Tania Shalom Michaelian
Writer, story-teller, educator


I’m a writer. That’s what I do for a living. Even at times when I’m tongue-tied and speechless, I am never wordless. I will always find a way to put across what I feel on paper. But for the first time in my life, I find myself wordless. Unable to pull from the depths of my gut what I am trying to say, that will truly reflect what I’m feeling. For the first time in my life, I feel such despair that I cannot even bear to reach into my soul and say those words out loud.
For the past 11 weeks, I have stood on street corners and bridges. Marched down highways and flown flags. I’ve screamed hoarsely and prayed silently. I don’t know what else to do.
I’m no stranger to demonstrations. I marched with anti-apartheid activists in South Africa of the 80s and yelled Amandla for years before Mandela was freed. We had a purpose. One-man-one-vote. Freedom for all. Democracy. I know that demonstrations can be effective because I’ve seen the results.
Gady Munz via the PikiWiki – Israel free image collection project
But 30 years on and I find myself helpless. Yes, it’s possible that these demonstrations on the highways of Tel Aviv, and in the ports of Haifa, and on the walls of Jerusalem will be effective. They may pressure the government to change course, to do away with its plans to go the anti-democratic, anti-Zionist, misogynistic, racist, extreme path. It may lead to a different government, better laws.
But what will it do to us as a people until we feel those changes? What is the price we will have to pay after 11 weeks of behavior so foreign to us as a society? A society which prides itself on “how good and pleasant it is when brothers gather together.” A society which holds the People’s Army in esteem above all else? A country born from the ancient dream of one people, even though we lived apart from one another for 2,000 years. A country that has built its society from the ingathering of the exiles for 75 years and hundreds before that.
I am so afraid that we will lose that precious, invisible thread which has held us together as a nation for thousands of years. I go to sleep with that fear and wake up with it gnawing at my stomach. I am a writer and I have a poetic license to be dramatic. This time I’m not. This time I am truly petrified that it may be too late for our people. I feel such fear that it has rendered me wordless.
About the Author
Grew up in South Africa. Found a home in Israel. Mom to three adult sabras. Writer on topics that inspire me - history, Israel and social justice. English tutor.
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