The Other Shoe – on the Duality of War and Life


Nicolas de Staël, Seaside Railway Line in the Setting Sun, 1955, Wikiart


It is the calm after the storm.

It is the calm before the storm.

We know what happened.

We got back to normality.

We know what is yet to come.

We will lose said normality.

War is here, and more is coming.


Living life is like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Something’s not right.

Something’s too right.

Living in an eerie normality.

A simulation.

Going out to eat, laugh, enjoy life with friends.

And then the face of a girl on a poster.

She is still there, far from normality.

Every day, a hell on earth.

We don’t hear her screams during dinner.


Sitting on the beach, watching the waves.

Some sun, some carelessness.

Not 80km away the same waves wade along.

Same sea.

Unimaginably forbidden.

The beach as always.

People lying down to tan.

Bodies lying lifelessly.

The beach remains idle.


A festival in the north last weekend.

In honour of one of the resident kids who fell.

The stage full, people dancing to the rhythm.

In the back, a memorial.

Music is pounding.

Candles are being lit.

Teenagers go from crying to partying.


A grotesque sight.

A necessary relief.


Life goes on and we make sure of it.

Resilience, too, has its cost.

Imagine Yom haZikaron.

Imagine Yom haAtzmaut.

What do we do this year?

With so much to grieve.

With so much to celebrate.

Existence versus destruction.

This piece of land is a little bit of earth in hell.


None of this is okay.

None of us are okay.


How can we just go on?

How can we not?

Judith Offenberg, April 2, 2024

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