so (3) three evenings ago,

after not feeling able to face facebook all day, I started preparing to post this “status” with its 12 ipadpics & its 21 lines there in an album but found I couldn’t do it the way I envisaged there, so here it is. [& i again invite you to read my page About me & this blogsite, updated 8 jul 14. & you're welcome to share any of it.]

with this afternoon’s warmer eveninging

after not feeling able to face facebook all day
i turn from what i cannot say of what’s not here now
to what i can see here now & ipadpic a little


hoping to catch a little of the pinkness in the gray
in the same frame i’ve posted more than once


or perhaps this is closer? ah the ipadpic loses


the bright red flowering of the dying coral tree
the ultra-invasive noxious weed


that flowers in winter more brilliantly & beautifully
than in this light an ipadpic can show


&/but its forms can play

such parts


in frames of sky

& tree forms leafed & bare


& when i turn there’s the view behind me
over the roof of our house


or a little lower
with the light in the window from nitza’s desk


& then veer back westnorwestwards, to a lilac-backed chinese aquarelle


with cloud calligraphy

with this afternoon’s warmer eveninging

after not feeling able to face facebook all day
i turn from what i cannot say of what’s not here now
to what i can see here now
& ipadpic a little

hoping to catch a little of the pinkness in the gray
in the same frame i’ve posted more than once
or perhaps this is closer? ah the ipadpic loses
the bright red flowering of the dying coral tree
the ultra-invasive noxious weed
that flowers in winter more brilliantly & beautifully
than in this light an ipadpic can show
&/but its forms can play
such parts
in frames of sky & tree forms leafed & bare
& when i turn there’s the view behind me
over the roof of our house
or a little lower
with the light in the window from nitza’s desk
& then i veer back westnorwestwards,
to a lilac-backed chinese aquarelle
with cloud calligraphy

so (2)

[if you're reading this from the email notification, or on the status on facebook that wordpress posted, let me recommend that you stop, & start reading it on my blogsite where if you enjoy my writing then i'm sure you'll enjoy it more. Here's the link: i also invite you to read my page About me & this blogsite, updated 140708 (= 8 july 14). & you're welcome to share all or any of it.]

& i look thru my recent afterdinner Padwriter emails to my PC since last week & find myself reading this — and remember that in yesterday’s post I wrote something about the majority of voters, & some thoughts in the second of these (but you need to read the first to get it) resonates with that, so i’ll post them (not without adding & changing a few things here & there).

wed 140709 8:40 pm [updated 140716]

“Visible consequences are iceberg tips, most results of actions are invisible to the doer”  — David Mitchell, number9dream

just finished this one, after first reading his first, Ghostwritten, which i found by reading a review of his latest on the guardian, really & most rewardingly had to suspend my disbelief to go with it, & now, after reading a reply of his on a talkback the guardian posted, started at last to read Yukio Mishima, his first, Spring Snow, & enthralled by the opening chapter’s story’s move into the long, moving, & detailed description of the artistic photograph of the scene, centered on an unpaired wooden cenotaph, of thousands of massed soldiers, each of them also representing more than one of the war dead. I found myself immediately connecting that poignance ( the translator’s apt word, for me at least) with my feeling with the dead & dying in the still ongoing Israel-Palestine war & those who have represented or are representing them or will represent them at services or gatherings or rallies there &/or will think alone of those of them they knew &/or cared for, of who they were, & of how & why they died, not that all who die by war have services afterwards or people representing them, & also, in the Russo-Japanese case almost all those who died by war were soldiers, still, before in World War II the world’s major powers made the killing & even the targeting of civilian populations an integral part of modern warfare…  Then I realized that what I was feeling while imagining all that this scene was suggesting to me was building on what I felt when I first read the brief chapter the Yitzhak Laor posted on Facebook today from his novel הנה אדם, a title I don’t know how he’d want to translate, if it was in biblical Hebrew it’d be Behold Adam; but in modern Israeli Hebrew it could be Here’s Adam, or Look at Adam, or Look, Adam, or Here’s a Person Adam, or Look at a Person, or Look, Man – because, apart from the biblical first man’s name, adam means ‘a person’ or ‘man’, a meaning that isn’t lost when we discover that the novel’s hero’s name is Adam. & I reread the piece, & added a brief comment to this morning’s like, & now I think I’ll try to translate that powerfully moving & cutting piece of writing that increasing build to the intensity & depth of feeling of its closing sentence.

