Joint voices

WELCOME! Looking for some intelligent dialog between nationalities - a place for anyone and everyone to speak their mind, and listen to other minds, and maybe some difference, no matter how small, will be made. Welcoming more contributors! the more the better!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kippur introspection

Gosh it seems all my posts lately concern some jewish holiday or another... maybe it's a sign (naaaah).

Well, I took the time this weekend to get away a little and do something I've been needing to do for too long, which is visit the north. Seems that there was a lot of symbolic aspects of this trip, and I kept figuring out new stuff the whole time. It was paying attention to the bruised and beaten views that were a war zone until a very short while ago, it was visiting the once-again-up-for-debate Golan heights that are on the agenda now, taking a peek at my neighbour to the north that I became so curious about since July and since I made new friends over there, it was doing all this on Yom Kippur which is not just a day of holy introspection but also a memorial day of a war that took place, among elsewhere, at those very spots.. and of course, the day we left Tel Aviv, Saturday, marked the anniversary of the October 2000 riots among the Arab Israelis of the north when 13 Arabs and 1 Jew died. It was also some personal things - commemorating one year since I moved out of my parents' house and into my own independant life (I moved in October 1st 2005), and taking a long needed break in nature which I haven't experienced much of (certainly not enough) lately.

So me and my flatmate kicked off the trip driving up the old coastal highway, through Haifa, and onto the Golan. We accidentaly drove all over the Golan, passing one military base or another about every 5 meters, until settling at the Yehudia camping site where we spent the night, with some super sonic booms from what was probably IAF F-16s as a soundtrack. Next morning we hiked in the Jilabon trail, which goes through some abandoned and destroyed Syrian houses and an old destroyed Syrian village, not to mention a fire zone and fenced mine fields but also some amazing waterfalls. We then drove through the upper Western Galilee, through Zafed and Maalot and Naharia, to reach the Achziv beach reserve where we found a secluded spot halfway up to Rosh Hanikra, almost beneath the hill where the border with Lebanon starts, and there we camped the eve of Yom Kippur and spent the next day (can't go anywhere on Yom Kippur, certainly not drive, and everything shuts down). I think the beach at Achziv is the most beautiful beach in Israel. An ISF war ship was patrolling in the background, right along where the Lebanese territorial waters seem to begin. You just couldn't help but see how much the military and war is a background to everything that is life in Israel.
As we left Achziv at the end of Yom Kippur, I finally started tuning in to the world again after 3 days of CDs and turned on the radio - the news said the Lebanese army had finally taken its positions in South Lebanon for the first time in 40 years, that very day. Funny to think how all this was taking place about 20 minutes away from where I was sitting.


At an abandoned Syrian structure at the start of the Jilabon trail

(more pictures coming soon)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

keeping up the spirit

Another excellent spot of sanity: http://www.mideastyouth.com.

Ramdan Kareem (finally I know the correct greeting..)

Rosh Hashana brings us all together!

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/newyear.asp

and a happy new year

Gee it seems like such a long time ago, when I last mentioned a Jewish holiday on here....

Well tonight is Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the Jewish new year. I've just gotten back from the family holiday dinner at my aunt and uncle's, up north (I'm stuffed..).
Like I may have said before, I'm not really religious (more of an agnostic), but certain holidays I celebrate out of tradition, not religion. Rosh Hashana is one of those, and the whole country practically shuts down on the holiday's eve. The one holiday tradition everyone seems to keep is new year's wishes to everyone, and new year's vows. This year everyone is wishing and vowing for a quiet year, or as one friend wished: "a boring year for everyone". Personally, I think my biggest vow for the year is to stop being so cynical and learn to reach out more - and that if I want change, I have to act on it myself - new exciting things wont just land in my lap, I have to make them happen.

So I'll start my shun of cynicism now, with some new year's wishes to all of us, to all of you out there wherever you are: Happy Rosh Hashana, may you have a happy, fruitful, gratifying year. May we have a year of rebuilding, replenishment and fulfillment. May we all make change happen. May it be a year full of excitment - but personal, not national and/or global :)

To all the Muslim folks - tomorrow is the beginning of Ramadan, so may you all have an easy fast (well that's what we wish on the Yom Kippur fast here...) and a fruitful month of contemplation and introspect.

May we all be blessed with peace and peacefullness. May we strengthen our friendships and bridge gaps. May we all keep listening.

Shana Tova!

(c) lilu 2005

* pomegranate /`pomi,granet/ n (an Old World tree that bears) a several-celled reddish berry that is about the size of an orange with a thick leathery skin and many seeds with pulpy crimson arils of tart flavor. It is a Jewish symbol and is eaten on Rosh Hashana 'so that our good deeds will be plentiful like the seeds of the pomegranate'

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pop goes the bubble

Ok, I know, so I've disappeared for a while... feels like I owe an explanation so here goes.

There is a common Israeli nickname to this city, Tel Aviv - the Bubble. Perhaps I've mentioned it before. It implies that Tel Aviv is a bubble city of fantasy, closed off to the troubles of the real world that plague the rest of this nation. Here in Tel Aviv, Israelis snicker that life is made up of sidewalk cafes, beaches, shopping, clubbing, pick up bars... an average day's worries revolve around which new restaurant we should check out for lunch and will I go for a Guinness or a Fidge Sour tonight at the pub? burning social issues consist of the mayor's harrassments of a trendy underground club's volume of music and the increase of taxes for yoga studios. Bubble Land.

I've recently marked 11 monthes of living in the city, of being Tel Avivian. It seems like the right time to get retrospective.

