The romance with the “other,” the Orient, and the stranger, however, diverts attention from something less sexy: the familiar. For those concerned with strife and violence in the world, like Said, the latter may, in fact, be more critical than the strange and the foreign. If the Lebanese Civil War, which lasted 15 years, can highlight something about how the West represents the East, it can also foreground a neglected truth: The most decisive antagonisms and misunderstandings take place within a community. The history of hatred and violence is, to a surprising degree, a history of brother against brother, not brother against stranger. From Cain and Abel to the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries and the civil wars of our own age, it is not so often strangers who elicit hatred, but neighbors.
— Russell Jacoby, in Bloodlust
I was born in 1945. When I grew up, there was a very concrete goal of El Dorado: it was called the United States. You listened to songs about girls adopted by families who lived in the U.S. by the seashore. There were G.I.s around, giving me chocolates and comic books. America looked like Heaven. What I’m saying is that the juxtaposition of a totally different world gave our people a very concrete psychology to work toward. We were trying to stand up from the ashes. People were living in miserable conditions, but we had hope.
The industrial facilities have to be rebuilt. If we are talking about one or two towns, yes, people may desert. But you are talking about a hundred and fifty kilometres of coastline. You cannot possibly abandon it.
— Yukio Okamoto (Japan After the Earthquake and Tsunami)