Chatting in my long taxi trips in Bogotá, while going to visit my 100 year old sick mother and where sometimes to advance 5 kms. it can take you more than an hour and a half, in the chaos of traffic the beautiful city has become over the years, with more and more cars, and no major public transport besides a dangerous bus network called transmilenio, that goes south to north east to west, so packed, that you can easily be robbed at any time of the day and where people travel to/from work for hours, in the 10 million inhabitants big city, where also lately major streets of two lanes have been converted in one, by the present mayoress to give bikes ‘a privileged lane’.
Those taxi drivers that have to earn their living in such a nightmare the traffic is in Bogotá, sometimes a professional with no other option, or a former petrol truck driver ( they also exist in a country without Brexit). On one ocassion I had a chat after being asked for my occupation, which I now resolve by saying; I’m a theology teacher, which somehow is true, but easier to get away with than to go into long explanations of the origins of the prayer leader in Judaism, especially when being questioned by a probably anti-Semite, be it a Palestinian or Iranian chauffeur or barber in London. With a knowledgeable, devoted Christian taxi driver in Bogotá, it resulted in a long interesting conversation where we concluded that we have in common “love your neighbour as yourself” and I added that; “your neighbour means every human being indistinctively if we believe differently”.
And leaving my sick mother behind I arrived in Holland, in Amsterdam her hometown.
The first thing I did was to visit the recently inaugurated Holocaust names memorial monument in Amsterdam of the more than 100.000 Dutch Jews that were taken to the gas chambers, for the only reason of being Jews, between them, my maternal grandparents, my two aunts and my 5 years old cousin and her father.
And I was reminded, in this short period of time of the past weeks, again and again, that basic teaching to love equally.