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The Janus face of identity

How to find an identity that does not take life but gives life, asks the author Amin Maalouf.

Throughout his writing, the French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf has been concerned with questions about various forms of culturalidentity., in books such as "The Crusades as Seen by the Arabs," "Leo the African," "Samarkand," and "The Ports of the Levant." But the novel's framework became too narrow for the former journalist and editor.

In the debate book "Identity that kills" he speaks his views and accuses the people who reduce the total identity of a single affiliation to create mass murderers. A harsh statement which he elaborates and further clarifies in the book. Thus in this interview that took place one autumn day in Oslo a few weeks ago:

Freedom of choice

– Siden nasjonalstaten dukket opp har folks identitet langt på vei vært knyttet til det snevre nasjonale fellesskapet. I dag pågår det vel en trend som spriker minst to veier: En ny kulturell identitet som overskrider landegrenser, og en kulturell identitet som synes å ha forvitret til et spørsmål om pengebokas størrelse. Det er . . .

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