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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Where Was I?


I cannot remember the exact minute.

Oh. Yes.

I was in a lawyers' office, in a local tower actually, in Tel-Aviv. Not far from it are our own Twin Towers. Exactly so they're named, represented here along with every chain store you may find in USA.

I was in this lawyer's office. A publishing house has taken a book of mine, a children's book, and reprinted it, without my consent, with no name on it. Erased is my name.

I was about to leave when another lawyer in that office came in saying, "Have you heard the news? An airplane entered into the Twin Towers."

We looked out of the window and could see nothing.

Someone switched on the TV.


It was easier to cling to the beautiful memories, reminiscences of times spent in NYC, visits to the Twin Towers. The people, the multitude of singularly precious lives lost, to this recollection no one dared get close, afraid of collapsing immediately.. We sensed there will be plenty of time and no place to escape the harrowing sights, so we tried to postpone, even if only for a couple of minutes. Gravely, most intelligently, we moved on to the second phase of denial, that of dissecting history: "Someone wanted to boost Arafat's chance to meet Bush next week," said I. "Pearl Harbor!" cried the lawyer.

Oh, it's been such a long time since not only the buses and cars we are boarding in hope to reach home alive, but also buildings, the whole region is spinning wildly as if we were riding a dinosaur awaken to shake us off. But now the whole globe is shifting. Now what we chose to see as a local problem, those local problems around the world are now shown as one and the same, no place to go and find shelter if worse comes to worst. Evil has boarded our Noah's Ark, heading fast into the Arrarat mountain.


On one of these days which since the mass murder seem like compressed in one minute and enlarged to the infinite, I got an e-mail from a beloved friend, the Dutch writer Marion Bloem, with a message she got from a friend, carrying at its tail so many indignant signatures.

They all related to a CNN video showing Palestinians celebrating the mass murder, claiming it was actually a replay of the one filmed during the1990 War when there was spontaneous dancing on the roofs of Gaza whenever an Iraqi scud missile hit Tel-Aviv.

I went to the quoted posting, put on quite a respected alternative news site, and found out that since September 12 when this piece of news was posted, waves after waves of armed words were hitting there in all directions.

The target, the most important issue of those days, turned to be the very real and most pressing issue of CNN, or/and The Media.


Dear Marion,

I would have been the first to be happy if the allegations in the e-mails you forwarded were true. I do not know much about CNN, actually I've been living with no TV for the last nineteen years, and rarely watch it somewhere else. I have not seen neither the 1990 nor the recent CNN films so I cannot compare. I went to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz English edition, and Haaretz is very much respected for its courage and honesty, it also has a few reporters that write on behalf of the ordinary Palestinian people's plight, has the only reporter (a courageous honest Jewish Israeli woman - Amira Hass) who actually went to live in Gaza for a few years and now is living in Ramallah.

And I found from yesterday's edition (today is New Year, so no new edition, only updates) this article in which you can read that Ahmed Tibi himself, an Israeli MP militant supporter of Arafat who used to work as his advisor, a honorable person, clearly expressing his displeasure with the Palestinian who celebrated jubiliantly the horrible terrorist murderous attack on USA citizens.

So maybe he has not read the e-mail you've forwarded...


Arab MKs refuse to condemn Palestinian joy over U.S. attacks By Gideon Alon, Haaretz (excerpt)

All Knesset factions except the Arab parties yesterday denounced manifestations of Palestinian joy following last week's deadly terror attacks in the United States, in a summary statement adopted at a special session to express solidarity with the American people in the wake of the attacks.

Those Palestinians who support terror, the resolution said, "could not restrain themselves. While across the sea, people were counting the bodies of innocent civilians, they [Palestinian supporters of terror] chose to dance on the blood of the dead."

.The resolution was supported by all Knesset factions except the Arab parties.

. MK Ahmed Tibi (Arab Movement for Renewal) said that he also denounces the manifestations of joy in the Arab street. "I feel shame and anger toward those who expressed joy at this human tragedy," he said. However, he added, "We are talking about a handful of rash, stupid and ugly people, and the attempt to stigmatize the entire Arab and Islamic nation with their exceptional acts is cheap, harmful and perverted."


