Tel Aviv Diary - March 8-12, 2009- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - March 8-12, 2009 Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 8, 2009

After my complete denunciation of political conversation, our evening was filled with politics last night - how things should work out in the government, what Tsipi should have done, what Ehud is really like, why Bibi has made so many mistakes (liberman as foreign minister is total suicide, right?)- It was a conversation of women (at a middle class cafe in the early Sabbath evening) and it reminded me that women would be much more efficient running the government, if they were running it together.

Today - International Women's Day - our former president is indicted for sexual assaults and 12 men are arrested for trafficking in women in Tel Aviv. happy holiday.

Then I got a letter about International Women's Day from a friend, a Palestinian woman,a prayer. There were a few sentences that stopped me, but most of it spoke to my heart - about how so many women are the victims of war, and with few exceptions women would run things differently. I know that feeling - and she speaks to me.

March 9, 2009

For the first time ever, I sat through a film with bombing and gunfire and beating and I smiled. For the first time ever I didn't hide my eyes with my hands at the crucial moments. It was the film "Defiance" and it was about the Bielsky Gang who hid in the forests near Lida during WWII and saved many people. The film was not great but the feelings of survival and revenge welled up in me. I found myself going through each one of my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents who died in the war. Our friends all reacted similarly and we found ourselves talking about pasts we had never discussed in the forty years we've known each other.

March 9, 2009

At a little Purim celebration at Pappa's today I mentioned to the bartender that we'd seen Defiance yesterday and he responded immediately that he knew the Bielsky family. I too know someone from the family, and although we don't know the same people, it was surprising. It was surprising that a young guy would identify the film right away, know what it was about, and relate it to his own life. How far is each individual in this country from a little Holocaust story, I wonder.

As I watch the struggles of Bibi to put together a government, the deviance, narcissism and aggressiveness of the narrow parties he's working with, I revive my tiny hope that the major parties agree to a coalition that is more central and sensible. I don't want to be on the margins any more - but in the middle.

What did I do today? Because Ezi was home I grabbed the opportunity for technical assistance and went to Cellcom to change my cellphone. This took hours because the computers were slow today, the holiday spirit made everyone incompetent, and it was hard to pay attention. Still, I came home with a new cellular phone that works. Now all I need to do is get my Dell back, buy a new computer and transfer all my data, and then I'll be able to do some of the work I promised to do long before the electronic goddess betrayed me.

March 11, 2009

Before I started my day, I went to see the physiotherapist of the stars, Zipi, who lives a few blocks away, to see if she can fix that nasty limp I've acquired. She gave me exercises, electricity, massage - all her wonderful tricks - but i don't think she helped. Never mind, I said to myself. Walking through the garden in the square behind the buildings that sit on the streets, I thought - just the little visit to the park was worth going out. This was the way vTel Aviv was supposed to be built altogether. Apartment buildings facing the street, with a square common park behind them, so you could have the city on one side of your apartment, and grass and trees on the other side. But graft and lack of reinforcement ruined the plan, and now it is hard to find a piece of grass in some areas of the city. And of course it is too late to tear up a city and start again.

I'm doing a little radio interview tonight - live - they call me up at home, I talk, aand the next day the grocer says something like, "What kind of junk were you discussing last night on the army channel?" When my husband's ex-wife's mother was alive, she'd call me and tell me she'd heard - she was the only fan i had! Tonight I was interviewed about Langston Hughes. The interviewer, Eran Sabag, and his staff, are all so incredibly enthusiastic - it is great to talk to him - and it makes me think that maybe somewhere out there some soldiers were also diverted from their difficult jobs by my chattering.

March 12, 2009

M.L. Leibler told me today that everyone has stopped watching the news on TV in the US because there's no newa. Don't I wish we could get to that point. I mean we got interrupted with important business in the middle of the ex-president's speech defending himself against the rape charges, and i was as disappointed as if I'd missed Mad Men. I'm sure there will be replays tomorrow morning but it won't be the same.

There's just too many other things going on - too much happening in this country. A failed rescue, a murder trial that is racially sensitive, and everything linked to our daily lives, every one involved similar to people i know - if i don't actually know them directly.


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