This is the way we wake up here - get dressed, eat breakfast, walk the dog -- 10 people so far killed in a bus bomb in jerusalem. i don't know how people can get into the rhythm of life when these things happen. i don't know and yet i do it. just like everyone else. i walk into class at 8:30 and the room is full and i'm shocked. And i teach The Second Coming and the Walls do not Fall...
Wait - i just remembered - i wrote about this 2 years ago!
POETRY CLASS –
December 7. 2000.
Today we discuss “symbols” and “myths.” I read
“The Second Coming” out loud,
like I do every year it seems;
and feel the students, Arab and Jew,
catch their breath and amplify private scenes
to Yeats’ terrible vision. Bethlehem
is so near, and from deep in the well
of our lecture hall we know,
no one this year will be sitting
under their vines and fig trees.
Tomorrow I will try to teach
how to create new symbols, new myths.
I said it today again - the thing about new myths - thought i was just now making it up.
November 22, 2002
Friday noon i meet some friends for coffee - they all look amazing - and i add - as is de rigeur now in conversation "considering the situation." "How did you get so thin?" I ask Amy. "Oh, I'm ciliac now. Can't eat flour. " An hour later I meet another friend in the street. Celia says she's put on 8 kilo since the intifada. "Can't sleep without a full stomach." And this puts me into mind of what Orit's friend, Orit Zeituni, said last night about her irritable bowel syndrome. "I wonder how many other people have it - on both sides of the border - now. I should start a new organization "Irritable Bowel Syndrome Sufferers for Peace." Now there's an organization!
Someone gave me statistics last night - that 16% of the population in Israel has actually been involved in a terrorist attack - witnessed, been injured, etc. 30% know people who have been killed. that's one out of 3. gives a new twist to the concept of jewish geography.
November 23, 2002
Stanley sent me this article about Bakhri's film about Jenin
It's cut-n-paste but i'll try to clean it up. It exposes many of the untruths of the film.
As a long admirer of Bakhri Iknow that truth is not the issue here. He's creating a truth that expresses his feeling. He is wrong about facts, but not about the feeling. We have to be able to identify the distinction between truth and creative history - decry the lack of factuality and direct to the truth, but also understand and try to use the lies to work with the people.
SEVEN LIES ABOUT JENIN (Presented in a New Palestinian Documentary to be Viewed Worldwide)
by David Zangen, M.D.
(Commentary by Dr. David Zangan, Ma'ariv, 8.11.2002, Weekend Supplement)
I watched Muhammad Bakri's film Jenin, "Jenin," in a limited forum, with Jerusalem Cinematheque Director Leah Van Leer and several journalists. After the private screening, I responded and indicated each lie and lack of credibility. One of those present at the screening was outraged: "If you don't accept the facts in the film, you apparently don't understand anything; how can you be a doctor?"
For a moment, I forgot that I had been in Jenin last April, serving as a regional brigade doctor, while this viewer had, at best, been fed on rumors. Bakri expertly weaves together lies and half-truths until it becomes very difficult not to be seduced by the distorted picture he creates.
I did not succeed in convincing the Cinematheque management to cancel the screening. I was told that the pictures of destroyed homes were authentic and that there was, therefore, truth in the film, and that the film would be shown around the world in any case. Even so, I was invited to its premiere screening in Jerusalem and I arrived in order to explain my position to the audience. Following are several points that I wished to raise to the audience:
1. Dr. Abu Riali, director of the hospital in Jenin, claims in the film that the western wing of the hospital was shelled and destroyed and that the IDF knowingly hit the hospital's water and power supplies. There never was any such wing and in any case, no part of the hospital was either shelled or blown up. IDF soldiers took care not to enter its grounds even though we knew that it was serving as a refuge for several wanted fugitives. We guarded the water, electricity and oxygen supplies to the hospital all throughout the fighting and assisted in setting up an emergency generator after the city's electrical system was damaged. Bakri himself is seen in the film wandering the hospital's clean and well-kept corridors, but not in the blown up wing. I met him outside the theater and asked him if he had visited the western wing. At first he said no, then he corrected himself and said, "You remember one moment in the film with shattered glass - it was from there." It is important to point out that this Abu Riali is one of the "authorized sources" for the claim of a "massacre." At the beginning of the operation, he was interviewed on Al-Jazeera television and spoke of, "thousands of victims."
