Tel Aviv Diary Nov 21, 2003 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from Nov 21, 2003 Karen Alkalay-Gut

I was just beginning to enjoy being sick, settled down in bed to watch my favorite television personality Naim Araidi interviewing a bunch of teenagers in Arabic on fashion - and as the theme song is being played (The Sabre Dance!!!)I get the news of the bombings in Istanbul.

So many people dead - and for what?

Now that I think of it, the kids I enjoyed so much were talking about the very things that Al Keida villifies - their westernization.

Whoops - it's only the 20th. Whaddaya want - i'm sick.

But how can i talk about a children's tv program in Arabic when at least 28 people are dead? There really is a relation. The ease and sophistication with which even the teenager in a chadour spoke of the effect of advertising on a topic as trivial as local fashion is an important clue as to what is pissing off the Al Keida. Western influences are so pervasive and tempting in every detail that they pose the strongest threat to tradition there is. The authority of the family is challenged and patriarchy is a cornerstone of both the religion and the society. Even those who think they are traditional - are influenced. If you read nothing else from the Israeli papers read this. It's an article about Staff Sergeant (res.) Liran Ron Furer who wrote memoirs of his brutalization by his situation in the Israeli army. An amazing piece. Now I have to find the book.

November 21, 2003

for real this time

So we missed going to Turkey - it was supposed to be last week, but we were too busy - and now we'll never go - like we missed our chance to spend time in Egypt because we wanted to wait until we had the money and time.

Wait - I almost missed it - we've got another hudna on the way - no time limit... and yet no one seems to be celebrating .. just like with the Geneva Accords and the Tooth fairy - no one believe it's for real. And i have no teeth left to put under my pillow.

November 22, 2003

Hamsin - and i have gotten into an obsession trying to find ezi's grandfather's bridge near Raqqa in Syria. It's the one he built to help the British escape from Rommel and he was offered the equivalent of a knighthood for it. The concrete bridge was named after him and there was a whole big concrete cornerstone inscription but it was long ago renamed and the cornerstone discarded or covered. Why shouldn't i get obsessive about history when the present gets worse and worse. Such a gorgeous day and when we walked around the adjacent elegant neighborhood I was overwhelmed by the lush vegetation, the fruit hanging over the high walls of my neighbors. It is like paradise but we need higher walls. And we need to be on the inside of the walls. like Kubla Khan.

Appropos walls - 5 people were killed in an automobile accident yesterday near Nazareth. Because there was no road divider. I suspect more people are killed for lack of these walls than the wall being built to keep out terrorists.

Even Kubla Khan understood that his walls wouldn't last long. I understand that most people in the Israel-Palestine world don't believe in Future.

As for the present - two guards killed tonight - an auspicious beginning for the Hudna.

November 23, 2003

I was watching a discussion of educators about the surprising growth of pupil violence against teachers. The experts discussed not only the proposed plan for discipline but also the reasons. The nice young man explained that exposure to the internet, television, and violent films contributed to the violence in the schools. I couldn't believe he didn't even mention the increase of violence in our society as a result of violent behavior learned in the territories. how can the schools even begin to confront the problems when they don't even recognize them?

There are at least 3 manifestations of the influence of violence in Israel today as a result of the 'situation'. 1) People are more nervous. 2) They are more secretive - less inclined to open to strangers - and this suspicion makes them more inclined to preventative shows of force 3) They have learned how to be violent in a vilent environment. (I meant violent - how could i have written 'vile' ent?)

November 24, 2003

I was about to start a new page when I remembered that I had mentioned the theme music to Naim Araidi's cchildren's talk show a few days ago, and didn't explain why the "Sabre Dance" always tickles me as the theme song foran Arabgic program. It is a western version of what the Arab music must be like - with no knowledge of the Arab culture at all. Araidi has a poem about sitting in his home in the village of Mrar and hearing Rimsy-Korsakov's "Sheherazade". "Arabian Nights" in Russian. The poem is here

if you want to hear part of my new disk, "Thin Lips" it's here: scroll down and click on the 'play the songs' then tell me what you think...

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