Tel Aviv Diary September 17, 2003 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from September 17, 2003 Karen Alkalay-Gut

Israeli Music hereThe site is called Radio Hazak or Loud Radio after a song of Tislam about 20 years ago. It's a great site.

Perfect for someone who's taken a cold pill with caffeine by mistake in the middle of the night

I think it is today: Shimon Peres' eightieth birthday. My goodness - what a man! I see him here and there at parties and stuff and he has always got style.

No, don't be impressed that i know famous people. almost everyone knows everyone around here. i live about 100 yards from Peres. and everyone lives near someone. but maybe you want to send him a birthday card. Even the e-mail is homey:

And mark this date - if you're in tel aviv - there's a demonstration on saturday night in kikar rabin at 7:30. at last. here's the hebrew text:

הפגנה בתל-אביב הזמנה משלום עכשיו:

לאירוע הזה חיכינו – מתעוררים עכשיו !

הצילו את המדינה !

די לדם, די להידרדרות המוסרית, די להתנחלויות, די לקריסת הכלכלה

, די לממשלת שרון !

מצעד מחאה

מוצ"ש, 20.9.03, בשעה 19:30 מכיכר רבין למשרד הביטחון בת"א

לפרטים, התנדבות והסעות (מכל רחבי הארץ) התקשרו: 1967 70 700 1 אנא הפיצו

e-mail זה ברחבי האומה כולה... חברים, משפחה ומכרים.

* נשמח להיעזר בכולם כבר בשעה 17:00 בכיכר רבין כל מי מכם שמוכן ויכול, אנו זקוקים לעזרתכם בהקמת הארוע, או כמחתימים,מתרימים,

ועוד. כמו כן – בימים הקרובים נזדקק לעזרתכם בפרסום הארוע – בנוכחות ברחוב וחלוקת פליירים.

התגייסו לעזרה ! התקשרו בהקדם האפשרי לשירי 025660648, 054687539, או ל 1967 70 700 1.

בשביל לצאת מהבוץ – חייבים לצאת מהבית !

I know i'm too frail right now to demonstrate but - i'm too frail to endure this 'situation' as well. Since the first time I heard Sharon - in the '73 war - i thought he was a liar and a sociopathic cheat - and no matter how i try to listen to him (because i want to believe that the other israelis who voted for him must have SOME reason for loving him) I can't believe a word he says. Last week I was sitting next to some 21 year old guy who looked at my newspaper at the headlines about how we missed killing Yassin and said, "I love that guy"! And I first thought he meant Yassin and was being ironic - but he meant Sharon - that Sharon was defending him. So I'm not reflecting the opinions of all my neighbors here.

I have one friend who lives in south Tel Aviv who is sure that after this mess we will get Amnon Lipkin-Shachak back. All her friends think so too. Now I had given up hope on him - and until she mentioned his name I had tried to put him out of my mind. Too much to wish for. But the moment she mentioned him this afternoon I began imagining the possibilities - a logical intelligent human being in control, making clear reasonable decisions. With a fine intelligent wife.

Nope. He'll never make it through the jungle to the top.

You asked for translation of the announcement for the rally.

Pass it on

PEACE NOW---Returning to the Street ‎

March and Rally: From Rabin Square to the Ministry of Defense ‎

This coming Saturday night, September 20, Peace Now and the ‎

Peace Coalition are organizing a march from Rabin Square ‎

(19:30) to the Defense Ministry, where a rally will be held ‎

(20:00). ‎

This action launches a campaign whose main slogan is "Save ‎

Israel----Leave the Territories." The goal of the entire ‎

campaign is to express and mobilize the opposition to the ‎

policies of Sharon and his government. ‎

Among the speakers: Mk's, artists and public figures.‎

September 18, 2003

I seem to be better today - but a gunfight in Gaza that resulted in the death of a Hamas leader will probably now result in a terrorist attack. Arafat on the other hand is talking peace. He really knows how to dance on the edge of the volcano, doesn't he.

