Monday, July 17, 2006
Of Two Different Minds
Be lenient with me as I return to a subject about which I have frequently griped in the past: "the Europeans." Today, I ran into an acquaintance of mine from a very small country in Western Europe, and asked her how she had passed the last few days. She mentioned that she had had a wonderful time at the beach in Tel Aviv. The only thing that had disturbed her, were the sounds of military helicopters moving across the sky. "Everything was so peaceful, and then this ...." she said with obvious resentment. The statement reminded me of the distaste some European visitors expressed to me about the police presence in some American cities, as well as the abundance of security personnel with guns on Israel's streets. I find it very difficult to understand this mindset. The helicopters are making it possible for me to sit safely on the beach. The security guards are there to prevent us from being blown up. Yes, I am resentful - but not at the people who are protecting me.
In conversations with Europeans, and while living on the Continent, I have often noticed a certain uneasiness with police and soldiers, even if they are representatives of democratic states pledged to safeguard the rights of their fellow-citizens. Some French and German acquaintances of mine, almost seemed to prefer the risk of being the target of violent crime to an increased police presence or more agressive patrolling.