Tel Aviv Diary - March 12, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 17, 2012

Ronny Sommek

Uncle Salim

In the days when there was respect for train tickets
And they were printed on no less than green cardboard,
Uncle Salim would produce from his jacket pocket
A little stack he’d gathered at the Haifa Station
And helped us to imagine a steering wheel as wide
as the width between our hands.
We closed one eye, held the hole in the ticket close
for a second, and saw through it
a red tie sharp as a sword, that he wore
to diminish the shame of the rail workers’ khaki.
Then he would breathe in the memory
of the locomotive of another country,
And the cars full of stories from the Tigris and Euphrates ,
They would breathe air cleaner than the moth ball atmosphere,
That clung to the suitcases of memory of the new immigrants

“The train to Eden,” he heard
before he died,
“Leaves in three minutes,”
Just in time to load the cars
With the 99 years of his life,
The top hat he loved to move from side to side
And the leftover applause
he always saved for the voice of Abdel Al-Wahab.

Translated and copyrighted by Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 17, 2012

What an extraordinary day. It was supposed to be exceedingly cold, and Ezi is still recovering from the zevalin, but we decided to take a ride to nearby Apollonia, to see what they've dug up lately.

It was warm and sunny and Apollonia was a wonderful lesson in the history of this land.

For more information on Apollonia, go here or here

March 18-9, 2012

Maybe it's my implants that have to come out because they're infected, maybe it's the thick cloud of dust that is covering the country, maybe it's post-stress. But I'm functioning at an extremely low level. Sorry - I hope to be back to normal soon.

March 20, 2012

If there is any comfort in the brutal murder of four people in the schoolyard in Toulouse, in such a tragic event, it can be the unification of the culture of the semite - Jew and Arab - may be equal targets here, equal victims, and equal enemies. France, with the largest population of both Jews and Arabs, may yet become the place, not of fear and hatred, but of understanding.

Today is supposed to be the first day of spring - and if the sharav were not so dreary it would be a happy day.

For weeks I've been trying to think about what a national anthem must contain to be patriotic and inclusive at the same time. I'm having all kinds of problems with it - the other anthems I know are either not to the point or almost fascist. Anyone have any positive models of anthems?

March 21, 2012

The tragedies in Toulouse have totally occupied us - the funerals of the children and their father and teacher were here, and we all share in the grief.

The terrorist apparently claimed to have killed the children in retribution for the killing of Gazan children - and there were hundreds of children killed in 2009, but the killing was not intentional, not targeted, and not in retribution for the hundreds of Israeli children who have been killed by terrorists in the past year. Revenge just doesn't seem to help anything. let's stop keeping track and try to prevent people from being killed.

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