Tel Aviv Diary August 31 - September 4. 2006- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

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

August 31, 2006

I got sidetracked in Tel Aviv today -

September 1, 2006

Not to apologize, but Tel Aviv simply overwhelmed me yesterday. The combinations! A visit to city hall - where parking is expensive, the halls are so hot my hair was wet from the first minute I began my errands there, and yet the clerks are so nice and efficient it is hard to remember it is so corrupt. When you walk out to the stairs - the ones that Rabin walked down before he was killed - the breeze hits you like a renewal - and you wonder how it is that it couldn't have been put to use inside the building. This messy sentence is an attempt to figure out this place - where the offices close at 3 but you can get your car towed at 2 a.m., where the clerk helps me to save 10 shekel but i have to pay more than that to park my car, where the place seems simple and normal in the afternoon, but in the evening is engulfed by 40,000 people rallying for the freeing of the kidnapped shoulders.

September 1, 2006

Why were so many people willing to go out to rally for the release of the kidnapped soldiers? Because that's all they feel empowered to do. This whole country seems to be overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness. Not that we ARE powerless, but we feel that way - that our goverment doesn't listen to us, that the world has no sense of our situation, that we are surrounded by hate and this hate seems to be stronger and empowered by the world.

And with that, we're in a week of weddings and celebrations - even this afternoon, erev shabbat, we went to a rollicking wedding that went on and on. Tomorrow there is another one, just before sunset. Today, when the glass was broken, and the words "if I forget thee Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning" rang through the crowd, to remind us that the personal is political and religious and universal (like the 7 blessings at the wedding), I found myself weeping. I always cry at weddings, but this time the combination of emotions beyond the joining of two people, was overwhelming. It is never just two people who are coming together, but a new family that is beginning, a new future, and it is linked to the tradition of the existing one.

Does this make sense or have I had too much tequila?

We got hijacked after the wedding to go to see the film about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania on September 11, United 93. The other previews in the theater were for WTC and Black Dahlia. And the concept of reality suddenly got to me in a bad way. Not because I was freaked out by the truth of things, but because reality is ultimately limiting. "What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible..." Theodore Roethke said. "I'm not interested in history but imagination," Shimon Peres said. And this is what we need. Not escapism, but imagination, creative possibilities. Reality isn't going to take us far enough.

September 2, 2006

The best food ever at a wedding - catering Albabour from Uhm El Fahm. 046110691. It was an enormous jewish wedding and the food was traditional Arab food, simple, and perfect.

September 3, 2006

School started today - Imagine what that means for all the children in this part of the world. In this country, for example, the kids have to have a little cleansing session about rockets and safety and death. I keep thinking about the high school in Maghrar and what a classroom there must be talking about. I wrote a few years ago about Naim Araidi leading a discussion of high school kids during the intifada and asking them what they think of Kennedy's concept "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." The complexity of the situation must be amazing.

Some schools didn't open today -couldn't get thesecurity situation together. I'm pretty amazed that any of the schools up north did such an amazing job. And it's not like they've gotten over anything. One example: the gym teacher from Kiryat Shmona who lost his son in this war, and explains to the kids that his sadness shouldn't be a reason for them to avoid him.

The news on TV features a piece on a study indicating a preventative treatment for colonic cancer. The professor discussing his research is the guy who's doing colonoscopy tomorrow in the health clinic. So something remains of socialist medecine. Check it out .

Panic has a disk - I'm sure I told you - with "Nighthawks" (with my texts) as well as "Panic." There is a pretty amazing review of it on the Indie sitethat connects the development of it to the development in the recent war. The review is in Hebrew, but the texts are here. They have a show on the 12th at Levontin 7.

I'm reading poems at Tmuna on the 16th - with Yarona Caspi.

September 4, 2006

Appropos of what i wrote yesterday about the psychological element of the return to school - today i got some answers in Haaretz.. Of course everyone has problems, and there are bigger things to worry about in the world, but i figure if the kids are taken care of, that's what counts.

here. There are some lines that particularly strike home now: "Fear is very useful./ You know it prepares your body / for "fight or flight" response."

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