Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Uri Avnery: Israel's Conscientious Objectors: "Israeli democracy is being whittled away with every day of occupation. We are witnessing a continuous decline: the government has become Sharon's kindergarten, the Knesset attracts general contempt, the Supreme Court has largely become an instrument of the occupation, the media are marching in step. It is the refusers who have introduced a moral dimension into the public discourse."

"The accumulation of refusals, with one act inspiring the next and one military unit influencing another, is bound to have a lasting effect on the general public. It is both an expression of change and a stimulus for change. But above all, the act of refusal shines like a beacon in the darkness. It drives out the despair that has infects every part of the collective body. It restores faith in the State of Israel and its younger generation.

"Of course, the objectors are few. They are a small minority of the people and the army. But the course of human history would have been quite different without such minorities--people who had the courage to march on when the chorus of conformists shouted: "Stop!" And not least: these people allow us to be proud again. A nation that has sons like these can have hope."

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