Now compare him to Bibi for a minute - just on the dancing issue. Bibi pushed through the knesset a last minute billion plus budget cut in welfare the other night and in the morning cancelled it. And the military budget cut was also ameliorated. so it goes.

As an academic I shuddered to read tonight that Al-Kuds University is going to be bulldozed - tomorrow. There was nothing on the news about it tonight. But Tayyush sent round a letter asking for protesters there tomorrow -

The interrelationship of lives here is amazing. Sometimes I feel that we don't realize the extent we have grown together in this country - the arabs and jews. we've become like them, they've become like us. Today I was sitting with an Arab friend and we were discussing the fact of never fitting in totally to any civilization. I don't know too many people who feel this, and it is heartening to know that one is not alone in this.

which brings me to the festival in poetry at mishkenot sha'ananim. in the past i was invited to read at the international festival - but never with great honor and respect. my friends who come from abroad never understand it. " aren't you a part of your community? well, i kind of stutter, a lot of people are very worried that people like me lower the standards, that i'm not noble enough. doesn't your repeating reading at the library of congress, the kennedy center, oxford, princeton, rutgers, buffalo, delaware, brockport, etc. count for anything? " (compilation conversation for promotional purposes only). "maybe what you're writing isn't poetry?" "or mainstream poetry?"

maybe that's me. i usually say - and if i want to play the game i should play the part. and i can't.

So, if i haven't been invited this year, i have to accept that. and keep writing my very own brand of ... poetry

Thre are a lot of people who are upset about Shimon Peres' birthday on Sunday night. There's even a demonstration by the women in green: "6 PM on Sunday, September 21, 2003, in Tel Aviv at the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Cremieau Street, near the Mann Auditorium. There will be many distinguished speakers, representing a wide cross-section of our Populace, whose speeches will be short, but inspiring."

I posted the above this morning, and spent some of today thinking about it - the fact that they are asking for shofar-blowers for the occasion. I have many problems with this exploitation of Judaism for the purpose of maligning a human being. I know he is accused by the right of some very serious crimes, one of which is paying for the Nobel Peace prize, or bribing the judge (how much did Yassir pay i wonder) but even if he were guilty of being a friend to Arafat, and this is a bad thing say, would there be any justification for this kind of action?

i doubt it.

Demonstrations are fine - but against someone's birthday? against his efforts to make peace?

Sometimes I think seriously about one of the conditions I used to make as a joke for giving the territories to the Palestinians: they have to take the jews who are living there too.

September 20, 2003

Last night I was with some of my wealthier friends, the ones who own the companies that are still doing well here, and who voted (in our sample voting last election, remember) almost all Maarach except for a few who went to shinui. They were talking too about the idea of a revoltution - bringing down the government. It is not that they are directly affected by the absolutely stupid and unpredictable economic policies, because they can more or less get around them. But they are very concerned about the greater and greater gaps that are opening up between the haves and have-nots. The Likkud, they all acknowledge, is a government for successful capitalists, and their voters have all come from the very classes it exploits. They would easily change their alliegance if their was an alternative.


There were 10, 000 people in Rabin square tonight. i was not among them, despite a great desire to call out "get out of the territories. but i couldn't even make it around the block yet, so - next time.

There were 50,000 people in Uhm El Fahm demonstrating against 'the destruction of al aksa mosque' - hey guys - no one is even thinking of destroying al aksa - and if you are so keen on having a Palestinian State, why the hell didn't you come to Rabin Square? Why the hell didn't you VOTE in the last election?

I am reading Roy Kift's play about Kurt Gerron - now there is a painful story.

A Smear campaign against Peres continues to be waged. There is only one charge that i can give a bit of credence to, and that is that he is a narcissist. But as a narcissist myself (who else would keep an online diary) I must explain the specific brand of narcissism that inflicts us. the is a polish-jewish variety and i call it INVERSE NARCISSISM -that is the attention is still focussed on me me me - but only because i want to do something good for the world.

