01 August 2008

Political Adventuring

photo from Activestills

A couple of days ago, I tagged along to a rally-against-racism with my dad's leftist younger brother. The two of us joined up with a group of Jews and Palestinians gathered outside of one of the Hebrew University dorms in Kiryat Yovel, where an Arab HUJI student had been beaten up by some racist Jewish teenagers on July 16th. There was a little bit of speech-making and a little bit of shouting slogans in Hebrew and Arabic, some of which even rhymed. (Israelis are all about the rhyming slogans.) Incredibly, a couple of people showed up to oppose the rally, yelling about how Jerusalem belongs only to the Jews, and so on. And the cops were there, taking pictures of everyone who came. But as protests go, it was a very safe one — well within the green line and addressing what should have been a completely uncontroversial issue. (As opposed to the evacuation of the settlements, which... well, that should also be completely uncontroversial. But racist violence against students is really in a league of its own.)

Today, my uncle took me to visit Beit Said, the house in Jerusalem that was once owned by Edward Said's aunt, in which the famous postcolonial theorist spent a few of his early years, and which the Saids also rented out to Martin Buber! Beit Said is just an apartment today (10 Brenner Street), whose current tenants have purportedly heard of Said but don't really know anything about him. There's no plaque or anything. Anyway, Brenner street is just a short walk from my uncle's house, which is right around the corner from my grandmother's. We brought my baby cousin, who devoted some thought to the role of orientalism in the Israeli public consciousness before toddling around the playground across the street.

Who's lived here? Martin BUber, remember?

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