Inna Rogatchi (C). Crying Heaven. 2023. Hatikvah in White and Blue project.

All these 15 days after the October 7th massacre against peaceful Israeli civilians, I am thinking that we do need to publish all their photos, of all the victims, and their wounded and orphaned families too. Plus all and every photo of all kidnapped hostages. Plus all the photos of those who are still accounted for, there are at least 100+ people. Plus all the photos of the wounded, they all are victims of the  unprecedented terrorist assault. I know that we do have these collages, and it is important and good, very important and very good. I and my husband are personally very grateful to the editors at the Italian TG1, Tele Giornale 1 of RAI I, the country’s main TV news program which broadcasted the entire news magazine of the weekend on October 21st, 2023 in the studio which was all entirely made of such collage of the Israeli victims of the October massacre. It speaks volumes. Grazie cordialmente to everyone who has come with this idea, who executed it and who made it happen. It impacts not only directly visually, it sends the correct, decent message to a huge audience. This should be done in every really decent country worldwide. But so far, we saw it in just one of them. This is not to diminish the efforts of the others, nor to complain. It is just to note that this simple, telling and efficient visual commemoration – and reminding of the victims – can be done in this straightforward and honest way. Just saying. 

We know about the impressive exhibit of these photos in the Tel-Aviv Theatre, as a commemorative installation in an empty hall. The hall has 1000 seats which  was not enough to place portraits of all the victims there. We have now seen a dramatic exhibit of hundreds of empty children trolleys with their photos in each of them, in the garden next to Westminster in London. 

And also, when you put them all together in these existing collages – which is the first impulse of all those people who are making the heart-rendering collages – our ability to perceive each of them individually diminishes. I hope that it would be possible to publish portraits of every single victim of the October 7th massacre, and to tell the story of each and every of them. Each and every. Only in this way, we will make sure that they will survive in our memory. 

Among these stories, which nowadays are surfacing randomly, as families and friends sharing them, is one of Shlomo Ron. Shlomo was 85-year old, and he lived with his wife in kibbutz Nahal Oz all their lives. They loved literature, poetry, music and theatre. And he was quite ill. They also have a loving family, daughters and grandson who all came to visit their parents and grandparents for the end of the High Holidays and Simchat Torah. When the kibbutz was attacked, all of them went down to the security room. After a while, listening to what was going on around, 85-year-old Shlomo went upstairs, leaving his wife, daughters and grandson in the shelter. He had no weapon on him. He was sitting in the house waiting for the beasts to come. They did and saw elderly man sitting in his chair alone. Shlomo was murdered  at point blank range. His family was saved. The end of the story. Intelligent, loving, elderly, quite sick Jewish man who took a bullet to save his loved ones. A hero. One of many. And we ought to remember each and every one of them. Each and everyone. We ought to remember what they looked like, too. Memory is never  faceless. 

I find it useless to argue with anyone who fails to comprehend these simplest things of life and death, victim and perpetrator, decency and cowardness, truth and lie, humanity and barbarity.  By arguing with those who are on another side, we are diminishing the honour of our victims, in my opinion. You cannot teach decency to those who support and promote hate and crimes against humanity, for whatever reason. 

The 85-year-old Shlomo Ron, sick, gentle, quiet Jewish man defended his entire family. Jewish lions can be ageing, and they also can be sick. The heart is what matters. Attacking them self-drugged jackals and snakes can be in a great physical form and armed to the teeth. It does not make them anything else, but mad jackals and snakes. And those who are supporting them, are nobody else but creatures who are fancy of serpentariums. Let them enjoy it. They deserve it.