Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Post-war and uni politics

My stress levels have gone down considerably since the cease fire. I'm not so naive as to think that this is the end of the war; indeed it was just one battle. But still.
Last week I met with a new PhD student who just came here from Israel. We talked about his research and the software he's using. Then he told me how his best friend from uni had died in Lebanon. He was the last soldier to be killed before the cease fire came into effect. He left a wife and 10-month old daughter. Then we talked about his scholarship, and a conference he wants to attend.
Later that day I just couldn't handle the whole surreal situation any more. I had to go out for a walk and a bit of a cry.
Here everything is going on as usual of course, the sun is shining and we're getting beautiful weather after a cold winter. Even the Swedish exchange student was complaining about the cold. Now we have a nice, early spring (thank goodness for global warming!) and flowers are blooming.
Things at the uni are also going on as usual. There are lots of "activists" handing out brochures and putting up posters all over campus. Most are by the Socialist Alliance and usually feature rather histrionic vitriol against Israel, the US, and capitalism. Apparently some Jewish students were harassed, spat on and yelled at. This morning we got an email from the Vice Chancellor warning that offensive behaviour agains Jews will not be tolerated. Not surprisingly, there has been no anti-Muslim behaviour.
I must admit that I sometimes feel scared when confronted with these crazy Marxists and their friends in some of the other student groups. I've heard that some Jewish students choose to wear hats over their kippas so they won't be harassed. I don't "look Jewish" so I don't have that problem, and I don't walk around campus all that much either. But it's sad to think that this is the situation here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bad thoughts

Hippy "Peace Now" activist in Tel Aviv: "This won't end till we annihilate Beirut"
I'm usually a very rational person who abhors violence in all its forms. But lately I find myself in a bellicose mood.

Yesterday while watching the news I could only think of one thing: one mushroom cloud over Beirut, one over Damascus, and one disproportionately big one over Tehran.
The war would be over that same day.

I don't like what this war is doing to me. I want to go back to my good old optimistic self.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Comfort food

Maybe it's the stressful times, but lately I've been preparing and eating more and more comfort food. For example, I bought some semolina and I've been spending quite some time in the mornings lately stirring pots of cream of wheat (I found out that this is what solet is called in English) trying to get a lumpless bowl of yummy cream of wheat, sweetened with cinnamon and honey, or brown sugar and vanilla. mmmm.
It reminds me of my childhood when grandma used to cook solet for me. It also reminds me of the hospital that we were forced to "volunteer" at when we were in high school. We would spend nights there on alert. In case of a chemical weapons attack from Saddam, our job was to wear plastic clothes and gas masks and shower the injured before they were admitted to the hospital. Looking back I'm appalled by the whole thing, but back then it was just one big co-ed slumber party. In the morning we'd have breakfast at the hospital dining room. The solet was lumpy and not at all as yummy as savta's.
Anyway, I've found out that you can make all sorts of things with semolina: bread, cakes and cookies. Yum!

What he said

An English translation of Ben Caspit's proposed speech for Olmert.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Now it's personal

My cousin has been called up for reserve duty. My brother-in-law was told to be ready to be called up any day. They both have pregnant wives at home.

It's a tough job

...being an IDF spokesperson right now.