Friday, February 5, 2010

"There's a blaze of light in every word."

Um. Mostly this is just to let y'all know I'm not dead! And because Babo won't get off my case about not updating. So, in short:

a) not dead
b) still love jlem
c) on amazingly long break until feb 21st, after which i will take only four classes!
d) still suck at hebrew
e) had bff come to visit, and will have another bff come to visit during Passover!
f) M is back from Europe; all other friends are gone. roommates are good. still can't understand them half the time, though.
h) hopelessly and utterly obsessed with leonard cohen. thus, spam. (for Mombo, since my internet is too slow to actually upload stuff.)(i bet the public library has?)
i) um. pictures eventually? i suck at life.

part one

Ah the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove she will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

- Anthem

Dance Me To The End of Love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
- Dance Me To The End of Love


recorded version | alternate live version | Jeff Buckley cover
Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
There's a blaze of light
In every word

It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
- Hallelujah

Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye

alternate live version
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it's come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.
I'm not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it's just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie

your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.
- Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye

If It Be Your Will

recorded version
If it be your will that I speak no more
And my voice be still as it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until I am spoken for
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill I will sing to you
From this broken hill all your praises they shall ring
If it be your will to let me sing

- If It Be Your Will

Everybody Knows

alternate live | recorded
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past

Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
- Everybody Knows


live in london (2008) | live 1988
Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers

There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
- Suzanne

Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On

Here come's your bride with her veil on
Approach her, you wretch, if you dare
Approach her, you ape with your tail on
Once you have her she'll always be there (x4)
Ah but don't go home with your hard-on
It will only drive you insane
You can't shake it (or break it) with your Motown
You can't melt it down in the rain (x3)

So I work in that same beauty salon
I'm chained to the old masquerade
The lipstick, the shadow, the silicone
I follow my father's trade (x3)
Ah but don't go home with your hard-on...
- Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On

Closing Time

official video | live version

Ah we're lonely, we're romantic
and the cider's laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit's crying, "Where's the beef?"
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since

but closing time.
- Closing Time

Bird On A Wire

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.
Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"
Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

- Bird On A Wire

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Let's see, we've got quick death, slow death, painful death, cold, lonely death..."

Contrary to what this blog might profess, I am still alive. And I actually did go to Egypt. And it actually was awesome.

However, I am now being buried under the weight of six classes (e in idiot, much?) and attempting to have a social life and failing quite miserably. SO. I will eventually get pictures and exciting things like an Egypt!re-enactment a la 'netspeak posted, but for now, just letting you know that I did not, in fact, run off with an Egyptian man, as M and R kept teasing.

I am also not dead.


Going to bury self in Arabic now. al-humdu lillah!

*head --> desk*

Oh, and Shannon I got your email and will be replying asap! <3!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

“…she smiles in an exhausted but warm sort of way, as though she is a brilliant sun in some other galaxy.”

- Still alive!

- Ulpan, Hebz and such are all going well. Not too much to report.

- Went to Tel Aviv this weekend with a gaggle of girls and the Dutch Sasquatch. Learned that I definitely - definitely - chose correctly when I picked HU over Tel-Aviv University (didn't even bother applying) - TLV is definitely not my scene. It's all beach and clubs and alcohol and random hookups. Not saying it wasn't fun, but I'm happy to be back in J-Lem, with its evil Shabbis-breaking parking-lots and sci-fi Saturdays.

- Had a wonderful bout of anxiety, spawned by bathing suits and a beach-side club full of really, really, really gorgeous people. (No, seriously - if M. hadn't talked to the guy on the phone before we got there, there's no way they would have let us in the door, our fashion sense aside. Too many supermodels in Tel Aviv; I'll take my Haredim and their funny Shabbis hats, thanks.) Handled it well, though. Scooby Gang + Sasquatch went to the beach, and I (sans bathing suit) tooled around a shopping area, met some wonderfully nice and very helpful Israelis*, and saw The Time Traveler's Wife. GORGEOUS film. Everyone should see it, just for the cinematography. The story line was beautiful, too, but it was the camera-work that really impressed me. I might go see it again this week with some of the Scoobies.

- Why do they never hold sci-fi conventions in Israel? Seriously. I'm sure Joe Flanigan's hair would be just as awesome in the desert as anywhere else. *harumph*

- Farscape S2 finally finished! I can watch the season finale now, horray! (My life is so exciting.)

- No, really! Potential going to Egypt over the break, with a few dudes and maybe a few people from the Scooby Gang. Caiirroooooo. And possibly Petra (in Jordan)! Al-Arabiyya!! How I have missed you so.

* Israeli Sandwich Maker Guy was so incredibly sweet. I must recount the conversation, so I can remember later. It was so precious.

