Last Wednesday in Tel-Aviv…
Last Wednesday in Tel-Aviv…
What is the moment in which someone decides to go out on the street? To protest with one’s own body in the open? To identify with others against or for something that refers to an unbearable?
Last Wednesday, a large Israeli-Ethiopian protest took place in the center of Tel Aviv. I could not get home until late after midnight. Many colleagues of mine could not make it to our Clinical Section studies that day due to traffic blockages all around Tel Aviv.
According to the news, thousands of people participated in a protest against police brutality and racism after a young Israeli Ethiopian, Yehuda Biagada, was shot and killed by police earlier this month. This event sent the Israeli-Ethiopian community out on the streets in a protest they called, “Pain and Frustration.”
At the end of the protest, the Chief of police said that thousands of members of the Ethiopian community expressed their protest in a stately, dignified and legitimate manner thanks to the continuous dialogue of the Tel Aviv District Command with the leadership of the community.
Going back home on a loaded train full of young people from the Israeli-Ethiopian community I watched some of them sharing pictures and videos of themselves from the protest, speaking loudly and expressing satisfaction from the event and the interruption it caused in the daily life in Tel Aviv.
Two things came to my mind at that moment:
The first was Tony Morison's words in an interview about Racism from 2017.  In the interview she referred to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots that started after the four police officers charged with using excessive force after beating Rodney King, an African American construction worker, were acquitted. In that interview she referred to two moments: when the tapes showing the policemen beating Rodney King were broadcast on television, and the end of the trial one year later, when the riot started. What happened between these two moments?
Morrison talked about not the violence and the anarchy during the riot days, but of the restraint and the long waiting. There was not spontaneity, but rather a period of not doing anything, of waiting for an expected reply that ultimately did not come.
On the other hand, I was reminded of Éric Laurent’s speech in the ZADIG event in Brussels last December entitled, “Discourses that Kill”.  In his speech, Laurent referred to a recent book by Judith Butler entitled Notes Towards the Performative Theory of Assembly , where she pursues her so-called “performative” theory of sexuation and does so at the group level. She describes the need for a community or community-based gatherings that is based on the fact that it cannot be recognized by common discourse. Rather, it is the impossibility of representation that defines it, and at the same time defines the possibility of a social bond created by those that are excluded from representation. It emphasizes the strength of the Occupy type movements. “To be there, to stand, to breathe, to move, to stand still, to speak, to be silent are all aspects of a sudden gathering, of an unexpected form of political performance. It is important that public squares overflowing with people, that people come to eat, sing, sleep, and refuse to give up this space […] to be transformed by connecting with others.” 
The question, “What sends someone out on the street to protest?” is yet for each one to answer. Nevertheless, it is a matter of subjective urgency that marks the difference between the jouissance of the one and the identification with others.
3 Butler J., Notes Towards the Performative Theory of Assembly, Harvard University Press, Boston, 2015.
4 Quoted by Eric Aeschimann in « Comment vivre dans ce monde? », L’Obs., 8 décembre 2016. (Footnote No. 10 in Éric Laurent's text).