Dear Editor:

I know so many Palestinian mothers and fathers and children who yearn no less than my Israeli people for an end to all atrocities. I cannot even name them as I know it might endanger their lives in their own community and they have enough to suffer in the given conditions. Yet, leafing through the numerous responses on your site I was struck by the realization that the huge majority of them, no matter what stand they took, were intensely violent in language, full of hatred of whoever does not share their insightful contradictions..

Can we have or even seek a world of peace and equality when led by hatred? Is hatred imbued in so many people from birth or by education alone? How come in the same environment one is a peace seeker and benevolent, the other blindly hateful? Apart from the very sick, like the one who posted a site where a banner was claiming pathetically: KILL THE JEWS, and I pity them indeed, I fully understand that People, so shattered, need someone to point to as the predator. If indeed, as so many were saying, all this was caused by USA's faults, than how come the killing goes on, of Muslims against Muslims? Maybe at the root of all evil is Evil itself, per sei, the gluttony of Evil, the sick drive to kill, destroy, hate, stamp out? Were the Inquisition, the Nazis, the killers throughout history incited by USA imperialism?

Or maybe the human being, humanity as a whole is scared to look into the deep recesses of our individual soul? Can we survive ourselves without such an all encompassing search and research and understanding?


Tuesday, September 18, 2001 10:12 PM

Dear Corinna:

Hello, I am Chris Kaihatsu, a volunteer journalist with the Chicago Independent Media Center.

We now have confirmation that the CNN old-footage rumor was spread without corroboration by an individual who used his teacher's conjecturing as a starting-point. I have reproduced the message below.


A couple of days ago a story written by a Brazilian student was posted at IMC Israel saying that his teacher at UNICAMP university had evidence that images CNN broadcast showing Palestinians celebrating the World Trade Center attack were actually old images from 1991 of Palestinians celebrating Kuwait's invasion. This story has since then circulated in the form of e-mails and hundreds of people commented on it. We finally managed to contact him and he was very worried about the repercussions of what he wrote. He said that his teacher later said that she didn't had a tape of the old CNN footage and she wasn't sure about it. Well, he's writing himself a statement clarifying what happened. Meanwhile, we would ask that people not spread this rumor further.

Sincerely, Pablo Ortellado, Ind. Media Center Brasil Volunteer


Dear Marion:

If only all problems could be solved that easily, all lies and rumors that simply unmasked.

In the country of my childhood, in Romania, there goes a saying: "The house is on fire and grandmother is combing her hair."

Here it's splitting hairs over everything that will take us away from the one and only pressing issue: If indeed the cause to this attack was Imperialism, then the brave messengers of destruction should have conducted their attack at night when no one was in those buildings, (With no one in the planes? That would be too much to ask) and spare lives. Again and again I know: Algeria, where Muslims kill Muslims, is drowning in blood with no imperialism involved there anymore.

Our Age of Wisdom has done research on every malady, except the drive to violence: how come it's dwelling in people's hearts, how and if there is a healing way out. A medicine.

Right now the violence of Imperialism, the money and power cult, oh, that's been searched and researched, to no avail. And what about fundamentalist and extremist violence? Bin laden is not such a poor guy, he's not a Third World oppressed and starving slave of USA Imperialism, neither are those like him.

Our reality is imbued with violence, it's only a question of degree. Yet there is one big difference upon which awareness cannot close its eyes anymore. Our very existence depends upon this ferocious illumination: The much disliked imperialism is not the immediate danger at this moment. As much as it has inflicted suffering and brought death and sorrow with its abuse of power, unlike the terrorist fanatics, murdering is not Imperialism's raison d'etre. In our Age we can, as much as we must, converse with the Imperialist system in a common language based on the universal values which places human life and freedom above all.

This of course calls for a lot of upgrading. It is and will always be an ongoing process and struggle. If we look at such countries as Sweden or Netherland, they've managed to turn from brutal Imperialism to socially oriented, much more benign systems. I would rather see bin laden and his likes as imperialist moguls, but they won't be satisfied with such trifles. As with the proverbial stork and fox, we have no language to share with the fundamentalism's holy values; theirs is a fixated dogma set on total anihillating of The Other, The Heretic. Those messengers of Evil are acting now and so must they be counteracted right away and fast, not as revenge but as an inevitable safety measure.

