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This article is taken from PN Review 267, Volume 49 Number 1, September - October 2022.

Running Between Languages Stav Poleg
My parents discovered socialism when I was eight months old. They moved from Tel Aviv, where I was born, to a kibbutz in the southern desert of Israel, where they would share their belongings and get the same basic salary as everyone else. There, at this utopian community in the heart of the desert, they would leave their baby in a Children’s House – a place in which babies and children would spend every night, away from their parents. Perhaps we each have our own starting point, and this version of radical socialism was mine. In the Children’s House there was no adult to look after us during the night. But there was a recording machine that could detect cries if they were loud enough, so that a rotating Night Guard would drop by if needed. By the time I was four years old, some children would learn to get out of bed and walk towards the point where the machine was fixed to the wall, stand under it and only then begin to cry – making sure the night guard would detect their cries and come to soothe them. Every morning I made a pact with myself: tonight, I’ll walk towards the machine, say that I’m scared, and ask the night guard to come. Every night, I woke up and walked the long corridor until I stood under the machine, a four-year old observing the rickety wooden device, tracing the moon and the way it changed in the window next to it, and never managed to utter a word.

Fast forward to London, Holborn, St Clement’s Lane. I’m in my twenties, ...


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