Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Aliens at home

Always being seen and treated as a strange outsider is rather alienating, but there is a comfort: Indonesian poet and essayist Goenawan Mohamad writes that in Jakarta everyone is a foreigner, in Jakarta everyone’s place of origin is somewhere else. Jakarta is a city of strangers and therefore a city without citizens. For the ancient Greeks a stranger is equated with a barbarian. Is a civilized civil society possible in a city like Jakarta where no one feels at home, where no feels secure, and where everyone dreams of some place else (e.g. a heavenly home)? The photo is taken nearby the Dutch embassy. And the text says: “Where do you want to go to? Straight home…” But where is that?

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