Tel Aviv Diary - April 24-28,2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 24, 2011

Drat. It had to happen. A little spark to blow up the whole powder keg. So the Palestinian police killed an unarmed Braslav Hassid who went to pray at Joseph's Tomb (without coordinating with the Israeli army, in the very early morning,) Ben Yoseph Livnat, the nephew of Limor Livnat, was killed. The Palestinian police knew they were going to pray, they knew they were unarmed, but they also knew they were breaking the law. So everyone knew there was something wrong with the situation and at every stage violence could have been prevented and now it is escalating and might continue to escalate out of control. I hate that when that happens.

April 25, 2011

Of course because of the holidays there seems to be no news - at least no one listens to the news or reads the newspapers. Tomorrow is when the all the tragedies of the world will begin to hit the public here. Well maybe not, as Gideon Levy noted in his editorial,

Remember how we listened to the news every hour? Remember how much we knew about what was going on all around us? I hate the insularity we're developing just because we're scared of what people always say about us.

April 26, 2011

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Nazi bombing of Guernica, immortalized by Picasso's painting. This kind of destruction of a population seems to be characteristic of modern civilization only, But I keep remembering Jonathan Swift's third book of Gulliver's Travels, when he gets to the flying island of Laputa, where the government is placed.

If any town should engage in rebellion or mutiny, fall into violent factions, or refuse to pay the usual tribute, the king has two methods of reducing them to obedience. The first and the mildest course is, by keeping the island hovering over such a town, and the lands about it, whereby he can deprive them of the benefit of the sun and the rain, and consequently afflict the inhabitants with dearth and diseases: and if the crime deserve it, they are at the same time pelted from above with great stones, against which they have no defence but by creeping into cellars or caves, while the roofs of their houses are beaten to pieces. But if they still continue obstinate, or offer to raise insurrections, he proceeds to the last remedy, by letting the island drop directly upon their heads, which makes a universal destruction both of houses and men. However, this is an extremity to which the prince is seldom driven, neither indeed is he willing to put it in execution; nor dare his ministers advise him to an action, which, as it would render them odious to the people, so it would be a great damage to their own estates, which all lie below; for the island is the king’s demesne.

The only difference is what's going on in Libya and Syria isn't funny, and we should be doing everything possible to prevent it.

April 27, 2011

While we were zapping, we hit a song in Ladino, and I stopped the zapping, started singing along... Adio Querida.. Tu madre cuando te pario/ Y te quito al mundo/ Coracon ella no te dio/ Para amar segundo,// Adio,/ Adio Querida,/ No quero la vida,/ Me l'amagrates tu,// Va, busacate otro amor,/ Aharva otras puertas,/ Aspera otro ardor,/ Que para mi sos muerta.....

Now I don't know Ladino, or Spanish, or Italian... But I know Ladino songs by heart because I loved the language and managed to speak it a little with my late ex-mother-in-law.

It's a stupid song anyway, some guy singing about a girl's hard heart because she doesn't love him and how he's got to go knocking on other doors. There are lots of them in Ladino and I know a few. But why? Why do I know songs in Russian, Serbian, even Hungarian, and yet nothing in Arabic? Is it because of the quarter tones that I find the songs hard to remember? I absolutely MUST learn Arabic, and will start with Hakim's song about Alexandria.

It is so much more fun to learn from songs then from politics.

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