11 January, 2021

Amazing weather; we haven't had rain for ages. I'm sitting outside on my patio. I still have a bad cold, but it's beginning to get better.

At lunchtime, since there was a birthday, we ordered for delivery an Italian meal and beer from a local brewery. Now here, there is a complication. Restaurants are not permitted under the Covid regulations to do take-away. And yet this one did not deliver to our area. The solution was to order from the website, go to the restaurant; they could deliver to our car. (They told us three times not to come into the restaurant.) Same with the brewery. There are regulations, and there are loopholes.

We ate our meal in a park on the way home, at Mishmar Ayalon. We were the only ones there. The park is dedicated to Lehi fighters from the War of Independence. The Lehi were the Jeiwish equivalent of the Indian RSS, a violent, rightwing militia. The memorial there honors those who fought to expel the foreign power (the British). The park area is surrounded by sabres and there are ruins of houses scarcely covered by the growth of weeds. The Palestinian village of al-Qubab graced this fair hilltop, till some 70 years ago. It would no doubt have been a priority to wipe out all villages in the area, since the now quiet road that passes through was once the main artery between Jaffa and Jerusalem.

✭ Court bans screening of documentary 'Jenin Jenin' in Israel
"The Central District Court banned the screening of the 2002 documentary film "Jenin Jenin" in Israel, and ordered the confiscation of all copies of the film in the country."

The director, Mohammad Bakri, was ordered to pay 175,000 shekels + 50,000 shekels in court fees. Altogether $70,000.
This is just the latest in a series of court battles over the film. The film was banned, the ban was lifted; he was sued by former Israeli soldiers, but acquitted. Perhaps it's a sign of the times that he has finally lost this latest case.

The film, made after an event during the second intifada, includes interviews with Jenin residents who claim there was a massacre. (This is obviously not the official Israeli version of the events.) It's almost 20 years now since I saw it, but remember it as a good film, despite the controversy. It is still freely available on YouTube with English subtitles, at #^

Jenin Jenin 0
by jamaltata on YouTube
. Trying to confiscate all versions of the film will be an interesting exercise in futility.

An even more heart-wrenching documentary, "Arna's Children", by Juliano Mer Khamis (RIP), also about Jenin in the 2nd intifada, is available on YouTube, at #^

by Arnulba Palestina Libre on YouTube
Mer-Khamis was assassinated a few years later. In Jenin. The murderer was never caught, and the motivation behind the murder remains unknown.

✭ Israel to okay over 800 new settlement homes days before Biden sworn in | The Times of Israel
A Defense Ministry panel will approve plans for over 800 new settler homes days before Joe Biden is sworn as the new US president, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, confirming an earlier report.

✭ Everything pundits are getting wrong about this current moment in content moderation: An ongoing list – Jillian C. York
Since Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump and began “purging” QAnon conspiracists, a segment of the chattering class has been making all sorts of wild proclamations about this “precedent-setting” event. As such, I thought I’d set the record straight.
#social-media #freedom-of-speech

David Godman "How I discovered Ramana Maharshi "

David Godman "How I discovered Ramana Maharshi "
by henri jolicoeur on YouTube

I love this short video by David Godman; his life could so easily have been mine; we both dropped out of a British university at about the same time. In the mid-70s, he traveled to Israel on the way to India. I traveled to India on the way to Israel, to join the staff of a yoga center. He was intending to spend just a few weeks in India; I was intending to spend just a few months in Israel. And we both ended up staying on.

I have visited Tiruvannamalai, where Godman lives, a few times since. He has remained a disciple of Ramana and of the adwaita vedanta path. My own thinking about these matters has developed over the years, so, in retrospect, I'm pleased that I didn't remain caught in a single philosophical framework, even one with so lofty a vision and so solid a basis, as Vedantic non-dualism. However, I have no doubt that Ramana was one of the brightest and purest beings of the early twentieth century, and that the method he advocated deals with the basic human difficulty of not being able to see the underlying unity behind all material phenomena.
It's so terribly hard to attain, that it takes a lifetime of dedicated practice. That being the case, it isn't so bad if, as I now believe, this nondualistic vision is still only part of the truth. The problem is that, due to our separative, egoistic vision, we are fast destroying our biosphere. A change is in order, and is so very necessary, that we can't afford to spend a lifetime simply inquiring into the nature of the self. There is a different path, one of realizing through action for change.

