“I’m emotionally autistic…” (lines I just found from April 2012) [Collating Smatterings of Memoirings (6)]

Suddenly, the other day, I found this file. I’d already given up on finding more smatterings of memoirings on my hard disk (it turns out I haven’t done all that much memoiring), and suddenly this showed up. I’ve read it a couple of times now, and I think it adds some info & does a little more than that. It’s in lines (of “verse”), a form I often like to write in. Is it poetry? Maybe, it depends on how you define “poetry”. Is it good poetry? Maybe, & maybe some of it is & some of it isn’t. I don’t know if it matters. It’s another picture of me (as this brief intro is too). Was I planning to continue the story from where it breaks off? Possibly, I don’t remember. Will I take that point as the starting point for a sequel? Possibly… Oh, & I’ve also added two links to two previous memoirings…

 

120414
I’m emotionally autistic, & like a hermit, she tells me,
& it’s probably, given my history, post-traumatic,
how I don’t keep up contact with friends past or present,
might not initiate contact with my sons if she didn’t
don’t wake up one morning thinking
maybe I’ll do this or that with a grandchild
(she no longer mentions how not open I am with her
or not interested enough in her… she’s no longer frustrated
about that as she long was…& I can see it & feel it, & know it’s true,
(though I think it’s also arche- and stereo-
typically heterosexual-masculine)
& am grateful for this light she has given me.
120416
Though i’m glad when they come or when we’re where they are,
& gladly talk with them & do things with & for them when they want to,
i only rarely spontaneously imagine something to initiate with them,
& even more rarely will myself to.

120414 (cont.)
& only yesterday I was thinking displacement,
my so-many displacements since I was three,
not easily forming attachments or making friends
& when I did & then left them because we moved again
or because I’d broken with them,
hardly ever keeping up contact or even remembering them,
an early strategy for living with separation
ever since we left my loving grandmother in Warsaw
as the German bombs were falling.

yes, she said, & not having much contact with my parents before that,
both too busy with each other & their business & their socializing
(& I can’t even remember the carer I know I had all those first years of my life.

& yes the need was there, & I think I found in the youth movement a lifebuoy,
& again in later years, in the hippie times,
found a way to gather with some people around me,
& again in the Inyan, with only a couple of friends, true,
but visions of a global comradeship…

& I now think maybe it’s the autism
even more basically than the displacements
that affects also my feelings of not really belonging
to any one place, one country, one culture,
as if what I adopt & am adopted by I cannot adopt fully
as evidently I cannot fully commit emotionally
(which I stress, because where it matters practically I can and do)
not feeling fully Australian though Australia’s my home,
for more than a decade this third time around.

the first time I came with my mother when I was 10,
we arrived in Melbourne, Jewish refugees from Shanghai
I was by then no longer in any way Polish,
& from the time in Shanghai when I knew we were Australia-bound
I actually refused to speak to my mother in Polish
so that she could learn English quicker
(& have not spoken or felt Polish since, though I still remember
quite a few words, some opening lines of songs,
as of the national anthem, Jescze Polska nie zginęła,
“Poland is not yet lost”, well – it’s long lost to me).
I of course never thought of myself as Chinese, how could I have,
& the only group identity I accepted then was my being Jewish,
& though there was nothing of Judaism as a religion or of Jewish culture
in my parents’ lives, they had sent me to a Jewish school in Shanghai,
& my father spent the last year of his life
dying in the Shanghai Jewish Hospital,
as all the skin peeled painfully off his flesh
until he was swathed in bandages head to toes
with only his mouth & eyes & nostrils visible…
& died there on Yom Kippur (while I, 9, was praying
in the synagogue, because, yes, I tell the story elsewhere,
he also introduced me to the synagogue
after my parents found my rosary with its golden crucifix)
& was buried at the Shanghai Jewish Cemetery

& we lived in Elwood, St. Kilda, then again Elwood, St.Kilda,
then deep in South Caulfield for several years,
until at 23, after about a decade of membership & involvement,
belonging, to Zionist youth movements,
not one, but three, moving in dialectical leaps from right to left,
from the right-wing, militaristic Betar
(“The Jordan has two banks. This one is ours, & the other is too!”),
to the moderately socialistic Habonim
to the Marxist revolutionary-socialist Hashomer Hatzair,
including a year and a half of preparation for kibbutz living
on the Hebrew Training Farm some miles from Mooroopna
& some years of organizing and group-leading in the movement,
I boarded a ship bound for Genoa, hitchhiked for a few months
around Europe & then took ship to Haifa
to join a kibbutz in the Negev that the movement
had selected for the first Australian contingent
of which we two were the last, to join the kibbutz
because that was the ideal I then believed in & wanted to work for
more than to join the comrades who had arrived there before me
or rather fusing all these in the need to belong…
but almost three years later I no longer believed in that
& left the kibbutz, but not Israel, still feeling more Jewish than anything else,
and also thinking here’s a place where I don’t have to think about being Jewish,
I just am & so’s almost everybody else…
& all those years in Israel I couldn’t feel fully Israeli either,
I’d sometimes think of myself as Australian, but also felt I wasn’t….

the second time, I came with my wife of 16 months, also to Melbourne,
mainly to be near my mother, she wasn’t well…

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From today’s Facebookings

they-told-me-meme

Of all my Facebooking moments today, the above I think pierced me the deepest (it’s from the 5th of the posts below), & so I’ve headlined the quote & memed a bit of the story

