Friday, April 18, 2008

Liberty

In the Passover Haggadah it is written: "In each generation people must regard themselves as though they escaped from Egypt personally." I hold this to be very signifeicant. The story of the exodus is not idle, the lessons must be relearned. The symbols are ever-significant. Passover is the Jewish celebration of liberty, as long as there's someone waiting to be liberated, it is a political holiday.

Currently the entire population of the Gaza strip is still under siege with no chance of anyone parting the waters and allowing them out. This unique blog is written by two friends, one a Gaza Palestinian (identifying himself as "Peace Man") one an Israeli from the often bombarded town of Sderot (Hope Man). Over this holiday, Sderot is expecting a shower of rockets from the Gaza strip. Hope Man did what any sensible person would do, while not literally abandoning vessel, he took his family on a two-week-long trip abroad. While he's away, Gaza is being bombarded every night (I saw jet planes with their lights turned off, returning from mission last night). However, only people in dire medical conditions are allowed out of the strip. Peace Man can't even give his family a short break across the border in Egypt.

And how ironic that Egypt would play the part of a promised land.

Others are deprived of their liberty too on this holiday eve. Forty years ago a group of radical right-wing Israelis conducted a passover seder at a hotel in the newly conquered city of Hebron. They then refused to leave the hotel, an act that led little by little to the creation of the current Jewish community of Hebron. Now make no mistake, I respect the ancient Jewish community of Hebron, I know about the massacre of 1929. I'm certainly in favor of Jewish people living in Hebron. Nevertheless, the dynamics of the occupation turned the old city of Hebron into a bubble of sadism where only intense zealots choose to live. There they are allowed to wreak havoc on their Palestinian neighbors, throw feces into their yards, ravage their homes (holidays such as passover are prime time for joyous mass acts of mass violence in Hebron), beat their children up regularly, all while being supported and protected by Israeli soldiers.

The liberty of Jews in Hebron's H2 sector is absolute. They live in a state of anarchy, in which any crime is pardonable as long as it is commited against Palestinians. The liberty of the Palestinians is zero. They are not allowed to drive through the heart of town. Throgh many streets they are not even allowed to walk. Several Palestinian families live along streets where they are forbidden to tread. They must leave their homes through the rooftops. No one protects their rights, their safety or their dignity.

This has been going on for forty years, the same amount of time the Biblical Israelites wandered the desert. It's time we put an end to this continuous tenth plague and break out of our slavery to bad politics. Happy holiday to everybody.