One of the best gifts I've been given was to be shown a phenomenal swimming spot in a former slate quarry in west Wales. It's not a simple thing to find the right pit among the many hollows between the flaking slate mounds and terraces.
It was worth the hunt, however - the best outdoor swim experience I've had. Clear and cold as vodka poured straight from the freezer.
Climb one of the mounds surrounding the pool for a better view, and you find a bonanza of ripe bilberries, and then views like this.
I saw a tweet yesterday from an UNRWA figure saying that they would not let Palestinians down despite the withdrawal of US funding. Good. But it ended by warning that loss of services for refugees could lead to 'hatred'. This language unwittingly echoes Palestiphobic tropes.
It is noteworthy how often the word hatred is used in association with Palestinians, and this is a link, both conscious and subconscious, that must delight the apartheid regime whenever it is made.
It plays to the idea of Palestinians as semi-brutal creatures predisposed to irrational violence, people somehow on a hair-trigger. And by doing so, it ignores the issues: not 'hatred', but injustice.
So. You're a leftie of a certain age who worked on a kibbutz in your youth when it was the fashionable thing for some young socialists to do. Your views have evolved, and you are now broadly supportive of the Palestinian cause and oppose the occupation. Some words of advice:
When you meet a Palestinian, do not volunteer this information about your time working on a kibbutz without *immediately* apologising and making very clear that you now realise it was wrong to do so.
Do not try to make small talk of it, eg. 'Oh I know the area you're from, I worked on a kibbutz there in the 70s'. It's not a fun coincidence or a bonding opportunity that in your youth you volunteered your labour to help consolidate the theft of Palestinian land.
Belatedly discovered The Bubble in Whitstable yesterday - wowowow. Simple, unpretentious, wonderful food, charming staff, views out to sea. Owner & chef John learned to make falafel in Ramallah and was inspired by cafes there.
So good to find the word Palestinian on the menu!
The whole set-up is adorable. And it's licensed, with good wines and local beers (not Sheps, thank god). Had a dip in the sea afterwards. 🦀🌊
I just finished reading Guy Stagg's book, The Crossway - a big achievement, an epic journey and some blistering honesty about his mental health, but the final section left a bad taste in my mouth, I'm sorry to say.
The book tells the story of his 10-month journey on foot from Canterbury to Jerusalem, following old pilgrim ways - he's not a believer, but he hopes the journey might somehow help to resolve/contain/move on from painful and traumatic experiences with his health & with addiction.
Through the whole thing I was curious to see how he'd handle the last leg through Palestine-Israel - how would he characterise the situation? From whom would he accept hospitality and with what degree of comfort/discomfort? Journeying through an apartheid state is a thorny task.
Visiting Dungeness for the first time later this week. About time, too. Recommendations for where to go, what to see, etc? We're staying one night at the B&B place actually at Dungeness itself.
The Jarman place obviously, but apart from that?
Also, I know there's only one pub in Dungeness, but it's a Sheps pub (boring) and it's got a massive England flag by the pool table on its website... Any other pub recommendations that are with reach by bicycle? Thanks tweeps.
), so here's an alt-thread of the article typed out:
Most people have heard of cases where love between two women has been so deep and strong that it has been the dominant power in the life of one of them, if not in both their lives; but it is not often one hears of a man falling in love with a person of his own sex.
Such things do, however, occur now and then, and strangely interesting reading they make.
I want to share a few videos from the single most moving gig I've been to. It was February 2016, and the Jungle refugee camp in Calais was facing imminent destruction. The audience at this show had just endured a long, wet, freezing winter in this huge shanty cesspool.
The @GoodChanceCal put on what I guess was a kind of farewell show. Some residents had been stuck in the sucking mud of the Jungle for years, more often for months, weeks or just days, facing almost daily violence from French police, fascist thugs and internal tensions.
It was a hellish place in very many ways, but the camp's destruction would mean the communities that had formed there, the support & solidarity networks, friendships and vital services would be broken up and lost, and there was a huge sense of trepidation - nerves were jangling.
Just linked to my recent Palestine seed library article from my site, and took the opportunity to share this beautiful photograph of my interviewee's father and great grandmother. Vivien explains their story of exile in the caption I've included. gawmac.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/a-m…
Vivien also just recommended the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer to me. I haven't had a chance to look properly yet, but... bryophytes and rethinking intelligence? Yes please. onbeing.org/programs/robin…
Oh god I really wrote the word 'my' three times in that tweet.
15 moving, heartbreaking and inspiring minutes featuring Wendell Sayers, a name that doesn't appear in even the LGBT history books. pca.st/oHTh by @MakingGayHistry
The acceptance his adoptive father gave him is just beautiful; the loneliness at the end of his life painful to think of.
I've only listened to two so far but it's already clear that @MakingGayHistry is doing incredibly important work bringing uncelebrated LGBT+ lives into the light. Beautiful tributes to people to whom we owe more than we know. This one features Edythe Eyde: pca.st/keP4
"In 2017 the approval rating for medical exit permits from Gaza was the lowest since 2008, at around 54%, and that year 54 Palestinians died after the denial or delay of their permits by Israel."
"If he has to return to Gaza, his treatment will suffer, and his family do not have funds to support the complex rehabilitation he needs. Specifically they are asking for financial assistance to help cover the costs for rehabilitation equipment and treatment."
Heatwave tip if you're struggling like I do and don't have a/c: During the day, keep windows and doors *shut* and blinds/curtains closed. Opening windows lets warm air into your home. At night, when things cool down outside, open windows.
Proviso: this works if you have double glazing and OK insulation. Without those, I'm not sure, it's almost certainly less effective.
The seed pods of Common Mallow are known as Khubz al Adra (bread of the Virgin) in Galilee. They're a favourite wayside snack of mine. They've got a nutty, almost almond flavour, and in the UK this is a decent time to seek them out. Go for green ones, not the older brown ones.
Common mallow is khobeizi in Arabic, and you can make a Palestinian dish of the ones you find here in Britain, too. There's an extremely simple recipe at the end of this article I wrote about the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library. dark-mountain.net/seeds-of-baal/
That said, the mallow leaves are probably not in great condition at the moment - you want to use them when they're larger, fresh and green, with a slight elasticity.