Friday, 29 January 2016

Why Adolf Eichmann’s final message remains so profoundly unsettling

Giles Fraser                             Guardian/UK                          28 January 2016

The request for clemency by one of the key architects of the Holocaust is a grim reminder: being ordinary is no protection against doing great evil.

Had it not been for an unguarded conversation between Adolf Eichmann’s son and the Argentinian girl he was dating, the chances are that the shabby “Ricardo Klement” would have lived out his days in obscurity a few miles north of Buenos Aires. Unlike Josef Mengele, the sadistic camp doctor at Auschwitz, who was feted in the more glamorous circles of Argentinian society, Klement was a failure in his adopted country. He ran a laundry business for a while but it went bankrupt. He lurched from job to job. And when he was
captured by Mossad agents on 11 May 1960, shuffling home from the bus stop, they couldn’t quite believe that this was the high-ranking Nazi officer who was responsible for the deportation of millions of Jews to the death camps.

Since his trial in Jerusalem in 1961, Eichmann has become the subject of continued controversy – much of it not so much about the man himself, but often more about the very nature of evil. Yesterday’s release of a
hand-written letter from Eichmann to the then Israeli president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, requesting clemency, will only continue the debate. “There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders,” Eichmann’s letter pleaded. “I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty.” In other words: not my fault, I was only obeying orders. His self-delusion was unassailable, even at the end. Eichmann’s request was denied and two days later he was hanged in Ramla prison.

In her famous account of the trial, the philosopher Hannah Arendt described Eichmann as a small-minded functionary, more concerned with the managerial hows of his job than the moral or existential whys. According to Arendt, Eichmann wasn’t a man for asking difficult questions, he just got on with the job of managing timetables and calculating travel costs – thus her famous phrase
“the banality of evil”.

Irrespective of the accuracy of Arendt’s disputed portrait, the importance of her account was that it expanded our moral grammar of evil. She persuaded many that moral evil did not need to have all the central-casting Gothic intensity of a horror movie. Evil could be ponderous and bureaucratic. It could be the work of a desk-bound pen-pusher whose emotional range didn’t extend much towards hate and who didn’t particularly care for the sight of blood. But this estimation didn’t fit with what a lot of people wanted to find. Which is why some felt that Arendt was letting Eichmann off the hook.

Despite his best efforts, Eichmann’s English biographer, the late David Cesarani, struggled to distinguish his
2004 portrait of Eichmann from the more philosophical interpretation given by Arendt. Eichmann did not grow up a rabid antisemite. And nor, it seems, did he harbour any particular personal hatred towards Jews, other than the casual default racism common among Austrians in the 1920s. The US title of Cesarani’s book, Becoming Eichmann, suggests that his willingness to participate in mass murder was not always a given. Before 1941, he wanted to rid Europe of its Jews, but more as a way of making space for pure-bred Germans than because he wanted to eliminate Jews per se. For example, in 1937, Eichmann met with the Jewish Zionist and Haganah agent Feivel Polkes in Berlin to discuss the possibility that the Nazis might supply weapons for the Zionist fight against the British Mandate in Palestine, and that Eichmann might arrange for Germany’s Jews to be deported to Israel. Later in 1937, Eichmann travelled on a steamer to Haifa to assess the possibility – a possibility he eventually realised was impractical. 

All of which doesn’t make Eichmann any less disturbing. It makes him more so. For what Arendt’s Eichmann did was to demonstrate that ordinariness is no protection against doing great evil. Cesarani too, sees Eichmann as a sort of “everyman”. No, he wasn’t just a travel agent, indifferent to the destination of his passengers. He was personally responsible, a responsibility he blindly denied right to the end. Which is precisely why the moral message of his story remains profoundly unsettling: if ordinary people were capable of such great evil, then, given the right circumstances, so are the rest of us.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

