Thursday, October 02, 2008

So it begins

Light turbulence as we cross the Caspian Sea. The computer screen is informing us that we have 8:25 hours to go until landing in Singapore. The last days have been hectic with packing, teaching and many fond farewells - everything one may expect before setting off for a 16 000 kilometres journey across three continents and nine time zones.

Though certainly about exploration, this trip is also about finding home. The Oxford-born Indian author Pico Iyer once wrote that, to him, “home” is a work-in-progress, much like a manuscript that constantly is being revised. We add new years abroad, different languages and life modes, as we aspire to realize that cosmopolitan ideal of leaving our narrow national identities and becoming, as Iyer calls it, “honorary citizens of the future”.

Unfortunately, for the time being, that ideal is only within reach for a small fraction of the people living on this planet. As our collective mood turns darker it easy to forget that emancipating vision of the world coming together as one common human civilization.

Soon entering Afghan airspace, it has been seven years of fighting now. It is sad to see that such wars are the furthest our political imagination reaches. There were chances: 1945, 1989 and maybe even 2001. We can, and urgently need to, do better.

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