Tel Aviv Diary July 10-15 ->, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - July 10 -15, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

July 10, 2004

Forgot to publicize the Thin Lips performance on Friday. It isn't even in achbar ha'ir. so it will be a low key small audience. for details, write me or look at the thin lips site

I want to write about some of the pros and cons about the wall. because there are some pros - like the fact that the word 'occupied' is problematic. yes - there are mostly cons, and the complex problem should not be oversimplified.

but i have a very necessary rehearsal right now.

okay. so where was i.

i mean we had to build it now (and not before there were these mass murderers coming over for visits) but not there. I mean we could easily have built the whole thing on the green line - and offered an agreement with Arafat (who wouldn't have accepted it of course. but then it would have been his problem.)

when people say there is no solution to our situation i think - only when there are people not willing to compromise, even if their lives depend on it.

But of course it is easy for me to make philosophical solutions and blame everyone on both sides - while i'm sitting in some sleazy recording studio in yaffo... we intellectuals are pathetic, aren't we

July 11, 2004

Patachti peh lesatan. As soon as i talk about being at the end of the world in the recording studio, the street blows up. On Shderot HarZion today an 20 year old girl soldier flew into the air as a bomb went off, and a life ended. Others are hospitalized. Sharon says its the first bombing as a result of the Hague Court decision, and there hasn't been a bombing since the wall has been going up. So tonight, when i go back to that studio tonight on Shderot HarZion it will be not the end of the world, but a war zone.

oh, and "patachti peh le satan" means that Satan overheard my ivory tower declaration and decided to show me what's what.

Of course this is a silly conclusion about such a horrific event, but Sharon's conclusion that this proves the fence is right, and the Yesha Council chairman's conclusion, that this proves that the IDF is correct, the withdrawal plan is blowing up in our faces, are not worse than mine.

why yes, i do have a poem about the expression - in this months JewishQuarterly if I am not mistaken:


(The transmission of good news in Hebrew is often preceded by the warning, “I don’t want to open a mouth to Satan, but…” )

He is always watching for open mouths,
always waiting for his chance
to jump into your throat
and invert whatever

good you have proclaimed
to be true –

that you have recovered from your illness,
that your wife is faithful, that your children
take after your side of the family.

In today's age,
he even stalks careers,
and if you dare say
you actually got the job,
he fills out the necessary forms
and some other slob is hired.

It takes a weird mentality
to live that way

Makes it
to imagine

July 12, 2004

I don't know about you guys but if i were in france today i'd be wearing a big cross, or maybe a veil. if they beat some woman up because she LOOKS jewish i wouldn't have a chance. And tell me how are you going to educate all those people into accepting peace. And don't tell me that the Hague decision didn't help them out just a bit in deciding to beat up a jew.

haven't seen the Escape commerial in yiddish again, but it made me decide to do a song in yiddish on thursday. Today I've been thinking about the old yiddish writers, in part because i'm on my way to another memorial service for a yiddish writer...

July 13, 2004

Let me tell you something about Holon Cemetery - Of course no cemetery is fun, but Holon is a particular fright. Traffic jam at the entrance - as usual - and a sign that says "parking 10 shekel." But you don't have to pay to enter - only to get out of the cemetery. And who wouldn't pay to leave? From the 'prayers for hire' guys at the entrance to the beggars at the exit, the place is a nightmare. Crowded and hot and dusty with a strong smell...

But perhaps the most depressing thing was the fact that Binyamin Katz, whose memorial service i attended, was buried in the 'writers' section' of the cemetery, and all around his stones are graves of others whose stones declare their profession as 'author' and whose names I'd never heard of.

I don't know if they were ever any good - all i know is that they were writers and their works are unavailable - and a culture, particularly a newly developing culture, should be careful to care for the people who are making it.

I asked the guy in charge of the rehearsal studio if he heard the terrorist bomb. "No, it's soundproof here," he said. Even though he was less than a block away. We in the studio can stay isolated from the rest of the country, but i doubt whether the writers in Holon cemetery had that luxury. They must have written about life in Israel in the '50's, the '60's, who but knows.

Today some of the members of the Israel Association of Writers in English met for the first time with members of the Israel Association of Writers in French. There are 12 other language writers' associations not including hebrew in Israel, all unable to understand each others' writings.

And what I discovered to my amazement is that we all write of the same things - of life in this country - from the same perspective of the outside as well as the insider.

And they're all good.

July 14, 2004

There is a summer camp at the university that is always in my way - the kids march by singing songs just when i'm in the middle of reading exams, or they come charging out of the pool to get picked up thus stopping traffic just as i am trying to get home. As a young parent I used to watch my kids in the camp, and loved the atmosphere of the university they were surrounded by, but now i am a crochety old lady, and all i think about is whether camp is only for the privileged. And, like every year, an article comes out somewhere about Palestinian summer camps, like this one from Sky Newsabout terrorist training camps for 10 year olds. A long way from "Friends, friends, friends..."

For an alternative summer you can stay home and listen to the peace radio.

July 14, 2004

Bastille Day.

A day like all others.

Herzlia Pituach (the developed herzlia) has reminders of Herzl all over - the name of the street I had to visit, for instance, is called "The Jewish State." But the atmosphere on the streets was nothing like Herzl's dream. Traffic jams all over - and I gave up on some of my errands and parked wherever i could, stopped at a store and bought a pair of discounted golden sneakers in desperation.

I'll never forget these gold sneakers, because when i got back to the car, it turned out that the jams were connected with a general security alert in the neighborhood, in the entire area in fact.

This is what has happened to the dream of the Jewish State - terrorist alerts and default shopping.

And the heat, the heat. It's not true what people say, that it's always been this hot but we forget from year to year. The monstrous concrete office buildings, blocking the breeze, catching the strong rays and reflecting them, the airconditioners giving off hot air onto the street, the countless noxious automobiles, all these make the heat far more difficult than ever. The sea was once the outlet for the summer, and we would go almost every day, but now there are stingrays, poison in the water, pollution, and the seashore is a dead-end. More than that our entire social structure, which makes leisure a thing of the past, allows us no release from the boiling hot streets.

At least I have my sneakers.

And now it was announced that a woman just gave birth in the traffic there.

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