A Happening in Tel Aviv
- I couldn't resist this just-arrived report. And take the time to visit
and play with the fascinating, mobile website provided towards
the end of the article. Would that such creative combos of serious
subjects and playful presentations could be made and were effective
throughout the area. They can't, of course, but assume an important
role where violence is relatively absent.
And, as I'll soon forget a totally fun cyber game and nobody really
enjoys 14 hours of football, make you own Bush speech today at
http://www.lemonbovril.co.uk/bushspeech There's a FREE, Non-Viral
download involved, but it's simple. And, I wish you all a happier, more
peaceful New Year. But, we have to work at it.
From: Gila Svirsky
Subject: A Protest Happening in Tel Aviv
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 00:09:21 +0200
27 December 2002
Things are so terrible here, one could weep. Or sit home and do nothing.
Or move to Tel-Aviv and get lost in the café crowd - galleries, gourmet
food, and a political party called 'Green Leaf' pushing for the legalization
of marijuana. Now that's one way to cope with reality.
So, we decided to bring reality into the heart of affluent, artsy Tel-Aviv,
and to do it on their terms - using music, art, cinema, and street theater,
all set into a mass Women (and Men) in Black vigil.
We were about 1,500 people from all over Israel as well as Europe and
North America, most of us dressed in black and spread out on the five
corners of one of the busiest intersections of Tel-Aviv. Our twin slogans-
'End the Occupation' and 'No to Racism' - called out from every direction:
white lettering on black smocks, black umbrellas, black banners, and the
traditional black 'hands' of Women in Black. (Thank you, Dita, for those
great graphic items.)
The day was meant to convey a serious message, but the sudden bright,
hot sun after a week of cold winter rains, our own need for respite from the
horror, and the Tel-Aviv escapist state-of-mind all seemed to get the better
of us, turning a protest demonstration into a protest happening, with
action every few meters:
***Two drummers, doing Middle Eastern rhythms;
***"Five "Angry Old Ladies" singing subversive political lyrics they had
written to nursery rhymes and Zionist foot-stompers;
***A group from Portugal doing much loved peace songs with guitars and
***Black Laundry: Lesbians and Homosexuals Against the Occupation
with an art installation that defies simple description;
***Crates of olives and olive oil, packed into empty soda bottles, sold by
peace activists that had helped in the harvest (ah, they taste best when
you have picked them yourselves...)
***To counter the racist 'Transfer = Security' stickers that have sprouted
all over the country, there were 'Transfer = War Crime' stickers, on the
background of the yellow Jewish star that had been used by the Nazis
***The Fifth Mother Movement (carrying on the tradition of the Four Mothers
Movement that got us out of Lebanon) sold shirts saying 'War is not my
But best of all was the public screening of the film 'Jenin, Jenin'
[director Mohammed Bakri], an account of the actions of the Israeli army
this spring in the West Bank town of Jenin. The film had been banned by
Israeli censors, but showing in private homes and offices around Israel.
We - the Coalition of Women for Peace - decided to rent equipment and
the censor, showing it on a big screen we set up in plain view of everyone.
The police knew of the plan and approached Yoni Lerman, one of the
organizers, to tell her that the Chief of Police gave strict orders that the
film must not be shown. No way, said Yoni, we're showing it, and gave
orders to run the projector. The police couldn't stand it. They went up to
the man who rented us the equipment and was operating it, and told him
turn off the projector or they would smash it. He turned it off. That was
too much for Debby Lerman, another organizer, who also happens to be
mom. Debby pulled out her checkbook, put her signature onto one of
and handed it to the video equipment owner. "Hold onto that check," said
Debby, "and if the police smash your equipment, write in the amount that
it's worth. Now turn it on." He still hesitated, but pointed to the
"You turn it on," he said, which Debby gladly did. The crowd gathered in
great numbers and the film ran for over an hour, no equipment smashed,
the TV news this evening reporting, "The film 'Jenin, Jenin', banned in
Israel by the censor, was shown on a giant screen in the heart of Tel-Aviv
this afternoon," followed by an interview with Yoni who simply explained
that one should not hide the truth. Well done, Yoni.
Special guests at the event: beloved Knesset Member Tamar Gozansky,
retiring; dear Luisa Morgantini, "our" member of the European Parliament;
local and international peace activists Shulamit Aloni, Simone Susskind,
Uri Avnery, Dan Almagor, and others.
Many local and international media also came, thanks to 'Jenin, Jenin',
half the people there seemed to be making videos of the other half. But
some very nice stills done by Mely Lerman (yes, Yoni's dad), click onto
www.coalitionofwomen4peace.org. I'll also insert here one of Jane
Eve Ensler at last week's very rainy vigil of Jerusalem Women in Black.
That's it. Special thanks to the many of you in Europe and North America
who held your own vigils in solidarity with ours - some in great gobs of
snow, we hear. By the way, exactly one hour after our own event ended in
dazzling sunny weather, the sky opened up and poured down buckets of
Well, in some ways, it was more a protest carnival than a march of
mourning, like last December. Did we get through to the Tel-Aviv crowd?
Maybe. And maybe they got through to us a little bit, too.
Shalom / Salaam from Jerusalem,
Coalition of Women for Peace
Bat Shalom; The Fifth Mother (formerly Four Mothers Movement);
Machsom-Watch; NELED; New Profile; Noga; TANDI; WILPF; and Women
Eve Ensler, writer of the Vagina Monologues, Jane Fonda, & Eve's
the Jerusalem Women in Black vigil, 20 December 2002.
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