Before I get started, this is in no way a political post leaning leftwards, but I’m sure the odd idiot out there will take exception to something or other I write…so, if you are an idiot, please read no further.
Tomorrow sees the 10th anniversary of the Rabin assassination. Can you remember where you were 10 years ago tomorrow?
Crazy, eh? 10 whole years, 10 years since we heard those spine-chilling words read from the PM’s spokesman at the entrance to Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, pronouncing the death of Rabin, followed by cries of despair from the crowds surrounding him. I don’t do spine-chilling much, as She might vouch, but this is a moment which almost gets my tear-ducts juicing up…
I’m guessing most of you (at least those in Israel, or those connected in some way to Israel) know exactly where you were when you first heard the news that Rabin had been shot. I know exactly where I was. I was shopping with my then girlfriend, as it was actually her birthday, and we had gone out to celebrate. Don’t remember where we’d been before we walked into Super-Pharm (and don’t remember her much, if I’m honest, though every Rabin anniversary flashes me back to this moment when we were together) but we heard some of the cashiers talking about somebody getting shot. When we asked, they looked at us in surprise: “What, you didn’t hear? Rabin was shot!”
I remember us making our way back to her parents’ place (unable to talk as we were on the back of my scooter, and probably numb with nothing to say anyway) and entering a noisy house complete with TV blaring. My girlfriend’s father had his head in his hands and was mumbling to himself that he wished he hadn’t said the things he’d said about Rabin. As you can guess, her father leaned so far to the right he was walking on three limbs…
It wasn’t long before the confirmation of Rabin’s death came through and the trauma that was solely Israel’s was underway. Who can’t forget the endless crowds at Kikar Malchei Israel (eventually renamed Kikar Rabin), the candlelight vigils, the tearful kids that seemed to take it the hardest, the funeral procession, Clinton’s magical “Shalom Haver” (“Goodbye, friend”) quote. And then, we moved into the blame process, with endless stories of conspiracies, undercover agents, “rabid right-wingers” and “looney lefties”…and despite the trauma, a cleverly-waged election campaign from Netanyahu saw the right-wing Likud take over the governmental reins only a few months after Rabin’s death. Oslo and any dreams of peace were dead and buried for now.
You know what’s most galling about this 10th anniversary? That his killer, Yigal Amir, the one with that arrogant sneer that really needs wiping off, is still in the headlines. What with his ambitions of procreating with his nutter groupie of a wife and fresh announcements of a cover up, he still fronts our newspapers, still has his face greeting me when I access news websites…
10 years on and there are still people who don’t appear to have learned. Conspiracy theories still abound, but it looks like most are clutching at straws. A myth has been created, even Rabin himself has become a myth and comes out smelling like a true hero, despite his obvious flaws. I’m a big advocate of free speech, but how this guy is getting away with publishing his theories and doctored pics of Peres, I don’t know. Sad stuff.
10 years on, eh?
Well, do you remember where you were when you heard Rabin was shot?