holding center

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats

The preceding verse was read by Jon Krakauer as he introduced the man featured … Read more...

Freedom from Fear Day

“…who demonstrates patriotism today&emdash;the critics who stand fast by our foundational values? Or those who would ignore our traditions by reaching quickly for the base and the brutal? No real patriot today, no citizen who is concerned about the fate of our fellow citizens in uniform, can be silent on this issue.”

Remembering December 7
Scott Horton
Harper’s
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Naming Violence without doing more

This is the challenge.
Non-violent resistance, as a synonym for peace activism, still centers “violence” as the standard. The force of much anti-war talk revolves around violence as the anchor, providing energy that feeds momentum. I have been puzzling over this discursive looping for a long time: all talk is subject to perpetuating something. That “something” is wildly out … Read more...

“a conscious depot of history” (p. 218, Gut Symmetries)

“First there is the forest and inside the forest the clearing and inside the clearing the cabin and inside the cabin the mother and inside the mother the child and inside the child the mountain.” (p. 1, Prologue. Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson.)

I melted down in the bathroom of Continental Flight 85 from Tel Aviv to Newark. The … Read more...

ownership impossible, accountability within reach

When I asked Elana Shohamy if I could reference her in my talk and blog she said, “I don’t own the words.” Later, when I asked about pronunciation, she carried it even further, “I don’t own my name.” This is true. We say what we say and others do what they will with our words, just as we &emdash; and … Read more...

“Go ahead and see what you can do”

Thus Dr. Hassam Dweik wecomed us to Al Quds University in Abu Dis, Palestine, for the second international conference on Dialogue under Occupation.

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Sabri Safadi wasted no time challenging our gathering of academics concerned with matters of occupation &emdash; literally and metaphorically. He was informative, calm, and measured in tone; this allowed most of the audience to listen. Essentially, … Read more...

Palestinian peace activists

The Israeli bus ride during morning rush hour reminded me of taxidrivers in Istanbul; if you weren’t awake when you boarded you were soon going to be!
The bus ride to Abu Dis was uneventful (well, we were boarded once by police who singled out a few people for an id check then let us continue). There, we met Sulaiman … Read more...

Yad Vashem

“…our language lacks words to express this offense…”
~ Primo Levi

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As I walked slowly through Yad Vashem, taking in – yet again – the history of humanity’s immense cooperation in the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people, I could not help but draw connections between the strategies of the past and similar strategies adapted for the present. The … Read more...

“Buy before you die!”

The ten-year-old hawker in the Old City may or may not have known what he implied.
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Such an intriguing place, so many obviously different types of people, mingling altogether, all over, with a few clearly marked locations for “members only.” We were both denied entrance to Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount, and I was hustled away from the men’s … Read more...

“nothing is straightforward”

We’ve been wonderfully and graciously hosted by Rahel, who successfully navigated us through recovery of our luggage (which did not make the changeover in Newark) and acquired our tickets for an amazing show of the Seventh Annual Oud Festival. The Artistic Director of the Festival, Effie Benaya, describes the Festival’s original and persistent goal “to give expression to and provide … Read more...