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STAY HUMAN - Ronnie Barkan interview

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I think that staying human is about the things that are really the deepest things in our existence. And these things are obviously universal. About all humans... all living beings.

And i think it's also about overcoming all these other things that separate us nationality, religion, race, color and so on...

And the other thing about staying human is not only not dividing between different types of people but also insisting that we are all the same, so insisting about equality. And this is basically the thing that we are fighting for.

I mean, we are fighting against all these bigots, all these different types of racism and insisting on the most fundamental things. That we are all born human, we are all born the same and at the very least, a person who doesn't look like me and maybe doesn't even think like me at the very least they deserve the same rights as I do. Maybe they even deserve more.

I think that a person who doesn't feel that they have to change these illnesses in society and all these horrible things that are going on around us then they really have to look inwards and ask why?

I mean, it is so evident that things are so wrong that we must do something about it. Now the only question is what do we do and what is most effective? And because the people who are responsible for doing the most horrible things are the people who have the most power - the people in government and the way to act against the government is by doing this on a mass scale, having more and more people demanding that actually the government serves them instead of the other way around - the people serving the government.

And this is happening pretty much in the same way all over the world. Some places claim they are democracies, some are less democratic, but the same struggle more or less takes place all over the world. And I think that this struggle will be more effective if we manage to join this global struggle into one struggle.

Vittorio didn't only write about Gaza, he wrote about us, about all human beings. And obviously the people who need the most help and who need to be heard the most are the ones who are most oppressed, and the people who are less oppressed and the people who are more privileged, like you and me, are the ones who have the most responsibility in this, in speaking up for those who cannot.

I think that being born in Israel and being raised here, there is a lot of brainwashing taking place from very early on. So we are being raised to be soldiers from kindergarten. Literally, from kindergarten...

And maybe my personal act of dissent was first of all and foremost choosing to become a conscientious objector and not serving in the Israeli army. And that meant that actually I had to overcome this sense of feeling like a parasite or a traitor if I wouldn't serve. And it took a while, I was contemplating the idea for quite a long time, for many years, and eventually something happened. And I realized... what I realized is that actually the only thing I can be a traitor of is humanity. And the only family, the only thing that I can work for, is something that is universal.

And the whole notion of being a parasite or a traitor all of a sudden just disintegrated in front of my eyes. And from there on it was very easy, the moment I said "first of all I'm a human being", and everything else follows...

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: Israel
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Views: 905
Posted by: stayhuman on May 12, 2013

Ronnie Barkan (Ra’anana, Israel/Palestine 48, 1976) Human Rights Activist, co-founder of ‘Boycott from Within’

An extra content for
STAY HUMAN - The Reading Movie
A film by Fulvio Renzi - Directed by Luca Incorvaia - Written by Vittorio Arrigoni

‘Stay Human – The Reading Movie’ features the reading of the book 'Gaza - Restiamo Umani' (‘Gaza - Stay Human’) in its entirety. Written by Vittorio Arrigoni (1975 - 2011) this daily journal documents the massacre that occurred during the military attack known as ‘Operation Cast Lead’. Undertaken by the Israeli government against the Gaza strip civilians between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, the attack resulted in over 1200 civilian casualties and 400 murdered children.

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