In my eyes, the world we live in is paradoxically a strangely medieval world. Drawbridges being drawn up, not letting enemies in, religion yet again ruling people’s violent actions. Name of a God, Allah, being called by foolish teenagers dying in vain. Politicians talking about their Christian beliefs. “I am a Christian,a Conservative and a Republican, in that order. I am a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican, in that order…”( Mike Pence Vice President of USA)
People talking about threats to our civilisation. Comparing it to Rome and the Barbarians at the gates. Well, those Barbarians brought something, their heritage is part of our European history, too.
I find it scary. I am thinking about the 1930s, the time when my Czech ancestors found out in one month in 1939 that they are not really Czech, they are Jewish. And that being Jewish is something inferior…
I believe in melting pots and mixtures. When I cook, adding almost too many ingredients. My lover, a Jazz journalist, calls it my jazz cooking, He likes my jazz cooking. I am a good cook. Mixing is good, all those ingredients adding to the taste.
I see all those generalisations coming back, the “Us and Them, The Fanatical Muslims, The Unsophisticated Americans, The Evil Russians, the Snotty Europeans, Those Lazy Greeks, those Wasteful Puerto Ricans…” also “the Nasty Misogynistic men, those Crazy Feminists…”
I do not believe those clichéd generalisations, and they scare me.
Yes, maybe some of those things are true about some people. But even if the majority of those groups fitted those clichés, what about the ones they don’t? By enclosing them in those groups, we are doing them irreparable harm…Not dissimilar to the harm done by the Nazis. Yes, I am being a bit melodramatic. There are no gas chambers, not yet.
But I am scared, and I do not scare easily.
I am promiscuous as far as friends go. I have at least five “best friends”, some of them men, some women. I am close to many others. They come from various nations, ethnic groups, religions. I am a non-believer, but I believe in humanity, in that unwritten moral code of respecting the similarities AND the differences. And I believe in Kipling’s
“We are of same blood, thou and I”
My world has got strangers who are friends, and friends who are strangers. I am often close to people who are of different gender,nation, religion, and I am sometimes distant from people like me, Czech Jewish intellectuals of my generation.
I want those drawbridges all coming down, those borders open, those newcomers given a chance.
In 1986, I got a chance, a political asylum in the UK. I want other people, those escaping from unspeakable horrors I never lived through to be given a chance, too.
I do not want to live in the world of drawbridges. They should have gone out of fashion 500 years ago. Their return scares me, and I do not scare easily…
I do not want to live in the middle ages.