ahed nai saleh meme

I’ve made a meme of excerpts from the opening pars of this engaged & engaging piece, in the hope that it will move readers to read the entire Tablet article,  to become aware of the nature of these “West Bank” centers of civil resistance, & to hopefully become engaged themselves in its struggle for a #FreePalestine, & I think it can only help & perhaps significantly advance this cause if we promote this article’s optimistic prognosis & program of the civil resistance.

& maybe it will help if i add some more excerpts (with some emphases of my own) From Mark LeVine about Nabi Saleh:

Nabi Saleh was where I re-found my humanity. It has become the heartbeat of Zion—the Zion of the Matrix, the post-Apocalyptic holdout for the rainbow vision of what remains of humanity after we destroyed ourselves, not of the nationally and religiously and racially exclusivist Zionism of the real world. Indeed, the only time I feel hope when I’m in Israel or the Occupied Territories is when I’m in Nabi Saleh or one of the other resistance centers, when Palestinians, alongside international and Israeli activists, work together with one goal—to stop the occupation, even at the price of their own well-being and even life (Israeli and international activists have routinely been beaten and even shot during these protests).

Resistance Theater

Along with the village of Bil’in, and more recently the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and half a dozen other locations in the West Bank such as Atwani and the Jordan Valley, Nabi Saleh has been the site of regular (for the most part, weekly) protests against the Occupation for much of the last decade. What makes these protests so important is that they have become the testing ground for militant civil resistance against the Occupation, perhaps the most important tool left to Palestinians to hold the line against (turning back is a distant dream) the ever-expanding territorial encroachment by Israel across the majority of the West Bank that remains under its direct control.

I use the term “civil” rather than “non-violent” resistance because the protests are by no means free of violence. They start off that way—every Friday dozens of people gather at the center of the village, pick up their hand made signs, begin their chants, and march one and all—old and young, Palestinians and (Diaspora and even Israeli) Jews, locals and “internationals” – to the patch of hill between the top of the village and the valley road and spring below, which is coveted by the nearby settlement of Halamish (in fact, only six weeks ago, in October, the Israeli government issued orders seizing yet more land from the village to expand the settlement).

But when the marchers approach the top of the hill, the hill itself, which is usually still empty, suddenly fills with Israeli soldiers at the bottom along the road that leads to a nearby military encampment. And then the performance begins. The soldiers tell the protesters to go back; they refuse. They threaten to fire teargas; the people march forward. Either the tear gas starts or some of the kids start to throw stones (they rarely get close to the heavily armed and fully protected soldiers) but within a few seconds the ‘production’ is in full swing. I say ‘production’ because Nabi Saleh is nothing if not theatre; take your pick: theatre of the oppressed, of the absurd—a “dialectical” or “episches Theater” of the type developed by 20th century luminaries like Piscator and Brecht who desperately wanted to create a political theater that could better represent the intense ferment of inter-war Europe, particularly from below.

If it’s a good day, no one gets too badly hurt. The people protest, kids throw stones and taunt the soldiers well over 100 meters away. The soldiers, if they’re not in a bad mood, don’t unload dozens of canisters at a time, and sometimes people make it to the bottom of the hill, where they sit and chant a few feet from the road while the internationals and the Tamimi family takes video and pictures. A few will try to cross the road to reach their spring, which rarely happens as the soldiers inevitably grab them and push them back. When someone does get through, it’s like scoring the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl.

At some point Ahed or one of the older kids gets up and walks over to the Israeli in charge and uncorks a monologue against the Occupation and his presence on her land that is every bit as eloquent as any Martin Luther King, Jr. unleashed against Jim Crow. Ahed has no fear—NO FEAR. Her hair alone, the likes of which have not been seen around here since Samson, could hold its own against a squad, if not a platoon of Israeli soldiers. I think the soldiers actually have a grudging respect for her and her family. They might be enemies, but they know what they’re really doing there, and they know Ahed and her family are doing precisely what they’d do in her position, if they had the courage.

