Tel Aviv Diary - August 12-16, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 12-16, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 12, 2009

Not much can be expected of me today - No matter what the periodontist sees in my future, my present is pretty miserable. I can't even read papers. Thank goodness all this pain and weakness is about making life more pleasant, not struggling for existence.

So I have been switching back and forth from news in English and Hebrew. There's a big difference. Both of them are only partial, but the English news is so right-wing political and so focused on only a few aspects of the news that it is quite amazing. In English the only thing that is wrong with this country is the Arab population - the Fatach elections and the idea of a Jew-free Jerusalem. In Hebrew there are criticisms of Israel. Self criticism is very important, and it is one of the first things i admired in the news, but in the past years it has diminished - political criticism in particular. Stories emerge and disappear, like Barak's visit of the synagogue in East Jerusalem. Is it self-censorship? Is there a political reason for this? Don't be stupid, I hear voices calling. But the only evidence i have is the impression of growing blandness of the Hebrew news, and it is still a whole lot better than the English news.

The Ethiopian National Project (ENP) is presenting an Ethiopian cultural fundraiser, Sunday August 23rd, 2009, at the International Community and Cultural Center (ICCC), 12 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem. For a taste click here. The Ethiopian community is not a flashy and/or performative culture, so the video doesn't show much, but it is rich with talent and potential.

August 13, 2009

Ezi's stuck in a traffic jam on the road from the airport. I am stuck in Bavli in North Tel Aviv in a traffic jam. My congestion is from a broken water main that caused the entire north of the city to be without water this evening. Ezi, however, is in a more serious jam. There is a suspected kidnapping of a soldier by a new terrorist group and they have police blocks. Suddenly I don't feel like going to see "The Hebrew Mamita" or even writing a review of the exhibit of Ben Roitman I just saw. I just want to be next to a radio.

August 14, 2009

So I was wrong about the kidnapped soldier (no details but there was none) and the water main got fixed, but that adrenalin that filled me immediately was like an old and familiar relative. The feeling that at any moment something terrible can happen that can change the entire scene. This is something that I shared with an Arab friend the other day - this mutual feeling of living on the edge of danger, that can come from any direction. She shied away from agreeing with me when I said we have similar lives (which I had no right to do) but totally agreed that we have similar and antithetical fears. How can we make peace, I asked her, if both of us are so traumatized? Maybe something will happen, she said. Yes, I answered, without thinking - a bunch of Fascists will go after the Muslims and the Jews and we'll have no choice but to get together.

August 15, 2009

Although I've been seeing a lot of art lately, I haven't gotten around to writing about it. You might want to look instead at this site: Maarav which is really enlightening and interesting and says much more than I could.

August 16, 2009

Going over the list of murders in the past few weeks I cannot believe how quickly they are forgotten. Here we're in one of the strangest waves of killings - a father smothers his daughter to get back at his wife, a mother and daughter barely escape danger as their man is murdered, two people in a gay center are shot to death and the others are battered physically and emotionally. Perhaps there is no real connection between any of these incidents, or the body parts found in the burning garbage can and the Alexander river, but the anger involved in all these murders is one. The sense that violence is the only alternative is the thread.

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