Land of Mulberry and Cherries

I told him whose daughter I was, and he called out the names of my grandmother and grandfather, their five children, and my mother and her brothers.

He knew them all.

There are people who are known for generations, like local plants that aren't uprooted.

In Tel Aviv, I went into the bank without my ID, and the teller called over my head to her colleague at another window. In a mole on her chin, three white hairs trembled when she turned her double chin away from me to her.

"This one, it's not the first time, I know her by now. She's not who she says she is. Don't take any check from her."

What didn't I do to find someone who knew me. I walked barefoot in the sand in summer. And I ate prickly pears, the favorite fruit of donkeys, purgative, full of thorns, not like cherries and mulberries.

Michelle Grangaud

"...It's very heavy to carry a name.

When I was published for the first time I did consider adopting a pseudonym, but then I thought that after a while the name I would choose and like would still be a name, and I would be imprisoned in it.

So I decided I would keep my natural name.

I don't like it very much, it's not very nice.

It's the name I'd received.

And you, do you like your name?...

Friday, January 16, 2004

A Call to Arms: How to Stop Spam

How many times can you see again and again these criminal intruders asking, as if we come from the same kindergarten or family:

"Do you know what Women like best?"

(No. Tell me. And since I'm empty-headed, repeat, repeat, don't give up.)

"Do you know at all what Men like best?"

(No. And why should I care? What am I, a welfare officer?)

"Enlarge, Enlarge the Holly Name, more and more!"

(What is it, a Bible contest?)

It has reached the magnitude of Chinese torture, endless dripping, dirt, dirt. How to kick them out when they see and are not seen in person.

So many rules I've laid down, more than the rules of any Parliament wherever - yet these horrible creatures, they are transparent, come in with the air.

While those rules affected only my correspondents!

So I closed both my e-mail addresses.

No mail came in.

The silence scared more than the previous noise of the trash trucks.

I reinstalled my e-mail addresses.

The trash smoothly returned.

My correspondents disappeared, assuming that the addresses are no more valid.

I called my server.

The man says, "Nothing to be done."

Sent me a link to a "MailWasher".

The software blocked indeed the content and attachments, yet the subject line continued to show up.

The Enemy couldn't care less.

I wrote the Company:

"A server is like a hotel. I've rented a room. At a hotel the contract is clear: I am the only one who gets the key. No hotel allows strangers to intrude and invade my room, or throw heaps of trash whenever I open the door. The hotel shoulders this responsibility as a matter of fact."

The laconic answer was to the point indeed: "Nothing to be done."

In an interview at an North American newspaper, one of these criminals says: "What's the big deal, all it takes is one click on Delete. But thanks to my ad someone in need for a mortgage is saved!"

Really? I have to read carefully the Subject line of over one hundred e-mails, so as to pick out my mail, not to lose any.

Can you imagine a Post Office offering this kind of service: Go to the trash bin and look through the dirty paper to find your own mail.

It turns out that only 1 in 100.000 is tricked into the Lords of Trash bait.

The rest of us should altruistically suffer, for the benefit of this bunch of no-goods.

I learn, especially from some of Eric Olsen's posts on Blogcritics, that large companies like Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, EarthLink, are suing the trash mailers, and winning in court.

Not enough. The problem is still with us, daily.

While we've been reduced to discussing the problem as we discuss Climate.

What happens to the money won in court? It should go to each one of us. And: apart from the monetary compensation, each court should decree this punishment on the guilty invaders:

Have them seated at a computer for twenty years, and click endlessly on Delete.

Behind a glass wall.

In a Zoo.

Let's raise our voices to demand worldwide Fully Defined Laws, Comprehensive Action.

We need laws to pronounce the servers as responsible toward their clients. Then and only then we'll see servers unite globally to fight trash mail everywhere.

Before the whole system collapses in dust.

Here is my suggestion:

Let's make one day into our Day of Protest, and on this day let's close down our e-mail boxes : No mail sent, no mail received. Worldwide.

One single day of complete Silence, to exemplify the danger, to express our Just Demand.

Let's make it the 31st of December.

As in the Hebrew proverb: "Let the old year leave with it's Curses, Let the New Year arrive with it's Blessings."

Let the Law Makers, the Servers and the No-Goods come up with some Resolutions.