2. Another impressive part of the film is the interview with a male 75-year-old Jenin resident who mumbles and cries and tells how he was taken out of his bed in the middle of the night, shot in the hand, and after he failed to obey the soldiers' command to get up, was shot again in the foot. I met this very same old man as he was brought to me after an operation to clear one of the Hamas cells' houses in the refugee camp. He had indeed been lightly injured in the hand and was suffering from a minor scratch on the foot, but certainly not as the result of a bullet. IDF soldiers transferred him to a secure station that had been set up to treat wounded and there I treated him, among others. One of the military doctors identified diagnosed a heart problem. We suggested that he be transferred immediately to Haemek Hospital in Afula for treatment. He asked to be treated at the hospital in Jenin since he did not speak Hebrew. After the hospital refused to admit him, we transferred him to Afula and he stayed there for three days in the internal medicine department for treatment of his heart problems and the anemia that he suffered from as a result of another chronic illness.
3. Another person who was interviewed spoke about a baby who suffered a chest wound from a bullet that entered through his chest and exited his body, creating a hole in his back. According to the film the baby died after IDF soldiers prevented his evacuation to hospital. A baby's body with this type of injury has never been found. Moreover, such an injury would have been fatal, and evacuation would not have saved his life. What is this baby's name? Where did his body disappear?
4. The same person interviewed also told how, using his finger, he opened the baby's airway in his neck after he was injured. Again, a complete lie. Such an action cannot be carried out with a finger. This "witness" adds that tanks ran over living people many times until they were completely crushed - this never happened and is imaginary.
5. The film mentions a mass gravesite that IDF soldiers dug for Palestinian dead. Every international organization that investigated the matter concur that there were 52 Palestinian dead in Jenin, and that all the bodies were returned to the Palestinians for burial. Bakri does not bother to show the supposed location of this mass gravesite.
6. Israeli planes that supposedly bombed the city are mentioned in the film. There were no such planes. In order to prevent civilian casualties, only focused helicopter fire was used.
7. It is interesting to note that Bakri was not present in Jenin at the time of the operation, and only arrived two weeks after it was completed.
In pictures shot at the site in the center of Jenin, the damage appears much larger than it was in actual fact, and the martyrs' pictures and jihad slogans - which had been present at the time of the IDF military operation - had disappeared from the walls of houses. The film systematically and repeatedly uses manipulative pictures of tanks taken in other locations, artificially placing them next to pictures of Palestinian children.
In general, this is a vulgar, but extremely well done, work of manipulation.
At the conclusion of the film, hundreds of viewers gave Bakri and the film's editor a standing ovation. Bakri asked the audience if there were any questions. I presented myself; I went up to the stage and began to systematically list the lies and inaccuracies in the film.
At first there were whispers in the audience, and later scornful calls, and I was labeled a "murderer," "war criminal" etc. I had barely succeeded in finishing my second point when a man in the audience aggressively came up on stage and tried to take the microphone out of my hand. I decided not to be dragged into violence. I allowed him to take the microphone and left the stage. I was surprised that only a few people stood up for my right to free speech and free expression. I was shocked that the audience was unwilling to hear the facts from someone who had physically been there.
It was difficult for me as a person, as a father and a doctor to hear calls of "murderer" from my people. I said that I did not kill anyone. But the calls became more heated; immense hatred was directed towards me. It left me with a hard feeling that has not subsided. I am not sorry that I went to the Cinematheque that evening. I am certain that in any case there were people who heard my doubts, and that this changed a small amount of their feelings towards the "facts" they saw. I am sure there were other people who were shocked at the intolerance demonstrated by the audience, but even so, it is hard for me [to accept] that they were the silent minority.
Allow me to say what I was unable to say to those people that evening. I am proud that I was part of this excellent and ethical force that operated in Jenin, regular army soldiers and reservists with motivation and a fighting spirit, who went to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in its capital.
Many suicide-bombers came from Jenin, and were responsible for the murder of the elderly, women and children on our streets. I am proud that we were there, that we fought, and I also am proud of the morality of the battle. The camp was not bombed from the air in order to prevent innocent civilian casualties, and artillery was not used even though we knew about specific areas in the [refugee] camp where terrorists were holing up. IDF soldiers fought against terrorists, and terrorists only. Before destroying a building where terrorist fire against our soldiers had originated from, as many warnings as could be allowed, were given, so that the people could leave without injury.
The medical team administered medical aid to all casualties, even if they had
Hamas tattoos on their hands. At no point was any person refused medical treatment.
This battle, heroic on one hand and ethical on the other, took a heavy toll from the best of our fighters! We who had to be there - the soldiers that fell there, their families and the IDF - do not deserve that Muhammad Bakri should incite the world to murder and hatred at our expense.
