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The word “civilization” has become controversial nowadays – but one aspect of civilization that we can still agree on is hospitality. Hospitality is a welcome that goes far beyond friendship: in fact, it reaches its peak not among friends, but when we extend it to the stranger, someone unfamiliar and perhaps even distasteful to us. Hospitality is recalled in the ancient Christian tradition of showing special consideration to beggars, often going so far as to invite them to the family table. For even beggars were seen as messengers of God – or (who knows?) perhaps God himself in disguise!



Beth Porter
What are physical characteristics of hospitable neighbourhoods? The houses often have front porches where people can sit out and exchange a wave or greeting with their neighbours—rather than the protruding garages of suburbia that may give the much vaunted privacy developers advertise but isolate people from those who live next door.
Hélène Laberge
Yves Beauchemin, author of the novel The Alley Cat,  may flatter himself that he has transformed a very real Montreal restaurant, La Binerie, into a universal symbol of belonging.
Where there are lively people or situations, people who are the most fragile are often the first to discover and frequent them, reinforcing their sense of belonging to society. Between 1970 and 1990, an oasis comparable – on a smaller scale – to the Jean Talon Market in Montreal, operated in North Hatley, a village in the Eastern Townships: it was a bakery and restaurant called Chez...


When he was approaching the country of the Phoenicians, Ulysses, having survived a shipwreck, thought it prudent to disguise himself as a beggar before entering the palace grounds. Antinoos, one of the king’s guests, struck him with a stool, after welcoming him with these words: “What deity has brought this pest here, this scavenger of meals? Stay in the middle, away from my table….” As it happened, it was Antinoos, and not the mendicant, who incurred the reproaches of the assembly: “You were wrong to strike this wretched mendicant, o pernicious, wicked man; he might be a god come down from heaven. The immortal ones travel the cities in the guise of strangers. They take many forms, seeking to know for themselves the violence or the justice of humans.”

Homer, The Odyssey


Identity ResponsibilityCompassionConsistencyReciprocityHospitalityObligationsTrustInclusion and Respect for DifferencesForgivenessCourageFriendshipLove



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Jacques Dufresne's

The editor of L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora and well known newspaper chronicler and philosopher, analyses actuality through the looking glass of Belonging.
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