Tel Aviv Diary February 23-27, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 23-27, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 23-27, 2020

February 23, 2020

no, really. For the next 10 days i'm continuing as "an Israelite returns to Egypt." and the people staying in my place in Tel Aviv have informed me they won't take my place or pretend they are me. I expect I won't get a chance to see the 'real Egypt,' our neighbor next door, but what I will experience is the legendary ancient civilization as represented by the monuments.

Just think - how little we know. Apparently, although not for sure, our very own Pharoah is Ramses II, also known as Ozymandias. He is the only one I know something about. From the Bible and from Shelley's poem.

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said --"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Of course we had other pharaohs, like the one Abraham deceived about his wife, Sarah by saying she was his sister. he was the one who would have married Sarah and we could have had an Egyptian queen for a mother if the Pharoah hadn't found out she was taken. Then we had the Pharoah who raised up Joseph to be his minister. Then we had the Yul Brynner Pharoah, and then the one who was Solomon's father-in-law. i can't figure out their dynasty.

But who knows if we'll make it - we just had 20 rockets from Gaza and the night is young. And then there's the Corona scare. i think i better download some more books to read.

Febrruary 27, 2020

From the depths of the Sahara desert I can't predict election results, and of course I feel incredibly guilty that I'm not there. But i have a feeling I'm going to be feeling more guilty after Monday.

Shelley was right about Ozymandias. Ramses II is everywhere here, reminding us of how great he is. He's down in the south in Abu Simbel - in Nubia - showing his victories in the wars with the Hittites and others in the north in graphic detail. He only describes victories, even when they're not considered victories by his enemies. he has many wives but prefers and honors one... Hmm.. He sounds like the guy who's going to win in our elections.

I'm not in denial

write me

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