DAY 11

December 6th, 2012 § 0 comments

 Velasquez, ‘Christ in the House of Martha and Mary’

What a picture! Who do you identify with, miserable Martha slaving over the cooking or Mary and Christ way off through the serving-hatch, having their gospel meeting? Another old master, another excuse to go on about the news from Palestine. But it does keep coming in… and most lately, the news  that the Netanyahu government is to move ahead with plans to build 3000 settler homes in the ‘E1 area’, between the vast settler city of Maale Adumim and Jerusalem.


This map shows Maale Adumim, the E1 area, and the towns of Anata and al-Azariya (ancient Bethany, the home of Martha and Mary, see picture above)

Present-day al-Azariya, a typical Palestinian town. Note black reservoirs on the roofs – homes in Palestinian areas (‘Areas A and B’) are not on mains water; by contrast, water is notoriously plentiful in the settlements.

However, before we start calling on William Hague to recall our ambassador, as I did today (he won’t), it’s worth noting the sensible point made by Matt Hill in the Telegraph, of all people. As he points out, ’drawing attention to E1 may have been a feint, designed to distract from plans to build elsewhere in occupied East Jerusalem, which would be normally provoke huge opposition’. (And, one could add, from ethnic cleansing of Bedouin and others in Zone C.)

Having, I think, mastered the trick of doing columns, it seems time to try a bilingual poem – do let me know if it fails to come out in your browser. The umlauts seem to be playing up in particular. By Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger, early 1960′s, no title – about digging.

 [wpcol_1half id="" class="" style=""]Es war Erde in ihnen, und

sie gruben


Sie gruben und gruben, so ging

ihr Tag dahin, ihre Nacht. Und sie lobten nicht Gott,

der, so hörten sie, alles dies wollte

der, so hörten sie, alles dies wußte


Sie gruben und hörten nichts mehr;

sie wurden nicht weise, erfanden kein Lied,

erdachten sich keinerlei Sprache.

Sie gruben.


Es kam eine Stille, es kam auch ein Sturm,

es kamen die Meere alle.

Ich grabe, du gräbst, und es gräbt auch der Wurm,

und das Singende dort sagt: Sie graben.


O einer, o keiner, o niemand, o du:

Wohin gins, da’s nirgendhin ging?

O du gräbst und ich grab, und ich grab mich dir zu,

und am Finger erwacht uns der Ring.

[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id="" class="" style=""]There was earth inside them, and

they dug.


They dug and they dug, so their day

went by for them, their night.

And they did not praise God

who, so they hear, wanted all this,

who, so they heard, knew all this.


They dug and heard nothing more;

they did not grow wise, invented no song, thought up for themselves no language.

They dug.


There came a stillness, and there came a storm,

and all the oceans came.

I dig, you dig, and the worm digs too,

and that singing out there says: They dig.


O one, o none, o no one, o you:

Where did the way lead when it led nowhere?

O you dig and I dig and I dig towards you,

and on our finger the ring awakes.[/wpcol_1half_end]

And, for music… I can’t think why I’ve left it so long before including a drum n’ bass track (just to show not hopelessly out of touch). Here is  Slovakian discovery L Plus’ ‘Amazing EP‘ (there are several versions, and most of the comments are in Slovakian). Techno and dubstep may have to wait…



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