Summer 2006 has shown how much I bought into the bubble way of life. I really dove into it. 10 out of 11 months here, I led a pretty happy-go-lucky life. I got disconnected from TV and cable, got a subscription to the theatre and the local trendy alternative DVD library. Concentrated on art, on school, on exploring the inner workings of my psyche. I think I really convinced myself this could be life - this IS life. So did all of the people around me. It was good. We had fun.

But it is our fate to be dragged back to reality everytime. Summer 2006 woke me up again. The dangers are out there and out there is not that far away, no use burying my head in the sand.. so I did quite the opposite, letting it all take control over my day and my life, anything else became a byline. I saw my personal strength in communication, and blogging became the highlight of the day.

When the war came to a (temporary?) halt, I kept it up for while, until I felt it was beginning to cost me some of my sanity - that was a few weeks ago. I just couldn't keep up with all the arguing, I felt I was going slightly mad..

So I took a break. Tried going back to life's little pleasures - food, drink, sun. Concentrating on everyday things like job hunting and culture, putting behind me the feeling that missiles are going to rain down on me any minute.. returning to small troubles like mice in the kitchen and lack of air conditioning during a heatwave. Tried to forget there are wars. Dove back into the bubble for a bit.

But I couldn't keep it up this time, I guess. I think the bubble's burst for good, for me. The feelings started creeping back into my mind, the sense that somewhere out there war is stil brewing, wrongs are yet to be corrected, and my small contribution is still needed...
I'll say this much. I'm not sure the next war outbreak is avoidable in any way. I get the sense that no matter what I say, some people will continue to ignore some dangers, and that's just the way it has to be and how the situation will continue to play out. What needs to happen will happen, I sense a big war is yet to come in the near future, and its just fate. It will happen. Accepting it makes me much calmer day to day. I wont pretend I live in la la land, I'll do my small bit and speak my mind, I think that's all I can do. Without a threat to my emotional health, without being too fatalistic and causing myself ulcers, just try to keep speaking, try to focus on the more positive aspects.. there is no use pretending we are unaffected by the bad, it will always find a way to remind us of its existence. No point in ignoring things. Just to learn to live with them.

So I wont post as much and probably wont comment on other blogs as much, if at all. I'll try put my focus on the internal ramifications of the war, that are unfolding these very days..

One last thing I do feel like saying though - the other thing I've noticed about the past 11 months, is that despite the false bubble dimension of the city, it has also become my only true home. The city has become an inseperable part of me and I've become an inseperable part of it. This is home.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

dark humor...

Yeah we got it some new war-inspired advertising too, not as good as Johnny Walker in Beirut but it brings a smile to one's face:

It's an ad for Homeless, a site for online listings (jobs, rentals, etc.. very popular among Tel Aviv house hunters - it's where I got mine!). It says "only good intentions! a public service by Homeless".

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tel Aviv protest tent MOVED

Well, was looking forward to going to the Tel Aviv Museum for the protest tent, but thank god I caught up before I left and saw it has moved to Jerusalem (and how on earth will I get there now).

The protest blog has updated some plans they have seen for protest plans in Tel Aviv, though it is yet unclear how organised each protest is (the sources are sketchy):

-Sunday, 27/8/06 - a protest march will leave at 10 a.m. from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, heading to the Knesset in Jerusalem. It will summit with a protest tent being set up in front of the PM's office. If you're interested in helping out with organisation, e-mail: tzehada@gmail.com

-Monday, 28/8/06 - a protest march leaves from State Square (Kikar Hamedina) to Rabin Square, in Tel Aviv. The time is yet unknown.

-Thursday, (24/8/06 ?) - "Personal Responsibility" forum at 19:00 in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, for the resignation of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz.

-Monday, 11/9/06 - A Call for mass demonstration in Rabin Square.

more comic relief!

Ok this has probably has little to do with the current situation in the Middle East, but it's funny as heck :)

Save Papadizi!

(maybe I should start focusing on this struggle, for my own sanity. There's an irony if I ever saw one.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

New dialog opportunities

Well I have to admit the conversation on Beirut Live has somewhat deteriorated lately, and I was beginning to feel a bit stuck as far as dialog goes - and then I found this new forum ME Talks...

Welcoming new Middle Easterners every day!

So it begins

At last, a unified protest in the name of our humanity. This is how an Israeli protest to the situation should be:

http://www.petitiononline.com/olmert/petition.html (up to 1005 signatures in 3 days... just 3,498,996 more to go!)
(a related blog in Hebrew: http://www.tapuz.co.il/blog/userBlog.asp?FolderName=olmert)

The new government disappointed us all, and its beginning to bubble up and out. The Israeli people are finally beginning to truly demand sanity. Let's hope we can save something out of the mess we're heading into, and minimize the damages to come - how soon is too soon? will we make it before Armageddon?

(Someone get that Olmert off Livni's back and let her do what she wants!)

***A protest tent is going up on Tuesday at 16:00, at the Tel Aviv Museum courtyard***

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The writing was on the blog

I wan't in Baalbek last night. I imagine I'll never know for sure if the IDF commando was on to an arms shipment from Iran and/or Syria to Hizballah.

But that doesn't matter anyway.
When Hizballah changes their tune right after a cease fire is agreed upon, and then proceeds to piss on the Lebanese government and its sovereignty (with or without an arms shipment - it was agreed they would disarm, and somehow they got the Lebanese government to agree otherwise - which was a breach of 1701), people just say that we need to find a way to live with Hizballah and get them on a positive track.
When the IDF acts in retaliation of that, it is open season.

So again, tonight, I think of The Couple, and the post I wrote on Thursday. It really wasn't worth the paper.