Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bring Them Home, Bring Them Home!

"Another siren wails,
Just an ordinary day.
Was it anyone i know?
How can life go on this way?"

Today, I went to a rally for the Israeli soldiers missing in action. It's something I haven't done in a while - got to any sort of pro-Israel rally. In fact, I haven't been to any real pro-Israel event since high school. I went to a typical Modern Orthxodox high school (pro-Israel/Zionist/live music on Yom Ha'atzmaut), and we were always doing something for Israel. Always. But I've kinda lost my connection to Israel activism; not my connection to Israel or my support for Israel, just this activist thing. And I'm not really sure why.

But as chants of "Bring them home! Bring them home!" filled my ears and the smell of sweat that always seems to go with these events filled the air and people started getting hoarse, I got kind of nostaligiac for that activism - that we can change the world if only we try attitude, that we are the answer feeling, that we have a voice and we're gonna use it till you listen activism.

I don't think it's that I've lost all optimism or that I've lost my belief in grass-roots efforts and it's certainly not that I don't believe in the cause, but something is lost, something about me is changed. Because for the first time in a long time I watched all those people who feel so passionately, and for the first time ever I saw all those people cheering and rallying and wanting so badly to make a difference, to bring the MIA's home, and honestly, I didn't feel anything.


At 4/20/05, 4:27 PM, Blogger Stx said...

Interestin' post.

So those blue-and-white-frosting-covered-cupcakes with the little Israeli flag on it don't give you the same warm fuzzy feeling anymore?

Hey, more for me....

At 4/20/05, 4:29 PM, Blogger Stx said...

[Yes, yes, this editor hopeful has subject/verb agreement problems...]

'Course, you have OTHER things to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, doncha?

At 4/20/05, 10:14 PM, Blogger Nephtuli said...

I was the same way. When it comes to rallies, I think when one gets older he realizes that they really are pointless. People think if they yell and scream or send letters they are doing something. But they aren't. You need a massive rally to have any effect at all.

Especially rallies about issues like this. The Israeli MIAs have been MIA for almost two decades. These rallies accomplish nothing.

At 4/21/05, 1:32 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Nephtuli, I have more to say on this which I won't say now for the sole reason that I need more time to get my thoughts to make sense to me, but suffice it to say that I do think that rallies are important and I do think the State of Israel needs our help, and I do think we can help.

But something about the rally just didn't do it for me anymore and I'm not sure why. I still care about Israel and I care about the MIA's and every day I wear a bracelet that has the name of my teacher and then says "killed by terrorists," but the rally didn't shore up any of those feelings for me, the rally didn't make me feel.

And Stx, no, I don't think they would (which is not to say I'm givin 'em away) and I'm still not sure why not.

At 4/21/05, 6:16 PM, Blogger Nephtuli said...

I didn't mean that you don't care about Israel or about the MIA's, or that support for Israel isn't important. It's just that after a while many people start to realize that standing on a street yelling catchphrases isn't really doing anything. It just makes people feel better, like they are making a difference.

If you don't feel anything, that might be because you are now older and the youthful activism has begun to fade away. I think it happens to most people.

At 4/21/05, 6:25 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Except that I don't want to lose my youthful enthusiasm. I'm reminded of the quote, "Never doubt that a few committed people can change the world.
In fact, it's the only thing that ever has." And I believe that! I do believe that activism is important.

(Though, I do think you're right as well that part of what we like about activism is that it makes us feel good.)

But the rally, despite my sentiments, didn't make ME feel anymore. But then again, it shouldn't be about me at all.

At 4/22/05, 12:06 AM, Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

I think it's to do with getting older and a bit more cynical. You are right to question the effect of these rallies. Sometimes they work, sometimes they just hlep the people who go to them (a bit like davening).

Try not to lose the spark though.

Who was the teacher?



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