Thursday, July 27, 2006


Went to a protest yesterday, the purpose of which I thought was to express solidarity with Lebanese and Palestinians under the current Israeli offensive. Mistake #1: the group of protestors, while it is hard to unify them as one entity, was on the whole more concerned with expressing solidarity with Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. This was not an anti-war protest. Pro-Nasrallah chants included prayers that he would hurt Tel Aviv. Making the value of human life conditional on the area in which it is located is, it seems, a world-wide phenomena.

I find this in itself to be interesting: Nasrallah's rising status as representative of Arab peoples. Hizb Allah's more localized, focused identity and role seems like it is being discarded for a more regionalized one. Its chances of success are probably much higher in the former; i.e. as a group concerned solely with Lebanon.

Mistake #2: I had forgotten that the protest was on this particular day, which resulted in my attire being completely unsuitable. Not only was I wearing flip flops, I was also in a skirt and carrying a laptop in my already heavy bag. This was bearable for the first 2 hours.

The worst part was realizing that the hundreds of riot police and state-sponsored thugs in civilian clothes had not only surrouned and sealed the protestors, but were incrementally narrowing in. At one point they charged forwards from both sides, so that they were squashing a number of us, pushing, shoving, people falling down, trying desparately to stay on one's feet as strange sweaty bodies pressed up against one, and other protestors who weren't doing so well were holding on and pleading for help...pretty unpleasant over all. I would have fared much better had I not had at least two of the so-called state thugs persistently grabbing and attempting to fondle me around the ass and crotch. This, had I not been consciously determined not to lose it, would have threatened to push me to outrage. The worst part was it being so crowded, so densely packed, that I only had a radius of at best a couple of feet within which to attempt to maneuver and bend my body so as to escape the one point they seemed to be confused as to whether or not to let out the females, and at a certain time a couple of the people next to me (who were starting to crack, the looks in the eyes had deteriorated from concern to alarm to panic) were actually let out through a narrow corridor created by the thugs. I momentarily considered leaving, although this was shot down first by uncetainty as to whether staying would be an exhibition of perseverence or merely stupidity, then the consideration was firmly tossed aside when a couple of the state thugs were attempting to pull me into the human corridor people were leaving from, copping many feels in the meantime. I also saw someone who was being led the same way involved in a struggle, and they were closing up the corridor...I managed to shake them and move a few feet away from them, back so that most of my bodily contact was not with depraved men but with people whose status as "civilians" was clear and unquestionable. Soon afterwards the pressure on the circle eased and the lines of security/thugs backed away to allow space for people to, oh, i don't know, stand.

All of this was made exponentially more difficult by mistake #2 (my attire). My feet obviously got fucked, and the weight of the laptop made attempting to balance myself in midst of the pushing and pressure quite a task. The thinness of my cotton skirt made the groping traumatic.

Anyway, pan out of my personal focus...About an hour later, the number of protestors had dropped sharply. They must have been letting people out gradually. They did launch another of their move-in-and-squeeze maneuvers...this time it wasn't as bad, nor nearly as prolonged, although a couple of times my hair was pulled painfully (someone later told me this wasn't by a deliberate hand, but that my ponytail had gotten caught in something/one...who knows, it was a bitch anyways). At this point confusion seemed to erupt amidst the riot soldiers and the command and the seemed those in command were attempting to facilitate exits for protestors, but this was getting stalled by angry arguments with protestors and the policemen not getting, or not responding to, orders. At one point they were advancing and their commanding officer yelled at them to move back. Question #1: Is it normal for those in command to momentarily, even for a split of a brief second, lose control over their inferiors? Is this an unavoidable occurence in such organizations, or is it a sign of institutional confusion?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Then take me disappearing, through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves, the haunted, frightened trees,
Out to the windy beach
Far past the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes to dance, beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus signs
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tommorrow.

- Bob Dylan

Recently listened to some Dylan after a long, long but unintentional abstention from real music listening...

I've always found music very evocative, or moving or whatever you want to call it...and I've recieved that from both the lyrics and the music itself. And when it comes to interesting, genuine, sharp and simply beautiful writing, dylan's has left permanent impressions on me. Listening to it the other day felt like getting a warm hug from an old, dear friend.