thur 140710 8:58 pm [updated 140716]

& after reading a later par in Mishima, I think that’s what good fiction can do, let you feel so fully what a fictional character is feeling & experiencing, & as you’re feeling it you realize you’re feeling something like what someone real, not a fiction, could or would have felt in such a kind of situation & more… & what in fact can do that if not the fictional imagination? what can humanize, can open the gates of empathy that people who have evidently never opened them to others if they cannot identify them as belonging to the grouping of whatever kind that they identify with (& a part of becoming a member of a grouping, & everyone born into any human society does that to start with, is distinguishing between us and them)… How in my life reading fiction, first of all John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, opened me to the universalizing empathy that becomes a sense of solidarity with all who are oppressed anywhere, and to a socialistic vision of a more just and humane world. But could I have got to that from Steinbeck’s book if I hadn’t experienced empathic identification with so many fictional heroes (& non-heroic protagonists too) before that? for I was already an avid reader & absorber of fiction, in books, comics & films, & had been since I learned to read, & still (& more, again, in recent years), but now i can get it in so many other forms too, songs, the occasional poem, films, tv series, sometimes illuminating & sometimes recreation is enough…

& I’m thinking like if that’s what does it or can do it, how important it is to have good fiction available & accessible to children, & how that can’t ever happen wherever there’s One Book, one text, that’s sacred while all others are profane &/or prohibited if not properly subordinate to the Book as determined by its socially acknowledged interpreters, & how I was saved from that by being born to a generation already emancipated from that & by having always lived in countries where good fiction was freely available & accessible.

& i’m wondering is it only a certain kind of sensitivity, temperament, (something genetic too?) that makes it painingly obvious to some people that the occupation is wrong,  is a cancer in & of Israeli society, in & of life in Palestine, & so is returning asylum seekers to Sri Lanka or many other things the Abbott government is planning for Australia, I write here only of the two countries I feel closest to because they have been & still are so central in my life, but come on now, there’s awful shit going down right now in lots of places that lots of people we don’t know are suffering, benefiting from, enjoying, etc., etc., so what is it distinguishes us ‘leftists’, who want peace, equal rights, an end to occupation, inhumane detention, who feel compassion, solidarity & shared-humanity with the oppressed & dispossessed by an occupying power, who feel helplessly frustrated, angry, all those things that distract us from our own ongoing etc., etc. — from those who fear &/or hate &/or demonize &/or dehumanize the Other & are willing to detain, dispossess, invade, besiege, bomb, kill & wound demolish homes & fruit-bearing trees of generations of them to ‘protect’ their own survival &/or comfortable existence &/or power &/or profit? what does it take to make someone swing from ‘right’ to ‘left’? It’s easier for me to imagine someone swinging the opposite way, can imagine an increased fear, a fear increased by something personally experienced, even tho particulars don’t prove anything, but many minds can shake logic away, especially if with it comes the added benefit of suddenly & at last belonging to the majority, no longer to be smirked at as one of those goodie-goodie-goddam leftists… but what could bring someone to swing from right to left?


