Mental Distractions

Posts tagged "myvillage":

29 May 2022

2022-05-29 Solarpunk conference, "Children of Peace", diary

On Friday there was the DocAviv screening of "Children of Peace", a documentary made by Maayan Schwartz on the second generation of kids who grew up in the village. It's based on conversations with friends who grew up with Maayan. Some of them have returned to live in the village; some have made their home in different places around the world. A central theme of the film is the mixed identity that some of them feel, as people who have grown up with the narratives of both peoples and the ongoing conflict; the ways in which the conflict penetrates the village itself. It's a powerful film, I think, though it's hard to see it as someone who doesn't know the people and the village might.


After the film we went with son 2 and his partner, daughter and her friend, and a few others to sit in a café. My son and his partner have just reached a decision to try living apart for a while, so this was a bit sad for all of us. We met with an old friend B - a German theologist who decided that her home was in Israel and somehow succeeded to get residency here. She has a young daughter who she is raising as a single mom. She didn't choose an easy life but it seems to be working for them.

I don't often go to Tel Aviv, so I'm usually surprised by all the changes. The number of high-rises that are going up and continuing to proliferate; the city's vibrancy and pluralism. For a comparatively small city (less than a million), it has a very complex human landscape, from very rich to very poor, with refugees from Africa, ex-pats from around the world, artists and counter-culture types, financiers, LBGT people, vagrants, beggars and sex workers; just about everything that you would see in larger capital cities around the world. But this is just my perspective as someone living in a small village. An interesting place to visit; happier where I am.

Yesterday there was the conference [1] on Solarpunk. I learned quite a lot. There were artists and visionaries that not only seem to spend their lives dreaming about an alternative reality that they have imagined down to the smallest detail, but who are finding practical ways to transition towards it. My take-away was the size and breadth of the maker and hacker community, who are finding and sharing home-grown solutions that could help replace capitalism and dependence. There's a great resource called Appropedia [2] that shares some of these.

Also yesterday we met R, who is back from Cyprus for a couple of weeks and is planning to go again as soon as his partner gets her visa. It's good to see that they are finding a solution in a nearby country that doesn't seem too culturally and geographically remote and fits both of their needs, perhaps. R is working on ways to distribute the book that they have been working on for a few years. They see it as not just a book but a vehicle for change.

[1] Solarpunk conference links. YouTube links below have been converted to Invidious redirects (see

Real Solarpunk Technology



Empowering Future Communities



Is Solarpunk Just Another Style?



What’s Holding Us Back from a Better Tomorrow?



[2] Appropedia:

Tags: solarpunk myvillage diary
14 May 2022

2022-05-14 - Does my village have a right to express an opinion in my name?

It's always a question. Yesterday the EU and the US "condemned" the behaviour of the Israeli security forces at the funeral of the Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh. When we hear that our country has condemned something, we don't think too much about whether we think that this represents us, as a citizen in that country. But when it comes to a small community of people making a statement in our name it's closer to home and we worry about it more. Here's what I wrote to the village, regarding this, regarding another controversy about making a public statement:

This isn't about the killing of the journalist or the behaviour of the security forces at her funeral, I personally think she was killed by a bullet from the Israeli side and that both the killing and the funeral illustrate the disregard by Jewish Israelis towards Palestinian lives.

But once again, we need to think about what we should say, and how we should say it.

I haven't seen the statement that Rita has put out in the name of the village because I do not have a WhatsApp account or an active personal profile on Facebook. (I have a facebook account only to enable me to send official announcement from the village).

I am against the sending of political statements in my name as a member of the village. I might or might not agree with them, but in any case probably won't agree with the wording. I don't think I'm alone in this. It is probable that any political statement put out in the name of three hundred or so members will upset somebody.

All such statement need to begin with "the municipal board of [our community] believes…" or the "educational board of [our community] believes…" and even then only after obtaining a unanimous agreement by the board members.

I'm OK with that. If I have a problem with them, I should elect other board members next time. I'm not sure, in any case, that I elected them to represent my political beliefs.

Then there's the Communications and Development Office. I'm a member of the staff, so I have to do what my boss there tells me. This time, she gave me a specific instruction not to translate or publish on our social media or website anything that the the chair of the municipal society asked me to publish. OK, but what does the website or social media pages represent, and who should decide what goes there? Does the Communications and Development Office have a right to overrule the municipal society or the educational association regarding the publication of political statements. I don't think so, but it's something that we need to decide. Ideally there should be cooperation, because there is a greater chance that, with the involvement of the C&D staff, we will avoid statements that will damage the village. But maybe we are also not sufficiently expert and we should employ a lawyer.

