While I sit here on my bed thinking and reading about law, justice, ethics, responsibility, millions are dying and hundreds of thousands of women, children and babies are being brutally, horribly raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read Amy Goodman's interview with Congolese human rights activist Christine Schuler Deschryver here. Send money here or here or here or here.
The perpetrators of this violence, like the perpetrators of the Shoah, are not members of an alien species: they are us. We are--I am--under the right (wrong) circumstances capable of what I would prefer to think of as unimaginable evil. Emmanuel Levinas was a victim of the Holocaust and, to quote Desmond Manderson's "Proximity, Levinas, and the Soul of Law" which I am currently reading, Levinas's "books are haunted by the ashen memory of holocaust." Levinas must have seen some hope for an ethics of infinite responsibility to the other despite what he knew about the world, but I'm not sure I can see it.