An Anarchist

Reuven Miran On:

An Anarchist by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad’s An Anarchist, translated into Hebrew for the first time here, was first published in 1906 in Harper’s Magazine. In his search for rare butterflies, the narrator finds the Anarchisto de Barcelona, a sea mechanic who may be a skilled sailor but finds it hard to navigate his own life. The man is not exactly an anarchist and not really from Barcelona, only his hot temper, passionate heart and easily side-tracked mind carry him into a whirlwind of violence and he, in his innocence, pays for this with his freedom. And like him, so do many other naïve people who believe the ads that market tasteless meat extract
and political busybodies who sell them wars against the wrongs of society. In both cases, innocent people are the ones who pay the highest price – be it in health or in freedom.
However, the conservative Conrad knows that the line that separates the victims from the victimizers is sometimes blurred. “The bitterest contradictions and the deadliest conflicts of the world are carried on in every individual breast capable of feeling and passion,” says the narrator, probably expressing the opinion of the author.
In Joseph Conrad’s non-anarchist anarchist there is something that exists in every one of us: the longing to free oneself from the chains of a vicious society that misleads individuals and deceives them for the interests of power and money grabbing corporations, and side by side with it, the fear of the unseen but crushing power of that society, which dictates the fate of
the individual.

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