But if the afternoon is getting late and Shabbat and the weekend are beckoning, the soldiers’ fuses invariably get short. At some point the commander calls or signals her father or another family elder in some way and lets them know it’s time to go home, the play is over. Usually the adults try to disperse the crowd at that point. The international activists and the Israelis as well as the older Palestinians usually begin marching up the hill, more or less out of breath from the tear gas but not too much the worse for wear. One or two might be hunched over or have big welts from being hit by plastic coated steel bullets, but if they weren’t shot at too close range, or in the eye, the injury isn’t too serious. The kids stick around and throw a few more stones, but it all fizzles out soon enough. Solidarity and love pervades the air. It’s the closest to Selma most Americans there could ever hope to get, and in that sense it’s truly like reliving history. Because Nabi Saleh is, in a way, Selma.

Sometimes, however, the Israelis are in a particularly pissy mood, and then all hell breaks loose. It’s hard to describe the experience of being caught in one of these attacks. More tear-gas than you can imagine, rubber bullets, real bullets whizzing by (and if you’re unlucky, into) you, sound grenades that can pop your ear drum from meters away. Members of Ahed’s family have been killed in these attacks; one had his head half blown off by a tear gas canister fired at him from close range.

Every year it seems like the gas gets worse. The last time I was there I misread the wind and got lost in a cloud and, for the first time there, felt like I was going to die. The gas paralyzed me, I could neither breathe nor move, and I literally sunk to the ground watching my life go by, before a small hand reach into the haze from above, grabbed me, and with a strength I still can’t comprehend, literally pulled me up the hill above it. The hand belonged to Ahed’s cousin Muhammad, then around 11 or 12. The same Muhammad shot in the head earlier in the day when Ahed confronted Israeli soliders responsible for his injuries for which she is now being detained.

Once the performance is over, people either head home back to other towns in the West Bank, to Israel or for many of us, enjoy the ritual of dinner with the Tamimis and a night spent sleeping on their living room floor. In these quiet evening moments Ahed and the other kids actually seem like normal kids, dancing and playing, talking, practicing English with guests when they’re not sitting patiently for interminable interviews by activists and journalists. Meanwhile her father Bassem and uncle Bilal immediately upload the days videos and photos onto the internet to make sure a permanent record of the protests exists. Most of the time it’s rather banal watching, but sometimes they capture the horror of their own family members being shot and killed.

If they’re lucky, Saturday and the beginning of the next week are calm and life returns to normal, at least till next Friday when it begins again. But often it’s not so lucky. If you scroll through the videos on the Nabi Saleh YouTube channel you’ll find innumerable videos of midnight raids by Israeli soldiers, of attacks with “shit water” that is sprayed for no reason all over the village and even inside their home, of family members being dragged away into custody for no reason. Most everyone in the family has been beaten, arrested, and even shot. Ahed and her young kin as well as the women of her village are usually left to fight the Israeli soldiers because if an adult man were to go anywhere near a soldier he’ll be shot dead without a second thought.

Believe me when I tell you that you have no idea what life is like for the people of Nabi Saleh, even when you’ve spent many Fridays with them. Or for the people of Bil’in, or the Jordan Valley, or Jenin, or the Hebron Hills. Never mind Gaza. Simply put, we get to leave. They are fighting for their futures, for their lives. This is Palestine.

[Having copied & read (again) to here, & (again) what comes next, i  don’t feel like deleting any of  it, & will just  add some emphases….]

My Daughter and Their Daughter

The first Friday I spent with the Tamimi family I texted my daughter, who was then about 8, a picture of Ahed, with the caption “This is the bravest girl I’ve ever met and I hope you grow up to be like her.” And I meant it, although until Trump was elected President I didn’t think she’d actually have to fight like Ahed, to confront cops here the way Ahed confronts soldiers there. The night Trump won I reminded her of that text, and let her know I might have to bring her to Nabi Saleh sooner than I’d hoped for training. I wasn’t joking, she wasn’t laughing.

