Nitza’s exhibition of Paper Sculptures opens in Abu Ghosh tomorrow

With love & best wishes I’ve translated the text Nitza wrote in Hebrew for the flyer, & inserted it over the original, which appeared on Facebook today, & I’m pasting both below:

abughosh engl page

& the original:

abu ghosh hebpage

 

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Born into Hebrew, born into Jewhood…

Nitza posted this today, A portrait of both of us, on the background of fragments of the Hebrew biblical text on the moving & powerfully symbolic story of Abraham’s binding & almost-sacrifice of  his “only” son Isaac (Genesis 22.1–18).

n bornintohebrew
“I was born into Hebrew / & that, it becomes clear, is fate”, she wrote in Hebrew.

She indeed was born into Hebrew, in Tel Aviv, Palestine, in 1943. I wasn’t. I was born into Polish, in Warsaw, Poland, in 1936.

But we were both born into Jewhood, which, like a language, is something you’re born into — even more than a language, my own experience tells me, for I stopped thinking in & speaking Polish even before I arrived in Australia in 1947 as a refugee, but haven’t stopped feeling Jewish since I learned I was a Jew, in Shanghai. & though not born into Hebrew, I learned a lot of it during my teens & early twenties, and much much more after I “ascended” to Israeland in 1959 & lived there for close on four decades.

& today, here in Australia, we both live in two languages — English & Hebrew, thinking & speaking in one as often as the other & sometimes both in the one sentence, & reading & writing both from right to left & from left to right…

& we are both enriched by this bilingualism, which is also a biculturalism, for in & by means of Israeli Hebrew the Zionist nation-building project in Palestine has engendered a rich culture that transcends & sometimes critiques & opposes Zionism — a culture that connects to (& sometimes critically deconstructs) works from all periods of Hebrew & Jewish culture & also, through translations, to works from countless other cultures, periods and languages.

The biblical story that Nitza relates to in this work has in fact been taken as a motif in numerous works in Israeli Hebrew literature and visual art, often in bitter protest at the nation’s sacrificing its sons “for the nation”, & sometimes relating it to the story of Abraham’s casting out his first son, Ishmael.

Here’s a sonnet I wrote on this theme quite a few decades ago (in English):

unsacrificed (2)
And here, for reference, is the chapter from Genesis, in English, & in Hebrew, followed by a further remark.

genesis22

genesis22h
Well, so far, if this mythical Abraham represents a primal ancestor of all Jews, in some of his “offspring” (the ESV’s euphemistic translation of “seed”, a word that emphasizes the patriarchalist genetics of Judaism) “all the nations of the earth” have indeed been “blessed”, but in or by others that is not exactly the case. Ask those who live under occupation, or who are forced exiles from, the country where this story is said to have happened.

Homo Imaginens, not Sapiens, we never know enough

image

Homo Imaginens,* not Sapiens, we never know enough,
We are the imagining species
Living in & with all our different imagined realities**
that all our ancestors & we have imagined, created
& sustained, & that we’ve sometimes renewed & invigorated
& sometimes’ve let get stuck in stagnation; some we continued
& some we discarded, & some we now need to discard
& some we now need to imagine
if a truly humane humanity is to evolve & prevent
more murders & massacres in the name of one imagined reality
or another, & if a truly civil civilization
is to at last evolve on this planet
before it becomes uninhabitable

we imagined words, we imagined language
we imagined spirits, we imagined spirit
we imagined gods, we imagined God,
we imagined families, nations, peoples,
we imagined enemies of our groupings
we imagined borders, fences, walls

we imagined agriculture, manufacture, money,
commerce, industry, brand names,
limited liability companies, corporations,
we imagined buildings, architectures, arts,
literatures, musics, movies, low-tech, high-tech,
sciences, academies, parliaments, governments,
unions, mutual aid societies,
profits&power-seeking bodies:
everything humans have created they first imagined.

As individuals, we’ve imagined our characters,
our families, our friends & our circles;
as members of communities, we’ve imagined our identities,
our narratives about everything we think we’re part of.

