Life In A Garrison State

An excerpt from a piece by Mirjam Hadar Meerschwam, read in full @ Mondoweiss

Following the “raid” on our house by two non-uniformed policemen, Miki and Eytan, at 7:15, last week, just as I was helping our daughter to get dressed for school, it occurred to me that our house, in a regular, boring suburb, is actually surrounded by “security” related individuals and organizations. On the left, there’s D., whom I just mentioned, and on the right it’s Y. who has a fairly senior job in the military industries and stopped being friendly once he understood our family were leftists. Very near is the ugly “duplex” – an ungainly two-family house which after standing empty for years was recently let to a nameless firm. Its windows are still as shuttered as they were during the empty times, and its front yard remains a garbage strewn desert as before – but casually dressed young men carrying various types of briefcases and rucksacks come in and out. It is common knowledge by now that this is what they locally call a “shoo-shoo house”: the army’s secret services use civilian property, everybody knows that. Nobody asked or informed us. At the bottom of the road is a huge, pastoral looking area – disenchantingly protected by electronic fencing and a number of forbidding guard dogs. This no-go park belongs, again, to Israel’s military industries: they develop explosives here – underground. At times our buildings shake with the impact. Much has been said and agitated about the way these underground adventures have affected our environment – there are fearful rumors about cancer incidence. Meanwhile work has not stopped.

 I’ve often thought and spoken about these things, one way or another. For instance during the recent attack of the Israeli army on Gaza, when the Israeli public was told about the cruelty of Hamas who presumably placed themselves squarely among Gaza’s civilian population.

 But this morning, in the context, now, of my own and my friends’ recent interrogations I thought specifically about the more subtle work of intimidation, delegitimization, social ostracizing.

 An Israeli feminist antimilitarist group and registered non-profit organization, New Profile, the group of which I am a member, is these days subject to an unprecedented attack carried out by means of the state and the police. New Profile addresses itself to Israeli society. It is our aim to raise public consciousness to what militarism is and how it affects civic society. We also give moral and legal support and information to young people who contact us having decided not to enlist in the military. This is information about the army’s own accepted and legal routes toward exemption. Typically, such information is not part of the eye-catching display in my son’s former high school. On that poster the various army units vie to win the favors of the not-yet recruits with promises of their various “challenges”. Across the entrance hall, facing it in sinister unselfawareness, the national flag gives permanent honor to a list of former pupils who lost their lives in military service.

Posted in Israel-Palestine, Lockdown. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Life In A Garrison State
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