Israelis like to criticize Ahed’s role as a child engaged in the struggle against the Occupation, just as they criticized young people throwing stones during the Intifada. They say that the role of children on the front lines shows that Palestinians hate Israelis more than they love their children, and similar arguments. Like many Israeli arguments, this one seems reasonable until you consider it a bit more closely. Let’s start with the obvious question: If Israelis love their kids so much, why do they send them to be brutal occupiers year after year, decade after decade? To shoot, arrest, torture, and kill Palestinians, including thousands of children? Why do they sell their children’s souls for a piece of land that is already inhabited by someone else who’s been there for centuries, when they’ve already conquered most of the land decades ago?

And if Israelis were so concerned about Palestinians’ children, how come they harm and kill so many of themyear after year? Give me a break. Let me be clear: I don’t want my kids anywhere near the violence and hatred I’ve witnessed in Israel/Palestine, but if I were forced to choose, I’d send my kid to fight against a brutal occupation a lot sooner than I’d send her or him to enforce it. I can understand why Bassem watches with pride through the tears as his daughter becomes a leader of the Palestinian struggle before the world’s eyes. What I can’t imagine is how Israelis can watch as their children arrest, beat, shoot, and otherwise humiliate and oppress Ahed’s family and the entire Palestinian people. As Michael Lerner warned two decades ago, their “settler Judaism” is among the gravest threat to Judaism since the Holocaust. If this is Judaism, Hitler won. If you don’t understand this, you’re not paying attention.

 

No Way to Stop the Performance

But all this is beside the point, because no one is sending their kids to do anything. It’s impossible to stop them. They are growing up in the midst of an unimaginable and unending Occupation. They live without hope and with trauma and violence that is exceeded in only a few even more tragically star-crossed places like Syria, Yemen, Rohingya, or eastern Nigeria. The only hope they have is in fighting, however they can, against the Occupation. “To resist is to exist” the Zapatistas have long said (and Palestinians as well) – “morir para vivir” (dying in order to live). It’s a common theme wherever oppression rules the land. As I wrote above, no one can control Ahed; not when she was 8, and not when she’ll be 18.

Ahed’s parents could chain her to a bed but I’m sure she’d find a way to break those chains. She could very well single-handedly break the chains of a half-century occupation if the Israelis aren’t careful (and they know this, which is why they’re now trying to lick her away, far from the media, people forget about her). People are already imagining her as the first true President of Palestine. Others worry all the focus and hype directed to her is dangerous and doomed to backfire. I think it’s more likely she’s going to be the first Prime Minister of Israel/Palestine; Israelis would be lucky to have her.

[& I think it can only help & perhaps significantly advance the cause of #FreePalestine if we promote this optimistic prognosis & program of the civil resistance.]

People are also criticizing Ahed and the Tamimis for “staging” or otherwise planning her protests. Of course they do. That’s the whole point. They understand that the only way they stand a chance against the Israelis is to play by the script, by the rules of engagement that both sides in the theater that is that hill have more or less agreed to. The script allows the Tamimis and their supporters to at least slow the inexorable take-over of their land. The Israelis get to use their relative “restraint” to show how moral they are. Except for shooting her cousin, of course. And all the other shootings, beatings, arrests, and so on. And now, of course, arresting Ahed (when they came for her cousin last year she and her mother starred in another viral video, in which they grabbed the soldier and pulled Muhammad away from him, pulling his balaclava off his face in the process).

Finally, Ahed is being criticized for saying in one interview that she supports all forms of resistance, even including suicide bombings. As of the time of writing, I haven’t seen or heard the interview where she allegedly made the comment, and I’ve been told her words were mistranslated or taken out of context, as she was arguing that people shouldn’t be surprised at whatever actions Palestinians take, not endorsing a specific action. But assuming the claim is true, I certainly don’t agree with that and if I saw her again I would say so. I also know that’s not at all the position of her family or anyone in the village. Nabi Saleh could as easily become a factory for suicide bombers as Nablus, or Jenin, or Falluja, or Raqqa. But it’s simply utterly foreign to the idea of civil resistance the Tamimis and other Palestinians have developed to use such violence, which they know full well is counter- productive and morally dubious.

