On the way to the Lighthouse we pass by Kibbutz Beeri’s sunflower field. These days they are in full bloom and the magnificent sight is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting from his stay in the Provence. It is beautiful here, and the sunflowers will be with us for several other Fridays.
We too, as in the Provence… sit in the shade of pine trees, that with some clouds filters the sunlight for us and offers us a nice breeze in spite of the day’s heat.
This date, May 15, commemorates the tragedy that befell the Palestinians expelled in 1948 and is observed by them and their various descendants. They call it the Nakba. We too, a few descendants of the expellers, wished to commemorate this day in common with them. Our parents and grandparents themselves also experienced human evil in their time.
Throughout the week preceding May 15, Nomika thought and suggested that Nakba would be a main topic for discussion in our circle. Ghadir backed up the idea and we met at the Lighthouse today.
Mary was there earlier. She came to check whether the heat was not too extreme for her. It didn’t pass the test and Mary returned home in her air-conditioned car.
Shmulik, Nahshi, Rami and I arranged the circle of chairs, and were soon joined by Roni, Mark, Jaber, Ghadir, Nomika, Shmulik, Micha and Hanan. Malki and Uzi also came after beginning the encounter through Zoom.
At 2 p.m. Nahshi opened the Zoom procedure and at the same time insisted on making and serving coffee… Through Zoom we were joined by Marwan (who is with us every week through Jaber’s translation), Moshe, Julia, Smadar, Vivian, Uri, Shelly, Arik and some new faces: Martin, Dalia, Rachel and Mohammad (who visited the circle once in the past).
After our getting-acquainted round we began listening to the participants. The idea today was to speak about the Nakba, and more specifically, when people had first heard the term. As in a polyphonic piece of music, the stories, views and feelings intertwined around the main theme (“polyphony” is a musical texture that contains several independence voices moving simultaneously and non-hierarchically).
At first we listened to our Zoom partners. After listening to them, they were offered to remain and listen to the physically present in the circle, so that whenever one began to speak, the laptop would be held close enough to hear and see them.
It seems rather difficult to transmit the listening experience in the circle over the computer screen, so that gradually the Zoom partners dropped out. This time it would be a mean task to summarize the participants’ words (25 people!), so we can simply suggest watching and listening to the recording that Nahshai mailed.
I believe that beyond empathy for the state and destiny of people who experienced the disaster, we shared the fact that all of us had reached a relatively late point in life when the term entered our mind and changed it. It is amazing to what extent the collective consciousness can be shaped through ruling apparatuses, and how difficult it is to contest or even simply consider it.
The ironic moment in this encounter for me was when Marwan, in his turn to speak, had to tell us when he first heard about the Nakba… Rami spoke of refugee-dom in general, and I thought this was definitely a topic to be discussed and contemplated in our next meeting or the one after it, or in general…
Some of the books, pictures and objects brought to our meeting will appear on our website.
The lovely sunflower field charmed us on our way home too.
Participants: Jaber, Shmulik, Nomika, Shmulik, Mark, Micha, Ghadir, Roni, Oded, Rami, Nahshai, Hanan, Malki, Uzi, Martin, Julia, Vivian, Marwan, Smadar, Rachel, Uri, Dalia, Mohammad, Shelly, Arik.