The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it
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Red Rag column: On turning 80
By: Gideon Spiro
8 September 2015
80 years old
To all my well-wishers, thanks from the bottom of my heart. A few words about
old age. At age 20 I could not have imagined what life would be like at age
80. It looked to me then like a passage to the mountains of darkness.
Old age has a sad aspect, to which the poet David Avidan gave expression in
his poem, “Old man”: “What does he have in his life?” It is a very pessimistic
and sad poem about an old man who waits for the day of his death, accompanied
by suffering and pain. And indeed, despite the saying “Do not cast me aside in
my old age”, old people who are forced to live on a social security stipend
are in effect thrown by the wayside, hungry and sick, like an irritant that
must be removed from our lives as fast as possible.
There is also optimistic old age, the old age of those who through luck or
wisdom have enough to live on in their old age. Their health, with the help of
medications, permits them to function independently, enveloped in the love of
their children and grandchildren, even though they left the nest and turned
from chicks to eagles, as Arik Einstein put it in his song. They keep in
contact with their parents and take care of their needs.
And then there is another group, a sub-grouping of the second group, members
in whom the flame of their youthful anger has only intensified with the years.
Anger at injustice and inequality, anger at wars and racism. The anger creates
words that turn into sentences, which become ideas. That is the fingerprint
they leave for the coming generations. And if I am not mistaken, that is the
group I belong to. Thanks again to all my well-wishers.
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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