Yet this comment also has to be contextualized before being condemned, not least of which by remembering that whatever the historical weight thrust upon her, Ahed remains a young girl who’s lived her entire life under Occupation, and despite the innumerable times she’s repeated the Nabi Saleh mantra of civil resistance, sometimes you just get too pissed, sometimes you can’t stick to the script, even when you more or less believe in it. Let’s remember what former Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted during the al-Aqsa Intifada: if he were a young Palestinian, he’d have joined a terrorist group. In other words, he wouldn’t be protesting at Nabi Saleh; he’d have long ago blown himself up in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

In reality, the Tamimi family has a long history of nonviolent resistance against a brutal occupation that has stolen their land, brutalized their people, destroyed their homes, and arrested and killed their family. If you want to condemn Ahed’s comment, then you need to condemn the very real violence that has produced it with a lot more vociferousness.

 

Malala or Mandela?

Not long after her arrest, the scholar Shenila Khoja-Moolji rightly asked why the world has shown such support for Malala Yousafzai, but not for Ahed. Both are young women who’ve faced incredible violence and oppression, and both share the same grit and determination. But it’s also clear that Ahed is a very different person with a different story. She’s suffered less physically, at least so far. But she also didn’t have the luxury of being “saved” by her former colonizer. Spirited away to the UK to be healed, given citizenship, given a Nobel Prize. Feted around the world as a symbol of what a Muslim women can and should be. And, of course, Malala stood up to America’s mortal enemy, the Taliban, while Ahed is fighting America’s darling, Israel. As long as there’s no understanding of how close Israel’s treatment of Palestinians mirrors the Taliban’s treatment of women – no rights, permanent confinement to ever smaller prisons, violence and murder without regard to international law or morality – there’s no chance Ahed will ever be seen in the same light as Malala.

God bless Malala. I bought her book for my daughter. We watched the documentary. I hope she grows up with Malala’s courage and determination. But Ahed doesn’t have that chance. She doesn’t have that fresh start. She probably wouldn’t even get a visa to go to the UK or the US today. She won’t sell millions of books. And the Israelis will likely convict her of assault and stick her in a prison for years, hoping the world forgets about her. Even if they do, they’ll never break her. She may not be Malala, but Ahed could well wind up Mandela. That much becomes clear the moment you meet her.

And it’s our job, the job of every person with a conscience, to support her, her family, and all the Palestinians and their Israeli and international allies who risk so much to fight for the little land that hasn’t been swallowed up by Israel, and in so doing to fight for a future in the Holy Land when Palestinians can breathe the air freely, without tear gas, or shitty water, or the smell of blood and tears, around them; and as important, where Israelis can reclaim their humanity.

__

 

 

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Lines (& some pics) composed in our home in the vale in the hills near Laverty’s Gap, Mullumbimby/Wilsons Creek, in 2008, some seven years after we moved here from Israel-occupied Palestine

This is a post I was preparing to publish before I was hospitalized the week before last.

001

how it goes

002

beside the pain
instead of the painkillers
a place to be, a place to do
a melody, a rhythm, a story,
a poem.

& where can it go?
i’m sure i don’t know,
but it’s not about going, or knowing.

can it be nothing
when it’s already a something?

or must we get personal?
or perhaps political?
prophetic? emphatic?
allusive, intellectual?

obviously someone with nothing to say
saying something to say something or nothing
or someone with something to hide,
and maybe something to show.

