NeitherHereNorThere

How old is the idea of abolishing foreignness?

Image from heatherlindayoung.wordpress.com

Today it is entirely natural to think that every person in the world is endowed with certain rights, ones that transcend foreignness and apply absolutely universally. We call these “human rights,” and we take them entirely for granted: We believe earnestly that everyone is indiscriminately entitled to them at birth, that we must safeguard them…

Is ethnic nationalism a surrogate religion?

The notion of foreignness relies on a separation of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ and today’s world, it is often ethnicity and nation—two terms that are related but not necessarily coterminous—that create that us-them dichotomy. It is crucial to realize, however, that the ideas of ethnicity and nation are hardly timeless. We tend to cherish our so-called…

Viewing Libya through a different lens

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An inevitably recurring theme in discussions of foreignness is the disjunction between our increasingly globalized world and global systems that limit and misrepresent that globalization. We have found this tension in economics this month: the European Union’s ongoing economic struggles and this month’s financial roller coaster, triggered by the U.S. debt crisis, are both symptoms…

Tragedy

It is one of the saddest realities of our modern world that prejudice and hate often rear their ugly heads through acts of gross violence. Yet that is precisely what happened this month. Unfathomable bigotry took the lives of 77 innocent men, women, and youth in Norway. To dwell excessively here on the evil ideology…

An environment without foreignness

Image from freefoto.com

We know better than to leave the water running as we brush our teeth. We understand the importance of switching off the light before we leave the room. And we appreciate the reasons behind separate waste bins for plastics, metals, and burnables. Although there of course remains ample room for improvement and growth, societies throughout…

Imagined foreignness

image from yoel.info

In our modern world, it is often the nation-state that acts as the locus from which conceptions of foreignness arise. It is to one (or more) of the 190-plus countries into which the globe has been carved up that we claim allegiance and tie our identities. Our passports, legal documents that represent our affiliation with…

Foreignness: a primary problem

Image from freefoto.com   One of the obstacles we face as a global society working to abolish foreignness is the perception of foreignness as only an ancillary problem, or a problem that is secondary to more critical and pressing global issues. Rather than deal with the question of the abolition of foreignness head-on, we seek…

Can we be foreign to our own selves?

It is a question with which we are forced to grapple these days. As shocking natural disasters rock the world, we look to each other, but we also look to ourselves, suddenly finding in our own lives transience and fragility.  We consider anew what matters and what does not matter. We ponder and we question…