The city, its energy, its movement, the intellectual play, the social conflicts and commitments, the extreme image of the contemporary world - the metropolis.
But for one born in France at the beginning of 1941 to a Polish mother and a Lithuanian father, the city can have other implications. Having fled from Paris to Marseilles on the last train available, we undertook a night crossing into Helvetia. We
survived. Over 60 years later I try to think of myself as a cosmopolitan, a man of the world, who has lived in New York, London, Paris, Milan and can speak several languages.
Yet I feel defined by others, by phrases that range from the traditional extreme right - both religious and political - to the stagnant declarations of the Stalinist era: the Jew as deceitful, sly, the subverter of the traditional world order, the crafty financial manipulator of globalization who threatens our civilization and thus our well-being. I am the avant-garde of western imperialism, and the destroyer of personal freedom crushed by misguided leftist social concepts. I am he who is secretive, powerful, menacing, hateful: I am the enemy.
Perhaps worse still, I have the ability to narrate the uprooted life, bear the testimony of the exile - I am the negation of the concept of fatherland, nationalism, traditional family and moral values.
And so, for me, to be cosmopolitan, to be what I had always dreamt of being, someone common to the whole world, eclectic in my interests, a citizen among other citizens, belonging, integrated, creative, giving, active, dynamic, made me aware of the need to have a decent document of identification - and a light, sturdy suitcase to be ready for my next move.