003

troppo
the world’s going troppo
(& in italian tróppo means too much)
tróppo tróppo, much too troppo

& the python
(here in bunjalung country)
isn’t frightened

troppo tragic & troppo magic
comedy, tragedy,
personal, ethnic, racial,
genophilic, xenophobic
tróppo tropical, tróppo topical
in all countries in all continents
majorities & minorities
indigenous & colonizer & refugee & immigrant
topdog & underdog, protester & sycophant
creatures, beseechers, teachers, preachers
of one true god or no true god

non tróppo adágio, not too slowly

& the python
isn’t frightened

is it about safety?
must loving one’s inherited culture
mean loving more those who bore it and bear it and share it
than others who bore and bear, inherit and share, a different culture?

is it in the DNA? a group centricity, a primal tribal fidelity,
to motherland or fatherland, to Birthia, the place that bore you,
baladi in arabic & moledet in hebrew
Falastin, Yisra’el, el ard, ha’aretz, The Land
before Earthia, the planet

where the python
isn’t frightened

so say it is
about safety, in the DNA –
we can still learn to live with the python
see the beauty in the patterns,
his, her, our own cultures, others’ cultures,
songs and languages, paintings, dances,
& seek more cooling
in the global warming
& more warming
in the global cooling

004

the python

the other evening still at twilight i took out the rubbish after dinner & on my way to the compost bin i saw across my path near the rubbish bins a long something that i didn’t remember being there before, it seemed too straight for a fallen branch, too wavy to be a stick. i decided not to venture passing it or stepping over it in the dark but i still wanted to throw the rubbish bag into the rubbish bin and the contents of the compost bag into the compost bin, so i went back and brought my strong rechargeable torch & saw it was a young, possibly very young python, no more than two meters long or two inches in diameter, with a beautiful pattern of diamonding lines and dots, sort of yellow-green and brown-black in the torchlight, which seemed to disconcert him a little but didn’t bother him too much, he just kept flicking his tongue but didn’t seem at all inclined to move, except at one point when while lifting the lid off the rubbish tin i swung the torch around and he made a quick turning movement of his head while raising it perhaps a foot or so off the ground and then lowered it into a small coil and remained motionless while i completed my two missions and closed the bins and keeping what i felt to be a safe distance from him and my torchlight still upon him, walked around him, saw our cat Chiquita sitting not far away, and called her to come home with me, more afraid that she might attack the snake than the other way around, because now she’s fully grown, and this is a very young python, but when she was maybe two and a half months old, a much bigger python caught her and her in his coils. i was having a shower at the time and heard the screams and didn’t know what they were and there was no one else at home. i ran straight out of the shower, out the front door, and there by the wall in the front garden was this big python rolled around little chiquita at least twice, and she was still screaming, i yelled at the python too but that didn’t help and i was afraid to grab him by the head so i picked up a stone and gave him a knock on the head, not too hard, but evidently enough to surprise him into letting go his grip and sliding away, while chiquita darted away into the bush and didn’t come back for several hours.

005

cottoncauliflower cumulus clouds in agate sky over green tree-topped hillside
with two, no, now three, no, now no
parachuted hangliders dancing in and out of the oval
framed by a branch of the jacaranda just outside & the top line of the treetops,

& in some sense we’re all of us
parachuted hangliders dancing in and out
here a moment, there a moment,
colored this way, then colored that way
coloring here a little there a little
some more, some less,
then gone

006

– Ah Soul, Arsehole, Asshole!

– Ah soul, arsehole, asshole!
– Of course, my horse.
Why grudge, my judge?
Why leave, my thieves?
No soul is not an arsehole, asshole.

Where caper my rapers? Born to rape
or be raped we have learned to choose love,
we choose to learn love. Now they caper in art alone,
in poetry, where none can be hurt. I
become a bit less of an arsehole, asshole.

There will be room and work for all who served
the dynasties of successive hierarchs, secret or overt,
as guardians of secrets, skilful liars, manipulators,
prosecutors and repressors, room for all the masters
and victims of shame and guilt, all the arseholes, assholes.

