Tel Aviv Diary June 9, 2003 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from June 9, 2003 Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 9, 2003

took me a while to realize that according to my absolutely irrelevant yet obsessive rules i have to start a new page after the fifth day. and yet according to my rules i can't erase. so for the first part of this entry you have to go back to the previous one.

I forgot what i said anyway.

Asher Reich has a novel with the great title "Memoirs of an Amnesiac"

Maybe that's what I should call this.

June 10, 2003

This is the period for "end of the year" parties - especially in the academic world. so we too had a party - actually a very nice one - and Miriam noted how much we have been through this year. I began to protest and said that last year was worse because of greater numbers of terrorist attacks. But the decreasing faculty, the decreasing number of guests from abroad to buoy up our morale, the economic woes, the growing burden of student numbers and student tribulations and the personal tragedies we've all suffered this year have all had their toll. "That's why you're memory has gone," Kurt says over breakfast, "You can't bear to remember." He's not always pleasant to have around, that Kurt. And he always waits until Ezi leaves to give me those cutting evaluations.

We also discussed the road map - he noted that the emphasis of the name of the program is not on the objective but the way. like zen. and that peace is not an objective but a by-product of situations that can be created. Like the joint Jordanian/Palestinian/Israeli project to save the Dead Sea that was created today. When you have enough projects like this the atmosphere can change.

This may sound very intelligent but remember I'm reporting a conversation with a painting.

Of a man who was probably not so searing in his brilliance when he was alive.

And we are mourning even as i write 5 freshly killed young men, and perhaps another two citizens - the present results of terrorism.

June 11, 2003

who wants to watch the news - the way we're declaring good intentions and killing hamas at the same time. not nice. I know Rantisi is dangerous and will always do all he can to explode the road map, (until, as he repeatedly says, the last jew is gone from Palestine) but we didn't do the road map any good just now. And we aren't helping Abu Mazen keep his head above water either, even though that was the intent.

Another word about Rantisi - whenever i see him, or hear him speak, i think any reconciliation with the Arabs is impossible. He is so violent, extreme, and closed.

When I hear Abu Mazen or Sari Nusseibeh, I am less depressed.

Anyway we're not really expecting peace are we? just a respite, a cold war. Now that would be nice.

So the budget cuts get worse and worse, and life gets harder and harder - and the fact that we're not used to a simple life any more and don't know how to live on beans and rice makes it all the more difficult. there is still the pretence of middle-class we try to maintain. But some cuts - like those that are being done to social services, education, etc. - are irreversible. or difficult to reverse at least. how do you get a generation of illiterates to build a society? We, for example, have lost 25% of our faculty in our department, and have at least 10% more students. But how will we continue to give them an superior education (as we have been doing in the past)? The prospect is daunting.

For a change in subject, it is now time to announce that MISHMISH IS OPENING ON SUNDAY! This is the cocktail lounge Oren has been promising for months - a real escape. It's next to Shesek on 17 Lillienblum St. And it looks amazing.

(later) Back to Rantisi. No one says that Rantisi has not been a problem to every one - even the Palestinians have big trouble with him - and as my friend from high school, Richard, pointed out, the big mistake was missing, but it does not feel right. The sincerity of Sharon is seriously called into question with this. This morning Uzi Landau was smirking on TV with the knowledge that the peace program might be destroyed.

We are so overwhelmed with this and with the economic depression into which we seem to be descending that we have very little else on our agenda. Friends who have not been here for years have been coming back to visit in the past months and they all remark on the change in our character - we are not the cool funny sophisticated people we were.

Still, in the background, life goes on. The train station by the university is getting more and more gorgeous. The underpass at Kaplan and Derech Petach tikva shortens the drive through Tel Aviv by many minutes. Mishmish is opening with all the panache we once knew - it looks to me like a golden nineties palace - where you could find Mark Twain sitting in the corner. Dalia handed in her doctorate thesis in Chemistry, Roi and Ishay seems almost through with their CD "Thin Lips," a poetry workshop is opening up in the English Department of Tel Aviv University (after years of trying) and lots of other good stuff goes on.

