BOKHIM VE-YORIM ... AND BEGGING FOR REPENTANCE
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
BOKHIM VE-YORIM ... AND BEGGING FOR REPENTANCE
Marek Halter is a French writer and film maker. He is a Jew, born in Poland. He and his parents escaped from the Warsaw ghetto to Russia. After wandering around in Russia during the remainder of the war years, they returned to their country. They also escaped hard life under the Stalin occupation, by subsequently emigrating to France.
Two months ago, Halter joined a committee, side by side with Bernhard-Henry Lévy, for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli Betancourt as he is called in these circles!
He has written an article, published in la Repubblica IL PENTIMENTO INDISPENSABILE which in English could be translated as "The Indispensable Repentance".
You can find the text here
It is translated into Italian (by Fabio Galimberti) but I was not able to find the original source.
It is worth noticing that, just a couple of days after 1300 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army, the homepages of the websites and the front pages of papers of almost all the news providers, and even the rest of the papers, have been cleaned from pictures of the rubble and talk of the victims. Of course, the Holocaust never allows us to manifest our annoyance and never fails to stir our emotions and to make us ponder on the mysteries of mankind.
So, the title is THE INDISPENSABLE REPENTANCE. What is the message? That's not quite clear to me.
He starts with a story. Something that happened, just a few days before the writing of the article (end of January 2009). He is a guest of honour at a gathering at the University of Lublin, as part of the festivities in honour of the Day of Judaism. This day is instituted by the church of Poland and the clergy were in the front seats. Because there are a lot of days on the calendar of church and world events regarding the Jews, he dreams to change the subject of one of these days, this specific day, to make it a Day of Repentance. So he tells his audience: we agree on the facts that in your country 3,5 million Hebrew are killed, and the numbers are big enough to justify my request; of course you Polish were not the murderers, but you were not very helpful to the Jews either. He doesn't call them Hitler's willing executioners but he neither mentions that also the Polish people found themselves between hammer and anvil.
When he is finished there's silence, all over the place. He is not even applauded.
In the end, invited by Zycinski, the archbishop, to ask some questions someone puts a silly question: why not ask the Russians to pay repentance to us - more exactly - those Russians who has massacred a great number of the Poles, with the help of the communist Jews? Now, that was applauded.
Does he make his point now? Not yet.
First he wants to do some finger-pointing at today's pope Benedict XVI. He makes John Paul II his hero, depicting him as a man of resistance, opposed to, to begin with(!), the totalitarian Soviets. And, last but not least, John Paul is the man who made the hierarchy of the Catholic Church turn their face to the Jewish people.
Then Benedict comes marching in. He calls him a pope of war. He does not explain why.
But he starts warning him: Benedict is advocating a return of the masses to the church and sees positive signs in this direction in the western world. However this trend could be due to fear from immigrants, a result of negative propaganda. Moreover the same trend towards islamisation is seen in the Arab world which we do not perceive as a positive sign. Being part of the same movement, their masses are turning against our civilisation. As a consequence of that, Christians are chased out of the land of Iraq. Christians are prosecuted in Egypt and Indonesia. Christians are even murdered in those unhealthy places.
Then he wants to tell us that the pope is aware of the danger of the Islam and is implementing a strategy of opposing that danger by the rehabilitation of the group Lefebvre, excommunicated by John Paul, as warrants against Mohammed. Of course, it's a shame that as part of that rehabilitation a certain Williamson also is allowed to be a servant of God in the church, but you can't have it all. Halter seems not really to be bothered about this point.
He is more bothered about the pope's strive for the beatification of Pius XII. We are reminded of the pros and cons of Pius XI and Pius XII regarding the difficult choice between fascism and communism. There's no way to deny that they wanted us to save from communism, and that they saved Spain from the republican experiment.
Again, what is his message? What's he aiming at? Still, it isn't clear. But, he hasn't finished yet. His grand finale is coming. The existence of man is difficult and can only survive by hope. Now we have had the Catholic Church, the Reformation, Lutheran and Jewish religion. Then History (with a capital!) serves as a stage for socialism communism fascism and liberalism. But in the end all these ideologies have failed. And now people, unable to live their daily live without hope for something better, are returning to religion. And he cites the well known joke you can find among the graffiti: Nietzsche is dead.(Is signed) God.
And than there is his concluding question: the Lord moves in mysterious ways, but are those really Ratzinger's?
A rhetorical question? I do not know.
As I said in the beginning, this comes all just after the killing of 1300 Palestinians by the Israeli army. And while the homepages and the front pages of the news providers are emptied from the suffering of those poor devils - the never ending story of those 6.000.000 victims still fills up the news, in sometimes huge parts.
Now as we all know, but not all dare believe, God doesn't exist. Is it possible Marek is talking about the ways of Marek Halter? Wanting his ways to be our ways.
Yes, in the end, I guess, he wants to make these two points. One, he wants to keep us in the stool of repentance. Two, he wants to rebuke Benedict because he is not very helpful to that. But the first, and probably the only thing he wants us to do - and what he for ever and ever wants us to do - is our begging for forgiveness. So that we never will bother about the killing of Palestinians, or Lebanese or whatever they like to shoot at, so that we say yes, yes, we agree, the Iranians should be exterminated!
Perhaps someone is wondering: but didn't we pay?
Yes we paid. You in America. We, in Europe, all the countries involved, we bore the double burden: first we had to pay Hitler, because we were in his way, and then we paid the Jews, because Hitler paid us a visit. We have paid our tribute. And not only that, we paid repentance. We paid with lots of advantages to the state of Israel and her citizens, offering support for anything we could think of ... even for crimes.
And still that man, Marek Halter, is asking us - as all the Jews who only see their problems with us, and always fail to see our problems with them. Always crying and shooting (as Avi Shlaim puts it) ... and begging for our repentance.
Isn't it about time that we, like that man in Lublin, ask for some recognition of the wrong deeds of the Jewish citizens. That we begin listing the crimes and misdemeanours of the Jewish people. I don't mind where to make a start, no preference. Let it be Joshua. Let it be David. The storytelling about the Diaspora. Start about 1937 ... do as you like. But isn't it about time that we start looking the Jewish citizens right in their face, all over the world, and ask them to feel a bit of sorry. Not for repentance, not wholeheartedly - not yet. Only to be sorry. Just a bit. Just for a start.
We used to call that Mesopotamia - and I was thinking that Bush has replanted there a big community of Christian soldiers
I think the pope is actually looking for dialogue, not for confrontation.
It is not impossible that he is trying to make another point. The fact that Israel is the only safe protection against an assault of the Muslim-world on Europe.
I would say very helpful, because, by rehabilitating Williamson, he set off for al the defences against forgiven and forgotten to brush like hell.