Aviv sends me a Jenin diary - a young girl registering the 10 days of absolute terror of occupation. I return a list of suspicions - who translated this - who edited - how did she know what the soldiers were saying. he assumes we don't get the news in this country, that the facts are not available to us. I can't even use that excuse. The facts are in the paper, the heart rending stories are there too. But most of us need to remove ourselves from them in order to keep going. To know that reporters walked down the streets of Bethlehem to the pleadings from families in their homes for food, to know they went to the shops and bought the plentiful pita and hummous, and distributed them to the baskets which were lowered from the apartment windows, doesn't help my own digestion. I've got too much to swallow as it is.
heartless - shameful - but true.
but then, if the situation were reversed...
I meet a friend I haven't seen for a while. We talk shop for a few minutes, then gingerly approach the subject of politics. We are afraid we may be on opposite sides. Listen, I tell him, everyone's afraid to talk. But we need to work it out. After a few moments we've come to the conclusion that we're in agreement about the basic goals - our only problems are with details. I'd glad we talked. The only problem he says, is that you have a problem with anger - you don't know how to express it - you blame yourself instead of the other. I agree - I have a psychological limitation that has long hindered me in many areas. But in this case I'm trying to forget the idea of anger and see all sides of the issues. And to admit it when I fail.
Gila and Frank woke up this morning to the booming in Kalkilia. Their apartment in Magdiel has a good view of the town. What is it - two kilometers away. When people think of the West Bank, they think it is far away. But every thing here is immediate and present. Rochelle watched the tanks and the soldiers grouping to move into Jenin from her kitchen window.
Reports from the 10 days in Jenin keep coming in as I meet people at the grocers, friends, relatives. Soldiers who were there are terribly frustrated by the fact they risked their lives so as not to endanger the lives of civilians and then they were accused of massacres. Maybe it has something in common with the victim/conqueror double bind this whole country is in.
Ahmed writes that he can't trust me any more now that he's read my journal. I write back how can you NOT trust someone who puts her diary on the web. You're naïve. He responds. Yes, and I've been the opposite too. Bring smart sure didn't help.
Yizhar Ashdot has a new song called Israeliana – slowly listing the symbols and signs of this country, the marks of Zionist history, and the realities, like the junkie in prayer shawl.
Got to get beyond that too.
post post Zionism
Another 'incident' - a couple of terrorists enter homes and kill four - with about fifteen injured. We won't blow it up - won't call it a massacre - even though we've have so many of them lately. I don't like the settlements - i have not set foot in the settlements for over fifteen years on principle - But after something like this I can't imagine going to a peace rally tonight.
maybe - this is exactly the time
This evening, at Michal Sapir's concert, Yael asked us if we had come from the demonstration. After what happened today, I said, I couldn't bring myself… You mean near Hebron? She said. What time? Around here something happens every hour. It's hard to know when we're talking about the same thing.
Time was a big thing tonight. The last time I saw Michal sing was 11 years ago when she had a rock band called Rainy Grey. She's been living abroad for almost a decade and her songs were still immediate. But the circumstances under which we heard her are so different. This time I found it hard to stay away from communication with the outside world for very long – what if something happened to someone.
The morning people were murdered in their beds by terrorists. A five year old girl among them.
Somewhere on the way home from the concert I heard the song "Green Fields." Where are the green fields we used to know? Burned up by arsonists. The whole idea that if they can't have it, nobody will, makes it hard to negotiate.
Good Fences Makes Good Neighbors – I've been hearing about some kind of new movement: kodem gader – achar cach nedaber. First a fence – then we talk. It is such a complicated program to enact – we live inside one another. But I do love the idea. I do think we'd be much more rational if we had some sense of borders, of differentiation. Does any one know about where these people are?
Electronic fences, which report a break in the circuit, have proven effective in greatly reducing terrorist attacks. But that wouldn't be the only reason they are necessary here. A fence gives you a place from where to begin to talk,
I switch channels from Israel Television to CNN, BBC, just as I switch newspapers from Ha'aretz to the Tribune, just as I surf. There's always a culture shock. While I'm still contemplating the picture of the bloody bed of a boy injured on Saturday morning, and working out arrangements with my cousin to go to the memorial service of a friend who 30 days ago was eating in a restaurant when it blew up, and reading about 'grave-padding' in Jenine (where bodies get repeatedly reburied to increase the count), I move over to BBC where they are talking about how Israel has made terrorism inevitable. In other words the 5 year old girl in Adura is responsible for her own death, and that 14 year old sleeping boy should take better care of his room.
Let's make a fence.
In belly dance class today I was thinking about what a friend of mine wrote from NY about how Belly Dancing is out since September 11. Such a complex, profound and intricate dance form - it takes years to get it right - and then it becomes a political symbol.
April 28 - fences and towers - that boom my friends heard in Kalkiliya on Friday? Turns out there was a unit there planningto blow up some of our skyscrapers. Our local twin tower disaster. Actually we have loost - proportionately - far more people this year than were lost on September 11. Am I repeating myself? Well that goes to show you how honest i am in this journal - no rereading no rewriting. also how obsessive i am in this issue. the terrorism i'm focussing on is in Tel Aviv - not a 'disputed' area. The places that are being attacked are not holy places, not places of questionable ownership - they are teenage nightclub, cafes, supermarkets. that means the victims will be mostly women and children - and they are planned this way.
I still do whatever I need to do every day =- go to my office, visit my doctor, eat dinner - but i am under constant threat.
of course not just me - anyone can be a victim - yesterday i was talking with Salim on the corner of Yehoshua Bin Nun and Arlozorov Street. Thank goodness, he says, they have guards at the supermarket here.
I hear the guards talking in Russian.
Bethlehem - 'is slightly apocalyptic' - a BBC newsman says - Yeats would have liked that image - what rough beast its hour come round at last slouches toward Bethlehem to be born - The stand off has been going on since my birthday almost a month ago. We've been talking about 100 terrorists and more keeping people hostage - and I've seen footage of people trying to escape and being brought back to the compound. but the BBC says there are only about 15 terrorists inside and the people there are not hostages. i tend to trust the israelis in this case. but the bbc seems so authoritative. i think they don't understand the semites
I'm watching a program - for teenagers - called Sachten - It's in Hebrew and Arabic - interviews kids but the from Kfar Kassem, Sde Hemed, Acre - then a culturally directed quiz show. From the media in US and Europe it would seem that Jews and Arabs just kill each other. But this country is too small not to encounter each other as well.