We Must Demand a Nonviolent Solution to War and Violence in Syria

Mairead Maguire        Common Dreams            January 27, 2016

In November 2015 I traveled to Syria with an International Peace delegation. This was my third visit to Syria in the last three years.  As on previous occasions, I was moved by the spirit of resilience and courage of the people of Syria.  In spite of the fact that for the last five years  their country has been plunged into war by outside forces, the vast majority of the Syrian people continue to go about their daily lives. Many have dedicated themselves to working for peace and reconciliation and the unity of their beloved Syria.  They struggle to overcome their fear, the fear that Syria will be driven by outside interference and destructive forces within, to suffer the same terrible fate of Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen, and so many other countries. 
Many Syrians are traumatized and in shock. They ask, “How did this happen to our country?” Proxy wars are something they thought only happened in other countries. But now, Syria, too, has been turned into a war-ground in the geo-political landscape controlled by the western global elite and their allies in the Middle East.
In Syria our delegation saw that Christian and Muslim relationships can be more than mutual tolerance. They can be deeply loving. We also met numerous people on the streets of town and cities—Sunni, Shia, Christian, Alawite—all of whom feel that their voices are ignored and under-represented in the West. The youth we met expressed the desire to see a new state which will guarantee equality of citizenship and religious freedom to all religious and ethnic groups, and protection of minorities. They said this was the work of the Syrian people, not outside forces, and could be done peacefully. 
Few Syrians we met were under the illusion that their elected leader President Assad was perfect, yet many admired him and felt he was much preferred to the alternative of the government falling into the hands of the Jihadist fighters – fundamentalist extremists whose ideology would cause the minorities (and moderate Sunnis) to flee Syria or get killed. This had already been experienced with the exodus of thousands of Syria.
During the candlelight meeting, we heard how Christians and Muslims in the town had been instrumental in getting the fighters to lay down their arms and accept the Syrian government’s offer of amnesty.  They appealed to us to ask the international community to end the war on Syria and support peace.
Our delegation was particularly sad that day as we heard the news that the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury had publicly announced his support for the U.K. vote to bomb Syria.
We also visited the Christian Town of Maaloula, where the language of Jesus—Aramaic—is spoken. It is one of the oldest Christian towns in the Middle East.  We visited the Church of St. George, where the priest explained how, after their church was burned to the ground by Western- backed rebels, and many Christians were killed, the people of Maaloula carried a table to the ruins of the church, offered prayers, then started to rebuild their church and homes. If the situation is not stabilized in Syria and the Middle East, there will be few Christians left.
The overall Middle East has witnessed the tragic and virtual disappearance of Judaism, and this tragedy is now happening at an alarming rate to Christians. I call upon  all American and European citizens to demand that their governments stop bombing Syria, end their violence, listen to the voice of peace from the suffering Syrian people and actively pursue nonviolent ways to end conflict and suffering in Syria. 
Nonviolence can still work in Syria. There can be a nonviolent solution to war and violence in Syria. There is hope and Syria is a light to the world because there are many good people there working for dialogue, negotiations, reconciliation and peace.
This is where the hopes lie and we can all support that hope and those pursuing nonviolent solutions by rejecting violence and war in Syria.   [Abridged]
Mairead Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace, has a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Probing the Big Questions

 Ian Harris               Otago Daily Times               January 8, 2016 

Bothering God? Not at all, says Ian Harris, just probing the big questions of meaning, purpose and existence.

Good headline writers choose their words carefully. Sometimes, though, they may inadvertently reveal more about themselves than what an article is all about. I had that feeling when I read (not in this newspaper) two reports on the state of New Zealand’s churches today. “Bothering with God,” one headline read. The other was a little more informative: “Beyond belief – why we are turning away from the church.”
Both features ranged over the decline in church attendance among the larger (and generally ageing) denominations, and their efforts to attract younger people. Both noted isolated bright spots in a generally dispiriting scene. And, as is usual in religion and politics, people’s views were coloured by underlying attitudes that have little to do with the central issues. But then perceptions, however askew, have a way of becoming part of the perceivers’ reality.

Most clergy quoted in the articles saw signs of hope, though only two of the ten acknowledged that the basic message was in urgent need of rethinking. Those outside the church lumbered it with negative associations: “Imagine being stuck on a boat all day with a bunch of God botherers,” said one. A lot of churchgoers would not relish that either. But it would never occur to them to apply that term to themselves.