June 12, 2003

Didn't manage to get those words out and the whole world blew up in our face. So many many dead. And, as the boy who blew himself up said - because of Rantisi. Maybe we'll be a litle more discreet and accurate about blowing up military leaders in the future. that's all i hope for.

And since the details are only now beginning to trickle out, i am staying with the illusion of the distance of jerusalem from tel aviv for the moment. And still talking about peace.

If you go to this siteCreative Response and you press Dance, you'll see information about a multimedia program Alexandra Handal did with her sister Nathalie and me in which we try to 'dance' together in the light of all these tragedies and crimes. It's on next week in Toronto.


June 19 ‚ July 19, 2003

Opening Reception: June 19, 5:30-7:30 PM

A Space Gallery

401 Richmond Street West, Suite 110

Toronto, Canada M5V 3A8 Gallery Hours:

Tue - Fri 11 AM ‚ 6 PM

Sat 12 PM ‚ 5 PM

If you're in the area, I'd be happy if you could attend, meet Alex and Nat, see how the whole thing gets put together.

Where will I be? Previous committments. Like on the 30th at night I'm reading with Yisrael Bright at Tmunah. He's doing a disk too.

Thanks to all you who congratulated my kids and friends - while you're at it - let Orit know you're rooting for her - she has a concussion and looks green.


A woman pours milk on the flames of the bus

by then 8 people are dead and 8 more

in their final agonies – and milk will only ease

the final embers

i can't write poems about this stuff any more - they just crumble in the middle. On the other hand, i keep thinking about details - details that would make poems in better times. The fact that the suicide bomber was dressed as a haredi jew and therefore wasn't checked - teaches us how much we resemble each other and how much we look for the more superficial details for identity. It reminds me of the story of the wagon driver in the shtetl who goes to the rabbi with his problem. My two horses are so alike i can't tell them apart. What should I do? The rabbi says - put a little paint on one of them. The wagoner is pleased, but after the first rain returns to complain again. The paint washed off! The rabbi advises: make a little notch in one of their ears. then there will be one with a notch and one without. But after a few weeks the wagonner comes back - the other one got wounded in the bushes and now both of them have a notch. You have to look more carefully. They can't be identical. Go measure their height. Surely one is taller than the other. Yes! With great joy the wagoner returns and praises the rabbi for his wisdom. I never noticed, but you're right! The white horse is almost one inch taller than the black one!

We are so looking for the details we don't see the bigger picture. Okay, here, in the bigger picture the point is how much we are alike. But the problem of seeing is the same.

There is of course other factors involved in our ability to see - one is the fact that we have to desensitize ourselves to the other in order to 'protect' ourselves. This is not an excuse to kill others. it's a way of staying alive. i cannot see the other as a person when he is trying to kill me. I dare not.

June 13, 2003

Mark wrote me this: "It seems this Friday is Friday the 13th of June, Friday the 13th of Sivan, and Friday the 13th of Rabi'a a-Thani, all at once.

I don't imagine that happens very often..."

Mark is full of amazing insights. Maybe this 'means' something for today.

Last night I went to Beit Levick, the Yiddish Writers' House, to participate in a panel on Ashkenazi Identity. I really had no idea what I was doing there because i'd be very happy if all of us give up all these identities and become human beings - but the evening turned out to be amazing.

First off, I was expecting a tiny doddering audience (even though I was warned they would be young), and an conversation irrelevant to the dire situation in which we find ourselves. I had a few jewish jokes in my head and that's about all.

But it turned out that the participants as well as the audience were media- and academia - related, and the discussion was as central to Israeli society as I can imagine.

Here's their manifesto in brief:
Becauae Ashkenazi civilization knows no territorial borders it can be a means to broaden the ethical identity of Israel. Once there is a sense of identity it will be possible to relate meaningfully with other peoples.

