Writing, life, war, heat and settlements on the West Bank

September 27, 2010

Heat continues in Southern California

 I got up at 4:30 am, went to the gym, it was already so hot you could feel the heat rising off the pavement at 5 am.  It’s going to be unbearable.  I’m wearing a sundress and my friend Mary Lou would say that I’m pushing the season, but I say the season is pushing me.

 Blasé Bonpane’s talk yesterday at the West Hollywood Book Fair on the U.S and Israel both making weapons of mass destruction and working together against peace in the Middle East (an elusive concept for how many centuries?) got me thinking and doing a little research.

 I found an article on Salon.com about the continued building of settlements in the West Bank and the settlers celebrating as they continue to move in on Palestinian land.  It’s hard from an American intellectual perspective to understand this except when I think of the Native Americans who also had their land taken away, were moved to “reservations,” some via the infamous Trail of Tears, and then often had those reservations taken away when they proved to have anything valuable that the government wanted.  And, for many years their children were taken away and put in boarding schools so they could learn how to be “White.” 

 The situation in Israel seems so terrible and backward in a world that should be moving forward and becoming more humane and global.  But we’re not.  In the U.S., we would rather spend over a trillion on wars abroad that benefit no one but the rich in the U.S. who invest in the defense industry rather than spend that money on health care, education, welfare or infrastructure.  We’re a war economy as is Israel.   



 There are more and more peace programs in this country working on everything from marital discord to gang warfare to mediation between countries and yet we don’t seem much closer to peace in the Middle East.

 When it comes to marriage, you can walk away.  The Middle East has no walk zone, no get out of jail free card.

 Salon had a story of a woman who found out her husband was having an affair and took him back.  Why is it always women doing this?  Why can’t women say, okay, I might take you back but not until I have my own affair.  You might say two wrongs don’t make a right, but I like the idea of an even playing field.  I think that starting with both sides even makes it better.  The problem with staying with someone who has had an affair is that you can’t trust them any more, so I’m not sure what the point is.  But if you’ve both had one, then I think it would be easier.  (I’ve never actually tried this though.)  Marriage if it’s any good, is built on trust.  However, I applaud this woman’s courage.  She is getting what she wanted—to stay married to this guy.  And.. I like what she said about how much easier it would have been in Los Angeles where you can be anonymous.  No explanations necessary.  Just walk away into the city. 


 Life is hard enough –we have wars, poverty, we don’t have the jobs we want or make the money we want—at least most of the people I know.  That’s why in the heat and uncertain bank accounts and certainty of that heavy golden Southern California light, what keeps me going is creative work, intellectual buzz, love, rice, running, kids and a few good friends.  I dream of pools and water.  I dream of time.