Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Dawn and Linda, whom I have known for over 35 years, carrying our New York history, walking down the main street of Alice Springs, in the red center, il centro rosso, of this land. From Columbus Avenue in Manhattan to the Todd River bed, usually the dry avenue of aboriginal families making their way of out their desert communities into the bustle of Alice, but now running with renewed waters--a rare sight. but even rarer for me was the wonder of my two old friends, comrades for so long, within arm's reach. I have accepted, I think, that I may never see old friends again, that the distance is too great, the travel too demanding, too expensive, that even in this modern world, the change of continents, of generations, of physical health, makes a difference. To stand with Dawn and Linda along the flanks of Uluru, the sacred monolith of ancient and present peoples, on a rainy evening, just the four of us alone with the curves, the valleys, the hidden routes of this breathing being of red stone, was wonder entire. For many years, we had walked under the glowing skyscrapers, the neon monoliths of Times Square, together, and now, in my 70th year, our women's friendship encircled the world.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Cengiz Songur, 47, six daughters, one son
Fahri Yaldiz, 43, firefighter, married with four sons
Cetin Topcuoglu, 54, former amateur soccer player and Taekwondo champion, married, one son. His wife, Cigden Topcuoglu, was also on board. She survived.
Cevdet Kiliclar, 38, reporter, webmaster for Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Married, one daughter, one son
Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, ran a telephone repair shop, degree Arabic Literature, married, four children, ages 15, 10, twins, 5.
Necedet Yildirim, 32, an IHH aid, married, one daughter, aged 3, photo to follow.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This is your birthday, so this is my love letter for you.
I first met Joan when I was writing my PhD at the University of Melbourne.
She had come from New York, a stranger to the city.
I too had come from far away and our connection was instant: two strange shapes that felt out of place but drawn together through our queer sense of the world.
Of course, I had first met Joan through her writing. Eve Sedgwick introduced me to Joan through the pages of "Epistemology of the Closet."
In this book, Sedgwick calls out Joan's name and the other courageous pro-sex survivors of the sex wars as pioneers. These writers, say Sedgwick, challenged feminist orthodoxies of the time which pitted lesbians and gay men against one another. For Sedgwick writing in 1990, these challenges themselves "led to a refreshed sense that lesbians and gay men share important though contested aspects of one another's histories, cultures, identities, politics and destinies." (37)
Although it may sound too grand to say in this public place, in the privacy of our relationship I know that I have been privileged to experience that sharing, that intersection and that mutual implication with Joan in a profound and personal way.
That sharing, that intersection, that mutual implication. When Joan would read my dissertation drafts she would always say, "why do you always write in threes?" From the start Joan could always read my rhythm. I want to say that it's kind of like that old Bette Midler song from "Beaches," I know you by heart, because our friendship is just about as camp and as dorky as that.
Ever since our first meeting at the restaurant when I went fumbling through your clothes looking for you lost ear-ring while the English Department sat around us lunching to our endless obsession with pyjama parties--we have fun. She makes me feel young again.
In our current writing project, we have been reflecting on intergenerational perspective on queer archiving. And perhaps it wasn't until I had been to New York to visit the ephemera files, the books, banners, posters, badges and spunky dyke volunteers who worked at the Herstory Archives that I really understood Joan's Australia. For Joan, those archives were her compass--here Joan has had a chance to look at life from different eyes, out of space, out of time. And at times this reorientation has been scary but it has let Joan see life from a wholly different side. Joan is often wont to say that I introduced her to the language of post-structuralism, to queer theory and Foucalt--but it has been an honour of my life to constantly bring Joan back to the fact that her work, as Sedgwick makes clear, has helped lay the foundations of queer studies today. As her friends we have all helped her reorient herself to her histories, to herself, in this new land. And I have seen how Joan's relationship with Di here in this beautiful home they have created has inspired Joan to paint life across a new canvas and to find new languages for her life in this vivid, different world.
And we are all here today because Joan has captured our hearts. The way her eyes glisten when she smiles, so full of such a celebration of life and its pleasures. The way her jaw changes position beneath her soft cheeks as she rails against war, oppression and violence. Joan is like a power source. Knowing her, we know how she organized all those lesbians across New York City to get the Archives happening. She can hustle and she can schmooze and she can carouse. And she can certainly make me swoon.
During my PhD years, Joan and Di did the bureaucratic dance of visas and immigration and when the bureaucrats weren't smiling on Joan's application to remain here I remember doing the gentlemanly thing and offering my hand. As it turns out, she turned me down, but she did it so tenderly.
In a world of managerial universities, Joan has been a true academic mentor. She has nurtured me and kept believing in me and it is only now that I have an academic job that I can look back on all those years of uncertainty with a real and deep appreciation for her love and encouragement. People all over the world can tell stories about how you have inspired and driven them and on behalf of all those people who can't be here today, I want to say thank you.
Joan is a friend in both the summer and the winter, embracing the pleasure and facing life's hardness. Through our more recent times in hospitals you have been a rock. Who knew that sudoku and the letters of Rosa Luxemburg could get you through the eye of the storm? Thank you Joan--you have a gift for making a path out of the debris.
When Joan prepares for a public speaking engagement, she will spend weeks collecting clippings and fragments from here and there to rustle through and read from. A narrative emerges from the constituent parts, so, to close, I have two:
from Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
"What it it then between us?
What is the count of scores or hundreds of years between us?
Whatever it is, it avails not--distance avails not, and place avails not,
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine
I too walked the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it,
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me..."
