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you're a son of a gun

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8th December 2005

10:59am: got over safe, shared a ride back to cairo with two italians
and i felt very much at home, in these three months everything
has grown wonderfully familiar, i really hope to return soon
not waiting for the days where i long for here
i leave at 2:55 in the morning.
saying my goodbyes, to shop keepers, street sweepers,
and the little kids wandering around
went to the tammaya place, whose owner only speaks modern standard arabic
went to the local qahwa , and greeted with 20 hellos and then
some, they used the verb: to travel, for my return to america
its not permanant basically
i want to soke up the last of these cairo streets, and may these sights
relieve a possibly two year absence
i think ill understand a families longing

6th December 2005

10:07pm: stuck at the border for 6 hours because i couldnt get a visa to cairo
and then ridiculed for my many hints of arab ness
questioned about being borned in pakistan
then they found that i was carrying the old tear gas gernade from
the protests
so the bomb squad came
now im stuck in eilat for a little while
the promised land and its malls

2nd December 2005

4:56pm: my mom says im a poet and thats all that really matters
yesterday walked in on the belgium palestinian film festival
and the afterparty with free treats times 20
these well dressed directors
and i felt really uncomfortable until someone else said
'don't you love the free food!'
so now im staying at these great peoples house in ramallah
from america. and they are doing photography and they are
great and gracious

BUT before that, i was at yasser arafat's house and grave
and we had to leave because ABU MAZEN WAS DRIVING OUT
so theres the motorcade. i was so giddy, if only annie were
there too.

i really love the palestinian flag flying all over ramallah.
and we met these random body guards of abu mazen, for others
thats mahmoud abbas the leader of palestinian authority
my favorite political possition in the world really


but today i head over to bel-in which is a small farming village.
wonderful little olive groves and houses. its friday morning
people leaving the mosque.
the road turns into farms and just the other side of the valley
there are large construction crews, and a wire fence soon to be cement
and many soldiers with live ammunition
so villagers and other internationals, a good deal of israelis have gathered
to protest it.
so there is chanting, and we are 15 minutes later running from the trajectories
of tear gas gernades flying many meters
running really fast, cover our noses, pass the onions around
up close there are out bursts of pushing and shoving yelling in hebrew
lots of cameras and some angry
the slingshots of little boys, whose rocks make it halfway are responded by
grown men and womens surrounding the with a barrage of tear gas.

at one point a soldier gets down on his knees lifts the gun up to his eye
so i just ran as fast as i could
it was quite today, a few wounded, a little blood
no one is dead illhamdullallah
demonstrations have happened here every friday since febuary

and i dont like to make this sound like a war tale
because im not a veteran or a witness,
but seeing this little boy touch an israelis gun
and watching the innocent games like cops and robbers being replaced
by smoke and land and war and real guns and real fights
is absurd,
and its great to chat about where lines should be and where they are
and land loss but when a farm stops and construction begins there is no
border, there is simply stolen land, and a soon to be cement fixture many
meters high

30th November 2005

7:52pm: large machine guns are strapped around soldiers and guards
casually on laps. smaller ones adorned to the back side like
belts

today i went to the bethlehem. to cross a couple of meters
there is an enormous and impersonal security complex. security barriers
and bomb proof glass, cold metal bars make good neighbors
once you exit israel, except the frequent bulldozer and soldier crossings,
there is the wall. on the palestinian side there is graffiti all over
the wall
my favorite one speaks like this
"woe to he who brings bloodshed to this town"
i went to deheisha, the biggest refugee camp in the bethlehem area
11,000 people in 1 square kilometer

was showed around by a boy named jihad, his named could make ya'll
happy with a lot of jokes. ironic or not. save them though
inside this cultural center kids do art and dance and theatre
has all these old pictures of the british occupation of jerusalem
of the first refugee camps, just tents - the un has since built

on an end note im glad to come home for a lil while
christmas is soon,
one room houses. 25 families used to share one bathroom

13 martyrs in the 1st intifada came from this town
35 in this second

their faces stencils on crumbling walls
posters too

he points to a picture taken 2 months ago, collective punishment
curfew is placed. all men 14-45 gathered up have those white
banded handcuffs, and blind folded
jihad is the 3 from the left. he isnt a suicide bomber

in the cafe they name each table after a place here
he wants to sit in jerusalem because he has never been their

47 villages were depopulated all have come here
his village is a place for barbecues, a national park
nothing like right of return to a field with roasters and tent grounds

he's a refugee stateless, like 2/3rds of all palestinian

his dialogue is one of modern liberation

shows us a house that was bulddozed last october
its being rebuilt, it was a kindergarten too

tommorow ramallah

there is an austrian in the hostel here
he ran away from home at 16 hes much older now
1 day his family told him he couldnt stay out past eleven
the next day he could travel to athens
hes writing a book here, here being jerusalem

