Tel Aviv Diary Oct 23, 2003 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from Oct 23, 2003 Karen Alkalay-Gut

I put the news on in the background - can't really listen to it today - everything is too painful - especially the details - The fact that the whole 'massacre' in Gaza was as fake as the one in Jenin pains me - I'm happy that there were not so many people involved, and that even though i hate the targetted killings, they are the people who were meant to be killed and not ordinary citizens - but i hate the fact that we cannot deal with facts - that bigger and bigger lies seem to take over.

And then there is an article about Talma and Yossi in the paper - an interview with Yossi in Ha'aretz"about her. If you've been reading here you know about Talma - who died last February, the day after election day. Our friends all went to the hospital that day and I was next door, at the old age home, taking people to the toll booths - and i kept thinking that Talma would have preferred this to a visit. Then I was so sorry I missed her.

A number of people wrote me about what I said about lie detector tests and Arabs. I have no idea of the validity of this remark, but more important, I didn't mean to imply that Arabs are liars. I am absolutely terrified by that kind of generalization. all jews are rich. all ...

Remember that wonderful thinker, Jonathan Swift, and what he wrote to Alexander Pope (in 1723)" I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals: for instance, I hate the tribe of lawyers, but I love Counsellor Such-a-one, and Judge Such-a-one: so with physicians -- I will not speak of my own trade -- soldiers, English, Scotch, French, and the rest. But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth." That's how I'm feeling right now.

As for Elchanan Tennenbaum, it's amazing how much was known on the first days of his kidnapping - there in the local grocery store. The guy who set the trap for him wasn't named then, but he was described - they even said he was from Teibe. They all knew about gambling, and all denied drug involvement. So the neighborhood sources are accurate after all!

October 24, 2004

Ha! You went to mishmish and not the poetry festival! one of my students spotted me - and the truth is out. i thought about the poetry festival last night, thought about the finely dressed audience and the gracious and noble auditorium - and i couldn't face it. If i hadn't made plans to meet Robert Rosenberg and Sylvia and Rachel and Sara and Dalia at mishmish I would have gone to Ronen Shapira's concert at the Museum last night. Ronen is finally getting some of the recognition he deserves and i would have loved to have heard it. (Good to hear that the audience reaction was incredibly enthusiastic even though the reviews were mixed.) But talking politics was - although depressing - what i needed to do. the kind of free wheeling politics where we analyze the other people in the bar and try to figure out how they would vote. and where have we gone wrong that they would vote that way.

And so when Rochelle Mass came over this morning and told me about how wonderful the poetry festival was last night I was just a bit sorry. But Rochelle is a much more gracious person than I am! I'm a poet of dark corners and nightclubs, of hospitals and bathrooms, of the grocery store.

Speaking of which, while we were discussing the 'sophie's choice' situation of the prisoner trade (most people say we should trade any of those guys for terrorists - unless we add Azam Azam who has been rotting in a Cairo prison for 6 years) I asked a woman how she was and she pointed out to me that her daughter serves in the army near Netzarim. 'How do you THINK I am?' she responded - and that's how I learned about the attack on the base there - about the 3 soldiers killed. It wasn't in this morning's papers yet and I didn't have time to listen to the news. It was pretty devastating - the girls are 19 - but i still don't have details. Except that one of the names is very very familiar. Is she the daughter of a friend? I thought of it and then blocked it out for hours.

then as i was reading an exam, it suddenly came back to me, with great fear and pain.

October 25, 2003

While the rest of the Left was demonstrating in Jerusalem next to the Prime Minister's, I was recovering from a little Zionist-exploration trip up north today. Tivon, Alonei Abba, Bethlehem of the Galilee, were all given a wonderful post-zionist swirl by one of the most amazing guides I've ever had - Koby Fleishman (his site is in Hebrew and doesn't tell you much, but it's here. Most impressive to me was the story of Alexander Zaid. Thy tell you about him on the The Pedagogic Center, The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Jewish Agency for Israel:

Here's the horse statue:

Here's the place where the assassins are supposed to have waited for him.

It says so on the sign. (Koby told a different story - for that you have to find him. But most impressive to me is the best photo Ezi's taken of me in years. (Maybe I'll use it for my book - the tangential desires hebrew book that should have been out this year...

October 26, 2003

Fixed up the codes this morning so you can see the pictures, fixed up the grammar too. I hope I don't write like that all the time, but I still haven't dared to read this diary, for fear i was become too 'conscious' of what I am doing, too artificial.

For example, I might, if I were editing this, put myself in the middle of the demonstration yesterday - where I should have been. But here you see my warts and all, and know my antipathy to jerusalem in all forms...

i'm going to work on that this season. really.

In the meantime, I'm going to Kfar Saba this morning - and my friend from that neighborhood sent me to this site. It's about the fence.

October 27, 2003

Tomorrow is election day - local municipalities and mayor - and i can't get up enough enthusiasm to vote. I WILL vote of course - but not enthusiastically. the mayor - Ron Huldai - will win. He hasn't done much damage so it's not too bad - except for the fact that he wouldn't erase the tax debt of the writers' house and i am willing to bet that within months the city repossesses the building...

it may even have been the plan. it is very valuable property and the writers seem to be totally at a loss for dealing with this crisis.

For municipal parties there is a pretty good choice - I'm going with Yael Dayan but there are a lot of good candidates and good issues.

A good review of Mickey Gluzman's book about Hebrew Literature and what is and isn't marginalized is in Ha'aretz today. It doesn't explain everything, but some things...

What I don't get is that if we were so good at making myths 100 years ago and fifty years ago why not now? Every one here feels the need to prove greater awareness of reality. I buy a pair of jeans in some boutique and the owner - from whom i have been buying for 30 years (and who was never never good at giving me realistic prices or telling me the truth about how i look in the clothes i'm trying on) says - "buy yourself another pair - you never know what the future holds for us - count yourself lucky you can still buy stuff..." You ask someone how they are - and they say, "fine, considering the situation." No one allows himself to simply be happy. And yet - the truth be told - a lot of people around here ARE happy, dammit.

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