never, get media coverage.
In every place and at every opportunity that the two peoples talk together, something happens in the name of peace. These meetings are not held to negotiate material things, but for the two peoples to get to know each other well. “ I thought that the Israelis wanted to make us all leave here”, “ I thought that The Palestinians wanted to throw us all into the sea”. The words of children, blatant expressions of confessions of feelings, not of their strengths but their weaknesses.
Beyond yet prior to preliminary political negotiations, it seems necessary that on both sides, observers but also all the actors involved can, by surpassing their justifiable indignations, or their suffering, abstain from adding fuel to the fire.
Only in this case could we talk about faith or religion, because the side of life will be that which pushes back hatred. Is it possible to ask each person to find the force to renounce any camp other than that of peace, dispite feelings of injustice or hurt which may prevail?
Respect and forgiveness before the law
Which common notion could be considered as the “voluntarist support” for a dynamic of peace?
Whatever their belief and experience, each person or community needs to surpass their individual and collective positions. This can only happen through a revolution in the relationship between oneself and the other. A revolution where the importance of the material and immaterial is turned upside down, during the preliminaries which make the continuation of dialogue possible, not during the negotiation.
What ideas do we need to succeed this, how do we release energy and encourage good will?
As a final antidote to the vicious circle of violence, and in contrast to discord, we are considering the notion of forgiveness, the reciprocal asking of forgiveness between one people and the other, linked with various possibilities of symbolic inscriptions.
We think of a reciprocal forgiveness as an existential posture for the advent of balanced relationships, resulting in the advent of justice. This would provide a guarantee to the end of the spiral of revenge.
It would be the beginning of dialogue between individuals and communities, and not only between those in position of power. Forgiveness, which allows us to consider each other mutually as preceeding or showing respect is indeed this universal notion. Forgiveness functions in all societies as “an integral part of human identity”.
But how could an appeal for peace between men be more irrational, more utopian, and more abstract than an appeal for divine intercession, supposed providential, merciful or punitive, blind and exterminating, in human affairs? Not necessarily, because in order for there to be forgiveness, we have to acknowledge that the other has suffered from pain or injustice.
But how could the call for forgiveness between men be more irrational and more abstract than asking God to intervene in human affairs?.
How would that be more irrational than to believe that we could make peace through simple treaties after so much hatred? And to achieve this as long as we have not yet soothed the burning mark of blind and bloody attacks and their reprisals, and while the level of rancour and widespead mistrust has not diminished?
And for those who are still perplexed, and ironic, all we can suggest is that they reconsider “Pascal’s wager”. At this widespread, maximum material, high-risk period on the stock markets, why don’t we invest our own immaterial capacities to turn our perspectives upside down, precisely invest in our “shares” and “obligations”?
We consider forgiveness as an exceptional stance for an exceptional state of deadlock, which we see as a condition and major prerequisite to peace in the Middle East. It encourages the parties involved to exit immediately from the conventional frameworks of the typical, international negotiations where traditionally all debates concerning existence are held alongside those on material matters.
Simply put, shouldn’t we, before surveying the territory to be occupied by one side or the other, consider how to live and mutually develop together? In this way, calculating the number of square metres would become “slightly more” secondary. From there on, we would no doubt be able to settle, without excess passion, and agree upon the sharing of land and the rest.
Besides if it is naïve to believe in it whilst in our current impasse, isn’t what is essentially absurd and unrealistic, this repetition of diplomatic situations doomed to fail?
The concrete and the sacred
Both politics and diplomacy seem to be centered on this myth, this modern mirage, and the idea of what is “concrete” or pragmatic. Surely, what we call “the reality principle” and which only refers to discussions and diplomatic bargaining is a view of the spirit shared by many? “In concrete terms, how much do you give and receive in exchanges of products and material goods?” From now on, we would continue as if the traumas and states of minds where not part of reality.
This type of “concrete” indicates a norm, a knowledgeable relationship of lifeless elements, a ratio. Then, why don’t we give ourselves the means to imagine a world with a different rationality, where the project of living together, sharing land, resources, knowledge and skills, agriculture and culture, languages would surpass itself? A world, which would found another ratio with living elements using a modified hierarchy of criteria thus shifting the main emphasis. In this way, we create another norm, another vision of what is concrete.