007

There was a red
yes, wheel,
yes, barrow, I re-
member, but
also a stain, a grow-
ing one, yes, and
yes, a flag,
and, yes a lot
of pain, a lot
of noise:

so much, yes
so much depended, yes
so much depends

008

in medias res, poetry

where soul sings to soul
in the midst of the things
that are
& the things
that aren’t

always in the midst of things
even while life’s ending
even while the globe warms
even

009

Wind & wandering

without a wind no sail will move
here in mid-ocean
yet a sail moves

without a destination no direction will be taken
no rudder will be turned
here in mid-ocean
yet a direction is taken
a rudder is turned

toward the setting sun

010

i think sometimes that
until we’re encompassed by compassion
we’ll stay impassioned by passion (fear too is a passion)
unconscious or conscious
or interned by self-concern, instructed, restricted, desentisized
by what at each moment we believe is our self-interest

i think sometimes that
we’re all so traumatized & so in denial
almost like we’re saying whatever happened or is happening
whatever we did or are doing or saw done or now see being done
to ourselves or to someone or to some many
near or far
it doesn’t matter
i’m ok, we’re ok, i’ll be ok, we’ll be ok
whatever we feel victims of or complicity in,
i’m ok, we’re ok, i’ll be ok, we’ll be ok

it’s surely a mechanism that helps us survive,
momentarily
but as all that we are,
which includes our denial
& its inevitable consequences
in closing the gates of compassion

 

 

011

Between Islamism and Islam
gapes the chasm of chaos

Between Zionism and Zion
the abyss of hypocrisy

The isms
breed schisms
powering jism after jism
rocket after rocket &
missile after missile
in the name of
in the game of
in the shame of
the Merciful,
el-Rakheem, ha-Rakhman.
HaRaM, I say, HaRaM.

012
WORDSMATTER

so much word smatter
but still words matter

013

rain for days and nights
psoriasis rioting, getting on top of it with tar, maybe,
fears of it spreading over my entire body,
as did my father’s pemphigus,
hacking cough at night, nothing comes out
danny has a brain tumor, sid has cancer in the rectum,
leah all over, jenny an aneurysm,
the grandchildren are growing beautifully
monk’s caps have little pools of water
at night the leaves glisten a sheer beauty
we are closed in, the bridge across the creek is flooding over
even in heavy rain some birds sing
strong gusts of wind

014

some lifelines, with images from my hard disk

horizontal
lifelines horiz

vertical
lifelines vert

in captions under photographslifelines 1 2
lifelines 3 4

lifelines 5 6one

some lifelines, with images from my hard disk

the german luftwaffe plane bombing a city during world war ii,
like those that bombed warsaw the day we fled,
an illustration from the time of poland’s collapse,
a tourist panorama of shanghai’s riverfront bund
as seen from then not yet pudong, i saw it from not so far across,
from mid-whangpoo, and the only actual photographs i have of me there,
already after the war had ended, one with my form 2 classmates
at the shanghai jewish school and our teacher mr. radet,
the year my father spent dying in hospital,
one of me posed in betar uniform for a photographer
who gave me two photos, both retouched, & one of them tinted
and passport photos of me and my cousin karol, charles,
me ten and he nine, in 1946, probably taken for our documents
for our voyages to a new home in australia.

015

on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

lilac jacaranda 1

on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel and amalia are climbing
& emanuel’s talking & amalia’s singing
on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
amalia and emanuel are playing & running & walking
& emanuel’s singing & amalia’s talking
around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

back from the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel & amalia ask grandma a question
& grandma gives them an answer and then they’re back again
around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

and then on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel and amalia sit where they’ve climbed to,
imagining, talking, talking, imagining
on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

lilacjaca emanamalia

016

yes, but,
as nitza said only yesterday
maybe there have always been in the world
those who are willing to use force & violence for power & control
& those who aren’t, and won’t,
yes, and will always choose flight before fight,
maybe knowing, somehow, some mysterious, inexplicable way
that they don’t want to cross to the dark side
to become the same as those one could so easily
indignantly and always justifiably wish to smite

