Today we went to Highgate Cemetry. Although it wasn't planned this way it seemed an appropriate date to be there. In the beautiful sunshine surrounded by high victorian tombs borrowing from classical, egyptian, celtic and christian tradition it was hard not to be thinking about life and death and history and sacrifice and memorial. What I found most moving was the variety and inclusivity- jews buried next to christians; George Eliot's obelisk next to lesser known but, it seemed, no less loved contemporaries; Polish resistance fighters; music-hall stars; humanists and communists and a host of nationalities resting and remembered side by side. Particularly striking were those who were buried in London because they had been exiled from their own countries, whose views and actions and passion and bravery meant they ended their journey so far from where they began it. In the corner of the East Cemetery, in the shadow almost of the Karl Marx memorial was a group of graves with inscriptions in English and Arabic. Many with similar inscriptions to the one below:
All the dates that I saw for this group were late '90s. I couldn't help wonder what they'd think of the world as it is today. My own thoughts are too long and rambling but there is one thing I wanted to share: I'm proud to live in a world where so many people strive and have strived to make it a better place. I'm proud to live in a country where those who have been braver than I can ever imagine have been able to take refuge, I'm proud to live in a society where those with different beliefs and languages and customs can live side by side and lie side by side in death. The world is a scary, complicated place and in the last ten years has felt even more so and even more divided. I know nothing about Irving Edward Teitelbaum but I think he had it right- Integrity and Humanity. That's what I'm focussing on today.