Theology of Refugees and International Desolidarization – Love of Enemies against Angry Wars

Imagining the Other – The Theo‐Political Challenges in the Age of Migration 2019 Conference of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion (COV&R) Annette Edenhofer

Who is coming? Who comes to meet?

Migrants, Refugees, host(ile) countries
The Perspectives of Martha Nussbaum and René Girard:
“Why do you take note of the mote in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your eye?” (Mt 7:3‐4)


“The Age of Migration” mirrors globalization’s two contradictory tendencies: high cross‐border mobility of capital, goods and people and the displacement of globalization’s losers. Given the almost 70 million migrants who are confronted with a new politics of “closed borders” of nations – themselves divided into winners and losers ‐ this paper will examine the refugee crisis as story of eroding solidarity. By melding Girard’s rivalry with Nussbaum’s fear, cohesion’s critical role as an antidote to this loss of solidarity will be discussed. René Girard and Martha Nussbaum both see subliminal, beam‐driven scapegoating at work and the danger of planetary self‐destruction lurking. Nussbaum trusts in cosmopolitan learning about early fear, unlocking the political emotion of enemy love. Girard, in contrast, cautions against the escalation to the extremes: it is when non‐ violence would safe us that retribution is willingly employed as justified self‐defense which keeps the spiral of violence spinning. For him, only a spiritual conversion will provide peace ‐ a notion which Nussbaum has recently begun to share. To appraise both thinkers’ strategies of stopping the spiral of violence, one protagonist of rebuilding broken solidarity shall be introduced: the Irish peacemaker John Hume. His institution‐building could change fears of loss by integrating conflicting interests, thereby solidifying the fragile peace in Northern Ireland. Hume’s legacy is discussed to outline how, despite Brexit, cohesion can be established to safeguard international solidarity, including protection for refugees.

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Beteiligte Personen:

Prof. Dr. Annette Edenhofer