“Denial…is the main ability the Israelis develop.” ~Ram Landes
Citizens of war-torn countries are accustomed to their day being broken up by distant gunfire and explosions. The Israeli people are no exception. As a citizen of the relatively safe USA, I am saddened that that hardened perspective exists anywhere. Yet, I understand that while violence is not acceptable, the Israelis know that the fighting is happening on their soil, so the sounds are no surprise.
Moreover, it is the practice in Israel to recover swiftly after a terrorist attack. Sidewalks, buildings, and communities are quickly rebuilt. The Israelis do so not to forget what happened but to move on. Rather than dwell on the destruction, they accept their dangerous reality and keep living their lives. Terrorism is partly a psychological battle.
Now a live art exhibit has taken the next step. This exhibit is down the street from the site of an eight-month old attack. The three part video display commemorates a New Year’s shooting in Tel Aviv. The first video features the lone wolf’s cellphone recording just prior to executing his scheme. The second is footage of the shootout with security forces. The final video is the bar today, fully populated and seemingly undisturbed.
Putting the tragedy back on the public radar reminds citizens about the attack, suggesting that ignoring the violence is no solution. Sponsor Ronny Douek believes that we must stare terrorism in the face to fight it: “‘A lot of people don’t want to stop and speak…. That’s the story of this country: You want to go forward…. I’m trying to do something that depicts the environment we live in here. This is something you see happening around the world now.'”
The art exhibit is generally met with apathy, with such violence being sadly commonplace. This response contrasts sharply with the #NeverForget hashtag trending this weekend.
This all begs the question: Is facing our fears indeed the best way to cope? Or should we move on?