11 August 2008

Солженицын & درويش

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died about a week ago. Solzhenitsyn is close to the hearts of many Israelis, but my family has a closer connection than most. The legendary (Israelis may substitute "מיתולוגי") author met my grandfather in a gulag, where both of them were serving life sentences. Later, Solzhenitsyn would even mention my grandfather by name in The Gulag Archipelago. (I'd give you the page number, but I left my copy at home.) Even when my grandfather came to live in Israel, he and Solzhenitsyn continued to exchange letters from time to time.

After Solzhenitsyn's death, the front pages of all of the Israeli newspapers were covered with his name and his pictures, and radio and television programming was broadcast in his honor.

Mahmoud Darwish died three days ago, and the news media hardly responded. Due respect, but Darwish is local! The only mention I heard of Darwish's death was one brief summary of his work on the news, jammed in the middle of Olympicsy broadcasting.

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