With the loss of the significance of the territory, space has been replaced by time as the central concept in human conflicts. Nowadays, strangers are not those who live far away but those who live in a different epoch. Margins are not a territorial category but a temporal one. . . The real inhabitant of the “provinces” . . . or of the “periphery” is a narcissist of his own calendar.
– Ethics of Hospitality. (Translation is mine.)
This is just brilliant, people. This Spanish philosopher – who deserves to be a lot more widely known than he is – has come up with the perfect definition of what the Other is today. Ethnic conflicts that are based on disputes of territory are moving into the past. We are seeing more and more ethnic tensions that are based on the differences of calendar. People of the post-industrial, feminist, secular societies and the inhabitants of the feudal, patriarchal, fundamentalist cultures begin to clash more and more often in the countries of Western Europe and North America.
This is one of the reasons why the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians cannot be resolved by Israel withdrawing to pre-1967 borders. You can settle the territorial aspect of the conflict but that will do nothing for reconciling the temporal contradictions between a culture that has moved (albeit not without its problems) into the modern era and one that has not.