A deeper problem is that every key word in the articles – God, religion, church, spirituality, belief – carries such a hotch-potch of meanings and associations that there is no common currency for intelligent discourse across the spectrum. On all sides, too many conclusions have been arrived at before all the relevant questions have even been formulated, let alone addressed.

What people mean by “God”, for example, is open to infinite variety. In the end, they put their own content into the word, and respond accordingly. Those who dismiss the church do not necessarily dismiss God. Those who find “religion” off-putting are often ardent advocates of “spirituality”. People who reject Christianity may be repelled by a particular church, but still find resources within the broad Judaeo-Christian tradition that enhance life rather than cramp or diminish it.

Meanwhile those who insist on a pivotal role for the church in all questions of God, religion, belief and spirituality would do well to acknowledge that neither Christianity nor any other religion has a strangle-hold on any or all of these. Each may be certain it possesses the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but others remain unconvinced. Acceptance will hinge on whether people feel they are getting satisfactory answers to their questions of meaning, purpose and existence.

Those questions present themselves in different ways in different eras and societies. As knowledge expands and society changes, religious understanding must therefore also evolve, or the churches will lose their power to convince – as is happening today.

American Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop John Spong is well aware of the church’s current malaise. The bĂȘte noire of those who think they have Christianity all wrapped up in a neat and immutable package, he tells how his book Why Christianity Must Change or Die triggered more than 10,000 letters in response. Most were positive, reversing the pattern for his earlier books. More striking, however, was that of the responses from lay people, 90 per cent were positive, while reactions from clergy were 90 per cent negative.

The figures are open to various interpretations. Some will say the clergy are better educated in matters of faith, so are better placed to judge Spong’s shortcomings. Others will see them as evidence of the growing dissonance between what priests and ministers believe they must teach and conform to, and what lay people are willing to go along with. Nor is the divide always between conservative clergy and radical lay people: often enough, the roles are reversed.

On the contrasting reactions, Spong comments: “If ever I observed the deep chasm in understanding that exists in the Christian church today, it was here. Ordained people are seen in these responses as defending their turf with vehemence, while attacking any proposed changes in their traditional formulations as evil. Lay people are seen as living on the edges of church life and even dropping out regularly, yet they are still open to new possibilities . . . [and] very welcoming of my attempts to speak of God in the accents of a new day.”

That doesn’t sound like God-bothering to me. It sounds like a determination to establish a new platform for faith, and the promise of a new era for the church.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Sorry, I know David Bowie was great. But I don’t believe in life on Mars

Giles Fraser                                Guardian/UK                                13 January 2016

Mesmerised by the starman’s sexual chemistry, we all mouthed the lyrics of his vision of radical singularity. Yet his ideas only worked in the realm of fiction. ‘Whatever else we mean by society, doesn’t it have something to do with that very un-Bowie-like idea of an obligation that precedes our responsibility to ourselves.’ Human beings do not fall to Earth. They come from somewhere. Located in time, space and history. They have roots, families, traditions, backgrounds. They are born and grow up in specific streets, into specific communities and within various networks of concern. And in most communities throughout history, this has meant that human beings come with responsibilities that are pre-loaded.

David Bowie was an aristocrat of rock. And a man of his time precisely because he fought against all the above – let’s call it convention for now. For Bowie, we are who we choose to be. His famed capacity for reinvention was a minority report on the stultifying imposition of background on identity. Sartre had another way of putting it: existence precedes essence. In other words, we are not handed our identity as something ready-made, as some this-is-how-you-are essence. But rather who we are is something we are to make up as we go along. Our life journey, our existence, our choices, shape our essence. There are no givens. Even biology is rejected as destiny.

David Bowie was the super-glamorous poster boy for this whole philosophy of life. As Bowie’s sometime hero Nietzsche proposed in the previous century, it is not the job of art to reflect life but rather to create it. The human project is to make ourselves up as a novelist writes a novel or an artist creates a painting. Only thus are we free, liberated from the dead weight of convention and destiny. In Nietzsche’s philosophy, the aristocratic ubermensch was first and foremost an artist, with himself as his greatest project. On Bowie’s retake, the ubermensch becomes a celebrity artist and aspiring astronaut. “I always had a need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, I want to be a superhuman.’” Bowie wanted to rise weightless above the human herd.

