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Monday, November 09, 2015

Reader's Diary #1210- Alec Niedenthal: When the War was Over


"When the War is Over" by Alec Niedenthal is about a Jewish private school board, planning to build a new wing to memorialize the holocaust. First, however, they need to deal with the controversial Facebook comments of one of their members who has spoken out against Israel in the most recent Israel-Palestine conflict.

Admittedly, this is all of a topic of which I'm quite uncomfortable. (Well, boo-hoo to me, right?) It's just that I know it's so complicated and politically charged, plus, I don't know if I'm informed enough despite endless news stories and documentaries and so forth to weigh in. I'm not sure I want to.

What's intriguing about Niedenthal's story is all the words he doesn't say. He never says Israel. Nor Palestine, nor Jew, nor Nazi, nor holocaust. He says war, but never World War II. He says camps, but never concentration camps.

The omissions seem purposeful. Maybe we're suppose to just write the missing stuff off as context, and focus on the damaged relationship between the school board and Rosa, who's gone rogue. Maybe those at the heart of all of that don't need to be so specific, maybe those specifics are just used by CNN to explain it all to the unconnected folks like me. But by not using those terms, Niedenthal created a "don't think of a pink rhinoceros" scenario. It was impossible for me not to notice what wasn't there.

I feel there's a point here somewhere that I haven't yet grasped in its entirety.

In any case, maybe I should be thankful that I haven't been forced to weigh in?


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