lumps of nothingness going down tautt. it hurts every time I swallow.
it's been like this for the past few days and I appreciate the degree to which, all of a sudden, this state has become a baseline state; when has my head not hurt? my nose not stuffy? my throat coughhhhy? my body flushed? I am worried for my body, and at the same time I am strangely curious about how everything looks at this point, like: what is traveling when sick? when energy levels diminish rapidly? when points of rest are grasped like little oases in a desert?
well; it's like everything fades a little bit; recedes into the background. we go to petra, and I look at these beautiful stone structures and the architecture that seems to emerge from these stone walls, as if they were always there, latent underneath the surface, just starting to press through. metaphors for archeologyy, maybe, some sort ooof idealized 'heritage' already innate and existing. what a discovery this must have beeen. and so I bring my self out, like I can feel myself dragging myself out into the present, trying to be here in the now, trying to enjoy. for moments I am here; for moments I am not; and I waver inbetween thinking about the grandeur of this scene and the clip-clop of my donkey on these stone steps, and of thinking about the physicality of my breath, the muscles firing in my legs, all of these things that combine to create this kind of experience.
today walking through CDG I think about the profession of an architect and what it means to design something that is meant to house bodies; what it means to have a body, then to make something that exists way beyond the scale of the body. does this require a suspension of physicality and of self, perhaps, a sort of bourgeois existence where the mores of physical day-to-day existence are already solved an the only questions are thus cerebral? or would it be possible to have an architect who puts on leead shoes to simulate the wweighted hobble of a grandmother's walk, fully and throughly participates bodily in the elements of one's own future creation?
but - does the study of medicine require that the student be sick? certainly not.
so here I am, heading home.
what have I learned, I ask myself. and I do not know. what has happened? what did I see? I could do a sundry list, simple bulletpoints that claim to illustrate something, anything:
kids selling toy-kalashinkovs in the street, people calling out 'welcome, how are you', kids in the small village of deir ghassanah being excited, welcoming, and friendly; figs and more ripe figs given to me by children; the cattle-herding chaos and indignity of qalandia checkpoint, watching people with the correct documents being turned back, over and over again; smears of paint thrown at israeli checkpoints; god-knows-how-old bullet holes in the walls of jerusalem's zion gate, hundreds of muslims praying outside of damascus gate because they were refused entry, an unmarked jeep with civilian-dressed men holding assault rifles speeding by, israeli soldiers/civilians casually walking with assault rifles, the smoldering anger of palestinians against this injustice, a young boy who wants to "take back his country", sweets given to me for free, an incessant sense of curiosity and warmth, a music performance from a music organization founded by a rock-throwing former refugee, an architect's offhand remark about being shot in the knee and having been in prison, posters about martyred/imprisoned palestinian men, a young man's solo room with photos of arafat, hussein, and hitler all alike; pflp logos spraypainted on walls here and there; piles of rubble from construction or maybe from something else; a post-iftar/breakfast-dinner performance in the midst of ancient roman ruins; ahmed, the student at bierzeit university who is busy working at eiffel sweets; adhan prayers ringing across the valley each evening; dry, warm, violet sunsets;
above this all I repeated to myself that this is living here. did I say something like that before? I feel things living, and stretching, flexible and adaptable. people breathing and changing. the elasticity of existence.
so what have I learned? good question. who knows. that life is elastic. that people adapt. that conflicts that run deep are hard. that people become angry when people are killed, threatened, imprisoned, controlled, exiled. that people become angry when people are killed, threatened, captured, bombed. that religion and land and sanctity and holiness are strong axioms, the strongest of them all. that even if the israel/palestine issue is less of a religious one and more of a nationalistic one (which it is) then land and livelihood and dignity and security are also strong, strong, strong axioms.
what is that phrase? berger - against axioms we agree to disagree. we fall to our knees and accept the clash of axioms as opinions, neither judgeable until another axiom is adapted as an internal criterion; there is no neutral third party; all viewing is imbrication, participation.
that is perhaps why (have I talked about this again?) the phrase 'justice' is perhaps the most sinister of all; also unhelpful and sinister phrases are: 'love', 'justice', 'right', and so on. justice presupposes a pre-existing criterion; the question of justice is the application of a morality that defines quality/justness/rightness. when you have a situation in which the systems of moralities themselves are clashing against each other, perhaps you are in the space of pre-justice, which is itself a political space. ranciere: politics is not agreeing whether something is white or not; politics is an initial agreement onto what the word white means in the first place.
even 'peace' is subject to this; there is a 'peace' perhaps more grounded in a bodily reality; the reality of skin-not-being-broken, blood-not-being-shed. but then just after that: is an exile without bloodshed 'peaceful'? is a theoretical occupation that happens to generate higher levels of living 'peaceful'?
and then inevitably: the thing meant by the word "peace" will have to be this messy dirty earthy thing, always, an active haggling between pros and cons, gives and takes. never an abstract shining absolute. I'll take five of that for seven of this; let's trade, barter, calculate difference, a quarter fraction of this, a pinch of that, subtract this, here we go. never anything exact or absolute or clean-cut; never a single solution or answer; perhaps just a series of messy messy messy resolutions that will leave each side wondering if it was the right thing.