DAY 18 (Last of 2012)

December 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s the time when me and my friends post reminders of the anniversary of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 17

December 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

What a shambles! Guilty at my long delay in posting, I rushed to the blog, and posted what » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 16

December 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

‘Where have you been? Where is your blog?’, they have been asking in my circle of fans, as they wonder what to think of » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 15

December 18th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

So here’s  a new post; and, with all the carol service activity, yet another Bethlehem picture

– one of many wall graffiti, clearly based on Delacroix. » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 14

December 15th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


The Frost Fair of 1814, by Luke Clenell. (An assistant of Thomas Bewick, it seems, among other things.) Talk about global warming -and I guess we shall have to get around to it sooner or later – there’s plenty of evidence for a big freeze up to the early 19th century, when, as in the picture, the Thames regularly froze over. » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 13

December 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Winifred Nicholson ‘Cyclamen and Primula’, c. 1923.

You may have seen that there’s a Winifred Nicholson exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; you may even have got to see it. If not (and if you prefer Nicholson to such fashionable dabblers as Freud and Rothko), better hurry » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 12

December 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Hogarth: Gin Lane

Today I heard news of Simon Pickvance’s death. I worked briefly with Simon on Radical Science Journal in the seventies – I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d never heard of him. However, I’m dedicating today’s issue to his memory – particularly because » Read the rest of this entry «

DAY 11

December 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

 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 h&#246rten sie, alles dies wollte

der, so h&#246rten sie, alles dies wu&#223te


Sie gruben und h&#246rten 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 gr&#228bst, und es gr&#228bt 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 gr&#228bst 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…



DAY 10

December 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink











The Trinity                                                           St Jacob’s Church, Nablus

These pictures are simply here to recall Nablus to me; snd to any of you who know it. If there’s a point, it’s that the church (pictured) is supposed to be on » Read the rest of this entry «


December 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink






So Palestine has finally been given ‘observer’ status at the UN, by a majority of 138 to 9 – with 41 abstentions, including, shamefully, the UK. Celebrations above. This comes 64 years after UN resolution 194 called for the return of refugees. Above, celebrations and demonstrations. And emails and posts here and there have been flooding in, happy about what has clearly been a slap in the face fo the US, Israel and their seven allies by the vast majority. What ‘the Palestinians’ will do with their new status is up to them.

Briefly, though; I felt sure that we ‘one-staters’ were  holding back on some reservations; and I found them well expressed in this Guardian article by Joseph Massad. As I heard Jeff Halper say recently: ‘We’re in it for the long haul’. Which means that any particular victory is temporary, especially when it’s followed (as this was) by more repression and land-stealing. Celebrate by all means, but without illusions. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

However, it’s surely a day for another Darwish poem (I’m afraid): ‘Identity Card’

Write down!

I am an Arab

And my identity card number is fifty thousand

I have eight children

And the ninth will come after a summer

Will you be angry?


Write down!

I am an Arab

Employed with fellow workers at a quarry

I have eight children

I get them bread

Garments and books

from the rocks..

I do not supplicate charity at your doors

Nor do I belittle myself at the footsteps of your chamber

So will you be angry?


Write down!

I am an Arab

I have a name without a title

Patient in a country

Where people are enraged

My roots

Were entrenched before the birth of time

And before the opening of the eras

Before the pines, and the olive trees

And before the grass grew


My father.. descends from the family of the plow

Not from a privileged class

And my grandfather..was a farmer

Neither well-bred, nor well-born!

Teaches me the pride of the sun

Before teaching me how to read

And my house is like a watchman’s hut

Made of branches and cane

Are you satisfied with my status?

I have a name without a title!


Write down!

I am an Arab

You have stolen the orchards of my ancestors

And the land which I cultivated

Along with my children

And you left nothing for us

Except for these rocks..

So will the State take them

As it has been said?!



Write down on the top of the first page:

I do not hate poeple

Nor do I encroach

But if I become hungry

The usurper’s flesh will be my food



Of my hunger

And my anger! .


The song, discovered by accident, also has a Darwish portrait. Today’s quiz: how many other heroes/heroines on the video can you name?

Where am I?

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