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Showing posts from October, 2011

Bethlehem 2011

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“We have hope. But still we are suffering.” The words of a new Palestinian friend who daily endures life in a land under the control of a foreign army.
“I cannot wait for this to end.” The words of a 19 year old Israeli soldier serving his compulsory national service in divided Hebron, between right-wing settlers and beleaguered Palestinians.
This is the land of multiple narratives.
The best known is the Israeli Jewish narrative. A group of people who suffered discrimination over centuries only to find themselves the scapegoats of National Socialism in Germany. European guilt fuelled the decision to give Jews a safe place of refuge in the Holy Land. Surely they have a right to feel secure at last from victimage.
There are, of course, variants to the Israeli narrative. Those who do not merely wish to live peaceably in a land with others, but those who claim divinely ordained entitlement to the whole land. Ethnic cleansing of the land is a natural prerogative for those so emboldened by…

The Souq

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Starbucks! Well, almost. Some enterprising Palestinian has set this up on the main drag that takes the tourists up to the Church of the Nativity. Now I know where to go for my No fat Soy Milk Two Shot Latte Mocha.
     I visited the souq today. It's a market. One section like a huge garage sale of odds and ends. Someone with a whole corner of pre-loved shoes. Another selling toys and bits of toys. Fruit and vegetables galore. Such wondrous fresh smells. And butchers behind glass fronts converting carcases into cuts with energetically employed choppers that explode like gunshots. And all the time stall holders recommending their wares like imams calling to prayer. And shoppers negotiating derisively and reminding shopkeepers loudly that they too have children at home that have to be fed.
     You can hear a 90 second recording of the souq sounds here. audio of souq
      And now here are some pictures. You can click on pics to make them full size:


     Afterwards I bought a c…

Noisy Flushing Is Normal

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Happy Hour at some nearby facility has been going strong for two hours. I quite like Middle Eastern rap. Or is it hip-hop? I can never tell. To my Western Music trained ear, it always sounds like something is missing. Oh that's right - three notes of the scale.
     I was the first of our party to arrive at HCEF Ecumenical Center for Research and Development. It doesn't look like an Inn from the outside. But then what does an Inn look like in Bethlehem? Everything is made out of the same stone. Everything is blocky. Cool, in a like not hot way.
     El Al wasn't as kind to me seating-wise as Qantas. 23G was an aisle seat in steerage next to the kitchen so sleep was hardly possible with all the comings and goings. And nothing appears to have been upgraded in their 747s since purchase date, although it all still works. The TV system is one of those 1990s ones that just shows a half dozen movies in a loop. So you can watch the second half of one and then the first half o…

In A Plane Again

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11:54pm at Home. 2:54pm in Bethlehem. Something else in Bangkok.      We’ve got about 3 hours to go to Bangkok and I am still wide awake. Ain’t the human body weird? Normally I would just be waking up momentarily to the sound of a computer shutting down in a nearby room and lights being switched on, or maybe books being taken out for a little midnight reading. Instead I am in 40G on this 747 somewhere over Indonesia. According to the flight map on my little TV screen a bit north of Bali, and a bit east of Surabaya. I’ve been to both places before, I think. Although my only sight of Bali would have been a transition through the Denpasar airport. Although maybe I am dreaming that up. I’ve been so many places, I can’t remember which ones I went to, and which ones I thought I might. Have. Went to.      You can see that air travel isn’t good for my brain. Nor are migraines. One of which I had earlier. Inevitably. Still, medication knocked it down and me a little bit out.      Drive …

Mentioned In Dispatches

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That famous couple, the Lord and Lady of Glencoe, were sighted in Mildura last week and mentioned in the local press as follows:

Phillip (sic) and Judy Hunt sang along with the crowd to Carter and Carter's closing number, having travelled from Warrnambool to attend the Mildura Country Music Festival for the first time.


"We're actually Jayne Denham's aunty and uncle," Mr Hunt said.


"I used to be a radio announcer in Brisbane and played country music when it was still called the wireless, so we know a few of the songs."