Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Love has fallen into difficulties


That shrine to King Mohammed VI of Morocco - the fifth richest man in Africa with a personal worth of $5.7 billion - was photographed by me recently in Marrakech. Others find the Moroccan ruler's regime less lovable; they include the forgotten Sahrawi people of the Western Sahara whose cause is bravely championed by Sahrawi musician Aziza Brahim - sample here. The photo below of a Sahrawi was taken by me in Guelmim on the edge of the disputed territory and comes from my 2015 photo essay. Morocco's latest request to rejoin the African Union 32 years after leaving in a dispute over the Western Sahara confirms that King Mohammed considers his country's illegal annexation of the territory is a done deal. In Morocco as in so many other countries - Muslim and otherwise - the words of the 14th century Persian poet Hafez now ring so true:
Love which once seemed so easy,
has fallen into difficulties

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4 comments:

Philip Amos said...

And I fear it is a done deal. Morocco being admitted to the African Unions is on one of my lists of travesties, although some way below Turkey likely being admitted to the EU and the atrocious failure to establish a Palestinian state these past 68 years. I must think that the reason Mohammed just blithely carries on with no worries re the Western Sahara is that, justice being no more part of international affairs than it is of the legal system (I think of international law and Israel's settlements in the West Bank), the major powers don't care. Nothing has been done to rescue the horribly abused people of the Western Sahara, abuse inflicted by both major forces in the area, or to resolve the sovereignty issue, since James Baker and his 'plan', a strategy dead in the water from the start, given that Mohammed simply refused to enter into talks. Baker just went home and resigned his UN post -- a sort of fait accompli for Mohammed, as are those settlements for Israel. Why all this? Because there's nothing in it for the Powers, their motivations being always grounded in military considerations. And because (though Kant's Categorical Imperative is easy to understand -- do the right thing!) there is no love of justice in international affairs, none among the Powers that control them.

billoo said...

Let me begin, going on from what I have just stated, with what you call “love of the Jewish people” or Ahavat Israel. (Incidentally, I would be very grateful if you could tell me since when this concept has played a role in Judaism, when it was first used in Hebrew language and literature, etc.) You are quite right – I am not moved by any “love” of this sort, and for two reasons: I have never in my life “loved” any people or collective – neither the German people, nor the French, nor the American, nor the working class or anything of that sort. I indeed love “only” my friends and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons. Secondly, this “love of the Jews” would appear to me, since I am myself Jewish, as something rather suspect. I cannot love myself or anything which I know is part and parcel of my own person… The greatness of this people was once that it believed in God, and believe in Him in such a way that its trust and love towards Him was greater than its fear. And now this people believe only in itself? What good can come out of that? –Well, in this sense I do not “love” the Jews, nor do I “believe” in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument.”
---H. Arendt

Philip Amos said...

Billoo, there is wisdom in what you write. Re your question,Ahavat Israel goes back only to 1976. In was, in that year, one of a number of mitzvahs promulgated by Lubavitcher Rebbe Schneerson. All those mitzvahs speak only of love and caring for fellow Jews. I found them uncomfortable reading, partly simply because of the total exclusion of other peoples, and partly because if you read them all, they seem collectively like a call for the cultivation of Narcissism among Jews. No surprise, for such was the cast of Schneerson's mind. The phrase gained currency. About 45 years ago, when I was working on my Ph.D., I taught in the afternoons on the secular side of a yeshiva in London's Stamford Hill. That was an eye-opener, for that Ultra community was in effect cloistered, oblivious of the outside world. There is now an Ahavat Israel synagogue right on Stamford Hill, one of a number of synagogues, schools, organizations to adopt the phrase as their name. I cannot think that any of those mitzvahs the Rebbe preached are healthy, productive of any true good. The best general mitzvah I know, one to live by, is Tikkun Olam: Daily acts of kindness to repair the world a little at a time.

Pliable said...

Useful background - http://www.trtworld.com/mea/morocco-to-rejoin-au-offers-autonomy-to-disputed-territory-146518