Between Worlds – Between Times

It is some time ago now, I made a trip which was a bit like time travel – France – Catalonia – France and going on from there …
Well, I can say I escaped those days that massacre of Barcelona, though having been very close to the crime scene. At stake is, however, not spatial closeness – what makes me still trembling, and at times near to crying, is something else – it is the same shock that followed me for some time, after having left the French embassy in Rome on the 7th of January 2015, the day of the ‘Charlie Hebdo shooting’. It is a bit like history condensing, being forced into a nutshell, feeling the need to discard the fetters that are lurking around the corners of uneven development.
****
Indeed, it is some time ago now,I made that trip which was a bit like time travel, leaving the massacre for a while aside …
Two days or so after what happened …  sitting in the TGV, the Train à Grande Vitesse, … everything went according to plan, and I am sitting on the prenotated seat, looking a bit out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – again and again startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train. I remember the first trip I made with a TGV, many years ago: fast, not mentioning the slightest movement – and those days not the noise of neighbours playing with or loudly speaking over their phone: pling .., announcing arriving — swoosh …, accompanying the sending of a message. Then it had been a brand new train, with all comfort, cleanness and newness [today’s TGVs had been inaugurated in 1981]. I remember a friend, while looking out of the window, asking:
And when will it be driving with this amazing speed?
I replied
Don’t look out of the window, look at the speed-announcement over the door.
Yes, it had been over 300 km/h.

A few days later: the Thalys from Brussels to Amsterdam, later again, the ICE bringing me to Munich …: all of them smooth trips, comfortable actually, as they had been launched later than the TGV, a bit cleaner, still a bit more comfortable … Still, using now the CRH in China – very clean, the train seems to ‘stand still’ while driving its constant 307 km; quiet – though one has to cope with phone …. announcements of food for sale, the latter standing a bit in the way of the claimed  和谐号 – harmony, as the name of these trains suggests. – The new generation, i heard, is now moving smoothly with 400 km/h …

Possibly I will remember at some stage, several years ahead, a train trip between Wuhu and Najning, everything going according to plan, while I will be sitting on the prenotated seat, looking out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – frequently startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train when it will then be a somewhat old train, old as in some parts of the world already completely other means of transport will be in place … – or it may be more likely that I do not remember it anymore, actually it may take long enough that I do not remember anything anymore and only some people remember me, while now sitting there, thinking about the old 和谐号 – harmony, perhaps then sitting relaxed in a train called 超验 – transcendence … – seemingly transcending time and space, rarely being aware of the fact that the time we live in is already past time as soon as we are getting are of this worldly dimension if transcendence.

***

Isn’t part of being between worlds also about being between times, experiencing the accords and discords that are at the centre of globalisation that depends on unevenness, of which contradictions are permanent and necessary part – where welcome is supposed to be a threat. Yes,

we in the West need to think about a whole new relation to the so-called “Third World” if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. This can also effectively contribute to fighting the reasons for flight and escape.

But even more so, we, who are ready to take globalisation seriously on the agenda, have to think about a whole new relation between the real people of the real world if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. It must be a world where fighting the reasons for flight and escape equals fighting for the freedom to explore the real variety that is emerging from unity and commonality. Not simply as matter of being together but by accepting being one in time – which then also means overcoming claims towards superiority of ‘some time’. Leaving the many facets aside that stand behind massacres, some calling their own massacres unconvincingly ‘war against terror’, there is one thing that strikes me: the difficulty of historising issues. One of the explicit arguments of the murderers of Barcelona was about reclaiming part of the old Islam empire – and indeed, the Islam plaid a major role in Spain – but can that serve as foundation of any claim today? A similar notion had been put forward in Paris, rejecting the touching of the untouchable – while Charlie Hebdo claimed the right to touch, even if only with the stroke of the pencil of a cartoonist; and the various wars against terror following very much the same idea of defending a world order that is historically obsolete and moreover: of which the underlying criteria of nationality, economic growth, private property, hegemonic rights, charity etc. definitely lost their foundation [if they ever have had a stable foundation]. The good old times did not exist anywhere and need to be confronted with a world that has open eyes and ears.
Il silenzio mi aiuterà a smettere di pensare a te che sei fatto di vento.- Silence will help me to stop thinking about yourself as being made of wind. – Something cultures have to accept when looking at their history …, something that is valid and where the new generation of TGV-trains changes only very little.
L’oscurità chiude gli occhi, non mi permette di vedere e di apprezzare che le lettere di oggi saranno presto le lettere dei tempi antichi. – Darkness closes the eyes, not allowing me seeing and appreciating that the lettering of today will soon be the lettering from ancient times.
… Come together, real and close – that is what time needs – everytime …, also in order to find a way that allows dealing with the fact that some of the perpetrators are simply victims themselves, requiring to overcome the terrible pain at least I carry with me again; and even being ready at least to ask if and to which extent we as victims may be perpetrators … – we, the good-doers, teachers, administrators, opinion leaders …, not least we, who easily hastily come to conclusions and easily forget …
having difficulties to act in a genuine way …
Reflections made just before leaving the PRC, while waiting to move on to Moscow, theФГБОУ ВПО “РЭУ им. Г.В. Плеханова”
The short presentation, I made on occasion of the
International Conference of Indigenous Sports Culture in Asia Wuhu, Anhui Province, China
under the heading
The Particular and the Universal – Indigenous Sports for the Integrity of the Global Village
will soon be announced on this blog as recording should be available.
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