Sunday, 29 August 2010


I haven't blogged for six weeks. Not knowing whether anybody ever reads me is quite a disincentive. Anyway, I must get something in before August is out.

I have been thinking about the word belonging, and I realize what a huge difference there is between saying 'I belong to this place' and 'This place belongs to me'. The first should be true of everybody, though it must be very hard if not impossible for a refugee to feel. The second should be obviously ridiculous. How can a transient little ego lay claim to a place?!

The point about belonging to a place is that it is the fundamental ecological fact. A place, with all its plants and animals and soil and stones and water, is what feeds each living thing. Ownership is quite different - an abstraction, a legal notion. So when the Chinese arrived in Tibet or the Indonesians in New Guinea or the Zionists in Palestine and said 'This place belongs to us', the unanswerable reply was 'We belong to this place'.