Yair Lapid
Photo: Yoni Hamenachem

Welcome to Facebook era

Yair Lapid offers Facebook crash course to people who fail to understand Israel’s social protest

Part 2 of article


The protestors the tent city – just like the hundreds of thousands who support them from home – cannot be summarized into definitions such as “Left” and “Right” because they are too complex, too colorful, too interesting and too multifaceted.


The people of the present and of tomorrow, who are marching in the streets and living there together in recent weeks, are mostly a little bit of everything: A little free market and a little socialism, a little hardcore Israelisness and a little international flavor, a little parents and a little children, a little depressed and a little masters of the land; they suffer a little and travel overseas a little, and they’re a little leftist and a little rightist.


The people of yesterday go crazy over it because they have nothing to put their finger on and don’t even have a consistent charge that can be leveled at the people of the boulevard. “If you don’t have a clear definition,” they say angrily, “you are in fact saying nothing.”


And then the people of Rothschild slowly take the nargile out of their mouth and look at the people of yesterday with a little puzzlement and a little sympathy, which is the proper way to look at artifacts that suddenly emerged out of the museum and started screaming, and eventually reply peacefully: “Why not?”


This dialogue is destined to hit an impasse, because it is being undertaken in two wholly different languages, almost like in two wholly different states; nonetheless, permit me to offer a crash course to the people of yesterday on how the Facebook generation thinks:


Open a Facebook page; doesn’t matter which one. If you don’t have one, ask your kids to do it. The “Wall” you are seeing is interactive…(whoops, sorry. I promised to only use yesterday’s terms.)


Ok, think about it that way: You live on a certain street, with a barrier at the entrance; the remote control that opens it is only held by you. You sit on your balcony and look at the street. Every time you see someone you recognize, or the friend of a friend, you press the button on the remote control, the barrier rises, and you let them enter. When they enter, the first thing they see is a huge board in the middle of the street. Next to it you will find a box of thumbtacks, notes, and colorful markers. Most people can’t help themselves, stop for a moment, write a note and place it on the board. Some of them also attach photos or a song to it.


Yes, I know the above description is also relevant for the tent city on Rothschild. You didn’t think that was a coincidence. The tent city is a Facebook page that merely landed in the real world.


I agree, by the way, that the new world also comes with drawbacks: It makes compromise difficult, it threatens the very notion of a representative democracy, and it sometimes produces nonsense, such as the proposal to engage in negotiations with the prime minister in front of the cameras (fortunately for the protestors the proposal was nixed; Netanyahu would have pulverized them.) The new world also blends important and less important issues in a charming yet hopeless way.


Yet all of this does not change the fact that this world is here. One can like it or dislike it, yet denying reality is never a smart move. The fact that this generation is neither “Right” nor “Left” does not stem from the fact that it disagrees with one of the sides, but rather, from the fact that this generation rejects with amazement the notion that a modern-day person would be limited to such narrow definitions.


In the process, they are also turning their backs (in the process displaying a small tattoo of Chinese symbols) to the people of yesterday’s culture of hate and fury. Indeed, ddespite all the drawbacks of these new people, who invaded our lives with their sandals, one thing cannot be taken away from them: They want to live a better life, rather than to see someone else living a worse life.



פרסום ראשון: 08.06.11, 15:00
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