I added my 2 bits too:

When I was a teenager I was something of a pre-hippy. We were very into folk music ıand folk dance and folk dress. And knowledge of the songs of all the languages was a ısign of going beyond the provinciality of immigrant parents.
ı I belonged to a dance group, and was very proud of the fact that I transcended the ınarrow shtetl backgrounds of my parents with this. In fact I would not have even ıshared the information with them, sure they would not have understood. One day I ıwas practicing in my mind for a performance, an aristocratic Russian waltz called the ıAlexandrovska, and was humming the stately music to myself. Ta- tum tum ta Ta ıtum, ta dum dum ti ti. I was thinking about my tall partner and at what point he lifts ıand spins me around in my long silk dress.

And suddenly there was my mother humming the same tune. ıı"There are words to that," she said, with a twinkle in her eye…" and began to sing in ıYiddish. (I translate roughly) : In Vilna the maidens they go to dance class/ and the boys make a joke out of this./ they twirl their 'valchik' here and there./ Every maiden and her cavalier.ı

What she was saying to me was 1. sophistication is part of her background 2. her form of sophistication goes even further than mine - she not only knows the waltz, she knows the pretension of people who dance it in order to belong to the worldly artistocracy..

It is the property of the Yiddish language, having its position always as a second, outsider language, to be outside as well as inside a civilization, to criticize even while it participates. And Israel has lost that irony and perspective.

(Of course I am reducing the ideas discussed to my own interests: There was a great deal of talk about ashkenazi colonialism and self-hating repression of others.) I loved it - someone's finally talking about it.

The people on the panel; were Sara Chinsky, Assaf Galay, Nir Baram (coordinator), and - raising the average age by at least 20 years - me.

And today Linda gives a lecture on critical thinking and perspective at the university called "Why the Indian Smiled" which I suspect will feed into the idea of the need for critical perspective of last night. Of course you never know with Linda.

In case you're in the toronto area, you may be interested in this exhibit. i am. Please post widely

Please post widely.



|   W I L L


|   June 19 - July 19, 2003


|   Exhibition Reception: Thursday, June 19, 5:30-7:30 pm

|   Some of the artists will be present.



|   <>


|   A Space Gallery, 401 Richmond St.W., #110, Toronto, Canada

|   416-979-9633


|   Ilana Salama Ortar, Stephen Wright

|         (Israel, France)

|   Galia Shapira, Aref Nammari, Haggai Kupermintz, Phil Shane

|          (Israel/USA, Palestine/USA, Israel/USA, USA)

|   Alexandra Handal in collaboration with poets Karen Alkalay-Gut

and Nathalie Handal

|         (Palestine/Dominican Republic, Israel, Palestine/USA)

|   Rami a.k.a. Jaromil

|         (Italy, Palestine)

|   Artist Emergency Response

|         (USA)

|   Shahrzad Arshadi, Josée Lambert

|         (Canada)

|   Negotiations Working Group

|         (Canada)


|   WILL is a Creative Response initiative and a part of

_Negotiations: From a Piece of Land to a Land of Peace_ a multi-part

cultural event that intends to create new public spaces for dialogue

on shared entitlement and common responsibility for co-existence in

Palestine-Israel and beyond. For information about other Negotiations

events (June 19 - 29) visit our website at



|   C U R A T O R I A L   S T A T E M E N T

     High-tide on the day of war, before we are drowned into another

twilight of repressed and forgotten truths, engulfed in the light of

explosions - last year in Afghanistan, this year in Iraq, every year,

for fifty-five years, in the land historically known as Palestine -

we ask: how do we change our world to change our fate? This question

points directly to the ethics of our intentions and practices for it

is no longer possible to question the urgency and the imperatives.

The world must change if we are to live with one another in dignity.

To live with ourselves, we must change. The empire is unmasked, yet

again. Rulers are at work to redraw the map, yet again. Bodies have

lined up to stand witness to this violence, yet again. Violations are

countless and cannot be checked against the anachronistic terms of

"human rights." Bombs, tanks, armoured helicopters, guns and missiles

are not bound by any charters, and our utopian investments in

international laws and institutions have failed to produce any

profits except for the profiteers at war for more control over land,

resources, human lives and histories. Resistance was yesterday1s

response. Today, openly formulated insurgence is a reality.

