Today is Yom Hazikaron in Israel. Meaning – Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day – 22,867 soldiers and 2,443 civilians. There are many events happening, many ways to commemorate them, the cemeteries are full of living people who have come to visit the dead, many of them soldiers around twenty years old. The sirens that pierce the sky over this troubled land have turned to the broadest common denominator during this day. Stop for one minute; make a mark on the flow.
Years ago a TV crew arrived to one of the kibbutzim to make a documentary about three soldiers from there who’ve died. As they were wondering around and shooting their cameras an elderly woman approached them and asked “what are you doing?” they told her. “My son has fallen too, why don’t you make a movie about him? Is he less important?” The TV guy almost answered “their story is good for the visual medium” but realized that notion was sending shivers down his spine. They were sorting stories according to the demands of the medium…
He went home and couldn’t stop thinking about her question. Eventually he came up with the idea of devoting a TV channel during this day to the screening of all the names, including rank and date of death. Since then, this long-long “these are the names” list appears on that channel through the entire day and night. People wake up in the middle of the night to watch the name of their beloved stand on the screen for five seconds. Watching that channel for several hours is a paralyzing experience but at the same time it elicits endless stories in your mind. You notice ages and years, names which give you a sense of origin and ranks that hint about the possible circumstances of death. You don’t really know but you travel for hours in worlds created by two words – a name.
Picture credit – Ester Inbar.