All the social conventions have broken down. Anomie.
There are no social conventions, and on top of that there is tremendous despair. Everyone I meet there is in despair. I get into a taxi and the driver talks to me about his feeling of despair, about how he’s using tramadol. I enter a restaurant where I always dine, the waiters sit with me at the table and tell me about their despair. I visit a psychiatric hospital, and the psychiatrists and psychologists immediately come and want to talk to me about their personal problems, before we begin talking about professional matters. Everyone is in despair. They don’t enjoy anything.
No wonder sex becomes an obsession. It’s perhaps the only enjoyment that’s available. The only vitality they can feel.
I think they engage in sex not for enjoyment but for release. That for them, sexuality is connected to hope. With all the death and the symbols of death they’re surrounded with, this is life. It’s impossible to really understand what’s happening in Gaza, impossible to understand what’s really happening within people’s psyche. Even I, who deal with mental health, can’t really understand what they think and feel.
It’s like the plot of a dystopian book or film, or like a frightening social experiment. A totally isolated society living in horrific conditions, without electric power, between ruins, under a dictatorial government. What holds that society together?
Nothing. They’re in the throes of an internal struggle. At one time, what united them was the feeling that they were all in the same boat: Everyone suffers from the blockade, from the Israeli attacks. There was a sense of shared destiny. That no longer exists. They blame one another for the situation, quarrel, fume; it really is chaos. The only thing that can perhaps be said to be an organizing factor is the regime.