Je Suis Tel Aviv
Truth be told, I have never been the biggest fan of the twitter hashtags or post-tragedy-flag overlays that seem to have a curious agenda. They seem to me to be lazy activism, a way for people to feel involved and as if they are making a difference without actually doing much more than, perhaps ironically given the figure of speech, lifting a finger. Having said all that, I get it, I understand it and, of course, I am part of the social media culture where the response to a tragedy is a desperate searching for someway to show solidarity, to somehow keep up with the sheer scale of tragedies that befall this world. Leave the actually dealing with it to the politicians. I'll vote when called upon to vote, I'll write about my ideas but is it really my job to defeat ISIS or solve refugee crises? Perhaps not.
Regardless, there is something I do feel we, mere random individuals, can do. Because terrorism, as much as its aim, by definition, is to force political change - whatever that might be - is also to scare us, to force changes in our behaviour, both our actions and our attitudes to other people and to divide us. So, as idealistic as it may sound, we can respond by not changing our behaviour, by carrying on as if nothing had happened and to not let it affect how we see other people, people who look different to us. To that end, and this won't defeat terrorism, but it at least shows terrorism won't defeat us, I was recently in Paris and I am currently in Israel. Because despite the risk it might pose, I refuse to cower to terrorism. I refuse to let it stop me from visiting one of my favourite cities in the world and I refuse to let it stop me from coming home to Israel.
And Israel truly is home. From the moment I step off the plane I can feel it. Whether it's the sudden medical expertise that is present in the passport control queue when a young boy throws up or the brutal slap in the face delivered by the relentless summer heat at 6am, it's evident to me as soon as I land. My Father is confused by my visits to Israel. "What are you going to do for three weeks?" he proclaims and truth be told, not a lot is my answer. I'll read outside and retreat inside as soon as I get too hot. I'll go out with my cousin's children, sure. I'll eat my bodyweight daily and worry about whether I am doing enough exercise. But really, I'll lounge about and write blogs and play Fifa and do a whole lot of not much but enjoy that feeling you get when you know you're home.
So perhaps it isn't my job to solve the world's problems and maybe hashtags and solidarity aren't going to do anything. But to me Je Suis Tel Aviv or Je Suis Charlie or Je Suis whatever it might be means refusing to let terrorism beat us and refusing to cower to its fear. And maybe that won't do a damned thing. But who cares, Israel is my home and no damned terrorist attack can change that. Equally, the West, the UK is where I live and no ISIS attack will stop me from living my life there.