Tel Aviv Diary August 26-31, 2006- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 26-31, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 26-7, 2006

I'm back

and what do you know- no one sang hevenu shalom aleichem at landing. But when we got our gear and left the airport the pure patriotism rose in our throats. It was good to be back.

Yes we arrived to the quibbles of or neighbors - not just the big ones but the tiny ones too - the path in our garden was cast against the wishes of the majority. the guys in charge insulted at the lack of faith in them quit. and everything remains a mess. This reflects the country.

(i removed the whole nike bluff - see august 31)

August 28, 2006

A strange sense of fantasy has accompanied my return to israel. i am sure it is jet lag and culture shock,but despite numerous inquiries, and many bombed houses, everything seems normal. My neighbors are still quarreling about the path in front of the house, my grocer looks a little more like he's drinking the vodka he desplays in his water fridge, and there are weddings and celebrations left and right.

I promised you a picture of my Macy's makeover at Lancome with Tarik Abbas:

. Notice how good I look. Notice that the sign of Lancome and 'gift' are prominently displayed.Notice how happy i am as a customer of Lancome and especially Tarik.

But since I don't usually talk about my frivolities, I should explain myself. I stopped at the Lancome counter because I saw Tarik was Lebanese. Now that did it for me. I suddenly felt at home.

August 29, 2006

How come you didn't take pictures? I asked my friends up north who barely documented their damages. They DID take pictures, they say - a few days after when they could get closer. But anyway their insurance doesn't cover... and the government isn't actually helping out too much... and we decided we've got to go up there and see what actually happened. So I think next week we'll go up to Metulla via Maghrar and Carmiel and find out. More soon.

August 29, 2006

If I can't say anything nice about this government I'm not going to say anything at all.


Photography. Now there's a subject. Documentation. I've been realizing recently - as have most of the people in the world - that photography is no longer true documentation. Watching the footage of the captured navigator Ron Arad I thought it was probably very old, looked like a year or so after his capture. But then the whole idea of doctoring videos, making old news new, making up news, staging pictures, etc. suddenly came to me in full force. This was my first war where the whole idea of photograph didn't mean documentation, or even a semblance of documentation, but manipulation. The manipulation and staging was primarily on the Hizballah side; on the Israeli side there was simply an absence of visuals. And there still are a lot of pictures missing. But this is also the first war I experienced where official facts - from either side - just meant propaganda. That's why I need to go up north and see things for myself. Although I'll only be able to see one side, and only a little of that.

Never thought I'd be missing Arik Sharon.

August 30, 2006

What am I saying? It's Sharon and Bibi that got us into this particular mess. The present government just irritates me more because they lie so much. What can it mean that we don't have a minister of welfare? what can it mean that one in three children live under the poverty level? What can it mean that most of those poor kids are either Arab or religious Jews? what can it mean that we don't know WHAT the poverty level is anyway? What can it mean that we don't know what the general economic level is so we can't measure how much money is going where? The very words 'trickle down' scare the hell out of my morality. They mean someone has control of whether someone else eats. And THAT means a society that operates on power. Without mentioning Palestine. Remember that old wives' wisdom, if a rich man tells you he got his wealth from hard work, you should ask, "the hard work of whom?"

'Why are you so angry today?' Sally writes. 'What happened?' I think in addition to my sense of righteous anger over today's poverty report, I'm also very disappointed in the prime minister's criticism of the people of Tel Aviv who sat out this war in cafes. Even if it WAS true, and it isn't because so many of us contributed, if not our houses, then our efforts, to people who should have been taken care of by the government. But even if it WAS true, we had our share of terror and bombings, just a little while ago.

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