26th November 2005

7:41pm: yeah
in el quds- the holy
id like to sit here for a couple and craft a couple
pages of quick, concise verse. id like to make my
crossing of the king hussein bridge into palestine as
relevent and beautiful and right as marwin barghouti
but i really can't. in the past seven hours i have
but completely and utterly overwhelmed with the most
phenomenal city i have ever walked through. puts every
where else ive been to shame.

yesterday i was in the rose red city, the oldest ancient
city, its roman theater, in my journal i wrote how it
was so empire-ish. riding on donkeys, through hills.
the bedouin boys racing, the jordanian physics student
showing us around.

today woke up early, driving through rocky hills of jordan
arrive in amman, its enormous. sometime ill tell you about
the sheepish, sweedish islamic scholar, olaf. whose boredom
here was awakened by 200 meters away from the bombs.
and the old norwegian cruise liner.

we are shuffling through the enormous security aparatus the young
israeli soldier, younger then me. the pretty security guard
grilling the canadian working for un refugee services in jordan.
israeli women here are beautiful, midrifts and all. haha

the quarters here blend seemlesly. jewish quaint alleys, where i look
through mideveal w windows into kitchens and living rooms .
the young palestinian girl skipping down the road with a face of
caucasian women on printed paper gripped in her small fist, she was singing too

there is one atm in the old city, it was out of order

i can see the gold dome of the rock through this window in my hotel
its only 25 nis like 5 dollars to stay here

on the way i see buildings on hills, if i didnt know better id
say they were priceless realestate sights. cement fixtures to rocky
cliffs, like jordan. but the hebrew graffiti and walls and barbed wire
and occasional israeli flags, betray my naturally sensibilities.
settlements.

i have so much to see, i want to live here.

23rd November 2005

10:08am: tonight im leaving at 8 towards jordan
taking a ferry where the bus leaves of
petra, then jerusalem
ill return to cairo for 2 days before leaving

10th November 2005

11:15am: there is little more depressing then time abroad
winding down. i have a month sans 1 day left.
i am going to be in luxor this weekend. i still have so
much to do. there was an attack in jordan. its a good
thing i only stay in the cheap hotels the one were
attacks are a liability rather then a good plot
hopefully my thanksgiving consists of tammaya
enroute to israel and westbank and gaza and the golan, 15 days
there. its really lame that the first comment written down
after an attack is that "this has nothing to do with islam"
as in the guilt is already suggested when the bomb goes off
and the victim instead of mourning and participating in
the ritual and rites of death has to give a disclaimer and
apologize for a stanger. when someone is murdered in the us i
dont say "this is not what america is about" its simply a
tragedy not a confession
i wake up every day laughing and go to sleep laughing here
its really a good time

6th November 2005

12:41pm: c c c c'monCollapse )

29th October 2005

5:22pm: im a lion in zion
its surrounded by peaks so when you get to one you realize its not even mount sinai
well climbing a really really really tall mountain in the dark sans torch
with less then 1 hour of sleep in 24 hours is by far the most draining task
i've engaged in.
watched the sun rise.
this sweedish dweeb was singing the mario theme song
and impersonating golom, so their wasn't much sleeping
there was a sweedish kevin on the mountain, looked exactly like him
except his girlfriend was lame

17th October 2005

11:16am: the books i have read past three weeks

david grossman's yellow wind, cairo: the victorious max something or other,
help us to divorce by amos oz, my michael by amos oz, out of place (edward saids_ autobiography)
mezzaterra fragments from the common ground ahdaf soueif

and im wandering my way through naguib mahfouz's palace walk

chris has left for jerusalem
rafik from sweeden is a new housemate

yesterday i went to bab el futuh - the doorway to cairo in its middle age
and mosque of hakim

being on the qasr el nil bridge during dusk or dawn the later one maybe latter
listening to the call to prayer before the fast is broken
traffic slows to a few cars, where 3 lanes held 8 overlapping rows,
and the call to prayer echoes from every muezzeins crackling speakers

9th October 2005

9:40am: an exhibitCollapse )

8th October 2005

3:09am:
3:00am: my daily sights and sounds are so stark, loud, and bright
like the taxi ride today a composition of the egyptian driver speaking in german
to a dutch girl, lisa, listening to chris's australian accent, the general arabic voicing
of clashing trafic, and sounds of umm kalthoum.
now i'm in one of the 5 neighborhood internet cafe's, and buy internet cafe i mean
rooms full of computers run by young teenagers and right now this place has turned into
a disco blasting all sorts of great rap and pop, accompanied by loud claps and voice trills
(chris:"they pump some good music")
it's ramadan and incredible

22nd September 2005

11:05am: this city is exhausting, i love it
there is so much noise and traffic
i have started classes and they are well
i bought a watch but it's broken so i have to wind it
i am having a very comfortable autumn

17th September 2005

10:17pm: s'moresCollapse )

15th September 2005

9:50am: cairoCollapse )

14th September 2005

12:00pm: amsterdamCollapse )

8th September 2005

12:48am: i have one more full day and then i leave
when i get the chances i'll use this to deliver words maybe pictures too
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