On the Topic of Dignity

I recently read an article by Noam Chomsky about the topic of dignity and the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, about how Palestinians remain steadfast and hopeful about the future in spite of oppression and violence, they who have lost the comfort of their homes: the simple things, like being able to wake up and bask in the silence of a morning. And yet they are dignified, refusing to acquiesce or prostrate themselves before their oppressors.

I write this now, unable to grasp the profundity of their situation and of those in the world at large. The more I read about the world, the more I realize just how fortunate I am to be living in the greatest country in the world, a beneficiary who can sit back and rattle off about all the shitty things in this country.

It is hard for me to understand what they feel, but my intuition guides my line of reasoning and tells me that it must not be easy, that in many ways our actions are diametrically opposed: whereas I blithely grimace over a salty meal, they must contrive a smile when feeling hunger pangs; whereas I talk massive amounts of shit on any and everything, they must remain silent; whereas I can effortlessly turn the faucet for a drink of water, they must walk miles for a few drips.

But who the hell am I kidding? I haven’t been to these places. My perspective is limited. I am ignorant no doubt. Maybe some people don’t smile. Maybe they aren’t all levelheaded in their suffering. Maybe some of them give up and are crushed by the weight of their suffering. Maybe some of them are undignified.

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