to go without physical resistance
into the Umschlagplatz, then to the train,
into the camp, then into the “shower chamber”
as i believe my maternal grandmother did,
and most probably also my father’s parents did
when it was already to late to flee

she said she knows now
she would not have been one of the uprisers
in the warsaw ghetto,
nor in the partisans, i added, & i feel the same today
but i can’t say that when i was younger i wouldn’t have been,
i know that for a time in my teens they were my heroes
& that having hated hitler as a child i had also adored stalin
& i also bought the zionist myth
& the communist myth

but i wanted to say
that i know it is so
also in palestine
where “israel” still rules

where some rule & some command & some execute,
some press, some swing, some drop, some throw
triggers, buttons, batons, rockets, stones, missiles, mortars, shells, bombs,
believing in the justice of their cause or in it for the power & the profit,
perhaps consciously &/or perhaps unconsciously &/or perhaps cynically,
but in any case somewhere lacking the capacity for empathy
of those who do even not pick up a stone & throw it at the oppressor’s soldiers

through two thousand years of exile
a jewish way of being evolved that was not violent,
not built on the exertion of physical force

or if somewhere that too is a myth
if jewish financiers have in some part of these two millennia
played roles on that dark side,

the myth at least has a following.

for the jew, not indigenous anywhere except perhaps two millennia ago in what is now called both palestine and israel, flight has of course been a more rational response than fight. emotionally too, you can feel good about yourself because you’re not doing harm to anyone, and you’re righteous, and this on top of being able to feel sorry for yourself as a victim of the heartless and iniquitous persecutors. you can yearn for a return to the ‘homeland’ that was never your homeland and would never be your homeland & in that melancholic languishing there was a terrible & strong romantic happiness. & then to be struck with the transformation, to now ‘have’ this ‘homeland’ but only by having to constantly keep fighting for it & in fact having to exercise brutal occupation powers over its more recently indigenous people in order to make this dream come true even though its whole purpose was to remain a dream for you, this is too mind-boggling if you don’t, and you know you don’t, want to go over to the dark side, because you have some inkling of what you yourself would be capable not only of doing but even more terrible of enjoying if you had that power without the constraints that now keep you from making that choice in the first place, too scary for words…

017

redeemed, is it, freed? liberated? from
the knowledge of good and evil, what-
ever, we no longer know good and evil,
are no longer punished for those two bites
of that forbidden fruit,
yet this is not Paradise
which, never lost, never regained,
lives for ever in that mythic realm
in our imagination, while in our lives
what we can know, at best, is what we want

018

וכבן עמי עם ישראל אני אומר סליחה
לכל בת ולכל בן של העם הפלסטיני באשר היא או הוא

על כל מה שעשו בני או בנות עמי לָךְ, לְךָ, לכם, לכן

איני מבקש שתסלחי, שתסלח, שתסלחו
איני מחפש את סליחתכם
איני מבקש שתחייכי, שתחייך, שתחייכו

אך הייתי חייב לומר את זה
כדי ללכת הלאה

& as a son of my people the Jewish people I say sorry
to every daughter and every son of the Palestinian people wherever they be
for everything done by sons or daughters of my people to each & all of you

I’m not asking you to forgive
I’m not seeking your forgiveness
I’m not asking you to smile

I just had to say this
to be able to go forward

An update to my last, mistaken, update

Today, on Facebook, I created a “Secret Group” titled “Richard Flantz’s life’s ending”, & invited 81 friends, so far, to join it.  I will feel more comfortable posting my updates etc to this group of more intimate friends than to the public at large.
I know that some followers of my blog who don’t use Facebook would want to follow the posts and comments published in this group. The best I can do at present for these followers is to repost here the content of my posts there (but none of the comments & interchanges), while not sharing these reposts on my public Facebook timeline. Fyi. If any of you want more than this please tell  me in a comment or by email…

Here is my first post to this group, posted there earlier today:

Yesterday I posted a happy meme proudly announcing that I’d stopped taking the opiates & would go on with what vaping the good herb could bring me.

halfaballoon-memeX

I felt like a happy hippy hero again, it’s a feeling I’ve often liked.
But that was braggadocio. That high lasted only a few hours, & further vapes later in the day kept me stoned but brought little relief.
By night-time it was pretty bad, & this morning I just had to give in & take a dose of Ordine, & a few hours later another one as well as a slow-release Targin… & now it’s just bearable again.

