After leaving the coffee shop where I had been reading the news, getting depressed, and writing blog posts, I dropped by a friend’s house, where we sat outside musing about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. We flitted between politics, political ideologies, globalization, the death of the nation state, the yuppie-ness of environmentalism, the legitimacy of social ecology, Marxism, capitalism, intellectual property, the political apathy of our generation in America (I still maintain that this is a legitimate phenomenon)…the list goes on and on.
Of all of this, the most interesting to me, as someone who often feels that their voice is in the minority seldom heard, is what follows. I asked my friend – a secular Israeli Jew – if he felt oppressed here. He said yes, he feels oppressed. “Mostly depressed, but also oppressed.” He elaborated: “freedom of speech doesn’t really exist here. If you want to express any kind of leftist sentiment – any kind at all – it’s not just a political statement, it’s personal, too. I can’t make a leftist statement and then go home and tell my family what I think.” Here, politics are personal. You can’t have a non-mainstream opinion because it is a personal affront to someone else. It’s also a threat.
There is no freedom of expression. There is no freedom of speech. These freedoms only exist if what you are expressing, saying, thinking, believing, and doing fit within the rigid ideologies of “national security” and “Israel as a Jewish State.”
I don’t care who you are or what you think, you should be allowed to state your opinion publicly and without fear.
It occurred to me that as my viewpoint is seldom heard in this debate, neither is his. We both fit into the broad category of “not in the interest of national security” and as such are either targeted or ignored. But we are not crazy.
I go back and forth between apathetic and passionately enraged, but I’m still working through the newness of this whole situation. I probably always will be. For those who grew up inside this system, it’s no wonder there is so little political vocalization of dissidence.
It’s not apathy, it’s defeat.