In Nietzsche’s philosophy, the aristocratic ubermensch was first an artist, with himself as his greatest project. But what if convention and history, our pre-loaded commitments, are not just the threads that tie us down – like Lilliput’s strings that imprison the strangely brilliant ubermensch – but rather are the connecting filaments of our civility, the infrastructure of care and concern, one for the other? For whatever else we mean by society, doesn’t it have something to do with that very un-Bowie-like idea of an obligation that precedes our responsibility to ourselves and our self-development? When it comes to morality, we precedes I. And this places considerable limits on individual self-creation.

This is not about Bowie per se. Bowie embodied a reaction against the drab social conservatism of the postwar era. Though remember, it was in that period of drab conservatism that we invented the welfare state and the National Health Service (inaugurated the year after Bowie’s birth) – arguably this country’s finest moral achievements. But nestled in the postwar reaction to fascism – the ultimate and pathological imposition of un-freedom – was a belief in its opposite, infinite freedom. The freedom of the individual as the ultimate moral goal. And as capitalism advanced, so choice became the only moral value many people thought worth advancing. The world collapsed in on the black hole of the me, myself and I. And what we have learned about this approach, especially as harnessed by libertarians, is that in practice, it means the destruction of public services and thus unfreedom for the many. Yet mesmerised by the starman’s sexual chemistry, we all mouthed along the lyrics of this unearthly vision of radical singularity.

But in real life, and without the liberation of his financial resources, the rest of us are all pinned down by moral gravity. And rightly so. You can’t escape the moral demands of a sick mother or a crying child through artistic reinvention. You can’t fix the local housing problems or run the local youth club – and I repeat local deliberately – by “floating in a most peculiar way”, above the fray, beyond the limitations of the boringly specific.

And that’s my Bowie problem. His work was the fantasy of life without constraint, without the restrictions of (moral) gravity and directed exclusively by the lone star of choice. This philosophy can only work in the realm of fiction and fantasy. On planet Earth, the unencumbered life turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing. [Abridged]

Equal marriage is the next stage in the church’s continual reformation

It matters little what the primates of the Anglican communion decide. The movement towards marriage equality is inexorable  

Giles Fraser                        Guardian/UK                      14 January 2016 

 Earlier today, two members of the Church of England, John and John – one of them an Egyptologist, one a care home manager – got married in a church in the heart of the City of
London. They entered a civil partnership some years ago but, in accordance with the state’s silly rules, weren’t allowed to mention God on that occasion. Instead of religious music (which is banned) they opted for Cole Porter. But this time it was different. “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven” we sang. And the service itself was couched in the familiar language of classic Anglicanism: “It is very meet, right and our bounden duty” etc. It was a privilege to be invited to take communion with them both. 

 As the two Johns were quietly pledging their love for each other in London, 50 miles away in Canterbury the appointed leaders of world
Anglicanism were locked in an undignified death match about homosexuality. Some of them would have the Johns thrown into prison for even whispering about the love that dare not speak its name. Church commentators have been carefully monitoring the proceedings, looking for the faintest of signs of who will emerge triumphant from the global culture wars. But the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. The Anglican Church is only nominally a top-down organisation. What matters most is what happens on the ground. And on the ground, in pews across England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Brazil, Korea, Japan and the US, the movement towards marriage equality is inexorable. Whatever piece of paper Justin Welby emerges with, it won’t hold back the tide of history. The best the conservatives can hope for is a few speed bumps.

Interestingly, the London ceremony wasn’t a blessing or a carefully cobbled together service after a civil ceremony. It was a proper marriage, something the current C of E hierarchy has banned priests like me from undertaking. But the Rev Joost Röselaers, minister of the Dutch church in Austin Friars, is able to conduct the ceremony because of a little-known historical loophole. In 1550, Edward VI granted a charter to Protestant refugees living in London, giving them the same privileges as the C of E. He permitted the Dutch “freely and quietly to practise, enjoy, use and exercise their own rites and ceremonies, and their own ecclesiastical discipline, notwithstanding that they do not conform with the rites and ceremonies used in our Kingdom, without impeachment, disturbance or vexation”.