& so it goes, kurt, so it goes

cooking my dinner (boiled spuds, fried lambsteaks, nuked broccoli) second evening without my first dose of brandy (& i was starting to love my two or three brandies in the evening), having finally felt compelled to recant my wishful denial that the alcohol was greatly exacerbating if not actually causing the flaring & flourishing, the blotching & the often intense & barely tolerable itching all over my how many square micromillimeters of skin, now giving up that buzz as I had to give up the buzz of a joint of an evening because I just can’t smoke any more, more of my alvioli are shot than not,  if I smoke i get too quickly outofbreath. & past a moment of feeling sorry for myself i’m saying to myself well part of getting old is giving up doing things you loved to do, it’s all part of getting ready for the last giving up, & i still feel i’d much rather be here than not

then i sit down with the plate & yukio mishima’s spring snow (in engtrans of course), happy again to be at last reading this wonderfully sensitive author’s evocation of life among the nobility of pre-WWII Japan

& think this is buzz  enough, this i can do as long as i can see, & so many good books keep coming my way…

then eating & something i read reminds me of (jewishisraeli) friends on facebook saying israel’s government has to be brought down, like are they forgetting that this government represents the majority of israel’s voters, & much more than a majority of israel’s jewish voters, who make up only about 75% of all voters, so no hope  unless something changes there, & maybe also in the jewish diaspora, where still the majorities of jewish organizations support israel’s governments in their oppressive policies

for surely only when a significant majority shifts away from the government’s policies can the government & those policies change
like when the soldiers refused to fire on the people in Petrograd
because the soldiers were all of and from the people

is that what happened in South Africa? (i haven’t got a clue, wasn’t following then, haven’t tried to research it yet, if anyone can suggest something good to read about this i’d be grateful), why exactly & how did deKlerk or whoever approach Nelson Mandela, did he, in his & their name, with whatever he offered &/or asked for, acknowledge the suffering of generations caused by white supremacist rule? did he apologize, offer just compensation in addition to the equal rights that he at long last was now willing to offer, indeed  to give & to ask Mandela, in his own & his people’s name, to accept? & what was Mandela willing to accept as adequate recognition of his people’s sufferings from the apartheidist regime’s immense crimes? How, by what miracles of the human spirit, was all that turned towards a more human & more humane shared future? Not that they seem to be in great shape right now, but still, it’s a bit better, no?

but people are going thru shit
in so many places, i can’t keep thinking about that
& so it goes, kurt, so it goes


My maternal grandmother, Ernestyna Hermelin (née Akst)

My grandmother, Ernestyna Hermelin (née Akst

For my latest update (140708), click or hit About me & this blogsite


A Wonderful Woman: My Grandmother, Whose Wonderful Love I Knew in My First 3¼ Years

In my first 3¼ years I knew my grandmother’s love, and I know it has nourished & informed me through all my 78+ years so far. I have no sure memory of her, & for decades I hardly ever thought of her, until once on an ecstasy (already two decades ago) I felt I knew her love and how it sustains me. Later I looked again in the memoirs my mother wrote for me, read again how she loved me, and relearned more things about her. This portrait is the only photograph that I have of her. Sometimes when I crinkle my eyes and look at it I see her smiling happily, a smile I feel I know. Sometimes I also see my mother, myself, something in each of my three sons. Ernestyna Akst, who would become my mother’s mother, my maternal grandmother, was born in 1885 in Warsaw, and lived there until she was taken to a German concentration camp (I don’t know which, I don’t know when) and exterminated. I don’t know when this photo, which is also my only photo of any ancestor before my parents, was taken. It may be from those 3¼  years. She was the only grandparent I was close to. My father’s parents were older, and more distant. They too were exterminated by the Nazis, I don’t know how, or, where, or when.In  June 1936, when I was born, my grandmother lived alone in a small apartment. Click or hit here to continue reading this full “page”.