At a time when the representatives of capitalism are scratching their heads to work out trivial matters such as how to develop the immaterial elements of their enterprises, for example their savoir-faire, reputation, or their human resources, is it reasonable to accept that the future of one of the world’s regions should only be subjected to material bargaining and to politico-diplomatic “settling of accounts”.
Isn’t it precisely this immaterial emptiness, this way of denying it any value for negotiating, which opens the way to extremists and their cheap fanatical invocations.
We think that the “sacred” should simply be considered as the choice of life and people’s peace, a collective choice, it can refer to what we cherish most. Here, we want to insist on the distinction between “sacred” and “religious”. In that we mean : “the sacred looks towards an undetermined universality, as opposed to the determined universality forms that the Religions of the Book used to claim”
This choice can be made in an a-theist way, not against God, but amongst men. In this sense, it doesn’t need to be refered to God, to be established. This idea of sacred can fill up the tragical lack of sens where the fanatism may take place.
As a printed mark on times and contretemps, of vengeance and reprisals, can ever forgiveness affirm any share of common humanity, drawn from all ages of human history, in front of enmities from political and theological camps, their foundations and alliances? And this, even this universality of forgiveness, is far to reach the degree of fullness and perfection, that man with his idea of God in his own image, presupposes. Despise this retreat, it would form the base of this gamble of wanting to live together whatever the cost in sacrifice.
Contrary to the work accomplished through the practice of monotheism over the centuries, the kind of forgiveness we have in mind opens up new horizons. In past centuries, forgiveness was considered in relation to respect of a divine Word, our interpretation of forgiveness is different from that described in institutionalized religion and conversations on faith and therefore takes a new slant as it appears to be at the same time, considerate of the other, a gift and also a retreat and form of self mocking .
A retreat is unavoidable because it is necessary to take some distance in order to adapt to a different way of life. On the other hand, this sometimes ironic distance is supposed to allow the one who takes it to not consider his vision as the best. Thus, forgiveness well and truly requires a form of withdrawal, of “self-condensation”. It’s the otherness or the strangeness of looking within, which allows us to hear the word of the Other and gives him or her an opportunity to be heard, in trust, without cunning.
There is a terrible infringement to people’s, (whether individuals or communities) will for strength. However it does not necessarily lead to nihilism, decadence, exhaustion, or to a cynical, welcoming manner, of all manner of attitudes and postures
According to the Jewish mystics (kabbalahists) and their liberating concept known as “tsim tsoum”, which was based on their interpretation of Genesis, God would have had the idea and the need to produce a creation. And as he occupied, so as to speak, the entire universe, in a state of hubbub, he would have retracted in order to create his world leaving some space for it.
This notion interests us as a model to follow; it refers to the first renouncement to omnipresence and omnipotence. Because, in this forgiveness, there is the inevitable renouncement from one side and the other. From the side of he who is asking forgiveness and that of he who grants it. From there, we can build. Here the notion of sharing is strong in both meanings : the sharing of what we have in common and dividing around a line of division, taking suffering and the pain of the other into account.
Forgiveness is different from the notion of exchange; forgiving is intrinsically giving. We need to stop announcing results for a while, suspend the process of reproach, and put an end of extreme obsessions, from the most bloodthirsty and the least human. For some of us, we need to stop competing in front of God himself with the aim that he chooses his best servant.
Of course, we need to look into the depths of our consciousness. Could the democratic word still be depended on as at the present moment in time, it’s used exclusively to condemn rebel states – using an outdated concept of good against evil. At the same time, what we have always reproached the other side for, such as hiding behind a mask, hypocrisy and cunning has always existed on both sides. Nowadays, terrorism as part and parcel of the foundation of Palestine, in the past, the use of terrorism in the foundation of the State of Israel.
In our definition, we need to lay forgiveness down to enable us to transcend this critical breakdown with its respective and reciprocal mistakes and sufferings.
Let us quote these surprising words borrowed from Nietzsche and taken from a book by Imré Kertez , “ There is a degree of insomnia, rumination, historical sense which is harmful to living beings and ends up by destroying them, whether it is one man or an entire civilization”
These are the types of insomnia that often constrain us when we wish to absorb basic concepts concerning what we believe to be absolute, the essence of essential. It’s an obsession-ridden hell. Thus for Jews, the memory of their origins and the victims as their unifying, founding principle… leads to excess.
