Author’s Preface

While starting the reading for Thursday, there was one particular section of his very first page that I found to be very interesting:

“Many people – many nations – can find themselves holding, more or less wittingly, that ‘every stranger is an enemy’. For the most part this conviction lies deep down like some latent infection; it betrays itself only in random, disconnected acts, and does not lie at the base of a system of reason.”

(Levi, 9)

I wanted to ask the class if they themselves found this to be true or not, and if so why or why not?

Personally, I believe that Levi is correct. Many people feel threatened by others they do not know, while it seems leaders of countries are timid to make new relations with other countries and their leaders.

One Reply to “Author’s Preface”

  1. I also believe that Levi is correct. The idea that “every stranger is an enemy” affects people not only in politics and government, but in everyday life. I feel that most conflict begins when people do not take the time to understand each other. However, in Levi’s case, I feel that he did not need to try to understand the anti-semitic perspective of the Germans. This makes the issue situational, as I believe victims should not have to rationalize with their aggressors.
    In a more general sense, the United States is notorious for perpetuating the idea that “every stranger is an enemy”. To explain this, I will use the attack on 9/11 as an example. Although the attacks were performed by members of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, an anti-Middle Eastern stereotype arose from the incident. This perpetuated the xenophobic perspective that every citizen of a Middle Eastern country was the “enemy” of the United States based on ideas that did “not lie at the base of a system of reason” (Levi, 9). Overall, the idea that “every stranger is an enemy” is extremely harmful and leads to unnecessary conflicts.

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