Saturday, September 17, 2005

"I write, my wife does everything else."

What Mario Vargas Llosa found here is no news to me.

Yet there was one sentence in this interview with Mario Vargas Llosa:
"I write - my wife does everything else."

I do everything, writing included.
True, nowadays, with children grown up and on their own, I have, in theory, the freedom to do just the writing.

Except that - how can one write when hungry.
I get up and do the cooking.
How can one cook, when the kitchen is empty.
I go out and do the shopping, bills have to be paid and settled on time, money has to be raised - to buy food and cover the bills, too much dust is bad for your lungs, the floors must be washed...

I can stop all activities for a whole month - I cannot stop the sense of heavy burden.

Dacia Maraini, whom I've visited with in Italy for my "Noffey Haneffesh" (Once She Was a Child), does have a secretary, agents, help. Yet she did the cooking for the fourteen guests at the party in the evening.

Even before a woman takes a pen in her hand, she's, most of the time, handycapped.

The only place where a measure of freedom exists, or rather responsibility is for a while lifted - is at the artists' colony. It's called a retreat, only that one finds it hard to retreat while surrounded by twenty or fifty energetic writers and artists day and night.

No doubt - having a wife to do "everything else", is a good idea.

I won't exchange my full freedom for anything else.

The sense of responsibility feels like a great burden only in memory. It shouldn't be that terrible when one is responsible only for one's own life.

Like a freed slave, the greatest task is to erase the imprint left by years of slaving to responsibilities.

This book I've been writing since December 2000, am still working on - my fifth - brings new revelations daily.

Writing is such an irresponsible adventure!

Take Note, Chopin, Shubert, Sharon,

When concerts are free and people are less than free:

Piano against the Wall
report by Beate Zilversmidt
just received in the mail from Gush Shalom

The idea of "a protest recital" by pianist Jacob Allegro Wegloop on one of the Friday happenings in Bil'in came about in August, in an Amsterdam cafe: "I would gladly come and offer my music to Palestinians as an expression of my sympathy."
There happened to be already a piano in Bil'in. It had just been donated by the Pollak family. Without it, the whole idea may have evaporated. And Zamir Barlev - activist & piano tuner -had been so kind as to come on Thursday and repair some broken keys.

Friday Sept. 16, a minibus arrived in Bil'in already before dawn. It had been decided to go to the West Bank village straight from the airport - as to arrive before the army would close the access roads - as has become its new practice on Fridays. Gush Shalom had hired a van for the occasion, and Uri Avnery was there, too.

The ground floor of the Abu-Rahme house has been transformed into a kind of youth hostel, with matrasses spread out, and a self service kitchen corner. Apart from the more permanent internationals, it hosts every week a group of Israeli activists who come on Thursday in order to be in Bil'in at the weekly event.

"It's nice to be woken up by piano music, and not by the army megaphone imposing a curfew" said one the guests.

From where all the kids came was not clear, but they surrounded the miracle - the piano had been moved meanwhile into the front guarden. And when Allegro could not decipher the handscribbled notes of the Palestinian anthem - given to him at the spot to be added to the repertoire - the children sang it for him enthusiastically.

Jacob Allegro played and played - melodious pieces of Schubert, and some Chopin - as to force the somewhat stubborn instrument to open itself up. "What is your message" was a question asked by different interviewers who started to appear: "Sympathy for the suffering." "You are a Jew, a holocaust orphan" -- "That did not make me blind to the injustice done to others." "What do you say to the building of the Wall right through the middle of our lands?" "It's a shame! A big shame."

It's not easy to say where the preparations stopped and the concert began. Several times the crowd of the front guarden ran to the street at rumours of army patrols arriving. But the invasion of this day was of TV crews: several Palestinian stations, Al-Jazeera, Reuters, Egyptian TV , the Israeli Second Channel, etc. They had all been invited by Mohamed al-Khatib of the Bil'in Popular Committee to come at 10.30am and shoot pictures inside the village, as it was expected that the army would be far from helpful when a truck, and on it a piano, would arrive to the site where the wall is being prepared.

On Israeli TV the scene appeared after all not on Channel-2, but on the respectable first channel, using Reuters material. It was one more amazing report from Bil'in, from people who now already for months capture the headlines with their imaginative, non-violent ways of protest, undeterred by army violence.

There is still much struggle ahead; there is an appeal on the way to the Supreme Court, which this week created a precedent not without hope in the Qalqilya region. But one achievement already stands and is visible from the faces: this struggle, and the support shown for it is strengening the people in Bil'in in times where one either becomes stronger or sinks down.

I was not there in person, only in spirit, yet I'm gladdened.
I admire those courageous people:
Their gestures tell me that the world is not empty of humanitarian support.

Yet a world in which it takes courage to attend a peacefull, non violent rally, is not a good place.

Oh, my beloved country and region, Wake up.
Enough is Enough.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush, Sharon and the UN: since then they lived happily together

Reuters ©

"What Ariel Sharon and you have going:
Analyze your relationships with Ariel Sharon - in mathematical terms - for presence and strength of mutual commitment, intimacy, passion, and synergy."

© Top Synergy Corp.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Is it Hurricane Symbol, or Just a Shadow?

Do you remember 13 September 1993?
The day The Oslo Accords were officially signed in Washington DC before our mostly thankful.
Twelve years to the day.

Today, the very politicians who had denounced and stomped upon it - its very fierce opponents - have now led the exodus from Gaza.

Still every drama has a farce. Bathos is following in the footsteps of Pathos.
True to life Shakespeare was.

After the demolition of all the settlers' houses, at the very end were left the synagogues.

Time after time there were appeals to the court to leave them intact.
The State solemnly explained to the High Court of Justice that it is out of question.
The judges left the final decision to the government.

Overnight, at the last minute, on the eve of the final withdrawal, the Minister of Security, Mr. Mofaz, solemnly changed his mind.

Overnight, Sharon and all his Ministers except two, have changed their mind.

What happened?

The Head Rabbis decreed the synagogues are to be left intact.

A very good decision: Now, not one of the politicians fearing the approaching elections will be held responsible.

So what if the Palestinian had refused again and again to take responsibility?
Their hooligans will burn our synagogues?
Ours might burn their mosque of mosques.
So easy, so simple to incite the mother of all wars.

Here we are with those buildings: What for one is a holy symbol of Jewish suffering throughout generations - for the other is the leftover symbol of the sufferings of occupation.

That's what happens when symbols turn sour and become taboos.

This disengagement was planned ahead for two years. There was plenty of time to think ahead.

Ours is The Only Democratic Country, led by nose by Chief Rabbis, and a complying government with a straight face.

From now on, In Fear We Trust.