The Ability to Change

Hi everybody,

Sorry, nothing funny for last Shabbat. It’s end-semester rally which doesn’t quite help considering that I start to grow tired of the whole Israel issue. Since less then three months, when I started deliberately following the news considering Israel oit has come t my mind that there might be little difference between the topics of the news now and the topics ten or even five-teen years ago. Well but then during the time of Arafat there might have been more hope for peace however I am anything but sure that there’s a lot of hope today. And what might be even sadder then that is that I am not the only person who feels that way: NZZ’s Naomi Bubis wrote, a mere week ago:

The depth of political disinterest can be shown by the debacle of the Lebanon war two years ago. Even after this painful caesure no influential protest movement came into existence. Though there has been a board of enquiry, but Olmert who has put the country into a plan-less war, is still sitting in his air-conditioned office in Jerusalem. Even back then he didn’t take responsibility. And the Israeli? They went back to their everyday routine, which is moving further away from politics. The Israeli, said Galili-Zucker, were deeply unpolitical today and felt completely cut from those who decide about their fate. Also in private surroundings retreat can be felt: Whilst antecedent politics was discussed passionately among friends, these days one talks about football [soccer] work and children.

As much as I disagree with Ms Bubis on a range of other topics (such as the importance of stopping Iran from producing nuclear weapons) I do agree with her on this topic. Israelis too seem to have grown tired of the conflict happening all around them. They now have seen for three to four generation how nothing changed much for the better and if so things would soon move the other direction. It’s no wonder even them, who have been so ecstatic about coming back to Israel, are to reach a point where the youth following what unfortunately seems to be a global trend, gives up on the idea of changing (their) world. They rather settle into a life that mostly seeks to ignore and cope with what is happening around them. And by the by: Of course in the PA it’s just the same.

On a smaller scale quite the same has happened to youth in Europe: I, as much of my fellow Generation X kids, have been out of the streets in thousands protesting, spreading the word about whatever seemed to be a development going the wrong direction. We where there. We where thousands out in the streets, sometimes joined by adults sharing our cause, sometimes all on our own. And what happened? Nothing. Exactly nothing. Even when the US were about to bomb Afghanistan, later Iraq I was out on the streets as were millions of Europeans and Americans. No one cared. It was just one more line in the news. So who wonders young people who have grown up learning that aren’t into politics anymore? When would they have learnt that they have the ability to change anything? And who can blame them if they feel democracy has failed terribly? Even if they don’t dare to say it out loud …

To put things in a nutshell, it’s hard to go out these days with a smile on ones face truly believing in the possibility of change. In the power of the pen over the sword. (Or the keyboard over the machine gun). Yet as many pagans believe there’s as much power in things as you put into them so maybe if people just believed that they can change things we really could. As for me this believe is what keeps me going. Even on days where I fear I might end up sending my own children into war.




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