DAY 262: Old obsessions

December 2nd, 2018 § 0 comments

It’s encouraging to see that the idea of a  ‘one-state solution’ to the problems of the bit of the Middle East formerly lived in by, among others, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Herod


 Jesus and so on is finally getting more of an airing; the latest spat being the remarks of CNN’s Marc Lamont-Hill (which got him sacked) in which he made the the suggestion that we would be better off with one state from the river to the sea, and that a democratic one. [Many have noted that we do in practice only have one state , but that it’s operating what’s effectively an apartheid régime.] Let’s see whether the idea spreads to white academics (and beyond).

As we move inexorably though the cycle of festivities from Thanksgiving to the various kinds of Christmas – Coptic, Maronite, Armenian, via Beethoven’s birthday (i7th December, I think) ; not forgetting Hanukkah – I’ve been caught up in a quite different celebration – you guessed it – watching five Palestinian films in three days. I was obviously going to try to get to as many events st the Palestine film festival as I could – not many, sit happened – turning into quite an habitué of rioDalston’s famed ‘Rio’ cinema in the Kingsland Road, and the numerous nearby Kurdish bars for animated post-cinematic discussion where the names of Anne-Marie Jacir and Larissa Sansour jostled this of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen in an atmosphere which should have been smoke-filled except that you can’t smoke even in Kurdish restaurants these days. Having missed a number of key events, I was delighted to watch Arab and Tarzan Nasser’s ‘Dégradé’, and Larissa Sansour’s ‘In the Future they Ate out of Finest Porcelain’; but I certainly missed countless other treats.. (I must recommend ‘Speed Sisters’, a tribute to Palestinian women motorbike racers which didn’t make it to the festival.)

At this point I should describe in more  detail than I have so far without being tactless) what I mean by ‘my household’ – .not in the sense of ownership, but in the sense of where I live. This consists currently(omitting cats and dogs)  of two pensioners (who tend to get up in normal time for breakfast, and talk to each other in the way pensioners do) and three members of the younger 16-36 age group (who tend to be around rarely, at completely unpredictable times, but not mostly when I need them e.g. when I’ve lost something which I really need). These, as you can imagine, are mostly on their phones – talking to friends? posting opinionated messages on social networks? Blocking each other for unacceptable behaviour? How do I know? When I need something and shout up the stairs, (‘ Where’s my diary/Capital volume I/the dustpan?’)  dustpanI need to phone or text someone who may answer  if I’m lucky. We sometimes have a meal together, as if by chance, we may even have a conversation but this isn’t apparently the stuff of sharing the same living space. The kind of thing which used to be common in the seventies (‘Comrade! You haven’t cleaned out the toilet in an acceptable way! There will be a special meeting at 3.15 to discuss and correct your behaviour.’) seems to have vanished to a bygone age. And this kind of thing seems to be becoming more the norm, so that my Somali friends too are complaining that they miss that careless sociability which used to  characterise the  family, or qoyska as they call it back home, and the kids are in their rooms on their phones. How the ideology of communal living has changed! Are you, ny friends, having the same experiences? If I try, as I would naturally do, to suggest that we should alll get together to organise a reading of Three Sisters or watch a Korean psychodrama, I can’t be sure of gathering everyone in the same room at the same time. How does your experience compare with mine?

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