Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Homelands in Three Separate Accounts
In the three readings assigned for this post, homelands are described at length in terms of both place and purpose. The authors of all three identify with a mission that makes each destination a sort of homeland. For instance, the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" illustrates the point of a mission through King's use of biblical references. King is responding to criticisms about being in Birmingham, and he makes the case that he must go where he is needed: "But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their 'thus saith the Lord' far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town" (King 1). Dr. King recognized that his mission on earth was to eradicate injustice and promote the notions of love and equal treatment for all. He also recognized that he could not remain in his home town to accomplish these goals. So, he went where he was needed, and attempted to turn each location into a pillar of toleration and acceptance. Sometimes, a person has a purpose in life that requires him or her to leave the comforts of home and explore the farthest corners of the world. It takes bravery and confidence, but without the messages of people like Dr. King, this country, and even the world, would be much darker. The article concerning the Jesuit mission deals with a similar theme. The Jesuits, like Dr. King, established universities and institutions dedicated to promoting Jesuit ideals: "The overriding purpose of the Society of Jesus, namely 'the service of faith,' must also include 'the promotion of justice'" (Kolvenbach 23). In service to these principles, the Society focused on educating those in the universities the core values at the heart of its mission. For the Jesuits as well, homeland involved spreading the word, even if it meant leaving certain comforts. Salman Rushdie deviates a bit from this pattern and discusses a geographical area to attach to the word homeland. Rushdie talks about Bombay and trying to remember the land before the family's journey to London. Bombay is imagined romantically: "Bombay is a city built by foreigners upon reclaimed land; I, who had been away so long that I almost qualified for the title, was gripped by the conviction that I, too, had a city and a history to reclaim" (Rushdie 10). Rushdie connects Bombay with an identity. Without one, there cannot be the other. It is interesting that homelands are connected so intimately with our sense of self.