Saturday, July 02, 2011

Waiting for God

Commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have long compared the long wait for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine to Waiting for Godot. But the meaning of the waiting could not be more different.

For Beckett, the waitings constitute a rumination on the meaninglessness of human existence despite all our attempts to fabricate semblances of order and purpose. But the protagonists of Godot are at least free to construct a meaningful narrative for their lives, if they can muster the will. They have the freedom to embrace choice in the context of the larger meaninglessness of life; indeed, life's innate purposelessness opens the very possibility of creating a different future than the one seemingly before you.

But if the Israelis have their way, the endless wait in Gaza, and the cccupied territories more broadly, suggests a very different and more pernicious meaning: We own you. We determine what you can or cannot do, where you can and cannot live and go, who can and cannot be part of your lives. You in fact have no freedom save what we give to you; there is no point to your waiting.


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