& I want to share the following excerpts from recent correspondence:

My (only) cousin Charlie, who’s a year younger than me, & a doctor, wrote in a reply to an email from me, “It’s clearly a difficult balancing act between pain and constipation.” To which I replied today: “Yes, definitely a difficult balancing act!
Thinking about it, I find it surprising how little one hears about this phenomenon, & even more surprising that with all the advances in medical research, there as yet exists no effective relief of unbearable pain that doesn’t bring with it the sometimes at least equally unbearable pain of constipation. Then again, all this starkly (& funnily) images the limitations of being human…”

& my dear friend David Rothfield wrote in a comment to my blogpost Update / Opiated, 2017/12/24–26: “Whatever you decide about the chemo, we know it will be for the best. Yes, quality is preferable to quantity, but right now it doesn’t sound like quality. After that bout of pain you describe, there was no doubt relief, but at least after child birth, there is the delight of seeing the new life that you have brought forth.”

I thanked him for these & his other warm & wise words, & on these points I wrote:
“& you’re right on both points: what I’ve been going thru since these pains began is certainly not quality — & after the more excruciating moments there is never the delight of new life, only the relative relief of a less excruciating pain. & since these pains aren’t cancer related, & the scan shows the cancer isn’t growing quickly, the chemo question is irrelevant, & trying it would be only an additional anxiety-ridden hassle. I’ll see if the doctors can find some way to treat the spinal condition, & if they can’t then I’ll look for a way to end it all as painlessly as possible. & I’ll keep updating for as long as I can.”
& to my blogpost Update-2017-12-28-stoned-on-herb-no-longer-opiated, my dear young friend Jayson Berger wrote: “Brave man, brave choice, my heart is with you. Fight fight against the dying of the light!

I replied:
“ thanks, jayson!
(but I really don’t feel i’m fighting against
& i’m certainly not raging against
whatever will come.)

Jayson: I was playing on Dylan Thomas’s poem but was careful not to use the word rage which I have a difficult time associating with you but rather was referring to the numbing effects of Morpheus on creative light.

Me: I know you were riffing on the brilliant [but (so I’ve long thought) conceptually flawed] Thomas villanelle.
But it’s important for me to be clear that for me this isn’t a fight, & that I’m not fighting anything.
& I’m not sure the morphine is numbing what creative light I still have — & if it is, so it goes..
& the light itself, it was there before me, & will go on after I’m gone.

The occupation of ’67 is not the problem. The problem is the Nakba. [A necessary follow-up meme]

After yesterday posting my translation of Kobi Niv’s article, I just had to follow up with this meme in the two languages that can be most influential in this tortured, torturous & torturing matter of the State of Israel’s continuing criminal rule over Palestine.

niv quote meme

Update 2017/12/28, Stoned on Herb, No Longer Opiated

Two days ago, I posted the following comment on the Facebook thread of my previous (opiated) update:

No longer opiated! Last night, writhing on the toilet-bowl from the pain of the constipation caused by the opiates that are meant to prevent the pain caused by my spinal condition, I realized that this is ridiculous!
So I decided to stop the opiations, & didn’t take the Targin last night or this morning. A meditation that helps me: when in pain, to remember the so many parts of me that are not in pain & to focus my feeling there; & when in motion to remember F.M. Alexander’s tai-chi-like “head held delicately forward & upward”, etc etc… Will write a blog post on this…

Later in the day I wrote the lines I’ve memed today:

update vaping meme
Another update, from today, is in the works…