Ron Itzigsohn
Man of Apathetic Elation

While Our Country Crumbles

An Israeli flag adorned with dirt after a heavy night of protesting (Courtesy of author)

This poem was written to inspire and give a personal perspective on the immense struggle we are currently facing in this country. In these trying times the strong showing of unity and resistance to the insidious changes the ruling coalition are trying to implement reverberate resoundingly how strong the people of Israel are, and how we will not let democracy fall without a fight. The support and necessary pressure of the international Jewish community highlight the bonds that we share, the ethical Jewish values that are unfortunately lost on some in this nation, form a strong chain between Israel and our brothers and sisters abroad who understand that a Jewish nation for all its citizens cannot exist with tyranny. We who value kindness, compassion, and love, a core Jewish tenet, and who understand that true Jewish values are to endure and thrive, to fight for peace and not to end that of others.

While our country crumbles we must stand unfaltering and survive as we have done for most of our history. Until we do not have a constitution that will protect and enshrine the rights of all citizens of this country, and until the separation of powers between the judicial and executive branch are not kept intact, we cannot falter.


While My Country Crumbles:

While my country crumbles,

I sit in my chair and stare into ominous air,


Is this what a crumbling country feels like?

While my country crumbles I post stickers on my door,

the same littering the street floor,

and pass by a flag in my home I never knew I loved.

While my country crumbles,

I fumble for words as I listen to birds,

incapable of conceiving the notion.

I wanted to cross these oceans,

I wanted to leave this life,

I wanted to migrate too.

Their whistles and tweets, their calls, will befall other ears,

but my years they belong to the conceit, this is my war…

My wings were clipped the moment I chanted “dem-o-crat-iah”, my tears were demanded, this nation with hands outstretched commanded.

I was here to stay while my country crumbles.

While my country crumbles,

The sky is bright, during the night the blazes and smoke are on sight.

The love consummated for a future obliterated could be felt with despair,

as cardboard signs embedded with slogans are held high into the air.

A distrust so deep it cut across people and at the center of it all a maniacal steeple,

erected for ego, money, and power,

a greed so deep and so sour,

at the top a family smirking in their ivory tower.

They convinced the meek that they would be strong.

They promised the common that they would be throngs.

They pledged to end the inequalities of yore, and in their place erect an empire of brawn.

But like all emperors they consolidated power,

pissing on the people and telling them it was a golden shower.

They ate rich and fooled the poor,

smoked cigars they lit from burning cell phone stores.

They lived lavish in Italian hotels,

while citizens lived as vassals, celebrating their honeymoon while terrorist gunshots took out the “rabble”.

The empress was immediately comforted when confronted, while women were assaulted, beaten, and slaughtered.

The vile heir polarized while the people were battered.

The promise of peace and prosperity was dashed, so the great emperor wouldn’t have to pay back his gifted cash.

Manifesting his dream, an obscene scheme to make himself supreme, he made sure to incite all those extreme.

They burned a village to make sure it was known for here after, this country is the property of not its people, but ideological masters.

Establishing a militia of brown shirts headed by a non-drafter, he made sure to beat all those who would oppose him ever after.

While my country crumbles,

the oppressed were told they were wrong,

the real minorities who had been wronged were those whose voice and beliefs governed all along.

Democracy was the rule of the majority over the few, including their rights and property too.

They looked to blame all who dissented for their pain, while their government in power for years, never at their sides, only gained.

Self-classified as “B” citizens they trampled on all who resisted them,

and failed to see the irony in their self-imposed division.

While my country crumbles,

there is joy and laughter,

leisurely time, all aware of the oncoming disaster.

We joke and satirize, poke and chastise,

sit around the dinner table with family,

gulping down hearty portions, smiling, muscles tensed, eyeing each other and ever-present misfortunes.

We read the Pesach Haggadah and reflect on the chains we once bore,

now again a sensation of bondage at our core,

pharaoh’s rule is not yet done for.

While my country crumbles,

some live in limbo,

others with arms akimbo.

Shaking heads, stern motherly expressions.

Few cheer on the destruction, wide eyed seduced by the wanton promise of violent eruption.

Each week on the day of disruption, we arm ourselves walking out determined, anticipating warily our fragile life’s abduction, while readying all means of obstruction.

While my country crumbles,

many live in fear,

the day after will be severe for all those queer.

It will not fall immediately like a scythe,

rather they’ll try to be slow, steady,

attempting to lull, catch us not ready.

Each moment passing a vexation on the nation, another notch on their “reform” machete.

We will not win this war, fascism is always heading, for us,

but we’ll not pop like confetti.

We’re fighters, survivors, pilots, tank drivers, scientists, writers, industry insiders, providers, political tigers.

They’ll paint us as liars, wave riders, venomous vipers, entitled whiners, puritanical conspirers, traitors, and foreign funded biters, as always try to divide us.

We will fail eventually, the tide is against us, demographically and politically topographically,

but we will not be led to apathy.

Not today,

not now,

not yet.

We will win another day, make sure there is another year to disobey, keep dictatorship astray, prevent society’s decay,

while our country crumbles…

About the Author
Ron Itzigsohn is currently an MSc student at the Weizmann Insitute. He holds a B.Sc.Med degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He's been residing in Israel for twelve tumultuous years since 2011.
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