Saturday, July 15, 2006

of anguish
and nostalgia


Blogger mbullock said...

Mazen, your blog was down for a while but it's up now. May have just been too many people looking at it. Nice way to grow your audience - very hipster of you.

Anyway, keep 'em coming so we can keep track of you here in Boston.

Mike Bullock

2:40 AM  
Blogger yosephus said...

Mazen, I'm a friend of Zerang in Chicago, and he shared your blog with me. It's amazing. I'd like to say, being a US Jew, but having been to Israel and engaged in bitter discussions with Israeli career military folk who are as crazy as can be, that the Israeli government and the IDF don't represent the Jews anymore than Hezbollah represents the Lebanon. In fact, they don't even represent a majority of Jews in Israel. Well, at least I hope not. All right, maybe that's a little over-optimistic. They certainly don't represent me, and I'm angry that they think they're doing Jews all over the world some kind of favor with their insane overkill response to Hezbollah's idiotic provocation.

On top of the tragedy of arresting Lebanon's social progress and demolishing its economy and citizens, there's, for me, the sadness of hearing that Tsfat (Safed), in Israel, got hit, albeit mildly compared to southern Lebanon. I visited Tsfat about twenty-five years ago, but it really struck me. In the Middle Ages it was a hangout for kabbalists. There are unusual, spiritually charged landmarks there. I remember going into a small synagogue, over 500 years old, just a kind of big igloo of white stone inlaid inside with blue and white ceramic shards and glass, and the sun coming in from a skylight overhead. The kabbalists had always seemed kind of dark and gloomy to me, always fasting long into the night gazing at candles until letters and numbers began to dance in the darkness, and here I got an entirely new sense of their esthetic, a Spanish influence, an Andalusian, Islamic influence - it was an amazing feeling that has been re-awakened in my memory, similarly, maybe, to your "striking" feeling of nostalgia - although certainly not as immediate and environmentally supported with sounds and activity. I'm working on a novel that draws from Jewish mysticism, and I'd forgotten that bright, unusual igloo.

What a shitty way to have a beautiful memory brought to mind. But memory and imagination don't have a sense of decorum, thankfully.

I hope you and your group make it out here soon. My hopes and those of my friends are with you and the people of Lebanon for safety during the duration and a speedy cessation of hostilities.

5:11 PM  

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