Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When Leaders Betray their People, Bad Things Happen

Today the news is filled with pictures of Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt, lying on a stretcher, looking helpless, in a cage, at his trial. Today the initiators of the social-economic massive protest in Israel were thrown out of the Knesset, for expressing their opposition when a  controversial housing bill was passed, that leads to the setting up of national committees that will be able to quickly approve new housing projects. The reason for the opposition - the belief that it will, once again, serve the very rich, and not provide affordable housing for ordinary people.

One of the main slogans of this protest sweeping our country:
Atem midabrim al nadlan, anachnu midabrim al ha'bayit
You (Bibi) talk about real estate, We are talking about our home!

The Egyptian people ousted Mubarak, and have put him on trial, for betraying his people.
More and more of the Israeli public are calling for the ousting of Netanyahu, for his cynical and continued attacks on the citizens of the country, for his dismissal of real social and economic concerns, for his one-way path to making the very very rich richer, while the middle class, and the poor, become poorer and poorer.

It is hard to imagine Netanyahu on a stretcher, in a cage, at his trial for waging war against the citizens of this country. After all, we have a democracy here, and if the people want him out, they will vote him out of office.
That is the good news.

The bad news is that Netanyahu, and others in the Likud party and the coalition, are arrogantly dismissing the real grievances of hundreds of thousands of people, and more and more sectors - doctors, teachers, students, social workers, university adjuncts, parents, youth movements, dairy farmers - as they make it crystal clear that business as usual means that the government and its coalition are unwilling to make the time, and have no desire, to listen to the citizens, that are the backbone of this country, that are needed to keep the country going.

The bad news, for Netanyahu, is that by being dismissive, by treating the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of protestors as insignificant, his days of 'leading' the country, are most likely coming to an end.

Fifteen years ago, at the end of a long university student's strike, that strove to end impossible tuition rates that put higher education out of the reach of many many capable young adults, Sara Netanyahu ordered pizza for the student representatives, and the students caved in to the final offer made by the PM, for they were hungry.



The students of today do not need Sara's pizza, or Bib's borekas. The students of today are not alone in their struggle, but linked to hundreds of thousands of Israelis, who are donating money and food, to help support them in their protest.  

Leaders, not surpisingly, are supposed to help their country develop and grow, to care for the citizens.  Leaders are supposed to work toward making sure that all have true access to good health services, good education, decent pay, a decent place to live, free from violence, free from ongoing insecurity. Democratic leaders in democratic countries are supposed to listen to the voices of the citizens, take to heart their concerns, help support them in their path to decent life. Leaders are not elected to mainly serve the very, very rich, but to make sure that the country runs in a way that does not make most of its citizens want to run for cover.

The bad/sad news is that Hosni Mubarak is ending his days on a stretcher, in a cage, at a trial, that may well end with a death penalty for betraying his people. The bad/sad news is that Netanyahu and his coalition are forgetting that most of the citizens of this country can no longer afford the most basic needs of life, and that his cynical, arrogant dismissal of people's rights cannot, in the long run, help him remain in office.

Bibi, habaita, pipi vlishon (Bibi - go home, go the bathroom, and then to sleep)
Ha'am doresh tzedek chevrati (The people demand social justice)
Atem midabram nadlan, anachnu midabrim al ha bayit (You are talking about real estate, we are talking about our home)

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