Saturday, January 21, 2017
The Day After
Today is the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump. Just typing the name feels like a farce. But it happened, and I didn't even put the word President in front of his name, because I simply am unable to do that. Today is the day of the Womens' Marches across the country, and the world, it turns out. I had registered to join the Oakland March while I was still in Israel, but unfortunately I returned a week ago, on Friday 13th to be exact, not well. My voice is hovering somewhere over the middle east, accompanied by a relentless cough and generalized weakness. That is my excuse for not being on the march, but I am watching the coverage, and it is very inspiring. Yesterday I did not watch anything, I listened to classical music all day. On my forays in to the world outside my apartment I was struck by the funereal like atmosphere. Perhaps it is because of my visit to Israel, where the people have suffered for at least 12 years under the regime of Bibi Netanyahu, or because of my deep spiritual beliefs, but I have surprised myself by refusing to give in to despair. Yesterday the world did not end and the sun did not turn into blood. In Israel I see that life continues, and people continue to fight the good fight. Nothing is static, things do change. Definitely at this time the world that we know is turning to the right. I think these manifestations are the last gasps of those that are petrified that the world is changing. White people, especially white men, are no longer the majority. People are speaking up for their rights, and also increasingly defending the rape and pillaging of the earth. We are in the midst of massive transitions, and any time before a major change is a time filled with anxiety, uncertainty, fear of the unknown, until the new form is given life. Even then, it is not easy, as we take our first faltering steps, falling down, getting back up, looking back. I also don't feel that mankind is coming into a golden age, but it will be an age of expanded consciousness that allows for more differences to manifest. It is up to us not to give into complacence or despair. While in Israel I carried out a small experiment. In general, people in Israel do not acknowledge the presence of others, there is a general feeling of indifference and lack of compassion. It is exhibited on the roads, by reckless driving. In parking lots no one considers other vehicles, which are jammed in or crashed into. Late on a Thursday afternoon I had to get a bus for Netanya at the Arlozoroff Station in Tel Aviv. It is the time when the soldiers and everyone else are trying to get home for the weekend. The trains were closed for repairs so we had to take buses. To me it was petrifying standing quite helpless in a pushing, surging crowd. A few crammed buses went by before eventually I was borne onto one. My experiment was to acknowledge people on the street, as well as in grocery lines or cafes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that people smiled or nodded back. A flicker of humanity and fellowship. While trying to board the bus I was pushed up against a female soldier of Ethiopian origin. I looked at her and mouthed, "sorry, this is petrifying" and she smiled back and said 'yes, petrifying.' We both eventually made it to Netanya. On another occasion I sat with a friend at a pavement cafe in Tel Aviv. I saw a blonde woman dressed in shorts despite the cold weather, stagger up the street. She was completely dishevelled. Her eyes were bloodshot, her face puffy, a strong smell of alcohol surrounded her. She sat next to us and leaned over to ask us for a shekel. Two young waiters, a man and a woman, came toward her. They spoke gently and kindly, explaining that if she wanted a cup of tea, they would give her one, and asked her not to disturb the customers. Her voice rose as she slurred back at them, swearing. They both continued to speak to her gently, and the waitress left and returned with a cup of tea, but the woman stood up and staggered away. I was pleasantly surprised by their restrained approach. Small things, maybe, but nevertheless, a light shining through.