Second, this is from a 1995 song by Chris Knox:
Seems like you and me are stuck together
Feels like we've never been apart
Seems like you are my skin of supple leather
Feels like your blood pumps through my heart
Seems like you and me are one another
Feels like we couldn't be un-joined
Seems like I am your sister, you're my brother
Feels like a phrase yet to be coined
Seems like I am to you a vital organ
Feels like you are to me the air
Seems like without your night I'd have no morning
Feels like you'll always want me there
It we should ever be untethered
If somehow we should end
If we could not go on together
Apart you'd be my good and trusting friend.
Happy Birthday, Joanie
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
From on the boats in the flotilla:
Lubna: Greta urgent we have threat from Israel
Greta: Lubna. What is happening?
Lubna: two Israeli ships coming toward us
Greta: Please try to stay on this so I can tweet it
Lubna: they contact the ship asked who we are and dissappeared now they getting close to the ship we can see them stay here 3 boats coming not two 3Israeli boats we are 78 mile from Israel
Greta: I'll keep writing
Lubna: people here their life jackets every body peppering here
Greta: ok. You are the lifeline to our Twitter account.
Lubna: we may loose the wireless, we didn't expect them now, we thought they will arrive at the morning. Please stay in touch with the other boats.
Sent at 10:50 PM on Sunday
Greta : We can't reach anyone
Sent at 10:52 PM on Sunday
Today, I just received word that Hedy Epstein was not on any of the flotilla boats; she is in Cyprus, waiting for another flotilla.
Greta: Where are you? Are you there?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
Harry Wieder, always concerned with making power do more for those whose dignity was under daily assault
Our Women in Black May Vigil in the streets of Melbourne
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I will be quiet for a while. As soon as I finish this post, we are off the the Royal Women's Hospital for my surgery. I want to leave you with a place to go for the finest writing I have read growing out of the what is happening in Palestine Israel now--it is the journal writing of Jane Toby, an American woman from the Hudson Valley Women in Black community. Find her at http:://hudsontowestbank.blogspot.com/ You will not let her go.
Also look to our womeninblack.org.au website
Thank you for your words, your thinking, your caring
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Olivera has just called from Brisbane, she knows of topographies of failure as she knows of flight and the push of self re-invention.
I read also "The Classroom," by Simon Mawer, a story of modernity and hell, of bodies and glass houses, of Fascism and touch and always "The Journal of Helene Berr,"--
When I write the word Jew, I am not saying exactly what I mean, because for me that distinction does not exist; I do not feel different from other people, I will never think of myself as a member of a separate human group, and perhaps that is why I suffer so much, because I do not understand it at all. I suffer from the spectacle of human beastliness. I suffer from the sight of evil falling on humanity; but as I do not feel I belong to any particular racial, religious or human group (because such feelings always implies pride), all I have to keep me going are my inner debates and reactions, my conscience. I remember a remark Lefshetz made when we were at rue Claude-Bernard and his speeches in support of Zionism disgusted me: 'You have forgotten why you are being persecuted.' That's true.
But the Zionist ideal seems to narrow. Any exclusive grouping, whether Zionism or the hideous fanatical Germanism we are witnessing, or even chauvinism, always contains an excess of pride. I can't help it; I shall never be at ease in any such group." (December 1943)
Sunday, March 14, 2010
As you might have heard, I wrote these words in some despair, not only with the state of Israel, but with the resurgence of the Christian right in America to almost crazy national attention, the Texas school board decisions over text book contents, the Tea parties and draped American flags over the shoulders of scoundrels, the attacks on lawyers doing their job of defending unpopular clients, and on and on, and then in the Australian Jewish Democratic Society Newsletter, March 2010 (www.ajds.org.au), edited by my dear friend Israeli-Australian Sol Solbe, I find the words of Sarah Beninga, spoken at the Sheikh Jarrah rally. Beninga is one of the Israeli activists who organized the rally on March 6:
But there is also a New Right in town. A Right filled with envy and racism that seduces the masses with its jingoistic rhetoric. The New Right has no interest in the well-being and the welfare of human beings. The New Right is only interested in a narrow ethnic and tribal loyalty a la Avigdor Lieberman. For the New Right, only the Jewish poor deserve attention. And what makes someone Jewish is that they are not Arabs. The New Right has nothing to offer but never-ending war. The New Right has nothing to offer but hate for the other: Arabs, refugees and leftists.
This New Right creates the fanatic settlers against whom we are demonstrating tonight. These settlers hate Jerusalem. They have no love for Israel and no love for humankind--they love only themselves. There are many amongst the settlers with whom we can and should carry out a dialogue. But the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah who sing songs of praise to Baruch Goldstein--must be defeated.
The New Right created the mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat. He is a technocrat who doesn't understand or care about Jerusalem. He is a mayor who uses administrative terror against the residents of East Jerusalem and neglects the residents of West Jerusalem, while mouthing empty cliches. If Jerusalem is a powder keg, then Nir Barkat is the one who is striking the match. But Barkat doesn't scare us and neither of the settlers or Lieberman.
We will continue coming to Sheikh Jarrah and everywhere that justice is crushed by the forces of occupation and oppression. Take a look around you; we are not as few as we thought we were! And we will prevail!
Take a look around--away from the love fest for more killing at the Waldorf Astoria where so many parents poured their money into making sure their children will live in a more unsafe world--and let us find each other and take up the struggle.