Reprinted from Gush Shalom
DAVID BEN-GURION was not buried in the Great of the Nation portion of the national cemetery in Jerusalem, but next to his wife's grave in Sde Boker, the Negev settlement he loved.
Shimon Peres, his pupil and follower, was not buried next to his wife's grave in Ben Shemen, the place she loved. But in the Great of the Nation plot.
That's all the difference.
I DID not take part in the hullabaloo that accompanied the funeral. All in all, it was quite ridiculous. Everybody who had once shaken his hand or exchanged a few words with him felt obliged to write about him at length, expressing his profound insights. Most of it was sheer nonsense.
I enjoy appearing on TV. But this time I refused dozens of invitations from TV, the radio and whatnot. I just did not want to join the chorus.
Apart from anything else, there was also the paradox: the hundreds of eulogists, including the dozens who came from abroad, spoke in order to praise the Man of Peace, but the entire event was a propaganda triumph for the Netanyahu government, the government of occupation.
THE DELUGE of articles about the deceased reminded me of the ancient Greek story about a bunch of blind men, who came across an elephant. "The elephant is like a pipe," reported one, who was holding the trunk. "The elephant is hard and sharp," said the one holding the tusks. "It is like a rug" said the one holding the ear flaps, and so on.
Shimon Peres had many facets. Only all of them together make the real man, who was not seen by any of the eulogists. Almost all they said and wrote was rubbish.
All of them ignored the real elephant standing in the middle of the room: the occupation.
WHEN HE was felled by the stroke, I wrote an article. I have decided now to publish it anew, with several additions I feel are important, or, at least, interesting. I am sorry if it is a bit long.
Shimon Peres was a genius. A poseur of genius.
All his life he worked on his public persona. The image replaced the man. Almost all the eulogies were about the imagined person, not the real one. The real man was buried, may his soul rest in peace. The imagined man will be remembered for generations to come.
ON THE surface, there were some similarities between him and me.
He was just 39 days older than I. He came to this country a few months after me, when both of us were 10 years old. I was sent to Nahalal, a cooperative village. He was sent to Ben Shemen, an agricultural youth village.