quinta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2010

So many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hand!

There were two million Jews living in Israel in 1967. (…) Ariel Sharon was then 39 years old. He had led a column of tanks through the Sinai Desert, taken prisoners, defeated armies. He was one of the heroes of the war. Everywhere he went, Israelis shouted, “Arik, King of the Jews!”. He toured Jerusalem and the West Bank with his wife, Lily, and son Gur. (…) A friend gave Sharon’s son an antique gun found in the Judean hills, a front-loading rifle that had not been fired in perhaps a hundred years. It was a weapon you might see a Bedouin carrying in a daguerreotype, cresting a hill in white robes. In October, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Sharon was in his bedroom at home when Gur came in as if he wanted to say something, then, seeing his father on the phone, saluted – “the gesture of a boy who had grown up around the army”, Sharon wrote – then went outside. A moment later, Sharon heard a shot. He ran to the yard, where he found Gur on his back, the antique rifle at his side, and a hole in his eye. Gur’s little brothers, Gilad and Omri, were a few feet away, in their playpen. Sharon rushed to the hospital with the boy on his lap breathing heavily. “Ages seemed to pas as we raced to the hospital”, he wrote, “and as we did, he died in my arms.”
This was a personal tragedy for Sharon and his family, but it’s also the story of Israel and the Jews. Like a story in the bible, it can be read both literally and symbolically. Here is Ariel Sharon, the war hero, greeted everywhere by cries of “Arik, King of the Jews!” Here is the rifle, a relic waiting all those years in the hills, which is the ancient world of the Hebrews. Here is the man who goes into the hills and comes back with the artifact, the old gun presumed armless. Here is the boy, the oldest son of the general, at play on a warm afternoon, his baby brothers looking on. Here is the bullet that comes from the past and kills the boy who was to inherit the kingdom.

Rich Cohen, Israel Is Real

domingo, 17 de outubro de 2010

in Israel one day you're out and the next day you're in

Going to the chapel And we're gonna get married

“Alii bella gerunt, tu felix Austria nube. Nam quae Mars aliis, dat tibi regna Venus.”

“Let other people wage war. You, happy Austria, marry instead. For the goddess of Love gives lands to you that others must win by battle.” *

*Since 15 century, the saying has been used to describe the political practice of Habsburg family.

quinta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2010

G-d's Ordinary People Vs. G-d's Chosen People (after Pedro Penim, David Grossman and Slavoj Žižek)

Girl im in love with you
This ain't the honeymoon
Past the infatuation phase
Right in the thick of love
At times we get sick of love
It seems like we argue everyday
I know i misbehaved
And you made your mistakes
And we both still got room left to grow
And though love sometimes hurts
I still put you first
And we'll make this thing work
But I think we should take it slow
We're just ordinary people
We don't know which way to go
Cuz we're
ordinary people
Maybe we should take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow
This ain't a movie no
No fairy tale conclusion ya'll
It gets more confusing everyday
Sometimes it's heaven sent
Then we head back to hell again
We kiss and we make up on the way
I hang up you call
We rise and we fall
And we feel like just walking away
As our love advances
We take second chances
Though it's not a fantasy
I Still want you to stay
We're just
ordinary people
We don't know which way to go
Cuz we're
ordinary people
Maybe we should take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow
Take it slow
Maybe we'll live and learn
Maybe we'll crash and burn
Maybe you'll stay, maybe you'll leave,
maybe you'll return
Maybe another fight
Maybe we won't survive
But maybe we'll grow
We never know baby youuuu and I
We're just
ordinary people
We don't know which way to go
Cuz we're
ordinary people
Maybe we should take it slow (Heyyy)
We're just
ordinary people
We don't know which way to go
Cuz we're
ordinary people
Maybe we should take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow (Take it slow oh oh ohh)
This time we'll take it slow

Israelisms - The Situation

Today, the fundamental level of constitutive ideology assumes the guise of its very opposite: non-ideology.

David Grossman stands for the Jewish attitude at its purest, as rendered in a nice personal anedocte: when, just prior to the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, he heard on the radio about the Arab threats to throw the jews into the sea, his reaction was to take swimming lessons – a paradigmatic jewish reaction if there ever was one. 