As a species, we’ve imagined everything that humans
have created on this planet,
never knowing all the possible outcomes.
Often not even imagining some of them.
Like where our world’s come to now…

 

* Since our species is generally named in Latin, “Imaginens”, which is not a real Latin word (I had to make it up) should be be its name, rather than sapiens, or Huizinga’s ludens.

** I take this term from Yuval Noah Harari’s fine mind-opening book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (a must-read book, I feel, in which he explains how mankind has lived & developed thru structures that are all imagined realities; for a brief review see this link).

My thanks to Martha Brett for sharing the meme on Facebook.

With Invisible (But Visibly Effective) Blinkers On

A photo of the Jezreel Valley by Asaf Amran, which I found shared today on Facebook

A photo of the Jezreel Valley by Asaf Amran, which I found shared today on Facebook

With invisible (but visibly effective) blinkers on
(how else?) in that so beautiful land (really
beautiful though only mythically “holy”)
day in day out (I know, I wore them too, during
most of the several decades I lived there,
& often still do while I live here
in this no-less-beautiful part of what was
once the land of the Dreaming,
where similar if not so extensive wrongs
& injustices continue) good people
who have no other homeland
live & love, recreate & procreate,
& create too, fine, folk, pop, hip-hop,
modern, postmodern, postpostmodern
art, & literature, theater & songs
in their old-new language; music & dance,
architecture, town-building, agriculture,
horticulture, science, invention, low-tech,
hi-tech, restaurants & cafes, movies, TV,
landscaping & airscaping, anything, in so
many ways escaping the reality around them
(the Facebook posts of some of them show
only the beautiful things they see & like,
& those things really are beautiful)
that sustains their lives
through a brutal & oppressive occupation
& recurrent waves of bombings of towns
& killings of indigenous people
dispossessed of their rights & their homes

& in all this they’re not so different from
so many colonists or their descendants
who have made their homes
in countries & continents
other than their countries of origin
except that now, there,
the resistance of the oppressed
& its repression & that of the protests
of the few who have cast off the blinkers
is increasing & accelerating & escalating
to a point where it all may explode or implode,
or both, & if that happens, what use
will those blinkers be?

& what use is my caring, for those of them
that I know, & for the many I don’t know
or for all the oppressed & repressed? can it be
that this is what I see when I don’t see things
closer to myself, with my own invisible
& effective (but not visibly to me) blinkers on?

Wallaby Freedom (Gavin Playfair, Henry Lawson &c…)

First, copy/pastes of a status+comments of an fb post by Tony Convey:
wallaby playfair

tc postcoms 1
tc postcoms 2
A wallaby (one of about 30 Australian macropod species) is smaller than a kangaroo, a nomadic herbivore (or vegan) that wanders or explores through its typical kind of habitat (there are swamp wallabies, brush wallabies, and rock wallabies). In the (Anglo)Australian culture it has long been associated (tho perhaps not too many remember this today) with the idea of freedom (perhaps ever since the great Australian poet Henry Lawson published his poem “Freedom on the Wallaby” in 1891, & has often meant something like wandering and exploring freely (usually physically, in more remote areas of Australia such as the bush and the outback, but surely also symbolically of more than only physical free wandering and exploring.) So, next: Henry Lawson’s “Freedom on the Wallaby” (1891) , with some explanations of Australian vernacular words of the time that appear in the poem & some allusions to its current relevance.
Freedom on the Wallaby crop

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 19th- & early 20th-century Australian slang, “humping bluey” meant carrying a “swag”, a roll of blankets used for sleeping outdoors. Itinerant wanderers, seekers of work, etc., were often called “swagmen”.

“On the wallaby” (or “on the wallaby track”) meant to be on the move.

“Cooey” was a loud call used to get attention out in the bush, or outback. find missing people, or indicate one’s own location. The word originates from the Dharuk language of the original inhabitants of the Sydney area. It means “come here” and has now become widely used in Australia as a call over distances.