Don't accept, "Nothing to be done". Don't say, No chance for change, ever.

We can see this action as an experiment in Protest.

Do join, and pass the call on.

Saturday, January 3, 2004

News From Justice


This Saturday was a sunny and most pleasant day, so the streets of Tel Aviv were full with people doing their best to forget the clouds.

Then a man dressed in a coat enter a Hummusia - place to eat something simple and not that expensive - and showed some key rings to the owner.

He didn't answer when questioned what exactly he wants.

It caused a scare.

Turned out the man was deaf-mute and just trying to sell a few key-rings, for a living.


A friend comes in asking me to help her write a formal letter. Her brother in-law has been working as a gardener at a near-by building for the last seven years, to everybody's satisfaction.

The new Chair of the house committee, all of a sudden presented him with a letter of dismissal, and then announced that she's leaving the post.

As the proverb goes: Ten wise persons cannot pick up the stone a fool has thrown.


On Friday's Haaretz Gideon Levy meets with A Dead Man Walking - so meet a terrorist in person:


And maybe you should after all undertake a unilateral cease-fire? Do you ever think about it?

His answer:

"I think about it all the time. The truth, the truth? Sometimes I say: I want to carry out an attack and to stop. And then the Israelis enter again and again, and I want to carry out another attack. Now I can't have cease-fires. I have five homes of people whose blood has not yet dried. What should I say to the father of a boy who was killed? It was because of me that he was killed. What should I say to the father? Sometimes, when the situation is calm, I think about it. Yalla, we're done. And then I see the news, 10 killed here and five killed there. What can I say? I have to go out again and then I'll call for a cease-fire."


Well Corinna, what kind of Hot News those are? Insanity here, Insanity there - What else is New?

Actually there might be something that might or might not qualify as News. Deaf and Mute we all now sanely wait in awe:

Should Sharon Step Down? Will he, If...

Friday, January 2, 2004

Prof. Dina Porat on Passion

The title given in Hebrew was somehow mistakenly translated in the English rendition at Haaretz. The author, Prof. Dina Porat, is the head of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.

While searching for Amazon links, I was quite amused by the Ford story: The Ford Foundation was, when I had the opportunity to meet with it's officers some ten years ago, highly committed to peace oriented educational ventures in Israel.

"Immediately upon its opening in the United States, Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of Christ," which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, stirred up a flood of reactions throughout the media and stormy public debates. The film premiered at about 2,000 cinemas on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the events leading to Easter, when Jesus was handed over to the Romans and crucified.

I saw the film twice, and it is a ..."

Thursday, January 1, 2004

My Geneve Accord

The ad in the local newspaper said:

Discussion with Dr. Ron Pundak: The Geneve Accord.

The address - a small ground floor apartment turned office in the center of Tel-Aviv.

It's amazing how the more awfully violent the situation explodes here, the more grass roots endeavors spring forth: A miriad of volunteer organizations, of creative ideas.

I cannot but wonder how come the gap between the goverment and the citizens is not closing but getting wider and wider. It's a mistery to me, until I realize how difficult, actually scarry, it is for one in a powerful position to change.

In that modest apartment I've met tonight for the first time with "Windows" - an extraordinary organization, active for ten years already.

They reach out to 10-14 yrs old kids, Palestinian and Israelis, and develop some semblance of dialogue. From time to time they publish a bi-lingual (Hebrew and Arabic) journal, written and edited by the children themselves.

Before the second Intifada they used to hold redaction meetings, but now with all the closures and violence all around, they work side by side on both sides of the no-border/Separation Wall.

The Israelis adult volunteers also collect in-kind contributions, mainly food and clothing, and hand those over to their colleagues, at one of the Army Barriers.

And they are holding meetings and lectures.

Tonight the ensuing discussion touched on The Big Question: Can we have a true accord while the social and economic issues are, to say the least, ignored?

Well, it was too big a question to be solved on the spot yet not one to be slighted.

For me the great gift was a most lucid definition expressed by Dr. Ron Pundak:

You can start on a road and solve problems as they come your way.

Or, you can define the goal and move toward it.

The Oslo Agreement took the first road.

The Geneve Accord has taken the second one.

"First define the goal and only then move toward it."

Isn't this just the way a Peace Accord with one's own self should be reached?