Grossman’s work is marked by a strange line of separation. His non-fiction texts deal almost exclusively with what the Israelis refer to as hamatzav, “The Situation”, a neutral-sounding word that encompasses everything from the Intifada to the security fence and the withdrawal from Gaza. “The Situation” is not a specific event but rather every event; it bleeds into every part of life. In stark contrast, his fiction withdraws into the claustrophobic space of private passions and obsessions. However, even when he writes of marriage and desire, jealousy and motherhood, loyalty and betrayal, he is mapping an entire country’s anxieties and longings. Rather than explicitly reporting the facts of the ground, Grossman constructs his own alternate reality that evokes “The Situation” as their absent Real-Cause.

(...) such retreats into intimate reality take place against the background of hamatzav, “The Situation”. No wonder that, in recent years, this same desire for an alternate reality has become part of Israel’s national psyche: dealing with “The Situation” generates an atmosphere of anxiety, a deep sense of claustrophobia, a retreat into the relative safety of the indoors. Though an Israeli writer doesn’t directly need to address the political situation that surrounds him, these concerns seep in, quietly and evocatively. The properly ideological function of this retreat is thus clear – its underlying message is: “we are just ordinary people who want only peace and normal life.” 

in Living in the end of times, Slavoj Žižek

terça-feira, 12 de outubro de 2010

When Israel Becomes Isreal (Day Two: Tel Aviv)

My mobile wakes me up at 10:30. Hana, the landlady, is expected at 11:00. She, and a jeek (a Jewish geek), will take us to a promised land in cyberspace called "wireless internet" since we do not want to be accused of occupying the neighbor’s non encrypted territory anymore. I decide to shower before such long awaited journey just to discover that the messiah has arrived earlier and that it is me and not her who is only covered by a holy shroud of wet Turkish material. I imagine that she was quite surprised that my shower was actually of water and not of the most commonly used Zyklon B. Pedro is now also awaken. Both of us needed a couple more of extra hours of sleep but we know that the messiah only comes once (unless Viagra is involved). The same God that yesterday was a fatherly provider laid today upon us all its wrath. The modem was not wireless, there was only one port, the Wi-Fi pen did not work, the username and password never matched, the word was in Hebrew and the word was disconnected! God must obviously be mad with Pedro (It is Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, I told him). He took us our promised net, he refuses to sell orthodoxic wax for Pedro's brackets in pharmacies, and he transformed the messianic Hana into an irated Antichrist raging against the Israeli Telekom machine. What a difference a day makes! Since we could not be online we decided to go out and have an intravenous dose of caffeine. After, supermarket: why, oh God why, thou only sells packages of 16 toilet paper rolls when even in the worst case scenario we would only need 5? Why, oh God why, thou puts at the hummus desk an human being resulting of a clash between a figure skating reject from 1980 winter Olympics and a Miami Sound Machine groupie whose nails grew wider as they grew further away from the tips of her fingers. Father is giving us the trials of Job and we are blown by them! Still, we are coming closer to the origins of the conflict: it seems that some think dippers are for the ass and other think they are for the head. That cannot workout good and also makes global marketing campaigns very difficult to conceive. Back home I collapse in the couch rocked by the "Death Poets Society" soundtrack that Israeli TV offers me as a mediatic pillow. Pedro decides to embody the melting of the poles and cry me a river while listening to a certain 1980's Eurovision song and thinking about Danny de Vito's interpretation in Tim Burton's Batman. We end the day in bliss since God likes us after all and gave Google back to our fingertips and hearts. Eternity takes its time! Even for Calvin Klein!

Question to the Messiah

Have you been here before?

Israelisms - day one

According to Jean-Claude Milner, a unified Europe could only constitute itself on the basis of a progressive erasure of all divisive historical traditions and legitimizations; consequently, a unified Europe will be based on the erasure of history, of historical memory. Recent phenomena  such as Holocaust revisionism, or the moral equation of all victims of World War II are the logical outcome of this tendency: all specified limits are potentially erased on behalf of abstract suffering and victimization. And this Europe in its very advocacy of unlimited openness and multicultural tolerance, again needs the figure of the "Jew" as a structural obstacle to this drive to unlimited unification.

