Blaming others for violence

I have been thinking about my choreographic project… how to choreograph something about non-violence….

I was chatting with a colleague at work and she told me about her trip to Israel with her mother. Her mom had gotten ill, and they had taken a pilgrimage. When I was a young teenager my grandparents took my family with them to Israel for a week.

We went to a place called Yad Vashem (which Fani is reminding me means ‘hand of god’.) Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Museum/Memorial. The last room I was in was a large dim room, with a candle burning in the ground. When I left the room, it was back into the bright middle-east sunlight. My grandfather was on the far side of a small open plaza. It was the only time I saw him cry.

image of Yad Vashem

He fled Germany in the late thirties, and met my grandmother – who had fled Austria – in New York city. He lost many friends, and some family. 

He felt so bad for surviving.

I told my colleague this, and we also talked about the woman who cut my hair last week – who was Palestinian. I felt this flare of  embarrassment when I identified myself as jewish to the hairdresser.

We need to stop blaming other people for violence. It’s important that we accept the challenge of opposing violence. I’m still not sure how to go about it, but I think a way for me to address non-violence would be to create some dance that asks us (the dancers) to stop blaming others for violence.


Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.