Richard Flantz shared Umar Al-Ghubari’s post.
42 mins ·

‘OUR NEIGHBOURS AND US’: MORE FROM UMM AL-HIRAN,
this a time a pic & a pithy paragraph by Umar Al-Ghubari, some of whose incisive writings in Hebrew exposing & analyzing the criminal Zionist occupation of Palestine I have been glad to be able to translate
:
“A pile of books near a pile of stones by a demolished house. One book, a civics textbook in Arabic for grade four, called ‘Our Neighbours and Us’, was in the pile. For real. I photographed it. The neighbours that destroyed the house kept the body of the deceased, who was killed by the neighbours a week ago, for the sake of neighbours who don’t want us as neighbours. Let the education ministry make up lies all it wants. The real school is reality. This time the name of the school is Umm al-Hiran.”
– Umar Al-Ghubari of Zochrot
(happy tp be able to share this English translation of his Arabic & Hebrew that I found in this post by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society)


Tamar Goldschmidt
5 hrs ·
A translation into English by Tal Haran

Tamar Goldschmidt:
On January 14, the boy Ahmad Shabir died. He did not die. He was murdered. By the Shabak (Israeli General Security Services).
I am translating the disturbing article written by Talal Al Nabih of the Palestine Communication Center in Gaza:

“Ahmad Shabir – the martyr who thwarted the Shabak.

Some justify it, necessarily, as ‘human’. But in Ahmad Shabir’s vocabulary this is totally negative, and he considers it treason, an assault on the dignity of life… ‘A life and death struggle’… This was the obsession that took over his mind for two years, and finally he decided. And chose to die standing.

‘Dad. come, I’ll sum this up. They have asked me to collaborate and I told them I’d rather die in Gaza and not sell them myself cheap, or harm any of my countrymen and homeland’. This is the essence of those 12 hours which 17-year old Ahmad Hassan Shabir spent in a holding cell of the Zionist Shabak, haggling – over receiving treatment and collaborating, or returning to Gaza to die.
Ahmad had foregone the surgery he was supposed to undergo in recent months, taking leave of life and leaving behind his story – ‘love of one’s homeland’, his dream – ‘healing hearts’ buried along with him, and he will from now on be named ‘martyr of the siege’.

Shabir’s story:
Young Shabir suffered congenital cardiac flaws. Throughout his life he traveled 40 times to receive medical treatment. However, for the past two years his attempts at such travel were refused by the Zionist authorities. Attempts to extort collaboration from him failed as Ahmad was determined, and preferred to return to Gaza untreated rather than becoming a traitor-collaborator.
The son’s position was repeated by his father. As the Israeli Occupation attempted to take advantage of the latter’s fatherly feelings, tempt and trick him. But all the authorities’ attempts failed as Hassan answered, ‘I refuse to sell my soul cheap and harm my own countrymen. Just as you are committed to what you call your country, so am I committed to my own state and homeland.’

About Ahmad’s illness and death, father Hassan Shabir told the Palestine Communication Center that his son suffered four congenital heart flaws, but had always been patient and hopeful to be cured. He lived his life in hope, travelling on occasion to hospitals inside Israel to get treatment.
The security check:
Apparently the first 17 years of Ahmad’s medical treatment were unhampered. However, for the past two years, 2015-2016, Ahmad and his family were fated to a via dolorosa of haggling with the Occupation authorities which made their life impossible.
The father explains: ‘the first time Ahmad and his mother were offered the possibility of medical treatment in return for collaboration by the Occupation authorities at the Bet Hanoun/Erez Checkpoint was on March 22, 2016. They refused but were still allowed to proceed.’
The father continues: ‘After their return, Ahmad and his mother traveled again on April 18, 2016 and the doctors set a date for cardiac catheterization surgery in September.
Again in Gaza, as the surgery date approached, they applied for permits to travel but were surprised to receive the Occupation authorities’ refusal, as they were now declared ‘denied entry’.
The security meeting:
On October 10, 2016 the parents came with their ill son to the Bet Hanoun Checkpoint after agreeing to meet with the Zionist Shabak, ‘which then began haggling in order to obtain security collaboration as the price for medical treatment’.
During this meeting, lasting from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., the Shabak agents destroyed Ahmad’s medication, while negotiating ‘collaboration’. He was interrogated about members of the ‘Palestinian resistance’, his neighbors and friends, says his mother.
The mother, in her forties, tells the Palestine Communication Center, tears in her eyes, that her son refused the tempting offers made by the Shabak official, leaving him for long hours alone and in an impossible state of mind, but her on was patient, entrusting his fate to God.
The mother says that the Shabak official summoned her as well and suggested she ‘collaborate’, but she persistently refused and told him: ‘I am a housewife, we have no interest in such matters. The only thing we care about is the medical treatment that Ahmad should receive, so that he can be cured and live like any other youngster in this world’.
She recalls her son’s dream, which he shared with her a few days before his death:
‘I hope to live another six months and complete my matriculation exams’. And she continues: ‘He dreamed of treating hearts (specializing in heart surgery), but after his final meeting with the Shabak, the gates closed and his health deteriorated, parting with this life on Friday, January 14, 2017, after praying at the mosque, reading the Cave Sura, speaking with us and helping me to hang some laundry to dry’.”

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