SOON THE MOON will come up, big and round, like last night, beautiful, from where the lights of the port of Akaba stretch in gleaming dotted lines towards the Saudi port whose name I don’t remember, to cast a growing sheen of beauty across the moving waters before me. I have felt closer intimacy with the moon. Lying under a eucalyptus tree on a hillside some thirty miles out of Melbourne some sixteen years ago, aged thirty‑two or so, about an hour after letting the small piece of blotting paper with the drop of LSD on it dissolve under my tongue, I saw its beams streaming directly at me, and opened my mouth to drink them in, and felt their power stirring in me, and female forms danced among the branches, inviting and inciting me to join the cosmic orgy. Until I tripped off in another direction, as now my mind does, not remaining fixed on any memory or thought, for the sound of the small waves rippling onto this stony beach, incessantly repeating yet never the same, brings me to think of other beaches, and of scenes between my many visits to so many beaches since the first time I came to a beach, a ten‑year‑old war refugee, at Repulse Bay in Hong Kong. Not only scenes come though, also thoughts: still I wonder at this inexplicable response to beauty, in sight and sound, and again I ask myself what this remembering is for, and why I have this desire still, or rather again, to share my memories and thoughts, to write at last the book or books I have wanted so many years to write, so many beginnings, so many designs, so many subjects, so many styles, things I apparently cannot communicate in conversation, nor really want to say to any one particular person though there are many people I know and probably many I don’t that I would like to write them to or for, though I could not with any certainty now tell you why. At certain times I would have said I knew why, in my prophetic phases when I believed that what I was writing was important, that it would surely change the world. And there were phases like that even before I started with the psychedelic drugs. So much to tell, so much to make sense of, if one can. All those pages at home, all those stages I’ve been through, and nothing achieved – if achievement is what counts, and if it is to be measured by products and income. The waves wash in, the waves wash out. The sea’s surface can be beautiful, and beautiful too is its feel when I swim in it, cool still in early May after the blazing heat of the sun at midday. Beautiful, yet deceptive, or treacherous: a few days ago Click or hit here to continue reading this full “page”.

שתי מדינות או אחת בארצישראלפלסטין לשני לאומים, לא לשני עמים Two States or One in IsraelandPalestine for Two Nations, not for Two Peoples

This is how it seems to me.כך זה נראה לי.

I felt I need to say it in IsraeliHebrew too. הרגשתי שאני צריך לומר את זה גם בעבריתישראלית

bilingual nation people (Recovered)5_Page_1bilingual nation people (Recovered)3_Page_2 A few of the sources I’ve found illuminating &/or organizations, forums or authors who may find this of interest: Sol SalbeShemuel MeirHoward AdelmanRichard FalkEmily HauserNorman FinkelsteinAntony Loewenstein; Gideon Ofrat+972 MagazineThe Palestine-Israel JournalJewish Voice for PeaceHaoketsAlMonitorMondoweissBADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee RightsOne VoiceBreaking the SilenceRabbis for Human RightsIndependent Australian Jewish VoicesThe Coalition of Women for Peace.

Mightn’t Two States for Two Nations (instead of Two States for Two Peoples) be a (truer &) more workable formula towards a resolution of the IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين Conflict?

Les crimes dont [un peuple] a honte font son histoire réelle.
The crimes of which a people is ashamed constitute its real history.
― Jean Genet

And surely the crimes of which a people is not ashamed even more so.
― dikf (a few days ago, after finding the genet quote someone, i forget who, posted on facebook)

Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.
― Isabel Paterson

Unsurprisingly, the recent round of negotiations has gone the way of previous ones, with no resolution of the conflict. & it doesn’t seem likely that any future negotiations can have a different result. I’ve read several fine but gloomy analyses, in particular those by Dahlia Scheindlin, Richard Silverstein, & Rona Moran & Hana Amour, & all of them seem to be saying that what will happen will be the result of evolution, not negotiation. I think&feel it’s time to put the question I ask in my title.

I can only (& I do, a lot) muse about this (not yet able yet to just sit here watching the wheels go round & round) – as a Diaspora Jew who doesn’t live there & vote there it’s not my place to take a position on positions those who live there will have to live with the consequences of if they adopt them.