For example, regarding the Mavi Marmora affair, we initially made a statement that accused the army of "murder", then we realized that the word "murder", besides being polarizing, has a specific legal definition, that could result in the charge of libel, so we changed the word to "killing", a fact that could not be disputed.

Regarding the actual content of any message coming from the village, we know from social media that the perceived importance of a person's or an organization's message depends upon their perceived expertise or "authority" in a given field. Of course, that isn't true of celebrities and film stars, who automatically become authorities on almost everything. But that isn't the case for most of us.

So, in the case of an organization or a community like [ours], our place of authority is the fact that we live together, Jews and Arabs, as a community and conduct educational work there. If we want to be heard, we need to speak from that experience, and any statement we make needs to be informed by what we have learned from living together and educating towards a shared society. If we speak with that voice, it is more likely that we will be listened to. That means we should not be speaking like politicians or propagandists for a certain cause, on one side or the other, otherwise we will disappoint the very people that we want to reach. Some of them will not listen to us next time.

Tags: myvillage
10 Mar 2022

2022-03-10 - Phone messaging | Int'l Rescuers Day | Diaspora connections

After hearing from Ivan Zlax about Telegram and its founder Pavel Durov, I felt that it may be time to ditch the program from my phone. He dug up an old bio about him in the Internet Archive that has the following:

In 2005, Pavel completed his training at the Faculty of Military Studies of St. Petersburg State University with a specialization in Propaganda and Psychological Warfare. While training with the Faculty of Military Studies, he served as Platoon Commander of the Philology Department. Upon completion, he was awarded the title of Lieutenant of the Reserve Force.[2]

There have been numerous articles by Moxie and others regarding the security of Telegram, but this is the first time that I heard these details of Durov's past. I don't get the feeling from reading his posts on Telegram that he is turning over user data to three-letter agencies, but I also don't feel like he is being sufficiently open about things.

I have been looking at replacements for Telegram. One thing I considered was Delta Chat [3]. It has the advantage that one does not need to worry about not being able to communicate with existing contacts who do not use Delta Chat, because it simply repurposes email protocols. It sets up PGP automatically so that one can communicate securely with those who are on Delta Chat. This is a little like Signal, which uses ordinary SMS to send and receive messages for those who do not have Signal.

Parallel to my interest in privacy I have an interest in simplifying and minimizing interaction with my phone. This is also in line with recommendations for good operational security, because the less applications (and data) are on the phone, the smaller the attack surface. Some weeks ago I removed both email and NextCloud from the device. If one doesn't intend to use a dumb-phone (which are considered to be very insecure due to their reliance on old-fashioned protocols), the best thing is to bring the use of a smartphone closer to the level of a dumb-phone.

For now I have left Signal on the phone, and use it as an SMS replacement. A few of my contacts have Signal and do the same. But i don't feel inspired to recommend Signal to others. For one thing, it uses Amazon servers. If there were a decentralized messaging app that could also replace SMS as the phone's default messaging service, I might use that instead, but I haven't found one. I think it is possible to bridge between Signal and Matrix, but that defeats my purpose of minimalism.

Meanwhile, I continue to use Telegram on my computer as our family group is quite heavily invested in it (tons of family photos and videos, etc.) International Rescuers Day ceremony

Today we had the International Rescuers Day ceremony near the Spiritual Center. This emulates the event promoted around the world by the GARIWO organization. They actually refer to it as the "Int'l Day of the Righteous" but Prof. Auron, who initiated our local event, prefers the term "rescuer" to "righteous" due to the latter's possible religious connotations.

This year the village awarded the prize (which has no monetary value) to the Ta'ayush organization [4] and to the Afghan journalist and feminist activist Atefa Ghafoory, who wasn't present - she lives with her child in Sweden these days, after suffering quite badly at the hands of the Taliban. The annual event takes place in a dedicated area under the olive trees below the spiritual center, and we were lucky this year with the weather.

I was happy to hear from the Ta'ayush founder afterwards that David Shulman is still active in their activities and is writing a new book about these. His earlier short book, "Dark Hope" is excellent.

Int'l rescuers day

Einat, the new director of the spiritual center, invited a professional photographer for the event, which, though I haven't seen the results so far, was a good idea as an olive grove has its challenges for photography: under the blotchy sunlight, many of my photos had areas that were either too dark or overexposed. I didn't find a good way, in darktable to deal with the overexposed areas, though one article did at least address the issue.

I liked a photo that Manuel had posted on Hubzilla, so I thought to follow the photographer. She is on Diaspora, on which I currently have no current connections. I enabled the diaspora protocol in Hubzilla's admin and added the add-on in the applications panel, but still no luck with adding her.

My solution for people in non-compatible social networks like Twitter and Facebook is a bookmark tool bar folder that I check occasionally. Works fine for me.


Tags: myvillage software
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