Auschwitz and Israel are the two great, massive and unavoidable paradigms facing Jews today. The memory of the wiping out of a cosmopolitan people, dispersed throughout the world, yet thrust into the monotonous horrors of the camps, mark the contemporary Jewish identity. This together with the existential relativity of a State that has not found its place in the order of nations. Some fear that such a historical superego inspires a sort of confined and obsessive loyalty, All as if, any critical comments on Israeli politics threatened to open up those old anti-Semitism wounds that had never healed. This runs the risk of worsening with the proceedings against Israel coming from a great majority of this world and at the heart of European opinion.
Therefore no constraining link can be found in the shared memory of the Holocaust which, while remaining a nightmare for the whole of humanity, is situated far beyond Palestine and its inhabitants.
Isn’t it also as illusory to ask Palestinians and Arabs to assimilate the Jewish European history together with Dreyfus, the Russian pogroms and the Holocaust as to convince Israelis that the birth of their State was a catastrophe, a “ naqbah” for the Palestinian people and an unbearable failure for the Arab Nation. Yet, there are Palestinians who understand the Holocaust, as there are Israelis who understand that the creation of Israel symbolises the beginning of calamity for the Palestinians.
We can perceive the Arab recovery of European anti-Semitic themes as more reactive and opportunist than fundamental.
The negationist propaganda goes against Palestinian interests and opens no perspectives to them. Certainly not any more than all the ineptitude on the worldwide Jewish conspiracies, the Sages of Zion protocols or the poisonings of Arab blood with Israeli chewing gum. However, the Palestinian kamikaze resurrects in a flash of an explosion, all the old hatred towards the Jew, a sort of absurd immemorial anti-Semitism. This hatred crosses over from Europe to the Arab world without losing any of its virulence. Suddenly, Jews from the Diaspora display unconditional support to Israeli politics, somewhat like European Communists once piously respected everything, which came from Moscow.
As a result, we can now witness “ this degree of rumination, of historical meaning which harms the living being and ends up by destroying him” in its morbid and tenebrous dimension. From this angle, the Palestinian fanatic is not only the latest creature belonging to a fanatical and nihilistic Islam, he is also, and perhaps this goes deeper its pathological product. He is incensed with rumination and exasperated at the idea of a single historical perspective. A situation where the unconditional liberation of the Arab lands and the precedence of Islam ridicule the reality as well as the dreams of a present to finally be invested in together. We must hear him.
From this point of view, the Al-Aqsa intifada, coming after an unsuccessful period in mutual recognition following the Oslo accords, which defeated the 1948 refugees’ claims for rights to return or the complete recovery of Palestine, reminds us again of a distinctive past with no link to the present. Just as those defense policies of the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the current leaders of Jerusalem in the name of the frontiers of the Biblical Judea. These unshearable arguments which send us back, once again, to a “distinctive past” of the populations, whithout a link to the present.
We should consider for a moment, from both sides of the dispute, this absence of a common past. Whether it was turbulent and controversial as was the history of European nations is one of the unavowed sources of the absurd durability of the conflict.
We imagine that we will construct the opening to peace on the threshold of the present.
From “ zero” contact to the beginning of a relationship
The question of forgiveness between Israelis and Palestinians is precisely connected to the underlying question of relationship; forgiveness is above all a unifying link, the epilogue of an affair “in common”.
An Israeli Palestinian closeness is without doubt to be found in the ancient and rich relations between Jews and Arabs in the Mediterranean region and the lands of Islam at least until the birth of Israel. But the surrection of a Jewish State in Palestine muddled this history, in particular, the fact that Zionism’s founding fathers and the majority of former leaders of the Hebrew State were ashkenazis who knew little or almost nothing about oriental and Arab cultures.
Who doesn’t have stories about the profound solidarity between Jews and Muslims in North Africa, Lebanon, Libya or Egypt, and even in Irak and Syria? There are surely ordinary people, Muslims from these countries, who may have been named in the ranks of the Just at Yad Vashem.
In the Paris of the late twentieth century, who forced Jews of Tunisian origin and Arabs, to share both sides of the boulevard de Belleville, mixing their mosques, synagogues, restaurants, grocers and bakers. Isn’t this the mark of a very ancient bond of which we only recognize the existence and know nothing about the history, and which finds a means of extension on this aptly named boulevard that augurs well?
