Lemkin's House

Last night we had a fantastic multifaith panel after the show Lemkin's House by Catherine Filloux. Her play places Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the term genocide, into an afterlife in a house hanuted by some of the genocides that occured after the Shoah. Particularly in Rwanda and Bosnia - and spilling over into the current turmoil in Darfur. On the panel, I was joined by Rev. Chole Breyer, an Episcopal priest and writer for Salon and Imam Talib, the leader of the Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. I spoke on three things: Genoicide and critiques of genocide in the Torah, Buber's Eclipse of God, and Pharoah's Daughter as the model of 'rescuer' from genocide. Rev. Breyer spoke about Lemkin 'being the other' and being 'the annoying person we are often afraid to be' and Imam Talib, who is writing a book on Darfur, told a Sufi story about a great Quranic teacher who was asked "If you are such a great teacher, than why is the world the way it is?" His answer is "if not for Koran the world would be destroyed." Law can only help us from falling off the cliff. It takes more than law to make us step away from the edge.

The play is strong and well directed and there are even some nice bits of humor - Lemkin's behind the chair puppet show where he chases two spoons with a knife. This is the type of show that you see and the first thought is that every college student in America should see this work.