On the day John Lennon was murdered, I was home on vacation from the ‘Yeshiva’.
I didn’t even know who he was, but Gilat, who knew everything, especially English, told me and immediately put on a record that filled the room with the sound of his voice. “You’ve got to hear this,” she said, closing her eyes as she translated for me how to imagine a whole new world, where people live in equality, without borders, and how we can all dream. She sang to me: “You may say…”, and I was blown away.
Gilat was beautiful and wild, she was a free spirit. She taught me how to fly. A week later, she ran off with a Spanish street artist to live in a tent on the seaside of Spain. The religious community of my childhood days was abuzz, her parents went looking for her, chasing after her from coast to coast. Then this free bird of imagination, theirs and mine, was finally found. They brought her back straight away, and put her in an ultra-Orthodox school for girls in Jerusalem, where she became ultra-religious, got married, had plenty of children, and is living happily ever after, in peace and love. Or perhaps, not.
Since then, for me ‘Peace and love’ are empty words just like ‘happily ever after’, a smokescreen put up by those who want to sustain the status quo of oppressive systems. These words are the lip service paid by those who support inequality. For people who are colonized and oppressed, it only reinforces their lack of freedom and their suffering from human rights violations.
‘Peace and love’ always remind me of an orchid-scented air freshener, sprayed around by those who benefit from the persisting oppression of others. These words make a mockery of the hungry, who are fighting for their survival. For me now days, ‘Imagine’ is about regret, about forgiveness, and about the demand that will enable us all this obligation, humane and so very basic – to be equal. And to dream.
On The Hummus Route illuminates us people with a bright light, as we talk of the basic desire to live in freedom. Equally. And to dream. Just like John, just like Gilat, who had once dared, like we all want, to live their dreams.