         The Second Palestinian Intifada, which erupted in September

of 2000, provides an instance of such insurgency. This is a new phase

in the century-long Palestinian history of anti-colonial struggles,

ongoing since 1897. Contrary to mainstream representations, the

Intifada is not simply a localized Palestinian nationalist response

to the repressive Israeli occupation and its war machine; rather, it

is a demonstration of indigenous peoples1 refusal to surrender their

agency to the hegemonic hold of colonial regimes. In spite of the

gross imbalance of powers, the Palestinians have risen up, yet again,

to challenge colonialism1s intrinsically xenophobic discourses and

its structural patterns of exclusion and domination. More than

anything else, the Intifada exposes the failures of colonialism to

subjugate the will of the Palestinian people and silence dissenting


         The radicalization of this will has swept over the

checkpoints and barbed wire to infiltrate the consciousness of

Israelis and of people around the world. The new forms of

Palestinian-Israeli and transnational collaboration - manifested

through organizations such as the International Solidarity Movement

and Ta1ayush - draw on a renewed will to organize civil communities

in countering economic, political and military colonization. Such

social mobilization calls for different forms of representation; for

a thorough shake-up in our habits of thought. It calls for a

conceptual creativity that sets out to ethically enact strategies of

change and pragmatically prefigure the horizons of a different world.

This, we believe, is the fertile land where a new insurgent art

movement can grow.

         For this exhibition, we called on artists to formulate and

realize the ways in which transdisciplinary artistic practices can

nourish stronger, more ethically accountable, multi-faceted and

multi-vocal responses to the social imperatives we face. A gathering

of politically responsive work, WILL is dedicated to the project of

change: unearthing, remembering, coming to voice, naming and, rooted

in the depths of consciousness, actively intervening in the social

field. The modes of intervention utilized by the projects in WILL

exceed conventional practices of representational art. Each work

shown in this exhibit has emerged through intense negotiations and

co-labouring, of which the ultimate products are the social and

personal relations and transformations that transcend the artwork.

Here the artwork is only a landmark for new conceptions. The real

work is ongoing, constantly evolving and defiant of representation as

it unfolds in the plains of awareness and action.

         WILL provides opportunities for engagement, and asks that we

engage differently. We encourage you to actively participate and

contribute your labour to this work.

-- Gita Hashemi & Hanadi Loubani for Negotiations Working Group


|   P R O J E C T S


|   Inadvertent Monuments

|   Ilana Salama Ortar and Stephen Wright

     Our project focuses on what was initially a deeply-entrenched

border cairn, constructed after World War I, intended to separate the

French mandate of Lebanon from the British mandate of Palestine.

During the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon from 1982-2000, and

under the protection of Tsahal, layers of top soil were scooped up

from vast tracts of occupied land and taken by dump trucks to Israeli

settlements near the border - a fact to which the stone cairn bears

subtle though irrefutable evidence: the cairn, whose bottom half was

deeply entrenched in the earth, now stands some eight feet above the

ground. While its top portion is the same light tan colour as the

surrounding topography, the bottom three feet are a dark ruddy brown

- identical to the soil once covering them. Intended as a horizontal

territorial marker, the cairn has come to mark verticality - raising

a variety of issues regarding the difference between land and soil,

territory and earth. It is an inadvertent monument. As such, it

stands as a condensed metaphor of the conflict embedded in the

historical present; a public mirror for anyone who cares to look at

the issue of peace and partition not as event but as sign. Taking

this land-art-like unintentional "monument" as its hub, this project

refuses to be partitioned within the territory of "art." Instead,

using art-related skills to refocus attention on an otherwise

invisible symbol, it foregrounds art1s use-value in negotiating the

shift from a piece of land to a land of peace.


