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Stav Shaffir Photo: Ido Erez
Stav Shaffir Photo: Ido Erez
 
 

Dear government, join us

Op-ed: Social protest leader Stav Shaffir urges government to heed nation’s call for change

Stav Shaffir
Published: 09.03.11, 15:51 / Israel Opinion

People ask us whether Saturday night’s rally is our farewell party, a last attempt to raise a hue and cry before we disperse into the silent routine. They ask us whether we are giving up, whether we discovered that this government will never change, and whether we internalized its disparaging attitude and realized that things will not be getting any better. They ask whether our demands are exaggerated; they ask if we grew tired.

 

The answer is that for some 50 days now we’ve been more awake than ever. This weekend we mark the 50-day anniversary of wide open eyes, voices that are hoarse from yelling and legs that are aching from marching. This road isn’t easy, yet just like the case with any good trip, where the trail may be baffling, here too it is clear to each and every marcher that the scenery at the end of the road is amazing and worth the effort.

 

This is where we’re going. This scenery is the new society we will and must build in the state where we grew up. We shall continue to see this scenery on the horizon and we shall keep marching until we get there.

 

Indeed, unlike a regular trip, we are carrying a burden that may be too heavy at times. In recent weeks they attempted to run us over in every possible way: The smeared us, cursed us, eavesdropped on us, tried to turn us against each other, undermined our confidence as a society, trampled our personal safety and threatened our lives. However, we kept on running, rushing forward under the barrages of horror fired at us by a big establishment scared of change. Thus far, we managed to survive; maybe because of our naiveté.

 

To some extent, the people who initiated this struggle are indeed children. Children in the good sense of the word: Part of a generation that is still allowed to dream. A generation that is young enough to believe that dreams come true. This generation has been joined by the generations that created it and the ones who came after it. Today, it is merely a small particle in the immense circle formed around us in the past 50 days. This circle will keep growing until it breaks through our government’s walls and it starts to comply with our demands.

 

The last opportunity?

But we don’t only want them to listen. We want their arms and legs, and mostly their hearts. We demand to see them, the people with the ties and polite university degrees, starting to work. We demand to see them starting to revive this country and building the political infrastructure for the new society that has already taken shape here, on its own, while they were on vacation.

 

We demand to see them working. Working hard, at least like the single mother who must work two night jobs in order to bring food to her children; working hard like the tired elderly man who continues to clean the streets in order to afford medicine or a small gift for his grandchildren. We demand to see them working not only when they need to send soldiers to battle and not only when the ground is burning. We demand that they fight our social war of existence all the time, because that is the real war; that is the abyss emerging under our feet while we look up to the sky, expecting missiles and terror.

 

No more. We demand to see our government members losing sleep and losing weight as result of the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. We demand to see them emerging out of smoky, coffee filled rooms after strenuous days with detailed plans for the future and with commitments that only eyes that forgot what it means to fall asleep can deliver on.

 

Dear government, share in the joy of your people, who will be hitting the streets again, en masse, Saturday night. What a wonderful thing it is, a people who from the mountain peak looks down at the soil it grew up on and wishes to see it flourishing, prospering and being kind to everyone. Please do not attack us, dear government; share in our joy. You have an opportunity, possibly the last one, to join the people and start marching. If you do not – if you dare not to – you shall stay there alone, behind.

 

Stav Shaffir is one of the tent protest’s leaders

 

 

 

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