Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Football Widow

I'm alone. I have been for the last several nights, actually a few weeks ago. My husband has left me. He's here but he's not. I hear tortured shouts and yells from the basement, my presence is but a mere nusaince. As a matter of fact, the TV has replace me.

Yes, I'm a football widow.

The soccer World Cup, which began June 9th, has enraptured my husband, ensnared him, and I am no competition. The Mondial (as it's called here in the holy land) costs the princely sum of 309 NIS, and as it's viewed for free in pretty much every other country in the world, caused cries of outrage to be heard from hubby and pretty much the rest of the male population in Israel. I figured that I should be supportive of hubby's habits, so when he confessed that he was wavering between buying the package (to view all the games) or not, I enthusiastically supported him in purchasing the Mondial. I was quite pleased with my understanding and support, and hubby was happy that he could watch to his heart's content.

Had I knonw the reprecussions of the purchase, I might have been slightly less keen. For example, in my previous blog, I mentioned I was in a play. Hubby only came to the play once assured he could be home in time to watch England play. Now, I understand how much he loves soccer and he's English, but really! Hell, I tape things I really want to see, and watch them a bit later. And I know that my abandonment will continue into the first week of July.

So here I sit, alone, at quarter to eleven at night, while Argentina is the object of my husband's delight.


What's In A Heil?

Last night I was in a play which was compiled of stories found in the Nazi propaganda book for children Trust No Fox on the Green Heath and No Jew on His Oath and short satirical stories taken from a Terezen Ghetto periodical called Cammerade which was written by teens in the camp. The purpose of the show was meant to show how children lost their innocence, how children were brainwashed from a young age to think the Jews were evil in contrast to Jewish children who had to behave as adults, in order to deal with the harsh reality they were living in.

Some of the pieces were heartwrenching, like one called "Night Fairy Tale" where a 12 year old boy wrote a story of how the "ladder was moaning since his brother was broken and burnt in the crematorium, and the oven was furious that the others were calling him a crematorium, and the lightbulb missed the prohibition of using lights in the evening, which had been a group punishment, since then she really had time to rest". All of these descriptions took reality and made it plausible.
But the most difficult part, personally was a piece called "The Fuerher's Children" in which we marched and chanted a children's poem about devotion to the Hitler Youth. After much debate, and arguing in rehearsals, for the sake of authenticity, we chose to incorporate the Heil salute. It's just a movement, just a hitting of the chest and then swinging the arm out straight. But I cannot tell you how that simple movement filled me with revulsion, how I was literally covered in goosebumps every time I had to do it, and overcome by a sudden naseau. It took us a while to get the beat and rythme correct, and that necessitated doing the piece over and over, salute after salute. I was afraid I would become numb to what I was doing.

The play was a great success, but I cannot forget the gasps I heard coming from the audience when we thrust out our arms, held them high, chanting "We wish to live for the furher, we look to a bright future". And despite being in character, being caught up in the heady drug which acting is for me, I was momentarily jerked out of the scene, and I was grateful for it. For the fear of falling too much into character, of identifying with the committment and joy a 5 year old must have felt with the marching, support, uniforms and music, was too terrifying a prospect for me to even consider.

As I sit here writing this, it amazes me that even after 60+ years, the salute of a movement which I never came into contact with, which symbolizes a horror my people went through, can still affect me so.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tired...So Tired

I'm tired. It's been a long week thus far, and it's not going to ease up anytime soon. But it's the sort of exhaustion which begins when you don't get a decent sleep on Saturday night, as the weekend slips away and Sunday arrives.

I gave a presentation today on the Simpsons as show which mixes genres and inhabits postmodernist cultural markers, and began preparing for it on Saturday evening with a friend. We worked until 1am and then went to sleep, since I needed to be out of the house by 7:45am and needed a few hours of sleep.

I tossed and turned, and as I was finally drifting off, my cellphone rang. It was 2am. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was my boss. I almost didn't pick up, as there are limits to how available I can be for my job, but decided to answer incase it was an emergency. Good thing I did. The conversation went something like this:

Me: waswrong?

Boss: An American student was kidnapped this evening in Nablus, please do not talk to the press, students or parents if they call you to get information.

Yes, this is what I get to find out about at 2am. I worked with overseas students this past year, and had just finished saying goodbye to them, as their semester finished at the end of May. While there were still some students around, most had gone home or were leaving shortly. I was shocked to hear the news and was fairly wired, as one can imagine.

As I'm drifting off to sleep for the second time, around 3am, I hear a massive BOOM and the house shakes slightly. Ambulence sirens sound a few minutes later. All I can think is why would anyone want to bomb my neighborhood at 3am on a Saturday night? I finally fall asleep shortly before 5am, thus getting about two hours of sleep.

But all's well that ends well. When I dragged myself out of bed at 7am, I ran to the internet. The student was released unharmed and the boom I had heard was a gas explosion in an apartment building down the street. No one was hurt.

I can't wait for the weekend.

Monday, June 05, 2006

You've Got to be Kidding Me - Round Two

This article is a must-read. Me thinks the pathetic cycle of appeasement is getting slightly out of hand... Poor, stupid Brits (sorry sweetie).