Him: Ma at rotseh?
Me: Uhh... ani lo yodehat... uh... err... *looks very confused*
Him: *highly amused by my fail* Anglit?
Me: *relieved sigh* Cen, yes, thank you.
Him: What you want? Lamb? Cheese?
Me: No, thank you, I'm -
Him: We have turkey. You want sandwich?
Me: Yes, thank you, but I'm vegan. I don't eat -
Him: Oh, yeah, yeah okay, no, uh, cheese or egg or meat.
Me: Or dairy, yes.
Him: Ah, okay, what can we make for you? Hmmm, eh, you like mayonnaise?
Other guy: That has egg.
Him: Oh, right okay, how about... pesto?
Other guy: That has mayonnaise.
Him: Right. How about tahini? Is very good!
Me: Yes, that'd be wonderful, thank you!
Him: Okay.... how about... you like cabbage? Is salad with eh...
Other guy: Mayonnaise.

And so on and so forth, hee. It was SO CUTE. He wound up making me a wonderful sandwich with roasted peppers, tomatoes, tahini, olive bruschetta and pickles. SO GOOD. It might be a stereotype, but it's so true that every Israeli I've met so far has been so helpful. No matter what you're trying to do or where you're tying to go, they'll go out of their way to help you. It's quite wonderful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"I'm bageling."

Quick updatersons!

- Things still going well. Life consists of Hebz, Hebz, more Hebz, and the occasional JLem adventure. Last night we went to a club (*gasp!* Catherine in a club! ALERT THE MEDIA.) which was actually a lot of fun. Awkward, complete with scantily clad chicks and one really, really creepy dude who kept trying to dance with us (um, no. I am not going anywhere near that with a ten-foot poll, thank). Ms. Goreman warned us all about STDs, and I didn't have my flashlight, so. SOL, buddy.)

- Going into JLem again to day, hopefully for sight-seeing and food.

- Do not have 'nets in the dorm as of now, so we're making do with the Playground (literal) Net Access outside. It kinda blows, but at least it's available. We're working on getting a router... hopefully we'll be plugged in by early next week? (Guy from internet service, complete with thick Israeli accent: "Someone will come to make the connection and den you can start surfing." Hee.)

- Only Elizabeth will care about this, but I made the mistake of watching First Strike yesterday, and then because I had no 'nets, had no one to yell at! So I yelled at my computer. "No! This is a bad plan! Johhnnn! You're SO going to regret this! "Haha yeah, I don't think that's your call." OH, BURN! I heart you Rodney. NO! Lizzeh! Get away from the window! *CRIES*" Still don't know if roomie overheard the flail-fail. then I watched the last ten minutes of Tao and flailed over Rodney/Lizzeh BFFness.

- Too bad they don't put SGA in Hebz. I would learn it so fast!

- Must go now. To quote Russian Guy #3, "I'm bageling in the heat!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Clarification: it's a beautiful thing."

photograph by Christian Als, a Danish photojournalist. Taken in Gaza just after the Israeli invasion of January, 2009. Behind a white dove, Gazan civilians search through the bombed out rubble for their belongings.

I would like to clarify - for the sake of not getting in trouble with future employers/the State Department - my earlier rant on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. It's a complicated issue, and I'm well aware of that fact, despite what my angry tirade may have sounded like.

First of all, I understand that this is not a one-sided issue. It's not even a two-sided issue. There are multiple perspectives and experiences to take into account. I may just be "that white chick from America (andOr-e-gone no less)" but I would like to imagine that my point of view and experiences are valid as well. To bring you (general you) up to date not-briefly-at-all, my story and opinions go like this:

Sophomore year of high school, an extremely good friend of mine moved to Palestine for a year. She was in the West Bank, near Ramallah (map). For reference, that's about 40 minutes North of Jerusalem, and in order to get there you have to go through an Israeli checkpoint, of which there are many (understatement) (map).

For those who are unaware, "checkpoints" are various barriers between cities throughout the West Bank and Gaza. They separate not only Israel from the Occupied Territories, but also cities within Palestine. They were erected with the aim of making Israel safer from attacks by terrorists, which is an incredibly valid concern, of course. However, the majority of checkpoints do not sit on the border between Israel and Palestine like one might expect - for the most part, they are located throughout Palestine, as the map shows, and they have many unintended - and possibly intended - consequences. Not only do they harm the Palestinian economy, making it very difficult to do sort of business transaction between cities, but they also separate families.

