Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mexico: A Beach of One's Own

San Agustinillo on the coast is an amazing little deserted beach. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind roughing it a little and wants to spend time writing, reading, and reflecting.

Books read while there: Bangkok 8, by John Burdett. Amazing crime lit, hell, fucking great writing, period. My boyfriend lent it to me because he has great taste.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Simply mind-blowing. Read it now. I cried so much when it was over.

Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway. Damn. Motherfucker could write. I loved this book. And read after The Road, was especially pulled in by the language and the characterizations.

I'm now in Paris. Stay tuned for more posts...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm off on a 7 week tour of the world. First Stop: a hut on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. I'll blog as I make new friends, discoveries, blunders, and epiphanies. Come back and visit.

Monday, June 18, 2007

From the 12th Annual Arab Festival in Dearborn

Good grub, tacky accessories, music, flags, and cool Ts.

And oh yeah, the Army and the FBI were out in full force begging for help...

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Story Publication

I've just learned that "The Story of my Building," a short story I wrote in homage to Isaac Babel, will appear in the fall issue of Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College Journal of Arts & Letters. The story is set in Gaza. I'm thrilled that it'll be included in such a pretty journal. More details as they become available.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gaza's New Occupation

Kabobfest reprints an email it has received from Yasmine in Rafah. Here is a part of it: "It definitely feels like there is a Palestinian occupation, not a civil war; from an Israeli occupation to a Palestinian occupation of the people, and as much as I dislike saying this, its hard not to feel like it is. I say this because of the nature of the so called fighting between Hamas and Fatah. There's definitely been moments where I felt like I was in the horn or Africa, or Liberia with militias controlling and policing the streets without any mercy." Go here to read the whole thing. The situation is depressing and so fucked.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sailing to Gaza

From Counterpunch:
Silvia: Your mission states," We tried to enter Palestine by ground. We tried to enter by air. Now we are going to go by sea."1 This is an exceptional attempt. Why Gaza in particular? And why go by boat in one of the most patrolled places in the world?

Greta Berlin: Israel says that Gaza is no longer occupied. Well, if that's true, then we have every right to visit. The truth is that Israel controls every entrance into Gaza, and the population is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Internationals can no longer go through the border with Egypt, and, of course, the Eretz border with Israel is closed to almost everyone.

So, 50 to 80 of us, men and women, will begin our journey in Cyprus toward the end of this summer. Many of us are over 50, and we come from all over the world Palestinians, Israelis, Australians, Greeks, Americans, English, Spanish, Italians, just to name a few we will embark on a boat called FREE GAZA. One of the passengers, Hedy Epstein, is a holocaust survivor, and two or three Palestinians are Nakba survivors.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cool Weekend

I attended the Detroit Festival of the Arts this weekend. Last night I saw Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars, a nine-person-band. They all met in refugee camps. Saturday was fun too, my kid and my sister and I checked out a bunch of different acts.

And Friday I went to see Dengue Fever with the boyfriend. They were so good.

The Great-great-great-Palestinian-Grandma Lives!

I opened my fridge the other day and was greeted by this hilarious, unfinished ice cream cone, which my sister got from the corner Dairy, propped in the freezer's corner like a doll, or a weird amputated body part. The freezing air blew across my (freaking pink) cheeks-- the pink cheeks of my ancestors sitting and baking on mountains; the cheeks that make ignorant Arabs and non-Arabs alike say things like, "you don't look Arab!"-- and I realized that this ice cream cone was definitely proof, frozen and preserved proof, that we still employ our Great-great-great grandma's hording strategies. Think about it: sometime in the 1800s our Great-great-great Grandma, our Sitto to the power of three, was constantly terrified of running out of food. Whatever little food she harvested or had, she saved. She taught her daughter to do this; her children taught theirs, and on and on, to our Baba and to us. Now it is impossible to throw away food. The other day my son said he couldn't throw away his ham and cheese sandwich on challah bread. It wasn't the kinda sammich his Great-great-great-great Grandma would've ever tasted, but there she was, totally shining through him. Now, if you'll excuse me. I have to clear my fridge of 3-week-old lettuce.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Forty Years Today

Israel has illegally occupied Gaza and the West Bank for forty years. When my son overheard me mourning this today, he said, "What? Why is it getting away with that?"

I didn't know what to say.

There are really no words.

I hope one day he can travel there in his lifetime and see his great-grandfather's trees rooted deep in a land that is shared by all its citizens, all equal, undivided and unoccupied.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Iraqis are coming

From the AP: "DETROIT - Immigration aid workers here expect that as many as half of the nearly 7,000 Iraqi refugees who will be brought into the United States by the end of September will settle in the area."

"So, the end of the world for me is if my father will not be able to live with us, or worse -- us moving to Jordan or to USA. "

Check out this essay that was written by Areen Bahour, a seventh-grade student at Friends School in al-Bireh, Ramallah. Her father is a Palestinian-American and is at the mercy of the Israelis renewing his visa every three months.