Tuesday, March 18, 2003

In the footsteps of Veteran War Correspondent Peter Arnett

I've just found out that a certain Veteran War Correspondent is in Iraq to stay.

Mr. Peter Arnett. Not being an American and not having a TV anywhere in my apartment, I hear the name for the first time.

He says the Saddam Palace where he is situated might be a prime target.

I cannot understand why people stay in such places of danger, but then I consult my mirror.

Although Tel Aviv is not as dangerous as Saddam's Palace, an article in Haaretz quips: "It's said that the chances for Tel Aviv to be hit aspire to zero, yet it is a well known fact that not all aspirations get fulfilled...

It's Wednesday, March 19, 2003 7:30 a.m. in this part of the world.

I will recount here a personal history, long live the historian.

This is the only active deed I can accomplish on my own, here is my only sovereign domain.

I woke up in the late afternoon following a night of undisturbed writing, except Bush's declaration by 3:a.m. Israel time.

(Was it the right time? Was it indeed directed at Saddam? What if he was asleep by then?)

By 6:00 P.M. there was not a single copy of any newspaper in the stores and kiosks.

I went to buy those plastic sheets etc., now lying on the table in one of the rooms, out of sight.

My contribution to the war effort has cost me about $20.00. I don't mind as long it remains the only cost innocents will have to pay ever.

Everybody, my mother included, tells me that we are safe.

To-night I went to visit my 89 and a half yrs old mother. She prefers to stay in her own apartment, although it's situated right in the middle of the city, not far from some sensitive spots. Her idea of a human shield.

A mask? Well, maybe to-morrow she'll take care of this, No rush.

A man on TV says joyfully that although his wife wants to leave with the kids for the North, he had told her:"We'd lived together and we'll die together..."

On the radio a woman says that since the first Gulf War she's on medication, not functioning, that now everything is stronger revived.

Then a man calls to tell a similar story.

So all these silent shadows were living among us, unpublicized.

The weather, immediately following Bush's speech (well, a little earlier) got stormy. The street got covered in dust, the trees facing my windows tearing themselves in much unhappiness. It is still raining, quite a submissive rain by now.

But it was the Purim Carnival Holiday.

Hopefully those were the only mask kids will have to wear in the coming days.

What shall I do myself? Should I leave for the North and stay with my daughter and granddaughters?

Should I leave for Amsterdam to be with my other daughter?

Should I go with a friend to the Galilee?

So many options, the very act of thinking, considering, making a decision - makes me feel dizzy and paralyzed. I'm after all about to send a book to the printer in Jerusalem this week, I must stay around and do the proofs, consult with the jacket designer and so much more.

I look at my apartment. My guests say, it's so peaceful here.

Yet troughout my life I've known. It's only an illusion. To-morrow, next day or moment, a bomb might fall and leave me roofless. So goes life on Earth.

To-night, a few hours before the ultimatum to Saddam is over, I'm having another literary Salon in my living room. People were calling to say they're coming. Well, at least we'll savor a few moments of sanity.

I'm throwing here and there a few pebbles into this paralyzed lake holding its breath - blog blog...