|   Destinations: A Palestinian-Israeli Audio-Visual Installation

|   Galia Shapira, Aref Nammari, Haggai Kupermintz, Phil Shane

     The "Destinations" installation makes use of photographic images

collected from Palestinians and Israelis that convey their profound

connection to their shared land and its history. Sound recordings

capture personal stories of love, hope and pain that the images

document. A multiple slide projection, the large photographic images

are projected onto the gallery walls in a continuous sequence and are

accompanied by Arabic and Hebrew audio narratives - including poetry

and literary pieces by Israeli and Palestinian writers. Surrounded by

images of the shared land, as seen through Israeli and Palestinian

eyes, viewers are invited to re-examine conventional perceptions of

the conflict. Collection and dissemination of images and stories

continue as the artists constitute a growing archive of hope and

struggle towards a common destiny.


|   Farah - In Search for Joy

|   Rami a.k.a. Jaromil

     The "Farah" project documents my three-week trip, in August,

2002, through the occupied territories of Palestine. During this time

I crossed East Jerusalem, Gaza, Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah. This

was while Bethlehem and Gaza were still under siege and Ramallah was

experiencing another full-time curfew after the assassination of

Ahmad Saadat. I set out for this trip independently, but, once in

Palestine, I had the chance to collaborate with some valuable people

of the Palestinian Progressive Youth Union, Tactical Media Crew,

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, International

Solidarity Movement and Indymedia Palestine. Farah is an effort to

document the life and culture of the Palestinian population in zones

of war, without actually mentioning the war itself. It is a net-art

project in the way that it tries to use the net as a privileged

medium to unveil a beauty usually made far by war. It is the content

that counts in Farah, the medium only provides the necessary means

for the message to be conveyed. The project is born from the need to

discover and document that which remains untouched by war: everything

in the tales of children and older folks that pervades in the

identity of a people in spite of dispossession, humiliation and

violence. Farah is a search for joy and for a resistance that

organizes itself in thousands of forms in the imagination. It is to

recognize the millenary Palestine in the untouchable dreams of its



|   Dance

|   Alexandra Handal in collaboration with poets Karen Alkalay-Gut

and Nathalie Handal

     Alexandra Handal1s multimedia installation, "Dance," is based on

a joint poem written by Israeli poet Karen Alkalay-Gut and

Palestinian poet, Nathalie Handal. A digital animation of the poem,

which becomes entirely legible only at the end, is projected onto the

floor. While watching the projection, the viewer experiences the

words of the poem transform into abstract shapes that resemble

lightning, needles, feathers, and webs. As they are colliding, moving

past and against each other, the words begin to emerge as lines of a

poem, then stanzas, breaking the fear of sharing the same space in

order to dance together. Dance is a space which invites the viewer to

gather round and experience - through movement, color, and rhythm -

the pain, frustration, fear and joy involved in taking the first

steps towards negotiating our present, ourselves. Dance compels the

viewer to ask: how can we not dance together?


|   Squares in the Pavement & Beau temps, mauvais temps

|   Shahrzad Arshadi and Josée Lambert

     "Squares in the Pavement & Beau temps, mauvais temps" is a

photo-documentary project created by two artists: one from the East,

the other from the West. Every Friday since September 14, 2001, these

two artists have met each other in front of the Israeli Consulate in

Montreal to stand vigil for peace and justice in Palestine. For a

period of one full year, rain or shine, Josée and Shahrzad have

documented the participants at these vigils as a testimony to their

collective hopes and fears. The collaboration between the two artists

is an installation of 104 black and white photographs. While Josée1s

contribution symbolizes time, season and continuity, Shahrzad

captures portraits of people wearing the most immediately

recognizable symbol of Palestine - the "keffia" - people of all walks

of life, teachers, workers, artists and students; young and old from

all races and origins, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist and 


|   Video Petition Project

|   Artist Emergency Response

     The "Video Petition Project" is a visual testimony of North

Americans voicing their opposition to the Israeli Occupation. Despite

their large and growing numbers, these voices are significantly

underrepresented by the mainstream North American media. They are

comprised of Jews and non-Jews alike whose sincere, thoughtful, and

eloquent speech cannot be dismissed as self-loathing or anti-Semitic

simply due to their criticism of the Israeli government and its

policies. Some participants present their own statements and others

use one or another among a variety of statements prepared by AER and

imbue these with their own sincerity. Our ultimate goal is to present

the project at schools, community organizations, art venues, museums,

public access television, radio, and internet sites, and also to

public officials and leaders, thus helping to further aid the

acknowledgement and rightful consideration of this growing movement.

