As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.
At times, I feel as though I’m on a stage, under a singular spotlight, performing a monologue to an audience that would rather be elsewhere. They disperse, fix their eyes on other distractions, and the echo of my speech is lost in the vastness of the hall. They do not see what I am seeing, do not feel the urgency that I feel.
The first act of this dark play unfolds with the handling of Hamas. Many voices, voices I once admired or consider themselves as defenders of freedom, insist on painting the group as a legitimate dialogue partner. A group that has committed unimaginable atrocities against more than 1,400 compatriots, including the killing of infants and the kidnapping of innocents. Maimonides warned us long ago about the dangerous ignorance of refusing to acquire knowledge.
Then comes the resurgence of antisemitism, like a snake that always finds new ways to spread its venom. The world watches, many even applaud, mistaking hate for freedom of speech. Emmanuel Levinas asked how we can be responsible for the other if the other refuses to recognize us as human beings?
My existence, as an Israeli Jew, becomes the third act of this tragedy, where I am reduced to a cliché, a stereotype in a narrative I did not write. Walter Benjamin talks about the “angel of history,” looking at a past full of ruins while being propelled into the future. I too am that angel, a witness to the distortions of my own identity.
The fourth act is the applause for these false narratives. Narratives that not only propagate misinformation but sow the seeds for more conflict, more hatred. The world changes the channel, looks for new distractions, while the truth clamors to be heard. Where is the “Thou” in the “I and Thou” that Martin Buber urges us to seek?
I am tired, but exhaustion is not an option. Not when injustice and indifference continue to gain ground. Franz Rosenzweig reminds us that understanding our own identity is the first step in understanding the world. And I know who I am, and what is at stake.
But how do you dialogue with those who refuse to listen? How do you build a bridge when the other shore is on fire? Philosophy urges us to seek truth, justice, ethics, but what are these principles without action?
So I shout, I cry out, hoping my voice breaks through the noise, penetrates the walls of indifference and prejudice. I cannot afford to be a spectator of my own life.
Time is ticking, and the curtain may fall at any moment. But until then, I’ll be here, under this spotlight, refusing to be silenced. Because if I don’t tell my story, and the stories of those who have been silenced, who will?
Reaching this point, my words extend not just to those who share my legacy or my land but to all minorities struggling to be heard, to be seen. To Blacks, to women, to the LGBTQIA+ community, and to so many others whose existences are questioned, whose voices are silenced.
And if you do not want to hear me, perhaps it is opportune to remember the words of the German pastor Martin Niemöller, who said: “First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
May these words serve as a warning, an awakening call, for all of us. If we allow any voice to be silenced, any life to be diminished, we are opening the doors to our own degradation. The world must understand that truth, justice, humanity are non-negotiable, and that silence is not an option. And if we don’t raise our voices now, one day it might be too late.