Israel Stories

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Greengrocer

I distinctly remember Mrs. Tudor, the last of a bread of traditional greengrocers that only sold groceries.

Mrs. Tudor was old twenty five years ago. Mrs. Tudor used to complain, did she complain. We used to joke that if it wasn’t for her strict Anglican upbringing she could have been a Jewish mother.

But her complaining always took her back to fond memories of the war, the Second World War. “Ah”, she used sigh, “happy days all of us getting together, mucking in, down the Underground when the blitz was on. Everyone helped everyone else, happy days.”

It never occurred to me to mention that while she was having such a grand old time of it ‘down the Underground’ that the Jews were being murdered in Europe. Still she had her war and we had ours and I am sure if she had lost her house to a V2 rocket or lost a relative she wouldn’t have such happy memories. Try a whole family, Mrs. Tudor, try a whole dynasty, village town, country, continent, that’s what we lost. But I could never bring myself in later years to correct sweet old Mrs. Tudor. So she carried on sighing and serving fresh fruit vegetables and cola bottles.

Mrs. Tudor told me that although she was having a grand old time of it, she was eventually sent with her sister to live in the countryside away from the big city, just to be safe.

“You see in war you can’t guarantee that the enemy soldiers will only attack the enemy soldiers, its just not cricket you know”. I knew what she meant. War is evil and cruel and the civilian population always suffers, but just like the forties, the evil has to be wiped out.

What would Mrs. Tudor have said if her brave army had used her home as a base, launching rockets from her garden and firing from civilian areas, winning every perverted PR war because the other side was killing more civilians than them?

I don’t think Mrs. Tudor would have had a ‘grand old time of it’.

So this is a message to the Mrs. Tudors of today who think war is about mucking in and should be a sporting occasion, forget it. War is dirty and ugly and it has one sole purpose, destruction. Defending your country, on the other hand, is about survival.

The next time a suicide bomber blows up in a grocery store, I hope for Mrs. Tudors sake it’s not hers.

To Mrs. Tudor’s credit she doesn’t sell the UK Jewish Chronicle:,7340,L-3281084,00.html


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