When Edward granted this charter he obviously didn’t have gay marriage in mind. It was his father, Henry VIII, who had first introduced the civil crime of buggery in 1533 – though no one took much notice. The only notable court case during the Tudor period was of the Rev Nicholas Udall, the headmaster of Eton. And even this didn’t much harm his career, as he went on to be headmaster of Westminster. The purpose of Edward’s charter was to further the cause of the Protestant reformation of England. And within 20 years the Dutch church at Austin Friars was being held up as a model congregation to which the Church of England should aspire – as it should again today. 

For as with the current ecclesiastical wrangling among Anglican top brass, the Reformation itself was largely a question of authority. It was about who gets to tell whom what to think about what the Bible says. The heroically martyred William Tyndale first translated the Bible into English, thus breaking the church’s monopoly on what the Bible actually says about things. After Tyndale, the English could read the Bible for themselves and make up their own minds up about what it says – he deliberately wrote it so that even a ploughboy could understand for himself. And from then on in, the bishops were always going to be fighting a losing battle to assert their hermeneutical dominance.

Whatever the prince bishops of Uganda and Nigeria think, they fundamentally misunderstand English
Christianity if they believe they can bully us into their own reading of scripture. What I find in the Bible is a gradually expanding consciousness that God is love and not an instrument of oppression. And there is always more of that inclusive love to discover. So congratulations to John and John. You are why the reformation of the church in England remains a work-in-progress.


Monday, 4 January 2016

On Karl Barth

Giles Fraser                  Guardian/UK                31 December 2015

It will be a century this coming summer that the great Protestant theologian Karl Barth began his revolutionary commentary on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. A quiet and studious man of simple tastes, Barth was an unlikely revolutionary. He listened to Mozart, smoked his pipe and read the paper: “Theology is done with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” he said. But mostly he sat and wrote. His Church Dogmatics is more than six million words. And no, I haven’t read it all. But his considerably shorter Epistle to the Romans, written earlier, was the decisive turning point in 20th-century theology. It was a book that dropped a bomb on the comfortable assumptions of German liberal thought. And it’s a bomb that needs dropping again – but this time much closer to home.

Barth’s target was the sort of theology offered by his tutor, Adolf von Harnack. For the universally admired Harnack, Christianity was a religion of inner morality – of good people, in their local congregations, who sought nothing more than personal transformation. They respected the state and didn’t cause trouble. It was, to use the language familiar today, religion as a private matter, equally suspicious of outward forms of ritualism and popular superstition. Cultured and rational, it stayed out of party politics and set its mind on higher things. For Harnack, Christianity was fundamentally a religion of individual righteousness.

On the day war was declared between Britain and Germany, the Kaiser gave a speech to the assembled members of the Reichstag in which he made the moral case for Germany going to war. The speech was partly written by Harnack. Two months later, an open letter by 93 German intellectuals – 11 of whom, including the great theoretical physicist Max Planck, went on to be Nobel prize winners – made the same case. The war was a sacred mission. It was a question of survival for a superior culture that had given the world Goethe, Beethoven and Kant. Harnack’s name was among the 93 signatories.

And Barth’s world was in tatters. “In despair over what this indicated about the signs of the time I suddenly realised that I could not any longer follow either their ethics and dogmatics or their understanding of the Bible.” He suddenly saw how the individual religion of good, non-trouble causing Christians was easily purloined to beat the drum for war. Running together the sacredness of the state with the mission of the church, even the non-political were swiftly requisitioned into the war effort. When it came to the Kaiser’s call to arms, German Christians went over like a giraffe on roller skates.

The problem, for Barth, was that the religion of “good people” had become just another sphere of human activity – like playing golf or going to a concert. And, as a consequence, its theology had come to be imprisoned by the dominant cultural imagery. Locked away in private prayer, Christianity abandoned its critical engagement with the fullness of reality, and so had no grounds for objection when the state shaped a pliant and deferential cultural Christianity for the purposes of statecraft. Germany had sacralised the culture-state complex, and by so doing, had come to worship something other than God: the military-industrial complex. Something Barth called Woden, the Nordic God of war.

