OPINION

How will Gaza be remembered?

How many years will it take for the Israeli people to digest the memories of the carnage against the civilians in Gaza? The massacre at the civilian camps of Sabra and Shatila took 24 years to be acknowledged in the collective memory of Israel and became the subject of Ari Folman’s recent animated documentary «Waltz with Bashir.» How many years from now will some other Israeli artist, someone who is now driving a Merkava tank and shelling shacks and civilians, dredge up the memory of this massacre? And how will he or she describe it? A just war? A purge of terrorists? The killing of children? The demolition of schools? The razing of hospitals? The word weighs heavily upon us, haunting our thoughts, both ours here in Greece and those of the Israelis over there. We are ancient peoples, like the Palestinians-Philistines, and we know what it means to take control of waters, land and streets, to blockade rivers and passages, close off ports, exhaust the farm laborer, bring a people to their knees. We know who dies when a school is bombed. We know what it means for a well-armed soldier to attack someone who has nothing. We know exactly what this is called, and the Israelis know this better than anyone – they live in its shadow, they experienced its most monstrous manifestation. Of the massacre of the Palestinian civilians in the camps, Folman remembered only that he sent up flares all night long to help the job get done. How will today’s Israeli bomber remember the white phosphorus shells that are fired against the hospitals and UN buildings? As flares? And how will he remember the razing of Gaza? As a video game, a special edition of World of Warcraft. The work that tells us of the Gaza massacre will be much more brutal than Folman’s film, but art does not bring forgiveness.