Tel Aviv Diary April 17-21, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 17, 2008

500,000 Israelis are leaving the country this week for the holidays. My only hope for bearable traffic in Tel Aviv.

Hope, shmope. When I went to the health clinic pharmacy there was a line of cars double-parked in front and the whole shop was packed with sick people stocking up for the holidays. It took me over half an hour to get served, even though i tried to get rid of the line in front of me by whispering that the medications,p don't have a kosher-for-passover stamp. No one in Ramat Aviv G cares.

The hysteria is probably connected to the fact that Passover begins on Saturday night - so shopping has to be completed the day before.

Did you know you can buy the Panic Ensemble Album on Amazon? There's no picture and no name, but most of the texts are very much mine.

Save July 31, 2008 if you like my poetry and more alternative music. Ronen Shapira's doing a whole concert of "Your White Skin" under the title "One" in the Confederation House in Jerusalem. "Your white skin" is a poem that is on the surface about the inability of communication in a relationship but it is also about the concept of the 'other' and our political problems of communications.

April 18, 2008

I always see his shop on the way to my in-laws near Habimah, "Claude Samuel." It looks like a high class optomitrist and I always wonder who in that neighborhood has the money to buy there. Tonight I learned who his clientele really is - on channel 11 there was a program about him - how he treats Holocaust victims for free and spends a day every month in the territories donating his time and money to free treatment.

April 19, 2008

We are starting our seder later to avoid the traffic - anyway it will have to be abbreviated because of Ezi - but when I took the dog out at 5:30, there were already many people in the street carrying pots of food, their contribution.

April 20, 2008

The only subject for me today is "self determination." When someone asked me about what Zionism was about yesterday my answer was immediate and surprised me. And then they asked me if Hamas is about the same thing and I found myself saying it is the opposite. It is not an equation. With all the faults Zionism may have it isn't racist even though it is about securing a race, not overpowering an other.

This topic comes up every year at Passover - what does freedom mean - what does it mean to celebrate the exit from Egypt, and not the entrance into Canaan?

It's a subject that enters every aspect of my experiences, especially during the holidays. Even when I was shaving Ezi's head so his hair falling out wouldn't shock us, I was thinking about the degree of self-determination in the face of necessity.

April 21, 2008

Another day at the hospital - tomorrow too. And although a thousand things happened in this country, and a few other things happened to me today, I can't get 2 things out of my mind. The first is an Arab couple, clearly from a village, standing in the Hematology ward with papers in their hands, totally confused about where to go and what to do, while staff and patients walk by, intent on their own tasks. The second is a handsome Russian young man, with magnificent blue eyes and mongol cheeks, and totally hairless. He sits down and lifts up his shirt to reveal the two lines to connect to the iv and the chemo. They lie him down, he falls asleep immediately, and his mother comes in to watch over him.

There is almost no privacy in this ward. The patients sit around in a circle getting their pesticides, or they lie on beds with curtains that could be closed but are usually better open so the nurses can pay complete attention. Usually the patients trade stories and advice, and are always watched over by the staff.

the techincal situation is not always dignified, but the people are/

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home