We need a truce

I looked into the faces of the teenagers in the burning streets and they were hard, stony, harder than some of the most toughened adults. Others saw it too, people who have been tested by time, and I wondered: Why? How did this happen? One bystander’s answer is that these young people are blind to everything, to the future and the past. All they see is unemployment and malls, on the one hand, and drugs on the other; they see nothing in between, no middle ground, nothing to aspire to, nothing with promise. But is it really possible for a teenager, for an immortal, not to see any promise ahead, to feel nothing but disillusionment? The events of this month have shown us that the answer is «yes.» And this loss of spirit and morale is the greatest wound to our society. This wound, in turn, left undiagnosed and untreated, is now spewing forth violence, pain and an inability to see ahead. The wound is eating us up. We need a diagnosis, not just one, but two, three or even more. We need many different treatment plans; we need honesty and courage. We can’t continue to live with this gaping wound. What we need is a truce, one big protest march, a peaceful one that doesn’t result in fires and broken shop windows, one without tear gas, panic and helicopters. We need a march that will be policed by us, students and parents, teenagers and adults, with uncovered faces, people from the entire political spectrum, everyone from the modest housewife to the disillusioned leftist and the political anarchist, people who will keep out the forces of chaos this one time and who will let the river of society express itself this one time, united, huge, imposing, without reproof. We need to think, to criticize ourselves, to take responsibility. We need a truce, time to catch our breath, a chance to look at ourselves.

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