The 80-min video premiered in September 2002 at the Piece Process

exhibit at Chicago1s ARC gallery and was recently (April/May 2003) on

display at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the

exhibit War (What Is It Good For?).


|   Olive Fair

|   Negotiations Working Group

     "Olive Fair" renders visible the material conditions and the

strategies of survival and resistance in occupied Palestine. The

installation displays olive products by Palestinian producers -

obtained through Sindyanna, a fair-trade company based in Jaffa -

side-by-side with video documentation of a direct action by the

International Solidarity Movement in support of a group of

Palestinian growers in the West Bank who were resisting the uprooting

of their olive trees by Israeli soldiers and bulldozers. Olive Fair

invites gallery visitors to take product samples in exchange for

contributing personal responses to a website, thus enabling networked

consciousness and informed dialogue. As the olive products in the

gallery diminish, what remains in the physical space - transmitted

through the ISM video - is the reality of the struggle in Palestine

cultivating a growing public awareness and solidarity in the virtual




|   A R T I S T S '   B I O S


|   The collaboration between ILANA SALAMA ORTAR and STEPHEN WRIGHT

on Inadvertent Monuments is based on an extra-disciplinary approach

to art: contrary to trendy inter-disciplinary approaches (which

accept disciplinary partitioning as a precondition for association)

and the apparent lack of discipline characterising so much

contemporary art, they seek to mirror the disciplinary

extraterritoriality and non-situatedness of their practice in the

issues that they focus. Using art-related methodologies, they seek to

draw the sort of sustained and thoughtful attention to inadvertent

symbols and monuments - particularly in situations of social urgency,

suppressed memory and identity loss - that art-specific proposals

often enjoy. Stephen Wright is a Paris-based theorist of art-related

practice. Ilana Salama Ortar is a Haifa-based artist, working

extensively on the development of "civic art" (city + civitas),

investigating the visible and invisible traces of the erasure of

individual and collective memory in the urban fabric. They previously

collaborated in the exhibition L1Incurable Mémoire des Corps.


|   Since November 2002, a group of activists has been meeting in an

effort to explore a new vision and discourse to deal honestly and

courageously with the Palestinian and Israeli experiences. We

emphasize recognition of common destiny, mutual acknowledgement of

pain and suffering, and the embracement of the humanity of each other

as keys to reconciliation. Group members are: GALIA SHAPIRA, an

Israeli visual artist; AREF NAMMARI, a Palestinian electronics

engineer and activist; HAGGAI KUPERMINTZ, an Israeli assistant

professor of education; and PHIL SHANE, an American associate

professor of accounting. The Destinations group aims to promote the

co-existence of historical, cultural, and spiritual Palestinian and

Israeli narratives, through collaborative intellectual and artistic

expressions. By braiding together the stories of peoples' love for

their land, their struggles, pain and hopes, we strive to develop a

new understanding of reality. Our work stems from the realization

that a great responsibility for promoting an alternative vision lies

with the intellectual, spiritual, and arts communities in developing

new images of co-existence that resist self-serving political and

economic dictates. We hope to give voice to a grassroots movement,

expressing Israeli and Palestinian deep yearnings to transcend their

tragic destiny as eternal communities of suffering.


|   RAMI a.k.a. JAROMIL ( is a free software

programmer and streaming media pioneer, media artist and activist,

performer and emigrant. Wired to the matrix since 1991 (point of

NeuromanteBBS on Cybernet 65:1500/3.13), Jaromil co-founded (1994)

the non-profit organization Metro Olografix for the diffusion of

information technology, and in 2000 founded the free software lab; sub-root for the / community.

