In Meditation Il, I spoke of the Jewish avenger David Frankfurter’s murder mission. But we did not yet get as far as the assassination itself.
Towards the end of Chapter One of Crabwalk, Frankfurter finally finds himself face to face with Gutloff, the Landesgruppenleiter. He shoots Gutloff. He leaves, unaccosted by the other residents of the building where he found the man he has now shot.
Frankfurter wanders into the snow, and eventually finds a telephone booth and owns his deed: expressing his clear comprehension of what he has done; and refusing to degrade himself with a hypocritical contrition most unworthy of one who has perpetrated such a ‘crime’ as he.
This deed was considered by some a ‘cowardly murder;’ by others, ‘David’s Struggle with Goliath.’ And in this novel Crabwalk, which begins with some intriguing references to the hate being propagated in online web forums, we come to learn that both interpretations ‘have survived into the digitally networked present.’ Hero versus martyr.
There is a twist in the tale. Instead of looming large forever, like Cain and Abel, Christ and Judas, the lot of Frankfurter himself diminishes and wanes with time. Those reading only the B’reshit/Genesis account of Lamech, and not any interpretative material that may or may not exist, will not be able to tell who the victim of Lamech’s violence may be. And those who know of the death of Gutloff, do not know who his assassin may be; or at least, not in very much detail.
Archetypes demand sustenance. Though they be eternal, they are like the gods of Terry Pratchett. For, even if they but rarely die, they can degenerate and starve and wither into mere vampiric forms, skulking through the barren wasteland of the Land of Nod…
‘Without form and void.’
On the one side, Jews are deemed ‘the People of the Book.’ Forgers, betrayers, breakers of vows; the fisher folk who have become apes and swine, and who have corrupted the revelation of God for their own ends.
On the other hand, Palestinians and Arabs are deemed the sons of Ishmael; rough, unruly, rugged, with every man his hand against his brother.
Let us all pray that the limitations of such archetypical thinking can be overcome.
The vultures of the air are whispering that the oppressor has become the oppressed.
Let this not be repeated without reflection and discernment by the crass and the unwary.
But let it not also become a truth.
Many have been guests in Egypt.
As a visitor in a strange strange land, neither of Isaac nor Ishmael I implore, with all the dispassionate passion and sentimentally thundering spirit of objectivity that within me is:
Do not let the prophecy become true.
Let foe and foe lay down their arms together, and pursue peace.
May the day be fast approaching, when even the lion and the lamb shall not be required nor demanded to lie down one beside the other…
For who will be able to tell who is the lion, and the lamb?
Human individuals, with all the incalculable and inconceivable risk thereby entailed:
Openness to the neighbor.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.