Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Who is Claus Z?

German authorities have charged Claus Z with aiding and abetting fraud. So what? Who is he? Is he someone we should be concerned about? Is he a man just like any other? Is he a stranger?

Someone must have been telling lies about Claus Z, for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning. Two men entered his room. He had no idea who they could be. What authority did they represent? He didn't know.

He showed the men his papers. 'What are your papers to us? You're behaving worse than a child.' That was nonsense. Z lived in a country where there was universal peace, where all the laws were in force. The men spoke of some strange law. Z didn't know this law.

The Law had to be explained to him. He heard that before the Law stands a doorkeeper on guard. If you try to enter the Law, the doorkeeper will tell you that you cannot enter at the moment. It's possible you'll be able to enter later, so you hang around, waiting. The door is open, and you can peer through it, if you want to, but the doorkeeper will most probably laugh at you. He will tell you that he is powerful, and that there are other doorkeepers even more powerful than he. You will not dare enter without permission. You sit on a stool and wait, for days! Years! You become old, and your eyes grow dim. In the darkness you perceive a radiance that streams immortally from the door of the Law. Then, close to death, you ask the doorkeeper why no one else has come seeking admittance to the Law. The doorkeeper tells you that the door was intended only for you. He then shuts it.

So why do I care about Claus Z? Am I a friend? A good man? Someone who sympathizes? Someone who wants to help? Are there some arguments in his favour that have been overlooked? Of course there must be. Logic is doubtless unshakable, but it cannot withstand a man who wants to go on living.

However, the hands of the two men are now upon Claus Z. Like a dog. Will the shame of this outlive him?