Remember those who sacrificed, so that we could thrive.

For quite a while now in Israel, the hottest topic around the dinner table was for which party and for whom would each person vote for in the upcoming elections on the 17th of March and with good reason. This is every citizens’ opportunity to express his beliefs and influence the country in ways he best deems fit. Come the day where all of us are the deciding factors and the spotlight of the nation is quite a privilege; yet we must never forget those who paid the ultimate price so that we could make the most of our democratic rights.

Often we forget that the society most of us live in today, one with fundamental rights like freedom of assembly, religion and speech, is one that is a result of hundreds of years’ worth of struggle and bloodshed. Even worse, sometimes we turn a purposeful blind eye to those who today, in the 21st century, risk their lives to taste from that same fruit of democracy. Democracy by us, undoubtedly, is a concept taken for granted but still in today’s world is a cause for which outright revolutions begin. We only need to glance back at the Arab Spring merely a few years ago or even those mass protests in Hong Kong happening at this very moment. It would be a grave mistake to think that the struggle for democracy is an old one and outdated one, as this would only push people back reclusively further into not appreciating the privileges they indiscriminately and inherently possess.

One of these rights is the right to vote, the right to express your opinion to the institution of the state and finally have your voice directly affect the path your nation will follow. This is not just another day; these days are quite literally fateful. There is no taking away the significance of this momentous period, yet, all I ask of you is to bear in mind the sacrifices people have made so that we can enjoy representation and be grateful for the endeavors for which many paid the very ultimate price.

For it is not only our privilege, but our responsibility and duty to exercise our democratic rights. If one feels uninterested in finally having an opportunity to voice his opinion, then do not exercise your democratic right out of intent to change the state in which he belongs but do it for those who fell so that today, you could have the luxury of a choice. Do it out of respect for those risking their lives around the world, at this very moment, so that one day their kids too might be able to have that luxury of a choice.

Come the 17th of March, in Israel, divided most of us will be on whom to vote for, yet united we will be forever in appreciating and being aware of those who brought us to this point.

Written by Tom Sagiv

Edited by Carlos Sevilla and Maria Tirnovanu

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