There are posters all over Amsterdam announcing a theatrical production entitled 'Anne' accompanied by a three-quarter view of a lovely young face, somewhat Semitic in nature, that I assume is a picture of Anne Frank. Being in Amsterdam has been an education for me in many ways, because I have never really practiced my Judaism, though it is something you can never cast off completely as there will always be people who hate.
The religions I have practiced have been mostly Buddhism, because of my wonderful teacher Jack, whom I cannot help but admire, he is so clear and kind, and Quakerism, because I always loved Meeting, there is such nourishment in the Silence. Those who know me will likely find it hilarious, my loving what is Stillness, but it's true, and I have always come away richer once I settled down and drank it in.
But yesterday I encountered face to face and ear to ear the full force of the hatred that springs from Ignorance. The Chinese doctor, with whom I had begun what felt like a friendship showed the full ugliness of Hatred, when he actually said to me, shouted actually, "You Jews, you think you are God!" The man to begin with is not even a Gay-- he is of that sexless, limp-wristed variety that simply spells weakness. I had taken him to dinner once or twice because I understand I have more money than a lot of the working people here, and it seems a kind thing to do.
If we had been in Beverly Hills, I would simply have characterized him as a Twit. But because we are in Europe, there is an air of the exotic even around the patently empty, which he is. So because I am new here, and have few friends or even acquaintances, I went out of my way to try and be friendish. But at some point we must have discussed religion, and I always put forth my Judaism, because even though it is nothing I practice, I am aware that when they come to round you up it doesn't matter whether or not you've been going to schule, you're put in the cattle car.
But such venom, from an expressionless, joyless Asian. He has been here for twenty-five years, so I must gather his attitude has sprung from this culture as much as what he has brought with him from China. Or maybe not. Maybe the reach and grasp of hatred is so extensive that it blots out even supposed education-- he claims to be schooled in Western medicine as well as Oriental, but says he abandoned Western medicine because it has too many side-effects. But it seems to me the major side-effect of blind hatred is stupidity. All of it stemming from Ignorance, no matter how allegedly educated you are.
"Will you have the courage to go?" it says on the posters announcing the play "ANNE." Will I have the courage to stay? it says on the front of my brain.