Tel Aviv Diary May 15-19, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 15-19, 2007

May 15, 2007

Asher Reich's poetry is becoming harder and harder to translate. As his language deepens and his complexity intensifies, it becomes almost impossible to transmit his work outside of Hebrew. Even the title of his latest book, "Lehefech," "On the contrary" or "the opposite." No. no way to show in language the incorporation of paradoxes embodied in this word and its growing implications in the book.

No way to show it in a literary evening either. Last night some of the greater critics in the country tried to explain Reich in an evening in the national library, and in doing that took all the juice out of his poetry. It's not their fault - his poetry is that which gets lost in translation and explanation.

And the air conditioner wasn't on.

And the great hall was filled.

But what great literature - that i cannot begin to describe! It's worth learning Hebrew to read Asher.

For the latest strike manifesto, click here. Its only in Hebrew.

If you are in Israel and miss the sound of my voice I'm doing something on the army channel of the radio at 10 tonight on Allen Ginsberg. I think you can catch it here

But we're under attack. 17 rockets on Sderot tonight. One of the injured - a housewife - with a nasty head wound - has been injured twice before by rockets. No one should have to go through that. In Gaza they're killing each other and blaming us.

May 16, 2007

So Hamas is killing Fatah and firing on Sderot so that we'll respond and then they can unite against us. So much more sophisticated than the simple doubletalk scam the government is foisting on the students today. If they sign this afternoon they will have achieved nothing because the government clauses all have loopholes. If it's obvious to me it must be clear to the students. But it reminds me of the story i probably told once about the Germans visiting kibbutz lochamei haghettaot many years ago. When they asked why the lights were on in the chicken coop at night, they were told so that the chickens would think it was day and would lay more eggs. They turned to each other and said "The Jews don't have anyone to cheat any more, so they cheat the chickens."

With all the rockets on Sderot, we all feel helpless. These are people who having been living in terror for years, but the past weeks have been intolerable and the last few days hell. You can help out by giving to the Magen David Adom which has been racing around Sderot treating the wounded and traumatized. I hope we don't give in to the strong temptation to invade Gaza.

May 17, 2007

And here we are attacking Gaza. The continuous rocket fire on Sderot couldn't be ignored.

The citizens of Gaza had been confined to their homes for days because of the extremely aggressive street fighting between Hamas and Fatach. Yesterday there were a few radio interviews with people in Gaza, a woman with four children stuck in her house,sleeping in the hallway away from the windows. And now they're being struck from above. We targeted Hamas headquarters but who knows who lives next door. I hope there's one God who watches over all.

Teacher's statement on the strike (Hebrew)

I went to the main gate of the university this morning to see the demonstrators for and against the strike. There weren't many on either side, and enthusiasm seems to have waned. Not surprising. Students can't cause any damage to others by their striking, like, say, transportation workers. And students are only in the university for a while, so their committment is less than people who work at something for a life time. And there are so many more pressing things going on. And unless we understand that our only hope for a future is through education, we can't see this as a major issue.

May 18, 2007

"Dark Night" A film about patrolling Israeli soldiers who hit a land mine and hide in the house of a couple in an Arab village. The Russian soldier finds that the very pregnant wife is also Russian, and Russian becomes the only common language, since the Arabic speaking husband and the Hebrew speaking soldier cannot communicate. It's a very intense film and very Russian, and very Israeli. Go.

May 19, 2007

Put some of the arabic translations of my poems on my translation site.

U don't forget Sderot and Gaza all day: the fact that Hamas is the immediate cause of the violence against citizens of both places, that fact that traumas like the ones they are going through are cumulative, the fact that we are all bound in each others catastrophes and all responsible for each other....

(What's the difference between this rocket attack and the past few years? The rockets are bigger, with more explosives, and much more shrapnel.)

But like everyone else who isn't being bombed at the moment, I spend most of my time worrying about my own garden. My own garden! What has not gone wrong with my own garden. Just last week all the beautiful plants died because someone (I think our former gardener) stole the computerized watering system. i have always said that if you water any piece of land around here something will grow. All you need for a garden is water. It's like there is so rich a history of agronomy here, all you have to do is remind the earth of its richness, of its past.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Home

you are visitor numberCounter