Are we there yet? People who don’t live here keep asking if we are back to normal yet. What does that mean? It would be like the world telling America after 9-11, “Oh, just get over it, already!” Trauma doesn’t just go away. And even though we are coping fairly well, we can’t go back to the way things were before. They won’t ever be quite the same.
But the real problem is that it’s not over yet! The people I talk to from other countries seem to assume that everything is resolved. It is not. And I feel powerless to explain, because whenever I try to use an analogy to put it into their daily reality, it simply doesn’t work. Take, for example, this totally fake scenario:
It is spring, and the sap is rising in millions of maple trees in Vermont. A radical terrorist group, using Canada as their base, launches a raid across the border. These enraged fanatics, wearing plaid hats with ear flaps, kidnap two US customs agents near the border and kill another eight. Then they retreat back over the border and begin launching airborn, kamakazi moose at all of the New England area. Soon, a significant chunk of the US is terrorized, as a rain of deadly exploding moose (some carrying payloads of maple syrup) kill and injure thousands, force mass evacuations, and render hundreds of communities sticky.
Canada refuses to take responsibility and control the terrorists. In fact, the terrorists have endeared themselves to the population by opening free hockey camps for kids, and giving beef jerky to the needy. True, they terrorize the suburbs and have been known to enact gruesome vengeance on anyone who dares oppose them (something involving Yukon Jack and a snow shoe), but this hasn’t stopped a few from actually holding seats in the currently-elected government. The US decides to invade to retrieve their kidnapped customs agents and stop the attacks. It is immediately condemned by the world, even as the terrorists manage to fire a polar bear at New York City, destroying Rockefeller Center and injuring hundreds. Their spokesman tells the world that Washington is next.
The UN gets involved. After endless arguments over resolution terminology (such as whether to call the terrorists naughty or Not Nice), UNIFIL troops are finally committed to… to… well, we’re not really sure, because the UN says that they won’t be allowed to fight the terrorists, or destroy their caches of moose and maple syrup, or even laugh at their accents. They are just going to mill around, we guess, and provide a steady income for Canadian snack bars along the border.
OK, do you see my problem? No rational American can imagine an attack launched from a bordering country. It sounds silly to even talk about it. Even my European friends don’t get it; that was their parents’ or grandparents’ generation, and it no longer resonates as a cultural memory for them. But no rational Israeli can pretend that this is over! And now, of course, I have the added problem of the anticipated flames from my Canadian readers, assuming they can dig through the ice and snow in Winnipeg and find two sticks to rub together. Guys! We really love ya! Moosehead! Cute RCMP uniforms! The Looney! Nielsen’s Burnt Almond chocolate bars! Please don’t beat me over the head with a lacrosse stick…
So we aren’t there yet: We are still in a shaky state of calm that could end at any moment. So our beit knesset is running a “let’s talk about it” evening, guided by a trained psychologists. A great idea, and Rav Tzvi is to be commended for putting this together. In order to meet the needs of our diverse little group, there will be not just one such evening, but four: one in Hebrew, one in Russian, one in Spanish, and one in English. Trust me: even when you’re reasonably fluent in another language, it is always easier to do this kind of work in your mother-tongue language. Similarly, the therapist leading each group will be a mother-tongue speaker of that language.
My new paperweight: At 7.5 kilos and a mobility index slightly lower than bok choy, Nadine makes an excellent paperweight. I’ve been using her in my office, on the coffee table, and on newspapers spread out on the bed. She is also useful for anchoring the bed linen, on the off chance that a gale force wind might suddenly errupt in the middle of the night. We can hire her out to hold down tableclothes for al fresco dining, to keep tent flaps secure, or to prevent parked cars from rolling.
Geeks rule! Notice the hit counter on the right? I should have done it ages ago, but that is the classic of problem of skipping proper design and site planning. I had started this blog on-the-fly as a quickie communication solution during the war. In fact, the URL was sent to less than 50 people. But it spread. Based on yesterday’s hits, I estimate that we’ve had somewhere between 3000 and 4000 visits. Yes, and while I am mildly pleased with myself for tweaking and prodding the code, the real kudos go to StatCounter, who provides these powerful and customizable site statistic tools free for small sites, with no forced banner ads or annoying pop-ups. If you are mildly geeky, you should be able to follow their lucid directions and get up and running quickly. I’m impressed. Even cooler was a final peek at the system right before midnight last night, to see that I was currently being read by people in Tel Aviv, Austin, Arlington, Seattle, Winnipeg, and somewhere in Slovenia.
Meet a real futurist: Never met a professional futurist? Not sure what a futurist is? Well, meet Tsvi Bisk, who spends his time looking into the future trends. Tsvi is a thought-provoking and entertaining speaker, and the author of many books and articles. His latest piece, Halting Islamic Terror, is available on his site as a free PDF download.
S’long, mate: I simply can’t sign off today without tipping my Barmah to Steve Irwin. The world became a little blander yesterday with his death. I wonder if he had time to say, “Crikey!” when that stingray nailed him. We’ll miss you, and we hope that there are plenty of crocs to wrestle wherever you are. Good on ya, cobber.