It seems to me that the Road Map is getting too much attention and that too much of it is overly optimistic. While I understand the desire for a happy ending, the reality of the situation leaves me with a sense of cynical pessimism. Still, life goes on, but something has to change.
The story of Mike’s Place is intriguing as a window into survival under the constant threat of violence from hostile neighbors. At Mike’s, life went on. In today’s HaAretz, Roni Singer tells us about a couple of filmmakers who were making a documentary about Mike’s and how the theme of the film will change because of the bombing. Mike’s was going to be a symbol to show the world that life in Israel so different from what the world sees. “[They] wanted to show in the movie that life here is actually quite usual, perhaps not normal but not what they think.” The bomb changed that.
"We are not sure which way to continue. Jack wanted a movie about how life is normal here and how people are not afraid. How can we show that message now? The camera filmed something else."
The filmmakers were at Mike’s when it happened. Their lives have changed and now the documentary will show their dream, how it was shattered, and how life goes on… They don’t think they can have a happy ending.
Happy endings are going to be a long time coming. More than a generations of Arabs have been brought up in a culture that teaches hate of Israel and its Jews. The lies they teach their children, just like the lies the Al Jezeera fed the Arab world through the war in Iraq, led to false hope followed by shame. Arab intransigence has kept them from learning to cooperate with Israel for 55 years. Almost every opportunity for the Arabs to extend a hand of peace towards Israel has been wasted. Why is it different this time?
Hopefully Mike’s will continue in the same way that life goes on every day in Israel. The dream of peace will return, the pieces will be put back together and life will go on. Maybe the Arabs will stop the violence and decide to live in peace with Israel. Maybe the Road Map will serve its idealistic purpose; maybe there will be peace… But then again, maybe there won’t…
The dreams being documented in Mike’s place have been shattered in the same way that the ideals of Oslo were destroyed. There is a new reality, but something must be done… life goes on. Take a few minutes, go to Mike’s Place and browse. Enjoy it like I did, put some Blues into the CD player, grab a beer and take a walk through the gallery, look at the menu, and say a prayer for those killed ... and for the injured, and for all of the shattered dreams.