Bush. I don't want to talk about Bush. There is a lot that is right in it, but vagueness of his proclamation insults me. It's like when people say - all you have to do is lose some weight and work out and learn to dress and make up and you'll look great. Thanks.
But someone must be feeling good about it. The streets of Tel Aviv were alive last night, after months of silence. New restaurants full of people.
Who could object to that? We are so relieved that we are not being hit again that we get encouraged by any prospect. The fence. Bush's peace plan. The fact that an economic plan was passed - no matter how stupid.
But of course they are not stupid. They are only partial. Once we make as much of an effort to end the occupation as well, all of them will be significant. How do we do that?
In the 70's I believed that the normalization of economic relationships between Israeli and the territories would make all the difference. It would make the Palestinian people independent, educated, and reasonable.
Now there is more to do.
What should be done? And what right do I have to say what should be done on theside of the Palestinians? The only thing that give me a right to say anything is the fact that much of the education, industry, and politics has been aimed at destroying me. This gives me - not the right, but the reason - to want it to be organized differently.
Why do I not have the right? Because I have been part of a country that helped focus this anger and hatred.
A student of mine points out my continued naivete. I'm sure she's right. I assume moral motivation for evil action. Like Cherie Blair, I project my own character onto terrorists - imagine that if i were desperate enough i might do something like that. But Bin Laden is not desperate - he is quite serene in his desire to simply destroy Western civilization. The Herald Tribune today headlines fears that Al Queda might use a combination of computer and conventional attack - screw up the floodgates and cut off the electricity and then bomb for example. There is no desperation in this kind of plan - it is a joyous exercise of power, a hunger for destruction. Cut the baby in half rather than let someone else enjoy it. rather than let the baby grow up.
I encountered this attitude the other day - on a much smaller scale - in a colleague. There is a total blindness for the humanity of others, for the concepts of morality that make us respect human lives and try to solve issues without their destruction.
I guess I AM Prince Hamlet. Surprised that someone may smile and smile and be a villain.
But it is embedded in certain cultures, characters. And many people don't recognize it because they don't have it within themselves.
When someone asked me for a submission recently, i dragged up a poem written in the middle of the night that had been written about the political situation, but wasn't immediateley identifiable as such:
Memories for pain
Scare me no end
When it is the pain
Of insult the reminder
Deepening the scar
The creases the fissure
This is like life as art, where the dreams are far stronger than the reality. People so full of the ideas of pride they'd rather starve than make peace, and rather kill you than speak to you and work things out.
These are the most dangeorus people in the world
the ones who don't live in this world.
So Israel is getting the same threats as the kind the Tribune talks about - on a smaller scale, perhaps, but just as destructive. A guy caught photographing gas and water sites for Hizballah yesterday, for example.
Thank goodness Yehudit reads this and questions me. She read today's entry and wrote "i don't understand the equation you make. "This is like life as art, where the dreams are far stronger than the reality." are the people who live that sort of dream reality those who are "so full of the ideas of pride they'd rather starve than make peace, and rather kill you than speak to you." and then you describe the murderers as having "a hunger for destruction" and seeing their actions as "a joyous exercise of power." it looks as if the equation lies between "life as art" and "a hunger for destruction." Now, I have made it a rule not to read what i write online because i don't want to be influenced by self consciousness. So i kind of pretend i'm writing to myself, my diary. But with a little help from my friends. So now I'll try to clarify.
Ahem. I think that maybe people like Bin Laden don't really care about causes, making the lives of their people better. They are interested in dreams, in imagination. Reality gets in their way. And destroying lives, civilizations, is just another manifestation of their dislike of reality.
i need help on this.
We sit around at my daughter's birthday party and talk about Xerox. I used to work in the bookkeeping department of Xerox, when i was 21 - from 5:30 to midnight I added the tax onto bills. And felt exploited. From the raise I was promised but didn't get, to the general working conditions I hated the attitude of the company towards me. And I believed that one day there would be a reckoning.
But from there I went back to the University, having earned the money for my fiance's tuition, and never went back to the business world.
But now, as Dina pointed out, the little push Bin Laden gave to the western world is making the whole thing fall over. Because that world is a dream as well, built on a faith unbased in reality.
so what is reality
maybe that's why i've been writing poems about animals. here are a few:
ANIMALS OF TEL AVIV
At 3 a.m. the spotted boxer in Apartment 1b, 94 Levanon Street,
suspects a burglary and transmits his initially tentative
response to my terrier next door, who otherwise
has little to do with the boxer, and much to do with sleeping.
She makes for the window to call out solidarity, and maybe
To alert the Alsacian a little further down the street. By the time
I am fully awake, there are at least six of them sharing responsibility
For the collective territory of beings who have never seen each other.
THE CATS OF TEL AVIV
You look in their face and you believe in reincarnation.
Their eyes have suffered through so many lives
Even their love quarrels that screech with pain
Have a trace of boredom at the imperative of it all
As if they know they are stuck in their roles
And are ready to die for it
BIRDS OF TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
The crow drops pecans
on the little piece of sidewalk
outside my office,
picks the meat
from the mess of shells
and flies to a tall pole
for his feast.
He bears the genes of crows
who released their food
in the same, strange way
many years before
on the courtyard of mukhtars
This is the only land he depends upon.
That is why he
CATS IN HEAT
Now is the season when our dirty yard
becomes a life and death wrestling ring.
And the major performers this time around
are the great ancient gray-striped cat,
and the sleek black virgin. All the others
stand around waiting to find some
kind of part in their drama.
Sometimes the arena is a battleground.
Great Grey does not allow just anyone near her.
The tailless black runt, for instance, has been bullied
many times, and returns now humbled only to observe.
The neutered ginger, on the other hand,
is actually given a turn,
and goes through all the motions,
dancing from foot to foot
holding the fur of her nape
delicately in his teeth.
And all the neighbors are kept awake by the caterwauling!
Sometimes it is even the bitch, suddenly the center
of so much attention she cannot bear the burden.
She turns with a terrible shriek, and unseats
Great Grey. He moves away, sheepishly, resigns,
then reaches out to scratch another anonymous male,
who just happened to be a witness.
The sirens screaming down the street,
perhaps to the scene of a terrorist attack
donít even make them
turn their heads.
Yesterday Mishmish came home.
After weeks of trying to make her way,
she got picked up by one of the shelters
Amy had alerted last month, and they were reunited.
It was a small miracle, and not enough to counter
the many tragedies of the day.
But is was a miracle any way
this is not just a question of Mark Twain's idea that ' the more i know people the more i love my dog'. it's also an incredible relief to concentrate on communication and sex and life when it is not so entirely interdependent with millions and millions of others.