Double loyalty

Publish date 04-02-2024

by Chiara Vitali

Our screens are full of images of a new war, yet another. Israel and Palestine, lands without peace. Immediately after the attack by Hamas and the bombing of Israel, public opinion was divided into supporters. Often forgetting the lives of civilians, both. For this reason it may be useful to read the words of Sahar Vardi, an Israeli activist now thirty-three years old. Fifteen years ago, as soon as he came of age, he decided to refuse military service and never take up arms. Days after the October 7 attacks, Sahar called the concept of “dual loyalty” to Israelis and Palestinians.

«You talk to an Israeli friend who doesn't know if his relatives are dead or kidnapped and you see the helplessness, the fear, the deep pain – these are his words in the Times of Israel,< /i> then taken up by various media.

A moment later you're talking to a friend from Gaza who can only say that every night is the scariest of his life, who calculates his and his daughters' chances of waking up alive the next morning . “Dual loyalty” is feeling heartbreak for the former and the latter at the same time. It's double pain, double care, double love. It is holding back everyone's humanity. And it's difficult. It's so hard to have humanity here. It's exhausting and it seems like time after time the world is simply asking you to let go, to "choose a side." As if it were really an option. As if we didn't understand that our pains are intertwined."

"What is the point of writing these words - continues the activist - if not to try to express this sensation of having two worlds that seem so contradictory from the outside and so equal from the inside. Somehow, in some soul-aching way, it seems like this is the only optimism I can hold on to. Optimism based on the fact that this “dual loyalty” is possible and that it could be the greatest hope for this place».

Chiara Vitali
NP December 2023

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