Let's say I live in Hebron, and you live in Ramallah. GoogleMaps puts that at about an hour and a half drive. Not too bad, right? Now take a look at the map of checkpoints. Not only do you have to plan your trip in advance, and obtain a permit to cross into another city (so no surprise visits on my birthday), it can take hours upon hours to get through checkpoints, even with all the proper identification and paperwork. It's not like crossing the border into Canada: "What is your purpose here?" "Visiting family." "How long will you stay?" "Three days." "Do you have any fruit?" "No." "Have a good trip."

Not so much.

But I digress. So: friend in the West Bank. Annoying time difference, yes, but what does it matter? It's not like it's dangerous or anything! ...oh. Wait. It's 2004-2005. Events you may recall: PNA (Palestinian National Authority) President Yassir Arafat dies; Mahmoud Abbas is (KEYWORD) elected president of the PNA. Peacefully. Abbass goes to the White House to meet with Bush. Israel withdraws from Gaza (map) after Hamas gains political power in the January, 2006 PNA elections.

Note: Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by Israel and the US. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, this if false. There is what the CFR calls a "military wing" (al-Qassum Brigade). I'm not entirely sure I concur with that assessment. Hamas has taken responsibilty for many suicide bombings in Israel, and for launching mortar shells and small rockets into southern Israel from Gaza. However, it maintains popularity among the Gazan people (generalization; not all people in Gaza support Hamas and not certainly not all/most support al-Qassam) because the political organization itself operates an extensive social service network for people in Gaza, providing food, water, health care, electricity, education, community activities, etc.

Another note, opinion style: If Hamas (Gaza) and Fatah (The West Bank) could pull their heads out of their collective rear ends and work together for the people of Palestine instead of fighting against each other for political power (which does the Palestinian people absolutely no good), it would go a long way to advancing the Palestinian position in the international community. Hamas does not recognize Israel as a state, and has claimed that they will not and can not live side-by-side with the enemy. Fatah works with Israel and the US, but their political influence is greatly weakened by what is seen as their inability to control Hamas. IF they could come to the table with Israel as a united front, representing simultaneously the people of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, it would make it much harder for Israel to disregard their demands.

More digressing. friend in West Bank. Lots of danger. This is still during the occupation, when there are enforced curfews (the IDF - Israeli Defense Forces - say when you can leave your homes, when you can't; how late you can stay out; where you can go; who you can visit; and so on and so forth). Months would go by and I wouldn't hear from my friend, and yet I'd be watching the news and reading the paper and hearing about a peaceful protest that was broken up by gunshots, military tanks, and tear gas. And I never knew - we never knew - whether she was okay. Whether she was injured, or even still alive. I realize that sounds dramatic, but it was a genuine fear.

My friend is home now, safe and sound, and while I don't believe in God I feel like I should thank someone for that, even if I haven't decided who.

Now it's junior year and there are exams and colleges to visit and road trips to be had and yadda yadda and at this point, I might have been able to study psychology and continue with French. (Keyword, might) But then I met Gili, who is Israeli, and who at the time lived in Hod HaSharon (now in Kfar Saba) which are both about 10 miles NE of Tel Aviv (map). This is just before summer, 2006 and the start of another Israel/Lebanon war. I don't know who here is familiar with Hizbollah, but it's an organization based in Lebanon that, like Hamas, provides extensive social services to Arabs in Lebanon; it's also very rocket happy. At the time Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, was threatening to bomb Tel Aviv - if he missed, there's very little chance he would have missed my friend in Hod HaSharon.

And so Catherine goes to GW, joins the Middle East Studies Program, fraks up Arabic hardcore, and studies abroad in Israel.

But I'm not done yet. I mentioned something about opinions, right? So here's the bulk:

No side is "right."

Most if not all Israelis know someone who has died in a bombing. Most if not all Israelis live in constant fear of terrorist attacks. And that is unacceptable. I have great sympathy for the people of Sderot - their daily lives are continuously disrupted because of mortar attacks from across the Gaza border. Phrases to loved ones on the phone like, "Hey, sorry I gotta go - there's a bomb warning and I don't get service in the shelter" aren't uncommon, and they should be. They shouldn't happen at all. But they do. And I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, insensitive to their plight.

I understand that Isreal, in part, is doing what it believes it must do to protect its people. But I also believe firmly that there is a line between what is necessary for survival and what is unjust.

The Separation Wall is unjust. The Wall is planned to be completed in 2010, at over 400 miles long, and over 200 feet wide (a combination of the Wall itself, ditches, and barbed-wire fences, and intrusion detection equipment that separate Israel from the West Bank). It effectively shuts Palestinians into the West Bank in a cold, ugly display of military might. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Separation Wall violated both international and human rights laws. It denies Palestinians the right to self-determination, and it greatly weakens their economy, their education, their health, and their self-respect.

