There was a moment
"It's Not So Easy..."
By Rick Horowitz
It could be trouble, this peace thing.
Yes, the sun was shining and the music was playing and all those people were on the lawn watching it happen, but really, now -- do they have any idea what they've gotten into?
Did they think about the rabbis? At this very minute all over the world, rabbis are tearing up their Rosh Hashanah sermons and starting all over again. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and a major chance for rabbis to strut their rhetorical stuff for eager congregations. But there they were, all those rabbis, just hours away from clearing their throats and diving in, when this peace thing happened and every line had to be rewritten.
It's not the first time, of course. There was the Yom Kippur war back in '73, and the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps in the fall of '82, other High Holy Days sermons caught in the rush of breaking news. But people knew how to deal with those. The details might have been surprising, but the basics -- war and death, horror and destruction -- rabbis had been sermonizing about those things for years.
This peace business, though -- this was going to take some heavy editing.
And what about the banner-hangers -- did anyone think about the banner-hangers? You've got a pile of bed sheets in the corner of your room that sum it all up in a word or three, a well-chosen phrase to a punctuate a parade or whip up a frenzy in the streets.
Then you turn on the TV. The picture, from continents away, is grainy, but this much you can see: Your people and your enemies are standing side by side. Your words and phrases are suddenly pointless. Such of waste of linen.
The spray-painters, likewise. Cans filled with slogans for every wall and doorway, but if the men on the TV are truly standing side by side (Is it a trick? A ruse? A hoax?) and putting pen to paper, there's suddenly that much less to spray venom about.
And the people in every place who prefer that everything have a place -- "My allies here, my enemies there" -- with never a need to recalculate. Did anyone think of them? How positively vertiginous, all those pictures on the TV -- Israeli and Palestinian, American and Russian, together on the lawn, at the podium, at the signing table. Together! Good news for the therapists and the couch jockeys. For everyone else? Could be trouble.
For the weapon sellers, could be big trouble. Let the tensions -- the business opportunities -- ebb and flow in other parts of the planet; in the Middle East, a killing machine is always the perfect gift. But if this peace thing actually takes hold -- against all odds, against all history -- then what? Selling plowshares? Where's the profit in that?
So many people jumbled by the whole thing, so many trembling in disbelief at the smiles and the handshakes, that you watch these men on the lawn, before the crowd, in the sunlight, and you ask yourself: Why bother?
Because it's right.
Because it's time.
©1993 Rick Horowitz. All rights reserved.