Eyeless From Gaza
I say this so often, it seems as if the words are foreign, which in fact they are.,
-Spare any change?
-Spare any change?
A well-dressed middle-aged woman with flecks of grey in her dark hair tosses a few coins down but they miss my blanket.
-Thank you. Thank you.
I hear the coins but I can’t see them. I prostrate myself and tap the ground with my fingers.
Schopenhauer compares the human intellect to a lame man who can see but who insists on riding on the shoulder of the blind giant of will? That’s me.
I am lame and almost blind and it took some will to get to this country but I did it.
Still, the coins are lost.
But I am not; for the good news is that I will start treatment on my eyesight at the excellent Sussex Hospital next week and this will postpone the total darkness for longer than I could ever hope for
I am from the Middle East like Jesus, and once I was homeless in Gaza but now I’m homeless in Brighton, where the gulls are far better at feeding themselves than I am. It’s cold here; even in what is laughably called summer. Sometime I bathe in the sea, which is a cold shower of dirty ice. It feels as if the extremities of me should be bound in mittens all year round.
A man, in an expensive suit and accompanied by his friends, happens by.
Might he, I wonder, be responsive to the hunger in my belly and the chill in my bones?
-Spare any change, please?
He widens his eyes and smiles down, he has an open face though one perhaps bewildered at the words burbling up from next to his designer shoes
His hand delves into his light suede jacket as he tells his companions,
-I’ve got this.
I wince as he stamps on my hand and shakes fluid over me.
I shudder as he flicks at his lighter and my blanket ignites.
I cry out as the others jeer and join in with this moronic inferno and more fluids sluice my body and drip down my arms, which somehow don’t ignite.
When I get through being grateful for the miracle that has saved me from being burnt alive, I understand what has happened as the pungent aroma of their urine reaches my nostrils.
-Three or four of them, I tell the disinterested police who check my immigration status and detain me.
Soon, I am back on a plane heading to that inferno of religion and politics, destined to be another homeless, beggar, eyeless in Gaza.
I’ve always wondered why it’s called the Holy Land.
*Schopenhauer had an influence upon later thinkers and artists such as Freud and Wagner
Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimism comes from his elevating of Will above reason as the mainspring of human thought and behaviour. The Will is the ultimate metaphysical animating noumenon and it is futile, illogical and directionless striving. Schopenhauer sees reason as weak and insignificant compared to Will; in one metaphor, Schopenhauer compares the human intellect to a lame man who can see, but who rides on the shoulder of the blind.