The siege on Gaza is unjust. 10 people per room because they aren't allowed building materials is unjust. Children are starving, families impoverished; there is little food, little water, no electricity, and very poor health care. Because Hamas controls Gaza, the US refuses to provide economic aid as it does to the PNA. The majority of the 1.4 million Palestinians living in Gaza are refugees and their decedents, civilians who were forced out of their homes during the 1948 war (after which Israel declared Statehood). I understand Israel's need to protect itself against rocket attacks, but people in Gaza aren't allowed to leave - not for health care, not for business, not for family (many of whom live in the West Bank, and haven't seen one another for years) - and on the rare occasion that they can leave, they can't come back.

When the IDF suspects it knows the location of a terror cell, it drops leaflets from the air to the surrounding homes, with messages telling citizens to leave immediately, that the area will be bombed. Most people have no where to go. The IDF has been known to bomb large areas, including schools, hospitals, and homes where terrorists may be hiding. I understand the desire to take out the enemy. But I do not agree with the decision to go forth with the effort no matter the cost - especially when the cost is civilian lives. Men, women, and children. It is not acceptable. It is not okay and it is certainly not just. I am not a military expert, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that with all the intelligence and might of the Israeli military, they can't come up with a better way to achieve their goals.

The collective punishment inflicted upon people in the West Bank and Gaza is in direct violation of international and human rights law. It is against the Geneva Conventions. It has been condemned by the international community time and again. And the risk of ruining my semi-scholarly essay with a quote from Battlestar Galactica "all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." The term "apartheid" used in symbiosis with the Palestinian cause makes some people nervous. But it's defined as legal, enforced segregation. And if a giant wall dividing two peoples doesn't qualify, I don't know what does. Most people don't enjoy parallels between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, and what atrocities occurred during the Holocaust. Even I'm uncomfortable with the association. But I'd be remiss, and I'd be lying to myself not to look it in the eye and admit the similarities. And if I were Israeli, if I were Jewish, I cannot imagine how I would be able to face the mirror every day and say to myself "This happened to my ancestors. This happened to my family. And now my government is doing it to other people. And I'm okay with that, because it's necessary."

It isn't necessary. Not to this extent. Not to this degree of brutality and degradation. If Israel believes itself to be "the bigger man" - to be the one that garners the sympathy and support of other nations - then it needs to step up on the pedestal and play the roll of a state worthy of existence, not because of how its people suffered in the past, but because of its actions here and now.

I understand that there is no simple resolution. I understand that neither side is entirely right, and that both have agendas and concerns they need to address. I realize the issues are entrenched in decades of political and centuries of religious divisions. I realize the terrorism of al-Qassam and suicide bombers is born out of the same anger and desperation as the IDF soldier who believes that we should "move the Palestinians to Egypt." But I do not believe either of those options is the answer.

When people ask me, I will proudly say that I am quote "Pro-Palestinian" unquote. I believe in a two-state solution. I think East Jerusalem can and should be the capital of a Palestinian state. I think settlements should stop immediately, and I'm proud of President Obama for standing up and saying so. I believe there should be a Palestinian state, and I believe that one day, the two can live side by side in peace. I have to believe that. And someday, maybe I'll fight for it.

For now, I'm going to master my Arabic, master my Hebrew, and do what I can to make a difference in the everyday lives of Palestinians. I'm going to remain as open-minded as possible, but at the same time I will not compromise my basic beliefs.

Torri Higginson says, "[I believe that] most people are good. It's just unfortunate that bad people are louder." Maybe not the most eloquent phrase ever penned, but I love the sentiment, and for now, I will simply try to be louder.

PS: If anyone knows any of the factual statements here to be false, please correct me. I'd hate to be responsible for disinformation.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Er, sorry about the angry, blasphemous slang. I curse when I'm mad. As I told Shannon, must learn to use big, intense words instead of expletives. No offense meant to anyone! ♥!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I think your gun is compensating.

May not go to Golan. Theme of trip is "Israeli heroism". Not entirely sure I can handle it, post tonight's dinner.

Move all the Palestinians to Egypt.

Christ on a bike.


And you know what? I lied. I don't give you cement. I don't give you building materials. They need them to construct those things - what do you call them again? oh yeah: homes. And schools. And hospitals. Because Hamas is filled with a bunch of fucktards doesn't give you the right to deny food, water, shelter and basic human rights to an entire population of over one million. They have a phrase for that, actually. It's called "collective punishment." It's also illegal. You know who says? The Geneva Convention. Look it up. And after you do that, you can kiss my white, American, Palestinian-loving ass.

There. Now I'm mad.

And I feel better.

And I'm going to spend the weekend with Gili, who is way more awesome than 110 degree weather and hiking.