But also, as a Diaspora Jew who now more than ever finds himself implicated in the Hebrew Israeli state’s newly-rearticulated demand (insisted on in the recently recollapsed ‘negotiations’ & now being put forward as a new ‘basic law’ of that state) that it be internationally recognized as “the national state of the Jewish people”, I feel a need to relate to this & also to the fact that whatever the Israeli state decides to do or not to do about the continuing conflict & occupation, as long as it continues to do so in the name of the Jewish people, Jews everywhere will also have to live with some consequence of those decisions…

& as someone who until almost 13 years ago lived for several decades in Israel as a citizen & who feels connected to Israel in many ways every day (for more details see some of my earlier posts, especially “A Post: The Days Go By…”) & who also finds himself obsessing about these things almost every day, often enough with some passion, & almost everyday being moved & stirred again by posts I read on Facebook about them, my friends’ expressions of their thoughts&feelings about it, by daily reports of new atrocities & inhumane actions perpetrated upon Falastini children, young people, older people, by opinion pieces, I feel a strong need to publish my musings on them, which lately have been converging on the question I’m asking, & I would love to be able to put it to everyone inside or outside IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين, be she or he Jew or Palestinian or concerned other who thinks & feels about these things – perhaps as an opening for an alternative, hopefully constructive & nonadversarial, direction of discourse. For surely an alternative direction is needed.

What’s been done in all of IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين, by Israelis, & by Falastinis, has been done there, & what’s still being done there is still being done there, & while some of all of it is good & sometimes even marvelous, much of it is terrible & intolerable, & not only for the direct & indirect victims & those close to them but also for the direct & indirect perpetrators & those close to them, dehumanizing & demeaning them all & the generations they are educating, destructive of social & individual values, harmful & stressful for many who are not there but who care & have feelings about those who are, & lamentably wasteful at a time when the human population of our entire planet faces imminent dangers that require the constructive energies of its best minds & hearts & souls.


So, mightn’t Two States for Two Nations (instead of Two States for Two Peoples) be a (truer &) more workable formula towards a resolution of the IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين conflict?

After all, it is not & can never be the Jewish people & the Palestinian people in their various diasporas who can decide whether to seek agreement or to continue or even to escalate the conflict.

Only the representatives elected by voters of the two nations (the Israeli nation & the Falastini nation) now living in IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين can & do & will decide on this.  & it’s up to them to decide if they want two national states, or one bi-national state that somehow manages to grant full autonomy & fair resources to the two national entities that comprise this state, or a modern or postmodern or postpostmodern state that is merely the state of all its citizens.

Nor is there any conflict or a dispute between the Jewish people & the Palestinian people. It is not the Jewish people that is responsible for the exiling of the Palestinian people or for the Israeli occupation suffered for many decades by Falastinis inside IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين, & it is not the Palestinian people that is responsible for the sufferings experienced during the same period by Israelis as a consequence of Falastini resistance to the occupation. Also, the Jewish people & the Palestinian people have no vote in this conflict. The Jewish people & the Palestinian people are not nations. If the term ‘the Jewish people’ means anything it means all the individuals in the world who identify themselves or are identified by others as Jews, just as the term ‘the palestinian people’ can only mean all those who identify themselves or are identified by others as Palestinians. Diaspora peoples cannot have true representation: community organizations in various diasporas can claim to speak for their peoples, but these organizations can represent only majorities of their own members, & most individuals in both peoples are most probably not members of such organizations.

This distinction, between a nation & a people, is only really meaningful when we speak of a diaspora people, a people the majority of which live in various dispersions throughout the world. & then it’s really very meaningful, & it oppresses me & irks me that this meaningful distinction is constantly, by some deliberately & by many unthinkingly, being blurred in the discourse – not only by the protagonists in the conflict, but by the world’s media & on social networks & everywhere all the time.

nation has a national state, a national government (elected by its citizens if the state is democratic), national institutions, a national economy, a (or, in some nations, two, or several) national language(s) & culture(s), national symbols, a national anthem, a national flag, annual ceremonial national events & customs, & much more, & beneath (if not also above) all this, a national habitus, in a defined national territory, &, if the nation is not under another nation’s occupation in its own national habitus, sovereignty within its national borders.

