Two Year Blobversary

It’s hard to believe that it has only been two years since I started this blog (or “blob,” as my friend’s grandfather would say), on January 30th, 2012. The first year of The Leftern Wall’s existence was a wild one, filled with frenetic energy, shock, excitement, goofiness, struggle, adventure and outrage. The blogyear began about half a year after my much anticipated return to Jerusalem from Los Estados Unidos, immediately diving headfirst into the worlds of Israeli leftism and anti-Occupation activism, getting involved with a [successful] campaign to stop the eviction of a Palestinian family in Silwan, reflecting and rereflecting, demonstrating, writing my infamous “Jerusalem” spoken word poem, and finally twisting through my saga with the Israeli Army, refusal and military Jail.

Photographic Illustrations of Year 1 (a picture’s worth a blah blah blah):

photo 1
Demonstrating in Sheikh Jarrah
photo 2
Detained in Issawiya
photo 3
Planting Olive Trees in the West Bank (Don’t Remember Where)
Leading a tour of Silwan/”The City of David” Settlement
Heading off to Jail #6

By April 2012, I was writing at the frantic rate of three or four posts a week, getting all the way to 22 posts in June 2012 (many relating to Israel’s plans to demolish Susiya) and 25 posts in December (mostly retelling my experiences in jail). A sort of inertia-energy carried though January 2013, the Israeli elections and my decision to give my vote to a Palestinian.And then I crashed.—I crashed in many ways, in many forms, and for many reasons. Part of it was burnout: exhaustion, despair, self-pity, depression. Through the first month of the past blogyear (February), I was struggling. This is illustrated here on The Leftern Wall, in that I only posted two posts and one was an Haaretz article I had co-written the year before. The second was an attempt at optimism (note the forced “!” in the title) relating to the Shamasneh family in Sheikh Jarrah (And I think, in retrospect, I was also trying to write a message to myself).

A friend looks into Jail #6. During this demonstration, I was in a cell whose flourescent lights stayed on 24-hours a day.
A friend looks into Jail #6. During this demonstration, I was in a cell whose fluorescent lights stayed on 24-hours a day.

At the beginning of March, I tried to push through my writer’s block (and emotional block) with a half-hearted Haiku series. The first actual breakthrough, though, came during a work-related (oh, yeah, I was also unemployed for much of this period) trip to America, when I began to see (re-see), from afar, that maybe, after all, there are cracks in the wall. Upon returning to Israel-Palestine, I tried to return to my blog, but found myself attempting to recreate and revisit content from the year before (With medium-quality re-poems like “Flags Revisited,” and “Jerusalem II,”). This isn’t to say that the revisiting was all negative– I think that in many ways, I needed to revisit some experiences and pieces from the year before, and in some cases, the result was creative, original content like my “acceptance Poem” at Yesh Gvul’s Alternative Ceremony in May.

Revival, reinvigoration and newness began in earnest with the launch of the collective I had helped form with a few other friends and activists, All That’s Left. Since the launch of this collective, starting with an awesome action spurred by a few young, radical and energized members in which Mr. Naftali Bennett himself was told that Diaspora Jews say No to Occupation at his MASA speaking gig, on to our collective re-painting of the green line in the Jerusalem, I have been amazed and relieved and inspired to learn that leftist activism can be done in a way that is light, funny, loving, serious and supportive all at once (yes, that is a barb towards those who think that Leftist groups and movements can be sustained on cigarettes, critical theory and self-righteousness). In November, almost exactly a year after I was sent to Jail #6, I joined other members of the collective in protesting segregation in Hebron- and found myself in jail again, this time with a smile, friends around me (including my incredible life-partner who has been with me and there for me through this entire past blogyear and some before). In between May and November, my blogging began to find a rhythm, and while my creative output has neither been as frequent nor as furious as during The Leftern Wall’s first blogyear, I have produced some pieces that I am proud of and I think have been meaningful additions to the discourse, including an essay entitled, “What’s Wrong with the Discourse Around Throwing Rocks?” and another, On Running, Jail and the Shuafat Refugee Camp (right: I also took up distance running over this past year, and ran an ultramarathon, a halfmarathon, a regularmarathon, and have found another passion. Essay on running to come in the not-so-distant future, inshallah).

And a spoken word poem for El Hakawati:

I also had a few reflections, like a recent one entitled “Some Nazis are Gay, ie., the Brilliance of Decollectivization, ie., a Graffito Revelation,” that I think lived up to Leftern Wall standards.

While in this past year I wrote only 43 posts, as contrasted to last year’s 167 (and some of them don’t really count, like this recent one on nationalism), I am nonetheless proud of what I have written and done, and of bringing myself back and allowing myself to be brought back by others from the brink of burnout. I will keep going gentle-strong, inshallah, into another year of action, love, activism, reflection, poems, politics, polemics and peace.