A “billy” was a tin can used for boiling water on a camp fire.

The wattle is Australia’s “national” flower.

& as for contemporary relevance: the budget & other practices & policies of the present government of (does this it word still meant have its original & fundamental semantic meaning?) “Commonwealth of Australia” (& of so many governments elsewhere where corporate power rules) should be enough to show what’s still happening even more (& let’s hope the rebel flag does rise, but with more creative & humane ways than those that have already stained & are still staining so much more than tbe wattle).

 

(Annotations adapted from http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com.au/2006/12/freedom-on-wallaby.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooee)

& now, some lines & 3 pics from an album I posted on fb on 140914:

A Wallaby Visit We Old’uns Disturbed…

N said, Hey, there’s a wallaby out front,
& i left my PC to see, & yes, it was closer to our home
than any I’ve seen. She brought her camera, I grabbed my ipad,
& advanced o-so-slowly, step-stop-click-step-stop-click
to pic & not disturb, like in that kids’ game where you advance
when the seeker’s not looking. The wallaby didn’t seem flustered,
checking me out from time time & bending back to her feeding,
turning this way or that way, & back down to the patch
that had something s/he liked there, & N said she wished
it was in the sunny part, & I wished i had a zoom lens.
i took 39 pics before s/he decided i might be a danger
& i was sorry s/he did, but not that I’d had this experience
& hope s/he’ll come back some time & feed & feel safe here…
& here are two of my pics, & one N took of me taking them.
wallaby 13wallaby 7croopwallaby 8

testing (2): embedding links to this morning’s+ news&oped items

With my breakfast I generally skim The Sydney Morning Herald & the guardian australia on my iPad (& please don’t tell me it might be healthier etc for me to simply enjoy every breath & every mouth motion etc; been there, done that….), & bookmark items I read & feel about & think I may want to respond to, or even just share with others who may feel about or respond to in one way or another. & today I thought, hey, why not also share those links here, with or without any immediate comment from me. So here goes my first testing of this:

First struck (again) by the latest Ebola news (terrible things to be thinking of, but hey, this is happening now too:
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/aid-organisation-to-refuse-ebola-cash-from-australia-20140917-10ifd0.html;
& later found another on this topic:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/17/ebola-three-day-shutdown-sierra-leone

 

pic from today's guardian australia homepage

pic from today’s guardian australia homepage

Next, by the latest positive developments towards the legalization of medical cannabis in Australia:
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-backs-legalisation-of-medical-cannabis-20140917-10i6eb.html (& thinking: well, well, Mr A, at least at last you’ve got something (almost) right! (I’ll leave explaining my ‘almost’ for another time, & just drop a hint-proverb here: “Prevention is better than cure”). This news by way, is a follow-up to 2 items I bookmarked earlier:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/medicinal-cannabis-clinical-trial-to-begin-in-nsw-20140916-10hmar.html;
http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/bill-to-remove-barriers-for-medical-marijuana-trials-in-victoria-20140915-10hcta.html

Then this, about the so called “Islamic State”:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/chelsea-manning-isis-strategy
which reminds me of an item I recently shared on Facebook:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/15/isis-doesnt-deserve-to-be-called-islamic-australian-imams-say?CMP=soc_567

& an important one about climate change:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/climate-change-carbon-tax-low-carbon-infrastructure

& some items about culture, art, & entertainment:
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/17/shamia-hassani-i-want-to-colour-over-the-bad-memories-of-war

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/sep/16/tom-e-lewis-an-aboriginal-lear-on-walking-the-blackwhite-divide
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/17/bulldozer-underground-exhibition-revolutionised-russian-art
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/leonard-cohen-will-sing-hallelujah-again-but-would-prefer-you-didnt-20140917-10i0je.html
http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/sep/17/bryan-cranston-funny-side-best-comedic-moments  (he was amazing in Breaking Bad!)

& & last but not least (for a good reason), this one from a couple of days ago:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/16/clive-james-new-poem-japanese-maple-terminally-ill-author