All this is much much more than a diaspora people  can have (or can want?), even if some among the Jewish people & the Palestinian people adopt &/or practice some of the cultural &/or ceremonial national creations or customs of Israel or Falastin.

Hebrew Israel & Arabic Falastin are distinct nations, distinct parts, within their respective peoples. They are distinguished from all others of their people by their habitus (where they live), their collective national lived experience, their collective national narrative, the nation-building that has been the identity-building of every individual born within either of these two national states (for the purposes of this discussion I think it’s still permissible to think of the two separated & divided mini-states of Falastin as one national [if as yet not ‘officially’ recognized] state). Much of the everyday cultures & experience of Falastin & Israel are not lived parts (at least not in the sense of actually beingthere & living it) of the lives of other Palestinians & Jews.

& although in one sense i think Dalhlia Scheindlin is right, & there is already only one state in IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين & “Israel is the one sovereign between the river and the sea”, the state that rules it all directly or indirectly as it does, this is true only in terms of physical, political & economic power & sovereignty, not in terms of essence. As i see it there already are two nation states in IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين, & they are currently represented by the elected leaderships of these unequal-in-power&sovereignty national states: the Palestine Authority & the State of Israel.

As I wrote above: only the representatives elected by voters of the two nations (the Israeli nation & the Falastini nation) now living (unequally) in IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين can & do & will decide on  if, & if yes, how, to resolve the conflict.

& it is the lives & the wellbeing of the citizens & their dependents, their children & their grandchildren, of these two nations that are continuously on the line & most at stake.

Yet until today, so it seems to me, all negotiations have collapsed for deeper reasons than the ones alleged at each collapse: they have collapsed because the representatives of these two nations, expressing what are probably the profound (& noble) feelings of the majorities of the citizens who elected them continue to decide that their responsibility to ensure a sovereign & viable national state with sufficient & defensible living space for the rest of their people now & in the future living in all their dispersions has priority over a possible peaceful resolution between themselves & their neighboring national state in IsraelandPalestineארצישראלفلسطين.

Their nobility is worthy of respect, & of empathy. They are willing to pay a heavy price for their care & concern for their dispossessed (in the case of the Falastinis) or always potentially endangered by virulent antiJewism (in the case of the Hebrew Israelis) fellowpeople.

I don’t know if these two nations recognize this nobility in each other. I doubt if it has ever been stated so over the negotiations table. “Both our nations have this problem, this need. How can we help one another to best resolve it for both?
& if it were (so stated)? could it be?

I hope to publish more musings on all this in my next posts, & in the meantime would appreciate any comments, shares or likes.

Also, here’s an initial list with links (to which i hope to add in future) to sources in which I’ve found some light on these matters & of some more pages or sites of individuals, organizations, or forums whose concern with the issues at stake I have noted & whose authors may find my question of interest: Sol Salbe, whose pointed comments I appreciated & whose unrelenting provisions of updates (& translations from the Hebrew for those who aren’t like me bi-lingual) have long kept me (with many others) informed about much I would have missed, including the  interesting recent analysis (so far only in Hebrew) by Shemuel MeirHoward Adelman; Richard Falk; Emily HauserNorman Finkelstein; Antony Loewenstein (even if some of the latter are often more adversial than not); The Palestine-Israel JournalJewish Voice for PeaceHaokets; Al-Monitor; Mondoweiss; BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; One Voice; Breaking the Silence; Rabbis for Human Rights; Independent Australian Jewish Voices; The Coalition of Women for Peace.