Inbetweeners in the world of Islam and humour.

Sometimes I wonder whether those of us who have run all over the world can ever feel really in place. My abandoned book was supposed to be called “Inbetweeners” and then as the time passed it became “Mosaic, the path in between.”

There was a reason for that. I felt that as broke and scattered we all become through life we should attempt to make a work of art of that of whom we had become. Maybe in that title though I spoke of a path as in an homage to Tao and Buddhism I always also searched for home.

HH Dalai Lama has a famous quote that goes something like ” Give to those you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.” In Betweenners might have no roots or maybe they have too many. I am not sure.

Some people tell me one should feel at home wherever they are. I find this beautiful but to me this idea is possible simply for higher beings like HH Dalai Lama. As the average human being I find home in others. And what can you do when those are so spread all over the world. I realise attributing roots to people will always lead you to profound experience of the impermanence of life.

I have a profound relationship to very specific people. Mark, my dear friend from my Phd, in his brilliancy and deep knowledge of it all and of my own sorrows feels like home to me. Sabrina and Laura searching different paths in different places and fields all over are home to me. Andrey with the absolute goodness of his soul is what I take to be one of the most admirable human beings I know. He makes me feel at home. Adriana and Mariana in their cruel laughter feel like home. Leila should arrive here soon to expose photographs that she has collected of those who are like us…. in Betweeners. Leila is home to me. Mustapha who has taught us to really see people feels like home. So are some specific indigenous, and tibetans I know. They taught me it was fundamental to learn how to differentiate things, to not say yes to it all, to observe what you import in. They seem to propose that compassion might be sometimes cruel.

How could that be? It is because they attempt to bring consciousness to one. Being aware is way far from a pleasant thing. Yet it is the path to responsability.

There is no pride in being an inbetweener. There is no field. There is no country. There is no language. There are encounters. Values. Respect. And when we encounter one, we simply know it. I actually know many. They recognise it in me. I recognise it in them.

Should life be movement? I am not sure. How do we accept the impermanence of things in life?

Sometimes I feel we have become entirely indifferent to it all. What we call freedom seems like indifference to me. I guess it is easier this way.

I arrived in NY a few days before 911. I saw two wars being fought. I decided to learn about the middle east. Then I became friends with Palestinians and Israelis and so many other middle easterners. And then I started to go there. And then to Asia. Even if you feel the Middle East is Asia it is not. And suddenly the west seemed to import itself there. In its worse version.

I honestly never know why I write till I sit and write. And as i stopped to think of the simultaneous feelings I feel now I realise this post comes from two places.

A message of love from someone I met years ago and who like me misses Asia. Someone who feels also out of place.

And from Charlie. I am not Charlie. I suffer for his death, but I suffer even more by imagining how much harm it will be done to muslims because of that horrible act.

I once sat in a talk by an Iraqi. The war against iraq had just started. He was a student at Harvard and he spoke of laughter. I still remember it. “Humour is the last refuge of pain.”

That man had done Medicine in Syria. Then he was in Harvard while libraries were being flooded, museums robbed, the country destroyed. Could I even speak of the population?

I sit here and think what would he say now? When Damascus, Allepo and all that he has touched no longer exists?

I think of Edward Said. The great palestinian author who has written many books, but I think of the book “Covering Islam”. He asserted in that book that this is exactly what people do. They cover as in they put something over it, so that it makes it impossible for the outsider to understand that Islam goes through a huge area. There is no way of speaking of Muslims in an unity.

So, I think of my dear Muslim friends who come from all over the world. Some of which embody literally the word Islam. Islam means peace.

And because I respect peace I cannot support the murdering of anyone. Nor can I endorse discrimination. I cannot do it in any form.

That is why sometimes I wonder whether those of us who have run all over the world can ever feel really in place. Can we even feel in place when those arounds us abide by a distant past that has not been experienced by anyone living?

I breathe in and try to remember it is all impermanent. I breathe out and hope for peace. Internal and external. Then, I realise my book should be re-written. It should be called Mosaic of Inbetweeners.


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