This entry is an opportunity and invitation to follow up on this comment in a discussion on my blog, about the slogan on the banner on Adam's summer blog, and which has also received some comments on Adam's main blog Pomomusings here.
I'd like to invite participation in a structured discussion of the slogan "To exist is to resist." If this slogan were said to you by a person with whom you agreed, what would be the message you would hear? If you choose to join in this discussion on this blog entry, please begin your first comment by offering your paraphrase of the message you would hear. I hope that this discussion might be a helpful way to build some bridges of understanding between people who disagree.
When I hear that slogan, I hear it saying that my existence itself is an act of resistance against all the forces that I perceive to be aligned against me. Another paraphrase of the same idea would be that "Living well is the best revenge." I hear this as a life-affirming, positive message that encourages me not to surrender to nihilism and hopelessness. As a pastor of a small membership church in a community that has its share of problems, I would hear this as encouragement to carry on making sure the church is pursuing its mission.
If the English words were turned around so that the slogan was "To resist is to exist," the meaning would be almost the opposite. It would be a statement that resistance is my reason for being, and perhaps could lead to the conclusion that any and all destructive acts of resistance are appropriate. I disagree with such a slogan and condemn the use of terroristic violence by anyone.
Some have made the assertion that this slogan is a Hamas slogan. I don't agree with the goals of Hamas (at least as they are stated at the Wikipedia entry for Hamas last modified 23:37, 23 August 2005). I also have not been able to verify that Hamas is the source of the slogan, but my main question to my readers is "What do these words mean?"
I invite you to offer responses either through Blogger comments directly on the park bench or side comments through Haloscan. But please begin your first comment by offering your paraphrase of the slogan as (perhaps imaginatively) stated to you by someone with whom you agree.
File under: motivation, existence, resistance