Tel Aviv Diary April 19-23, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary --April 19-23, 2018 Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 19, 2018

happy independence day!!! mazal tov! It remains nothing short of a miracle that we created a working state from ashes. with all the respect of the Arab populations who were here and have remained all these years,we needed a country and we made it happen. I still believe it can work with liberty and justice for all.

Last night i wrote a whole story about recovering from the kitschy opening ceremony of the early evening by visiting the frog pond and listening to their conversations while the fireworks were going on in the noisy background. i kept thinking of Emily Dickinson's poem

I'm nobody. who are you?
are you nobody too?

it comforted me.

Today, before we go out to see the airshow, we watch the ceremony - modest, complete, and to the point - and i am filled with joy. despite Rafi's constant warnings that our world will be destroyed by Iran at any given moment.

while we were walking back from the airshow on the beach i stopped to check my pedometer (I love the moment I pass my goal and the phone celebrates with confetti on the screen). Some guy passed by in a car and shouted out something that ended with 'pictures' and i understood from the accent that he was an Arab and he thought i had stopped to photograph the air show. But by the time i thought of an answer the car had driven on. I wanted him to participate in the 'fun' and now i'll never know if we had a chance.

April 21, 2018

We're absorbed in the James Comey book. Perhaps because it gives us hope after this shame of the Independence Day ceremony. What is happening in Gaza pains me just a bit less than the fascist creation that was fed to us as patriotism. The possibility of attending at demonstration against the government's attempt to diminish the power of the courts was weighed and dismissed. We are too physically delicate to stand in crowds, but if we could we'd be there. Not because it would work, but because it must be done. The government must be stopped in its wild use of power.

We also escaped on a yacht - on the windiest day in a long time. Dipping and swerving, we barely got out before we were forced to turn back. In fact we could barely dock. But it helped us to distance ourselves from what seems to have become of our strange land.

April 22, 2018

As we were leaving for the poetry evening at the Rumanian cultural center, i heard the newscaster announce that we don't have to panic - Iran said it won't be bombing us now. that freaked me out - we know what that really means.

But as soon as the poetry evening began, i forgot everything. Even though Rumanian is an impossible language for me, even though i don't even understand the rhythms, the idea of a cultural event sponsored by a government was a wonderful one. Years ago the Americans and the British used to have readings all the time and it brought our cultures together. We were constantly being introduced to different opinions, different ways of dealing with poetry as well as politics.. We educated each other.

The Rumanian writers who read this evening were all very different from each other, all very profound and fascinating. The Hebrew translations were read by well known local poets and even I got to read. I messed up the first poem - my old dyslexia kicked in - but i got a second chance near the end and I made up for it. So maybe I'll be asked back again someday. Although i doubt it.

April 23, 2018

What does an old lady do in the post office? Even though I'd made an appointment in advance so I didn't have to wait, I was tired from my UTI and wasn't familiar with post office procedures. so when i was called I was about to bring out all my packages to ask what to do with each one when i noticed the teller was mopping coffee from her shirt with a kleenex. "want a wipe?" i ask - having one left over from the last session with sloppy grandkids. "are you kidding?" she says and takes it gratefully. After that she fills out my forms for me, takes all the packages, and gives me a free envelope. The packages of course are for IAWE, and this is first time in years i was reminded to take a receipt.

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