Individuality amid Oppression

New to the blogosphere, I thought I would introduce myself by proposing a debate that I have waged in my head recently regarding dignity and morality amid repression. The latest emanation of this debate occurred after I watched an interview with Israeli journalist Amira Hass. A resident of Ramallah since 1997 and the only Israeli journalist living in the West Bank, read and addressed criticisms of her op-ed article advocating Palestinian resistance against Israel, especially stone-throwing. Within Israel, the response to the Ha’aretz opinion piece has escalated beyond hate mail to calls for her arrest for inciting violence.

As Hass expresses her feelings in conversation with Amy Goodman, the two clash regarding the issue of violent resistance against oppression. For Hass, her concern was not to discern the most effective or noble methods of protest, but to recognize the capacity of individuals to express their feelings about Israel, in particular, and life in Palestine, in general. It is this capacity for self-expression and communication that occupation effectively obliterates.

The question that remains with me after this conversation is, whether it’s possible for individuals to achieve their morality amid oppression? And if oppression stifles individual fulfillment and liberation, then how can one avoid surrendering to wretched circumstances? At this point, circumstance turns life, itself, into a battleground between aspiration and resignation.

3 responses to “Individuality amid Oppression

  1. I think much depends on how you qualify morality, and in whose eyes is this judgment being made?

  2. I agree that it depends on what ‘achieving morality’ means in your question. But from my perspective, I would consider that morality is something inherently present in all people (whether it comes as a feeling or is consciously defined as ‘morality’) but it is more the inability to talk about these feelings (which everyone is feeling simultaneously) that puts a spanner between people and their expressions of a collective morality.

    As babies, we understand that people can see things and empathize with our first person perspectives and experiences. As adults we think nobody can see things from our view, and that nobody cares? What is going on here?

    Maybe the case is that people can not achieve ‘morality’ alone, but that oppression is a deeply personal state that amplifies the fear people have of what others think or will think, and therefore people are not willing to talk to each other about these types of feelings until it is too late.

  3. “We were never so free as under the German occupation” – Sartre

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s