The question of the stranger in a society which estranges everybody from it--while forcing everybody to assimilate their own alienation--takes cover under dubious and sinister masks.
There was always a big party on the night before anyone left for the States. They called it an American wake, because the whole community stayed up to keep the emigrants company through their last night on the island, just as they would have bidden farewell to a soul beginning the long journey towards eternity. There was almost no chance that anyone present would ever see the departed again
Something must be radically wrong with a culture and a civilisation when its youth begins to desert it. Youth is the natural time for revolt, for experiment, for a generous idealism that is eager for action. Any civilisation which has the wisdom of self-preservation will allow a certain margin of freedom for the expression of this youthful mood. But the plain, unpalatable fact is that in America today that margin of freedom has been reduced to the vanishing point. Rebellious youth is not wanted here. In our environment there is nothing to challenge our young men; there is no flexibility, no colour, no possibility for adventure, no chance to shape events more generously than is permitted under the rules of highly organised looting. All our institutional life combines for the common purpose of blackjacking our youth into the acceptance of the status quo; and not acceptance of it merely, but rather its glorification.
Because we were not in our country, we could not use our own languages, and so when we spoke our voices came out bruised.
I learned very quickly that when you emigrate, you lose the crutches that have been your support; you must begin from zero, because the past is erased with a single stroke and no one cares where you’re from or what you did before.
It is more than twenty years since we left the city. This is a serious chunk of time, longer than the years we spent living there. Yet we still think of Jerusalem as our home. Not home in the sense of the place that you conduct your daily life or constantly return to. In fact, Jerusalem is our home almost against our wills. It is our home because it defines us, whether we like it or not.
Another principle that I believe can be justified by scientific evidence so far is that nobody is going to emigrate from this planet not ever....It will be far cheaper, and entail no risk to human life, to explore space with robots. The technology is already well along....the real thrill will be in learning in detail what is out there...It is an especially dangerous delusion if we see emigration into space as a solution to be taken when we have used up this planet....Earth, by the twenty-second century, can be turned, if we so wish, into a permanent paradise for human beings...
Our house has its back to the sea,' writes Hester in her journal. 'Below us, the ocean spreads to the sky, twitching wide and blue and hungry. One would think it to be infinite. But we, of course, know better.