✭ Éric Rohmer - Wikipedia
"Rohmer was a devout Catholic and "ecological zealot". For years Rohmer had no telephone and refused to even get into cars, which he called "immoral pollutors." For many years he was known to jog two miles to his office every morning. He was well known for his need for personal privacy and sometimes wore disguises, such as wearing a false moustache at the New York premiere of one of his films. Rohmer's mother died without ever knowing that her son Maurice was in fact a famous film director named Éric Rohmer."
I generally found his films mildly irritating, but he was truly an interesting character.

✭ Dutch officials seize ham sandwiches from British drivers | Brexit | The Guardian
"To a bemused driver with several sandwiches wrapped in tin foil who asked if he could maybe surrender the meat and keep just the bread, one customs officer replied: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”

✭ Foreigners face ban from Amsterdam's cannabis cafes | Netherlands | The Guardian
"Similar bans, backed by a 2012 law, already exist in cities such as Maastricht and Den Bosch, which have long complained of excessive numbers of pot-smoking visitors crossing the borders from Belgium, Germany and France."
These things, they are silly.

✭ Bird flu spreads across India, culls under way in several states | Health News | Al Jazeera
"an outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu is rapidly spreading across India, with at least nine states confirming cases and others awaiting test results as they put containment measures in place, officials and media reports said."

✭ India’s top court asks Modi gov’t to put farm laws ‘on hold’ | Agriculture News | Al Jazeera
“Tell us whether you will put the laws on hold or else we will do it … What’s the prestige issue here?” the court asked, as it criticised the government for failing to break the deadlock."

“We are extremely disappointed at the way government is handling all this,” Bobde said. “We don’t know what consultative process you followed before the laws. Many states are up in rebellion.”

✭ Ginger root and meteorite dust: the Steiner ‘Covid cures’ offered in Germany | Germany | The Guardian
“Throughout history, we can detect a pattern”, he said. “Whenever academic medicine is poking around in the dark, alternative therapies rise to the top”.

Steiner (Waldorf) schools are popular in Israel. There is an anthroposophic community in the Galilee. I found his books unreadable and never had any interest in metaphysical writings about angelic hierarchies. Steiner, like Jiddu Krishnamurti, grew from the Theosophical movement (from which "anthroposophy" is derived. Krishnamurti was the more interesting fruit of that movement, philosophically. But the application of Steinerism in so many practical areas, but particularly on education and organic agriculture, is impressive.

#anthroposophy #COVID-19

7 September 2020

Last night there was a second arson attack on our village; not as bad as the first, because the sprinkler system actually worked. It isn't clear who is attacking our educational institutions. In the case of right-wing hate crimes, the perpetrators are usually brazen enough to take responsibility, and this time they haven't. But it still seems to be the most likely direction.

Lots of work, attending meetings, writing and translating website articles and social media posts. Hope tonight is quiet.


The Spiritualisation of Culture

Graham Peebles: 'the spiritualisation of culture' | "No going back; it's all got to change'

The Spiritualisation of Culture – Graham Peebleshttps://grahampeebles.org/2020/05/19/the-spiritualisation-of-culture/

[ https://www.eurasiareview.com/01092020-no-going-back-its-all-got-to-change-oped/](No going back, it's all got to change)

He's a very good writer, with excellent values., and a history of good work behind him. I can't quite get my head around his theosophical belief that we will be saved by the coming of Maitreya, the next World Teacher. We have seen many amazing spiritual teachers in our era [everyone can insert their favourites here], but actually none of them have been able to change humanity's course towards impending disaster. It depends on us, unfortunately. It's not like we are lacking in knowledge or sources of wisdom.