Essays: Azure (Alain Finkielkraut – 2004 and 2005)

Alain Finkielkraut
“In the Name of the Other:  Reflections on the Coming Anti-Semitism”
Azure
Autumn 2004

In the wake of that brief period during which the West expressed itself in the idiom of racism, Western discourse now accuses the chosen people of believing themselves superior to other nations and of rejecting the gospel of a common, universal identity.  Perhaps it is really the ancient condemnation of the Jew – for his worldliness, his particularism, his exclusivity, his national egoism, his closed fraternity – which, under the increasing burden of the Nazi trauma, is living a new youth, reveling in its flashy modern clothes.  Perhaps there is a resonance of the Epistle to the Romans in the affirmation that the people of Israel, that self-infatuated people, exempt themselves from the ordinary human condition and except themselves from all the nations, thus denying the equal dignity of men and obeying only their own laws.  Perhaps this sudden condemnation, coming from the religion of humanity, and its paradoxical incitement to anti-racist hate, unknowingly resurrects an ancient theological debate, of which the secularized masses know little or nothing at all.  Perhaps – and this is a frightening thought – the penitent-judges are incapable of condemning the scientistic belief in the struggle of the races and the survival of the fittest without resuscitating the Pauline spirit.  Perhaps this makes the descendants of Abraham stiffen their resolve, affirming their dynastic birthright and holding firm to ties of blood when they are offered a union of hearts.

____________________

Alain Finkielkraut
“The Religion of Humanity and The Sin of The Jews”
Azure
Summer
2005

We no longer know how to commemorate what we are commemorating.

By “we,” I mean the independent, volatile, democratic individual
who owes nothing to the past,
cares nothing for the future,
and has no ties to the present besides the ones he himself establishes;
the individual who has been released, by human rights,
from the grips of origins,
legacies,
and that which is not freely chosen,
who has been relieved of obligations to anything that might transcend him. 

He is free,
like Edith Piaf or the Rolling Stones,
to abandon himself to his own inclinations,
passions,
interests,
follies,
and infatuations;
the individual who looks at history
and sees only the obstacle-ridden, corpse-strewn road leading up to him.