Three months into my return to life in the normal, post-Christian, relativist and pacifist Europe, or, rather, it's weird outskirts, I find myself once again pondering the essence of the question that seemed to fill the air in the place where it was once asked, WHAT IS TRUTH?
WHAT IS TRUTH? seemed to bounce off the walls built over or about the same place where the famous converstaion between our Lord and the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate had ocurred, the place where I had been living, and serving, for three months.
Three months into my return to Europe, I am growing to think more and more that standing up for the truth isn't really an option, or a question of bravery, no matter the costs.Once found and recognised for what it is, the truth is so compelling that standing up for it is the ONLY option, unless one wants to live a life of defeat and compromise.
When Geert Wilders called Bat Ye'or a brave woman, I thought to myself - I am sure she wishes she had a choice NOT to be brave. Does he think himself brave? Moving from place to place? Always on high security alert? With fatwas and death threats against himself? Or did he, too, find himself in a position of not being able to shut up any more? The question of bravery doesn't arise when you are compelled by the truth, I'm afraid.
I am growing to appreciate the people I never thought I would even pay attention to. A mere six months ago I would have spit myself in the face had I been told I would be siding with the likes of Bat Ye'or, Geert Wilders, Melanie Stevens or Pamela Gellar. Who? ME?! A liberal university graduate? A pacifist from the age of 10? Jogging to Arabic music and practicing my belly dance several times a week? Just in November last year I was furious when a guy said at the conference that the Church will never see its true face without reconnecting with its Jewish heritage. Just a year ago I was telling everyone I was so happy to be a Catholic and not have to answer that question of 'Do you love Israel?' ever again.
And now I suddenly found myself unable to shut up about the very things I was opposing. Writing to the United Nations special envoy and the Director of Foreign Affairs Institute. Joining a group whose very existence made me shrug indignantly about a year ago. Purple prose to the soldiers. Blurting it all out to the editor-in-chief who published my photos some months ago - only to find her,and the rest of the editorial staff - more or less agreeing with me.
Finding a lot of people agreeing with me. And gradually finding out that the reasonable, the well-read, the well-informed are the ones who are silent. Who never dare, or never bother to speak up. It is precicely those who have nothing to say that say the most. The truth is silent.
Which brings me back again. To those flat stones, that get so slippery in the rain. To jasmine blossoms falling softly on the ground. To that permeating sense of Presence, and yet - total freedom. To the confusion of absolute good and absolute evil existing side by side within a few metres from each other - or maybe even within one and the same person...
Does that make them indistinguishable, though? Shall I cease to call good good and evil evil just because I have seen them at work in one and the same person? In one and the same nation? In one and the same place?..
Those slippery stones with small gutters cut out, so that horses wouldn't slip... They witnessed the meeting of a man who said his sole purpose in life was to bear witness to the truth - and a disillusioned Roman governor, who just wouldn't admit to himself that once you accept the truth for what it is, you have no choice.
Maybe, in the beginning, you wish you had... Or maybe, along the way, you meet someone who is as passionate for the direct opposite of what you know to be the truth. But will it mean that the truth doesn't exist?
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy - another Jewish truth-seeker wrote just a few years later. WHAT IS TRUTH? the governor asked indignantly. And the Truth was silent...