[See what happened in Jenin at Jenin]
Now if you have been following this diary you will remember that members of my family were serving as doctors in Jenin during that time that Bakhri's film covers, and that I recorded a few stories from witnesses. Zanger's story jibes with what I was told.
One of the problems with finding that the truth has been terribly distorted is that i begin not to believe any thing that comes out of a place like Jenin. So when it was announced that a 10 or 12 year old boy had been killed yesterday in Jenin my response was to distance myself from the possibility of its truth, and that if a real child was dead, he had probably been beaten to death by his father for smiling at an israeli soldier. i watched the funeral today and remembered the funeralprocession in Jenin in may when the corpse fell off the stretcher and crawled back on and the procession continued. This is something i have to fight.
Liz asked me for poems by women about peace today - Jewish, Arab, anybody... There have to be some poems out there. Someone even sent me a poem not too long ago by an Arab woman - an amazing poem. But I can't remember who it was and can't find it now. If you're out there, wouldn't you like to resend it so i can post it and pass it on to liz?
I have two secrets to pass on to you. They are connected. The first is that I read Ha'aretz every morning. The second is that I have a dog who isn't totally toilet trained. That is, if more than four hours have passed, she pees on the newspaper. I think I have not tried too terribly hard to train her of this because it is an outlet for me. I put a picture of some particularly inhuman politician on the floor and voila - only a few hours later my hidden feelings are expressed. The ecological disaster off the coast of Galicia. The municipal bureacrats there who decided to push the ship out to sea. Another terrorist attack. And the literary page of Ha'aretz and how it does not use its position to develop a culture and a literature, but works on pretension. There. Now I have done what my dog does.
November 25, 2002
Because Hans from Holland asked me to be more specific about the statistics i quoted the other day, here they are: 4,822 injured, 681 killed, 15,378 attacks 29 September 2000 through 23 November 2002
IDF Spokesperson 24 November 2002
Injured: 3,425 Civilians + 1,397 Security Forces = 4,822 Total Israeli Injured
Killed: 472 Civilians + 209 Security Forces = 681 Total Israeli Killed
Total Attacks*: 6,990 West Bank + 7,746 Gaza Strip + 642 Home Front =15,378 Total
All this is just armed attacks - firebombs and rocks don't count in these grim statistics.
All this is meant to influence our elections, Hamas says. Like it brought down Peres and Barak before, it will bring down Sharon. But I don't think I'm influenced by this - i've never voted Likud.
I even vote in the Maarach primaries. And we've got another primary coming up in 2 weeks. If there were not the element of the Prime Minister in these elections, if the prime minister were chosen separately and not by party, I'd probably vote for Hadash - simply because they initiate the most legislation - and that legislation is usually the most humane.
But of course that's just me. I have no idea about you guys.
Who is your audience in this diary, Haim Beer asked me last week on live TV. And I fudged something - i mean i know about dear Laura Fukunishi in Kobe, and Rena in Ontario, and Adrienne Rich in California, and Linda in Seattle, and John Williams in Liverpool and the gently critical Alan Mumford from London and the even more gentle but far more critical Aviv Kruglanski from Barcelona and Yehudit who is now in Washington and Roy from New York and Phyllis from Chicago... but there are a lot more i don't know about. I mean I didn't even hear a word about the proposal Orit Zeituni made way back on Thursday - the "Irritable Bowel Syndrome Sufferers for Peace Movement."
Listen if you want all or part of your name removed or added, let me know. I'll break my iron clad rule of not editing if i put your name in against your will or desire.
November 26, 2002
I've been trying to catch "Riderless Horse," the Egyptian series based on the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion," now being broadcast. (Remember Henry Ford's idea that the Jews have a plan to take over the world?) It is broadcast at 2:30 in the morning – but now that it is Ramadan people are up late. Amazing that such an anti-Semitic program could not only be broadcast by a country with whom we've signed a peace treaty but appear freely in Israel. I understand that when Mubarak was asked about it he said it was not anti-Semitic propaganda but "history."
I'm afraid I've lost a bit of respect for Mubarak.
But this is always the problem – not knowing the 'other' leads to demonization of the other. I wish it were possible to meet him, to speak, to see if it is possible to humanize the relationship between Egypt and Israel.
Okay, I would find it hard to invite him to dinner – but that's only because I've become hysterical as a cook.
What a sap, I hear some of my right wing friends tell me. You think that if people got to know each other they would solve all their problems. All you need is love. Ha.
Actually I think it would work with right and left wing as well. Not that we would solve all our problems, but that we would have a CHANCE of solving SOME of our problems. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.
This is actually MY plan for taking over the world.
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