Jaromil is active in the Italy Indymedia Collective, and is currently

the software analyst and developer for PUBLIC VOICE Lab (Vienna). He

recently co-curated I LOVE YOU , an exposition about software viruses

at the Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt. His past collaborations

include, among others: Giardini Pensili,,,

August Black, [epidemiC], Florian Cramer, 92v2.0, LOA hacklab, Lobo,

Freaknet Medialab, CandidaTV, the Mitocondri, the HackMeeting

community. Jaromil's most recent online piece is Farah: a

documentation of his travel through the occupied territories of

Palestine, in search for joy.


|   ALEXANDRA HANDAL is a Santo Domingo-NYC based Palestinian artist

whose installations, drawings and digital media focus on issues of

transnationality, cultural migration/displacement, representation,

and memory. Her work has been represented in exhibitions in NYC,

Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Sydney, Australia. Currently, she

is a Visiting Artist Lecturer at the Escuela de Diseno in the

Dominican Republic, affiliated with Parsons School of Design. KAREN

ALKALAY-GUT was born on the last night of the Blitz in London to

refugee parents who brought her to the United States after the war.

She has spent her adult life teaching poetry at Tel Aviv University,

writing, and trying to get people to listen to each other through

poetry. Her 20 books include five poetry books in Hebrew, a biography

of the American poet, Adelaide Crapsey, an e-book of magic poems

called Avracadivra (2002). NATHALIE HANDAL is a Palestinian poet,

playwright and writer who has lived in the United States, Europe, the

Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. She is the author of

the poetry book, The NeverField, the poetry CD, Traveling Rooms, and

the editor of The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, an

Academy of American Poets bestseller and winner of the Pen

Oakland/Josephine Miles award. Nathalie Handal currently teaches at

Hunter College in NYC.


|   JOSÉE LAMBERT is a freelance photographer in the cultural domain.

Twelve years ago, she began documentary work in the Middle-East.

Often associating herself with humanitarian organizations, Josée1s

work primarily focused on the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi

people. She also produced, in collaboration with Amnesty

International, an important documentary with prisoners of Khiam

Detention Centre, south of Lebanon. For her exhibition Ils étaient

absents sur la photo, she was awarded artiste pour la paix in 1998.

SHAHRZAD ARSHADI, a human rights activist and Montréal-based

Canadian/Iranian artist, came to Canada as a political refugee on

December 24,1983. In the past ten years, Shahrzad has ventured into

different fields of photography, painting and video, enabling her

focus on issues of memory, culture and human rights. Shahrzad has

exhibited her work in various locations across North America.


|   ARTIST EMERGENCY RESPONSE (AER) is a Chicago-based collective of

artists and activists - including many Jews and Palestinians -

working for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We seek a just and lasting peace through the minimal, general

framework of the implementation of the Palestinian people1s right to

self-determination, an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank

and Gaza Strip, a just solution to the status of Jerusalem, and a

just solution to the Palestinian refugee crisis. We strongly condemn

the escalating violence against civilians on both sides of the

conflict and demand that the United States end its economic,

military, and political support of Israel until the illegal

occupation ends. We are dedicated to fostering dialogue between

communities and combating anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian,

and anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence.


|   NEGOTIATIONS WORKING GROUP: We are women of diverse cultural

background (Anglo-Canadian, Iranian, Italian, Jewish and Palestinian)

and with different skills and experiences (some are artists, some

academics, and most full-time activists). Our differences have

constituted the productive and pragmatic spaces of our

'negotiations', and our work together has been the shared experience

of learning our ethical accountability to one another and to a larger

political project that touches our everyday lives in different and

not always readily acknowledged or immediately visible ways. In spite

of all the difficulties and uncertainties inherent in working towards

social transformation, months of intense volunteer labour have taught

us how to be allies and friends while navigating through politically

contentious, socially complex and historically painful grounds. This

work has made us more determined: negotiations cannot be channeled by

any prescribed roadmaps; they demand complete openness, transparency

and good will. We started as a small formation with dynamic

membership - by choice, chance or guile - within Creative Response.

For records of other CR initiatives, visit


| Negotiations: From a Piece of Land to a Land of Peace




| Negotiations is a Creative Response initiative:


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