I realize this makes no sense - not even to many polish-jews. Narcissism is narcissism, right? But if something is accomplished by the narcissism, and it does good, then in a sense it is justified. why is it inverse narcissism? because the pretense is - i'm giving myself up for the cause. but the self is fulfilled this way, and it can only be fulfilled this way.

Having destroyed the idealistic facade, i must assert again and again that i admire these narcissists who try so hard to do good greatly.

(And now you SEE for yourselves that I'm not well enough to go out yet - much less to a rally.)

What about the political revolution i'm talking about - well, one person is on a hunger strike, but tens of thousands are behind here, the students are going to strike unless the tuition increase gets reversed, the workers' unions are striking as of after rosh hashana, and after sukkoth the trials begin on Sharon (strange election monies), Naomi Blumenthal (election bribing), two other guys (double voting in parliament) Avigdor Leiberman, etc. so there's going to be at least some action around here. If we can hold on.

September 22, 2003

I keep talking about a new deal for the economy and get sneered at by my economist friends because Franklin Roosevelt began with a balanced budget and we're so overdrawn it's ridiculous. But my bank is the West Bank. I say take all the money out of the territories and put them into the society. establish coop businesses, hire the unemployed - as police, as documenters, as social workers, as teacher's aides, as practical nurses. then let's see what happens to the economy.

As for the university, my suggestion is to give grants to students to assist departments in income-increasing projects - for research and for community service. For example: gathering information about community needs, organizing public lecture series, integrating course information into community... Okay all i know about is english poetry which is not essential to the general community. but if i had a few research assistants, for example, i'd put one onto finding out who has been invited from abroad to Mishkenot Shaananim festival (one of their closely kept secrets) and have their poetry reviewed and translated for the newspapers and courses on poetry.

i'd have workshops in poetry in english set up all over the country after i'd trained assistants in giving workshops - some of which would include or feature translation of hebrew poetry

i'd have a website for hebrew poetry translated into english, a website about the influence of english poetry on hebrew poetry, etc. etc. There would be one person assigned to determining and invited guest writers from abroad. Two years ago for example, Eric Jong spoke with me about the possibility of organizing a festival of writers supporting israel in israel. it wounded like a great idea, but i couldn't even begin to handle the correspondence, much less the planning. 50 hours a week so far.

that would keep 3 assistants busy with productive work for the country.

And I'm just getting warmed up. And there are many many people like me at the university.

Think of the French department, the Arabic department, the history, sociology, linguistics department.

We could keep thousands of students employed.

now you may say that there has been research in these matters. yes, but not community centered, not 'new-deal' oriented.

And now people have been asking where i was last night. I must admit that (as i probably wrote before) the group is a predictable one. Last time I said wonderingly to Sylvia, "look at how many people there are!" and she said, "yes, but everyone on our side is here right now. there IS no one else."

So my absence was noted - they went to Nona to check. I WISH i could have been there!

i wish i could be at shimon's birthday party. it is probably the biggest political statement he could have ever made - because every head of government, every major politician, every actor and personage there is saying - we believe in YOUR way. Bill Clinton wouldn't have come for any other reason but to promote peace. All those foreign ministers who are missing the big event at the UN are saying the same thing. The whole 'party' is a promotion for peace - and i'll bet that peres too is going to speak about that very fact tonight.


check out my THIN LIPS my new CD with Roi Yarkoni and Ishai Sommer. It is electronic at its best, and maybe the most interesting combination of poetry and music i've ever heard (and that's my subject - poetry and pop culture, right?). Even if i did bomb the TV interview yesterday and look like I don't know my hand from a hacksaw, the CD is amazing. It should be out in 2 weeks, but you can preorder at Pookh.

you are visitor number


To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home