11:53 am 10 notes
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
Not everything is lost.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. (via oliviacirce)
4:53 am 38,913 notes
American Football // The Summer Ends
“Thinking about leaving
How I should say goodbye
With a handshake or an embrace
Or a kiss on the cheek, possibly all three”
2:40 am 2,194 notes
Physicist pulls out of conference hosted by president Shimon Peres in protest at treatment of Palestinians
Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president’s conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday.
Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking’s approval described it as “his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there”.
7:35 pm 258 notes
— Tortoise, from a dialogue in Gödel, Escher, Bach (via theincompletenesstheorem)
6:16 pm 23 notes
5:23 pm 102 notes
Earlier this year Vladimir Tretchikoff’s portrait Chinese Girl, often referred to as The Green Lady, was sold for almost £1m ($1.5m) at auction in London - a reflection of its status as one of the most popular prints ever made. The model, Monika Pon-su-san, recalls what it was like to be thrust into the limelight.
One day in 1950, a curly-haired stranger walked into my uncle’s laundry in Cape Town, where I worked.
He stood there as I served a customer, his eyes fixed on me the whole time. He only spoke when we were alone together in the shop.
“Hello!” he said. “I’m Tretchikoff. I’d love to paint you.”
At that time Vladimir Tretchikoff wasn’t very famous but by chance I had read about him in a newspaper just the Saturday before.
So I was a bit nervous, but I said yes. He picked me up after work and took me back home.
I was given his wife’s gown to put on. It was silk chiffon - beautiful, beautiful stuff. It wasn’t yellow like in the painting - that was his own invention.
A lot of people ask me: “What is that stern look you had on your face? What were you thinking about?” And I always say: “Well you know, one gets tired sitting and just looking.”
All the time I was thinking about Tretchikoff’s life. Because he had had a miserable life - during the war he’d been on a boat for three weeks without food, after his ship was bombed. Then he was imprisoned by the Japanese.
He had lost contact with his wife and daughter. Thinking they were dead he took a lover, but they weren’t dead, and as fate would have it they went to Cape Town, which is where he ended up too. So they got back together again.
I liked him very much. He was a funny man - we always laughed a lot. In all, I was paid six pounds and five shillings for the work.
He had a class of about 20 pupils. All the time I was sitting for him they could see me but I was never allowed to see the painting - it always had its back to me.
I would nag him: “What are you going to call it?” He said that a name would come to him later on. It was only at the end of the six or 10 weeks - I can’t remember exactly how long it took - on the night his exhibition opened that he said it was called Chinese Girl. I thought that was very ordinary.
And when I saw the painting I was so shocked. I thought I looked like a monster from a horror film. I pulled an ugly face and said: “Ugh - green face!”
Right away people started to recognise me. I remember going to a supermarket and a woman shouted: “Look at this girl! She looks just like the painting!”
I decided I had to buy a print. By the time I went to him Tretchikoff had run out, so he gave me one he had used in London when he was on tour. I’ve got it in my lounge.
There was a block of flats in Cape Town, filled with artists. The man on the ground floor was a sculptor and one day he asked Tretchikoff: “Can I borrow your model?” He wanted to cast a bronze of my face. But Tretchikoff said: “Certainly not!”
I had so many modelling offers but - stupid me - I went and got married and had children, so that was that. I didn’t socialise much, with five children to look after, so I was hidden away from Cape Town’s artists. The offers stopped coming.
I was so disappointed to miss the auction recently. My daughters said to me: “The painting’s sold! The painting’s sold!” And when I found out it had gone for £1m, I jumped up and down, up and down!
Everybody’s fascinated by that painting. I don’t know what it is about it really.
One of my daughters - the second youngest, who is supposed to look like me - said: “I wish I had a lot of money and then I would buy that painting and keep it forever in my own house.”
When I was asked by a journalist if I would let another artist paint me at this moment in time, I said: “No… but if Tretchikoff were alive, I would let him paint me again.”
4:40 pm 42,807 notes
Photos that speak: Fuck your fountain. Fuck your tree. Fuck voter suppression. Fuck your labels. Fuck your stereotypes. Fuck your hatred. Fuck your restaurants. Fuck that dude. Fuck police brutality. Fuck white supremacy.
5:46 pm 8 notes
Google adopts ‘Palestine’
Internet giant Google has changed the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine”.
The change, introduced on 1 May, means google.ps now displays “Palestine” in Arabic and English under Google’s logo.
Using the word Palestine is controversial for some. Israeli policy is that the borders of a Palestinian state are yet to be agreed.
In November, the UN gave Palestine the status of “non-member observer state”.
The decision by the General Assembly was strongly opposed by Israel and the United States. Previously, Palestine only had “observer entity” status.
It followed an unsuccessful Palestinian bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council.
Palestinians in general seek recognition for the state they are trying to establish and the adoption of the name Palestine.
Israel considers any formal use of the word Palestine as pre-judging the outcome of currently stalled peace talks. In much of Israel’s official terminology the West Bank is referred to as Judea and Samaria.
In a statement given to the BBC on Friday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said: “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries.
“In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed Google’s decision.
“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories,” Dr Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC.
“Most of the traffic that happens now happens in the virtual world and this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps,” he added.
Dr Saidam said that since the UN vote on 29 November, the PA had written to international companies, including Google, asking them to replace their usage of “Palestinian Territories” with “Palestine”.
“Israel says Palestinian statehood should be reached through negotiations, not unilateral moves.”
In November’s UN vote, 138 nations voted to recognize a state of Palestine, nine voted against and 41 abstained.
It is not a unilateral move when 138 nations support Palestinian statehood.
1:07 am 377 notes
7:05 pm 456 notes
A bale of Red-footed tortoises(Chelonoidis carbonaria) feasting on lettuce
2:52 am 2 notes
《蒙古人》”The Mongolian” (Quintet)