Yet when, one day, standing on the outskirts of Yokohama town, bristling with its display of modern miscellanies, I watched the sunset in your southern sea, and saw its peace and majesty among your pine-clad hills,—with the great Fujiyama growing faint against the golden horizon, like a god overcome with his own radiance,—the music of eternity welled up through the evening silence, and I felt that the sky and the earth and the lyrics of the dawn and the dayfall are with the poets and idealists, and not with the marketmen robustly contemptuous of all sentiment,—that, after the forgetfulness of his own divinity, man will remember again that heaven is always in touch with his world, which can never be abandoned for good to the hounding wolves of the modern era, scenting human blood and howling to the skies.
In this city, the victors had delusions of grandeur. It was visual. Across the street from the hotel stood City Hall, sporting an oversized Serb flag that hung from the roof to the ground, a hundred feet tall, fifty feet wide, three horizontal stripes of blue, white and red, so large that only a strong breeze could make it flap. The flag, hanging over a building where, fifty years earlier, Kurt Waldheim worked as a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht, was meant as a projection of Serb nationalism, as though size were all that mattered, rather than content. I had never thought of flags as weapons, but in Bosnia, as in the rest of Europe, they were becoming the deadliest weapons of all.p. 80
What matters is the need to move from the rigidity of national stereotypes towards something more truly human; what matters is to discover the riches of human hearts and souls; what matters is the human content of poetry and science, the universal charm and beauty of architecture; what matters is the magnanimity of a nation's leaders and historical figures. only by exalting what is truly human, only by fusing the national with what is universally human, can try dignity - and true freedom - be achieved.It is the struggle for freedom of thought and expression, the struggle for a peasant's freedom to sow what he wants to sow, for everyone's freedom to enjoy the fruits of their own work - this is the true struggle for national dignity.The only real triumph of national freedom is one that brings about the triumph of all human freedom.For small nations and large nations alike, this is the only way forward.And it goes without saying that the Russians too - as well as Armenians, Georgians, Kazakhs, Kalmyks and Uzbeks - must understand that it is precisely through renouncing the idea of their own national superiority that they can truly affirm the grandeur and dignity of their own people, of their own literature and science.