Not only is there a relational link but also in certain respects it even seems that the two camps cannot be separated. Perhaps because the relationship between one and the other would protect them mutually from the totalitarian excesses of their respective religious heritages.
Something undeniable bonds Jews originating from the Arab world and Arabs. Couldn’t we find some common elements of a model of co-existence and co-operation between these related forms of existence and transmission? There are proximities in Israel aside from mixed relationships and their offspring, there are Palestinians and Israelis who work and live together and whose experience is a happy one. It is necessary to explore further in this direction.
The main relational link today, albeit blinding to these two peoples, (or rather, more tactfully, populations) is perhaps one of dispute, of conflict. Literally, it is a forced relationship, driven deep like an axe by the closeness of the land and disputes over the land, in an immeasurable history, which to a great extent is unknown to each side.
During the Vietnam War, (almost) everybody within the civilian masses of America was directly affected by the destruction and tragedies of war. This opinion carried more weight than that of the Vietnamese resistance on the evolution of the war. Today, American soldiers are prepared for all forms of conflict. They question neither the orders nor the objectives of the military decision makers. The American people, for example, are relatively indifferent to their fate, in any event, to the exercise of violence they undertake as professionals of war. Soon as conscription is abolished, a gulf lies between a people and the control of the exercise of violence by its leaders.
In Israel, the army is still today made up largely of non-professionals. In fact, conscription is obligatory for all boys and girls in the Hebrew State. Some claim that as a result, every Israeli is in fact both a military and civilian target. But you can see this from the opposite side. Tsahal admittedly finds itself bang in front of the civilian “enemies” in street combat, and reacts as an army in front of civilians causing victims.
But who can doubt that calls for disobedience and desertion have multiplied within the ranks of the Israeli troops? If, instead of sending human bombs to proclaim their unanimous hatred of Jews (which does not leave any possibility for intimate protests of conscience – well attended peaceful demonstrations in Ramallah, Nablus Jericho); Gaza had assembled Palestinians together in support of equality of civic rights and the birth of a State?
Along the same lines, it could also be time, in a logic of forgiveness, to modernise the teaching of History in Israel/Palestine, a teaching turned towards the future. And that well-intentioned pacifist educators would free the common elements linked to the Land itself. .
The democratization of the Middle East of which we speak so much today, has as a condition (not the only one, certainly) which is the just settling of the Palestinian question. However, this democratization attributes faith to a bizarre domino theory or to contamination. As if democracy was a bacterial infection that could be contracted in the same way as a carbuncle or smallpox.
The settlement we witness today has as much to do with the birth of an Independent Palestinian State as with the evolution of jewish and Arab citizenship in Israel itself. Without doubt it is only at this price that the conscience of Israel’s crimes will lose its absolute character in the eyes of the Palestinians. It will cease to be the cornerstone of the transmission of the Palestinian identity as an identity of struggle, of anti-Zionist resistance, amongst the youth.
Is it not possible for Israel and Palestine to go without distractions and misunderstandings over their painful share of history, such as the effects decolonization had over a long period over colonial Europe and its former African colonies.
Because to want to set free and act as if the constraints of a forced co-existence could miraculously disappear through inertia or the strength of one Camp, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is suspended in a paralysing and tragic state of limbo where neither peace nor war have bright futures. This symbolizes better than anything the absurd construction of a wall.
In this perspective and this endeavor, no one should ever be a second class citizen, forced to wait for hours, as do the Palestinians nowadays, at the Israeli check points or forced to get off pavements just like during the Ottoman period. In 19th century North Africa. No one should ever be a “dhimmi”, second class citizen, supposedly protected by the power on the other side.
Doesn’t that amount to saying that the human sovereignty, the only one that matters to us in the long run, is dependent on a certain form of political powerlessness? The same lack of power that over two thousand years of political nothingness, shaped the supposed “ vocation to the universality of the jewish genius” but which the renaissance of Israel as a modern nation-State now contradicts through facts.
The advent or forgiveness between peoples is facilitated, from the moment that the power of historical myths surrounding the foundation of the states is challenged by the present time, which renews or invents the equations for living together and plays au decisive role in democratic stakes. As Chamfort used to say, “we need to be just before being generous, as we wear plain shirts before putting on lace”.
