Semiotic Confusion

January 14, 2009 at 11:53 1 comment

I had just sat down in the cafeteria with my lunch about an hour ago when the air-raid siren went off. At first, no one really took it very seriously, but after a while people started to remember that there actually is a war going on, so they stopped eating and asked each other what they should do.

One would think that this is an easy one: when the air-raid siren goes off, one looks for shelter.

One would be wrong.

It seems that Jerusalemites have been conditioned to treat the air-raid siren as an indicator of a public event — no doubt a consequence of years and years of wailing sirens on Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen.  Consequently, they all got up to go out on the terrace to get a better view.

One can’t help but wonder what would have happened if it hadn’t been a false alarm.

And those of you who might think that this is a behavior isolated to employees of Yad Vashem, can read this report on Ynet with an eye-witness in the Katamon area who reacted in the exact same way. He’s quoted as saying:

“I went out on the balcony to see if there was anything going on, but there was nothing. The neighbors asked what had happened, but it didn’t seem to be serious.”

According to the report, this guy wasn’t the only one who reacted to the siren by going out to have a look and not to seek shelter.

It would seem that the City of Jerusalem has an important educational task ahead of them.


Entry filed under: Life.

Decision Time Breaking the Radio Waves

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. moi  |  January 14, 2009 at 21:44

    Luckly Jerusalem has more than a handful of fab educators!


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