Tel Aviv Diary May 9, 2004 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - from May 9, 2004 Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 9, 2004


"Thin Lips" added a drummer (Yatziv) and is about to add a website. Test performance in Jah-Pen on the 22.

Clothes line with hidden poems of mine are scheduled for the fall.

Lots of new articles are coming out - on September 11, on my mother and mother in law, on writing yiddish in english, on this diary, on anne sexton, etc. etc. But they're all hard copy and I think I will need to to bibliographize it.

More serious news soon.

No. When it comes to picking out what to write about, I often feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony. I don't know where to begin. So much happens here - to me and to the world - and I can only write about a tiny portion. Just the shooting of settlers this afternoon who came to mourn at the spot where a pregnant mother with four children were killed last week is enough to write about. But add to that that while that was happening I was listening to the poet Rony Sommeck lecturing at a prize-giving ceremony for poetry education about the need for spiritual nourishment in the world. (It was Ephraim Katzir, our former president, who gave the prize, and the room was crowded. Tell me this isn't a country of contrasts.

May 10, 2004

We had airconditioning today!! The university has been skimping on services and so we only get air conditioning when the guy in charge decides that the temperature warrants it. today was a hamsin so thick you could taste the dust and light was brown. so our windowless room was bearable - not cool, but bearable. anyway we're on the verge of strike - the administrative workers are being pruned by another 300 and have already shouldered the burden of the last major pruning. but as a colleague said to me as we prepared ourselves in the parking lot to face the day, as long as the university is not closed down we're okay.

And as we edge slowly toward the third world, his fear strikes me as actual.

May 11, 2004

Last night in Tel Aviv, in the grim world of south tel-aviv small factories where the rehearsal rooms where we practice are situation, i fulfilled a life time dream. i used a text in yiddish to an alternative rock song. whether we ever do it on stage or not, i am satisfied. i know the text in yiddish was acceptable to the group only because yiddish is such a curiousity, but still...

Please don't think I'm not aware of what's going on in the world - but i've found escaping into dingy rehearsal rooms a counter balance to the newspaper.

Today as I was bringing the paper in, my eyes lit on the cartoon - a female prison guard checking the ass of a hooded naked prisoner turns to her boss an says: George, I think I've found the weapons of mass destruction!

Every time I go to the cash machine on Dizengoff and King George I remember the explosion almost 10 years ago - because as the news was breaking some of the witnesses noted that the head of the terrorist landed under the cash machine. After a few minutes they started censoring the news and the details - about body parts in the trees, for example - disappeared.

And then I got into my car and heard that 6 Israeli soldiers had been blown up and the parts of their bodies were being paraded through the streets of Gaza.

May 12, 2004

I keep coming to the same conclusion about the tragedy yesterday. Here are the facts that I see: 1) israeli soldiers collected explosives in enemy territory 2) israeli soldiers hit mine on the way back 3) soldiers explode with explosives they collected - 4) palestinians collect body parts, distribute them, film themselves running through the streets with them.

where is the tragedy? that these guys got killed. period. Whatever the Palestinians did with the parts is a degredation to the Palestinians, not the Israeli solders.

But of course we are all in shock - even the morning show host Avri Gilad found it hard to say anything funny.

And the day continues with tragedy upon tragedy. Even before it was announced an hour ago that there were more explosions just now - and at least five injured. The guy I spent hours looking for yesterday turned out to be okay - yesterday. Where is he now?

Do I think we should get out of Gaza? I think we should have long been gone from Gaza. And now I think we have given the Palestinians time and space to learn from Hizbullah, to dig deeper and longer tunnels, to make even better deals with the Egyptians. And that wasn't wise.

On the immediate front - i don't understand why we are transporting the confiscating explosives instead of blowing them up on the spot. or at least carrying them in a separate car.

May 13, 2004

I watch no television today - not because I am in mourning for 11 young men who died senselessly (although I am) but because i can't watch it any more. The powerlessness of it is too debilitating.

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