When we talk about forgiveness, we have in sight, a reciprocal forgiveness between two peoples. Nevertheless, we are conscious that if we are to envisage this on a political level, the conditions are not all symmetrical since the Palestinians have not yet attained political sovereignty.
The choice of life, the other’s share.
For this point of view to become that of the majority, it is necessary that “the choice of life” is so powerful that a desire for this triumphs on both sides.
By choice of life, we understand resolutely the opposite of a logic of death, as illustrated in this excerpt taken from Deuteronomy where there are certainly other equivalents in other interpretations of Abraham’s heritage: “ in front of you life and death, happiness and calamity, choose life and you will live, you and your posterity “ The foundation of the law of the living, a law which is not “ in the sky nor beyond the ocean”, “but very close to you, you have it in your mouth and in your heart, so you can see it”, There’s absolutely no need for God to play a role here.
This plan can be put into place outside the confines of religions, above all negotiated solutions, and all theological references. And what could be more sacred?
It is difficult because this requires an effort, a standing back and a way of reaching out. The mouth and the heart, it is with these tools that an inspired Sadat, invited himself to Israel. Who could have left him standing at the door? On a September day in 1993, Arafat and Rabin shook hands. Who could have foreseen this several months earlier?
Many parents whose children had fallen victim to terrorism demand peace. It is urgent to hear their voice, to go through the conditioning on one side and the other that result in the” hardening our hearts” and which keep us in the noxious and toxic slavery of our sorrows.
To get there, we have to deal with the other take “the other’s share” This is also what forgiveness is about. In other words, it means integrating the thoughts of the other side in every movement, with every intention and each word. Each should be able to say deep down inside, “if I had been born on the other side, what would I have thought and said about each event?” Why would I ever consider hurting the other’s share on my side?
There is obviously a way for us to express one side and the other with what we know and even perhaps, thanks to that to do it with added energy. The other’s share, refers to the possibility of building bridges by taking some distance through our thinking,“ in the mouth, in the heart”. For example, everybody could conceive that Jerusalem belongs to no one but to everyone and as its name suggests , to peace.
Does this mean that forgiveness, in its not very prophetic and untimely version is situated beyond the powerfulness and unpowerfulness of ones and others, that is to say, beyond the ordinary dialectic of politics, which imply the clashes of class, States, definissable and therefore negotiable interests?
If this is the case, let’s talk about it, because as far as we’re concerned it seems that forms of hatred, bitterness, shame, evil, disgust (that alone could threaten a common call for forgiveness) exist alongside traditional legal and political subjects? And finally if this is just a little true and not only a dream, from where and how will this call appear?
A divided identity
We refer to the analysis led by Claude Corman of the marrano identity, coming from Jews exiled from Spain in 1492, their trials & tribulations. These Jews had been converted to Christianity but remained faithful to their original faith. They had been dispersed throughout the world. For those who, after many generations of openly living life as converts yet remaining Jewish in private or for others who had chosen the conversion in a more sincere way or yet others who had returned back to the original faith they never regained their original identity. Neither had they adopted their new identity totally without contradiction . How all along centuries, a deeply original model has been constructed, a model made of tensions, anxiousness, even internal conflicts, but amazingly fertile.
Therefore what we evoke here leans on this particular form of identity, built on this specific historical model.
This model shows how, starting from an “identity broken once”, in generations past, the primary identity, can no longer be found, like the “primary forest “, never which had never reproduced with any other element, in its ever autarcic reproduction..
Since the exile of jews from Spain, other exiles from other peoples have taken place, creating in each exile and each immigrant, a different “rapport” with the world. This rapport creates a split, which can be considered both a deep wound, and a blessing, loss and gain at the same time. Thus a complex rapport is formed, a broken up identity which goes beyond the usual notion of “métissage” seen as an inter-mixing between elements.
It is undoubtedly difficult to understand the notions of sacred secular, of monotheist non-believing if you do not lean on this original state of being. This is a state where you can no longer be “at the first degree” at a level where individuals and groups are built independent of their religious components which become of secondary importance.
Even though everything, being or feeling, is supposed to persevere in it’s being, the Marrano perspective mixes up even this Spinozistic point of view. The art of paradoxes triumphs but common sense is totally thrown. PP et CC
Photos : Brenda Turnnidge – Série “Le Mur”