Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 5 summons up a happiness that is almost boundless and which, for that very reason, neither he nor we can possess. The Concerto was nicknamed the Emperor. It carries us to an horizon of happiness we cannot cross.
- Daniel Barenboim, Klavier-Festival Ruhr
I send it today to the Palestinian students demonstrating at the Beth El checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah. They too are inspired by a vision of happiness they cannot know in their lives. I send the Concerto as an arm to be used in their struggle against the Israelis who occupy and colonize their homeland. Beethoven approves. He cares deeply about politics. His Symphony No. 3, the Eroica, was inspired by Napoleon when he was still a freedom-fighter and before he became a tyrant. Let’s rename the Emperor for a day: Piano Concerto no. 5, the Intifada.
between John Berger and Yves Berger
A proposal. Let's take a walk along a border. The border I'm thinking about is hard to name or even to locate. Maybe it's not even a border, but never mind, I'll try to take you there.
As I'm writing at the table of this “café”, I'm listening to music. With my headphones on my ears I can concentrate better – the music helps me to cut-off, to withdraw from this place and all its distractions. The music I'm listening to reminds me of Soufi music. Such as the singing of Nussat Fateh Ali Kahn. A kind of trance. A trip … Well, this trip would take us to the border we're aiming for.
Are the stars visible these days in the night sky of Paris? If so, look-up at them tonight and start thinking - as we all know, but in a very abstract way - that they are mostly suns in other solar systems. But also keep in mind where you are, on this specific planet of this specific solar system. Now wonder about the scale of your life within the scale of life in general. Need a chair? Always better to lie down when looking at stars. Now you may be getting near the place I would like us to approach?
Let's take another vehicle. Both of us have had the experience of drawing in a life-class, that's to say with a model, someone posing, naked. And in appearance, before we start really looking, it all seems pretty obvious. We all know what's a human body, male or female. Or do we? The more we look at it and try to draw it, to “represent” it on the paper, the more we doubt we know what we're looking at. To the point that we forget, must forget, what we thought of as our “knowledge”, in order to face this fascinating mystery. And from there try to learn again.
Update — Calais refugee library flooded with thousands of books: "Creator of Jungle Books urges people to donate money, not books, so refugees can cook – and read – in safety"—Guardian, 7th September 2015.
Verso London is sending books to Jungle Books (or Livres de la jungle in French), the makeshift library at the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle. Mary Jones, who set up the library, wants to add more books in the native languages of the migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and hopes that eventually, the camp inhabitants will run the library. Besides stocking around 200 books, the Guardian reports, “the library supports a school that offers classes to the refugees and asylum seekers that live in the camp.”