Contemporary anti-Semitism, however, no longer takes the same form as the old ethnic anti-Semitism; its focus has been displaced from Jews as an ethnic group onto the State of Israel: "in the program of the Europe of the 21st century, the State of Israel occupies exactly the position that the name "Jew" occupied in the Europe before the rupture of 39-45"*. In this way, the anti-Semitism of today can present itself as anti-anti-Semitism, full of solidarity with the victims of the Holocaust; the reproach is just that, in our era of the gradual dissolution of all limits, of the fluidification of all traditions, the Jews wanted to build their own clearly delimited nation-state.

Here are the very last lines of Milner's book: If modernity is defined by the belief in an unlimited realization of dreams, our future is fully outlined. It leads through absolute theoretical and practical anti-Judaism. To follow Lacan beyond what he explicitly stated, the foundations of a new religion are thus posited: anti-Judaism will be the natural religion of the humanity-to-come.

In his views, are Jews not caught in the same paradoxic predicament as, say, British Muslims? They were offered civil rights, the chance to integrate into UK society, but, ungrateful as they are, they persisted in their separate way of life? Plus, again, similarly to Muslims, they are perceived as being excessively sensitive, seeing "anti-Semitism" everywhere. Milner's point is thus that the official anti-anti-Semitism, which issues prohibitions is but the form of appearance of anti-Semitism.

*Jean-Claude Milner, Les penchants criminels de l'Europe démocratique

in Living in the end of times, Slavoj Žižek

When Israel Becomes Isreal (Day One: Tel Aviv)

Awaken by the heat of the moment. Long shower. Cleaning the impure kitchen. Washing the dishes and utensils left by the non-gentiles that own the kosher house we rented in Shlomo Hamelech (a.k.a King Sollomon). They are the Siksik family: father Serge, mother Peggy and their off-spring Gregory, Liora, Alexandre and Eleonor. Breakfast: sweet grapes, chocolate milk, lemonade, white bread, butter and cinnamon biscuits (bought yesterday in a close by supermarket at 3 a.m.). Heading to Hilton beach to relax the body in water. It is forbidden to swim and, as in all prohibitions, it is not really clear if it is for our own good or in behalf of the prohibiters. We comply first but then, in the absence of any immediate punishment, we transgress. Absolutely no difference in temperature between the air, the water and our bodies. If this would be a buddhist state we could really say we were one with all. Pedro feels like a soldier in Lebanon's sea shore. I feel like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show. We both feel too good to be true so it is obviously fiction. It seems good to live here. In the morning one goes to the gym to strive for perfection, in the evening one shows off perfection in a cosmopolitan terrace. In between one must work but that is not the main focus of life. Living in a state of war and paranoia must be very relaxing since we haven't seen any trace of daily stress in people's faces. Walking across the city on the way to CCA to meet Sergio Edelsztein we are mistaken for locals. We must be doing something right. Sergio shows us his space and then takes us for a coffee. Three sentences leave us puzzled again: the boycott is sensible, US christians (and not Jews) are the real financial supporters of Eretz Yisrael and extreme right and extreme left want exactly the same thing (a bi-national state). We get hungry and decide to meet with Oded for breakfast (a meal that, like Christmas, happens whenever a man wants). Pedro has Israel, Oded gets benedicted and I go Texas style. The table is not big enough for all of us, and so is Israel to all of them. Oded, like Sergio, thinks that Lieberman is a fascist and that something is bound to happen. If so, Sergio will go to Argentina and Oded to Berlin (places that oddly are not so foreign to the concept of totalitarianism as one absent minded spectator of world history would think). We end the night with the promise of going soon to a gay club that apparently has no less than six Palestinian nights a week. God has not manifested himself to us directly but so far it seems that he provides his people by filling the streets with all eventual needs one may have. Among many things we've seen books, a slice of pizza, water, a baby stroller, half a coke, several places to attach your bike to, containers for wheelchairs and prosthetics-to-come and an outstanding population of personal pets (one could even think that here cats and dogs really rain, although water does not seem to do so). Back home I put in the washing machine the two rugs of the house. I know that our trip to Ramallah is still faraway but is always good to prepare ahead. Shalom or Halecum Salam to all the pros and cons of hitchhiking to Israel!


sexta-feira, 8 de outubro de 2010