Which brings me to David Cameron’s message of Christmas cheer, that we are a “Christian country”. Given the rapid decline in the number of church-going Christians, and given Cameron’s sketchy relationship to faith, what he probably meant is that we are a Christian culture; that the ethos of Christianity is woven into the warp and weft of British institutional life. Oh, what a slippery word “ethos” is – Christianity in homeopathic doses. Barth would not have approved. For what is frittered away in this mutually back-slapping accommodation between faith and the state is the ability of the church to stand up to the state’s propensity for war. Indeed, the point of saying that Jesus is Lord is to say that Caesar isn’t. Neither Caesar nor his armies nor his civilising institutions. Which is why Christians should always call time on their religion being used as a deodorant to mask the stench of war and death.

Gary Younge Remembers His Mother

Guardian/UK 3        1 December 2015

On a balmy day in Edinburgh in late May 1988, as I shuttled between the university library and anti-apartheid meetings, came the news that my mother, who had raised me on her own, had died. At 44, her death was both sudden and unexpected. She was supposed to be coming up to see me the next day. At 19 I was both bereft and bereaved. I spent the next few years going through the motions, turning days into weeks and weeks into terms. Time may be a great healer, but those palliative qualities are rarely evident in real time. However, as I emerged from the numbing sense of isolation I realised that my mother’s life had taught me three valuable lessons I would probably never have learned without her untimely death.

The first is that life is short and precarious. By my early 20s I had been cruelly disabused of the notion that the young live for ever. I was left with a sense that my time on this planet was finite. That made me driven in a way that had precious little to do with conventional ambition. I just felt very keenly that I could die at any time. To some this is scary. I found it liberating. It liberated me from relationships that were toxic, “opportunities” I had no interest in and myriad journeys, both literal and metaphorical, that I did not want to take. At a relatively early age, I felt the urgency to be a protagonist, rather than a passive recipient, in my own life.

The second is that you only get one life, and while it might be short, it’s long enough to make a difference. My mum crammed a lot into those 44 years. She’d raised three kids, fostered two more, migrated to a different continent, trained as a nurse, retrained as a teacher, and was a community activist. She taught numeracy and literacy at night school and Asian women English on Saturday mornings. She was a strident, working-class black lady in a world that has never valued those qualities in the same person. I saw her face down policemen, racist neighbours and negligent union officials. These challenges did not provide her with the easiest path in life. But it was her path, and when she’d completed it she could rest easy.

The way in which her death was mourned in my home town, including by some of those very people she’d had cross words with, made me realise why it was important to own your own life. To say what you had to say and do what you had to do in the knowledge that the clock was always ticking and no one else would say or do it for you. That the praise and criticism of others could only define you if you allowed them to. That I had to be myself because nobody else could do that for me.

The third lesson was that you take nothing with you. My mother was raised by her mother, who cut cane in Barbados. She came into the world with little and left with not a whole lot more. For most of our lives, we were broke. Like most who grew up broke, I didn’t want to be broke again. But like many who suffer bereavement, death had tainted my view of material wealth. It just seemed silly to be chasing wealth when you could be chasing experiences.

Later in life all three would become cliches – chocolate-box desidarata for casual conversation. Of course, some people come to these realisations in other ways, while some abide by other, perfectly decent adages. What was different for me was that they came to me from a raw and honest place at such a young age. They did not dawn on me in middle age as the result of a child’s birth, a divorce, financial calamity or a health scare. They came early enough for me to live my life more aware of its limitations and my potential, rather than apply that knowledge retrospectively to make sense of what happened to me.

They have been the lens through which I have made big decisions (work, family, migration) and small (arguments to engage in or avoid, meals to splash out on or forgo, friendships to fight for or let atrophy). My mother’s death has been the most devastating event in my life thus far. But since her mortality was never in my gift, and I could not return it, I took the lessons of her death and used them to live my life. [Abbrev.]

Gary Younge has spent 12 years as foreign journalist representing the Guardian newspaper in the United States. It cannot have been easy for him as a black man, reporting from that perspective, and critical of racist behaviour all round him, to write in a way that would be listened to. But he did it with grace and honesty, and helped many to see the current injustices of race relationships more vividly. Still in his forties, Gary Younge is about to move back to the UK, and will continue to report on race relationships as he sees them developing there. A.