Hello, friends and enemies. I don’t have a lot of big thoughts this week, partly because I’m tired since the Huey Alarm meowed me awake before seven this morning (rude) and partly because I spent the last week hyper-focused on Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving behind us, I’ve had a nice, relaxing weekend of doing as little as possible and it has been great.
Books and Other Words
I’m still working to learn more about the Middle East and the situation in Israel/Palestine, so I read another book on the subject, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi who is Palestinian himself and a historian of nationalism and colonialism in the Middle East. I found this book to be very thorough, accessible, and well-sourced without being super long. You don’t need a degree in Middle Eastern studies to understand the book because Khalidi lays out the history so clearly. However, if you are more of an expert, there are loads of citations, including to lots of primary sources, that you can follow up on. As to the content, well, I saw a tweet (that of course now I can’t find!) recently that said something to the effect of “Everyone said this subject was too complicated. They did not expect us to read up.” Just … history and the facts of the situation are not looking good for Israel here. For example, in 1918, when Zionists were creating the idea of Israel, they made sure not to mention that “the Zionist program required the expulsion of the Arabs, because that would cause the Jews to lose the world’s sympathy.” They knew it was going to be bad press from day one! In 1919, when the U.S. was assessing the situation, a commission concluded that supporting establishing Israel “commit[s] the American people to the use of force in that area, since only by force can a Jewish state in Palestine be established or maintained.” Here we still are! Or, as Khalidi states, they “accurately predicted the course of the subsequent century.” Khalidi makes it clear that none of this could be happening without America’s complicity. I was both cheered and dismayed by the chapter on the First Intifada, a popular Palestinian uprising against Israel that describes how seeing the images of Palestinian suffering, similar to what we’re seeing on social media now, led to a swell of support for Palestine in the court of public opinion. However, the news cycle continued and people forgot about it over time. Khalidi writes that Gaza is even more tightly controlled now than it was during the First Intifada. Of course, now we have social media, too, and everyone has a little camera in their pocket. Maybe we will see some change for the better this round. That said, Biden is the top of recipient of donations from pro-Israel lobbying groups and just this week Haaretz reported that the U.S. is going to encourage Israel to develop Gaza’s offshore gas reserves. It’s capitalism every time, baby!
World events aside, I did some less serious reading this week too. I finished Martha Wells’ next two Murderbot books, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy. I also re-read Freya Marske’s A Marvelous Light because the third and final book in that series has been published. I don’t re-read all the books of a series every time a new one drops but, especially for a final book, I like to read through the series again so I can get maximum appreciation of the story and this one is definitely worth it.
Normally, this is where I post some links to what I’ve been reading online. However, I haven’t read anything interesting online in the last week or so because I got obsessed with this little game instead. Have fun!
It’s funny to me that, when I try to speak a new language, my brain tries to pull vocabulary from all over the place. In my Icelandic class this week, I was trying to speak a little more, which is hard in any language but I think especially tricky in Icelandic. When I was assembling things to say and didn’t know something or couldn’t think of a word fast enough, I kept wanting to use Spanish words and phrases. Like, I know we’re not using English so my memory is like “Can I interest you in some not-English?” I’m glad to know that my Spanish is solid enough to try to fill in the gaps but it’s a little annoying. I’ve also been seeing a lot of Arabic online lately and, despite years of study in college, I’ve forgotten a lot so my memory is trying to fit it into what I’ve been doing more recently. So, I’ll read something in Arabic and then think of similar-sounding Icelandic words. Also very annoying! I need everything to stay in its lane! (I also need to re-learn Arabic properly but I am unfortunately forced to work and can’t do what I want full time. Alas. MacArthur grant when??)
It’s almost dance recital season! If you’re reading this, you’re invited to my dance recital. It’s on December 15 at 7 p.m. and you can buy tickets here. I know you all live for my performances!
It was, of course, Thanksgiving this week. As someone who likes to cook, I do enjoy the challenge of getting so many different things ready to eat at the same time, even if it is a lot of work. I kept my menu fairly consistent this year, but I did add this corn casserole, which was pretty good but not amazing. I also tried this sweet potato casserole recipe, which we liked a lot. It’s basic but it’s good! I added a little mocktail to the presentation and tried out these pomegranate tonics, which we liked but they were not as pink and beautiful as the website photo would have you believe. Also I think I could have achieved an equally good beverage just by mixing pomegranate juice and club soda. On the subject of pomegranate, I made a pomegranate gelato because I can’t handle just having pies for dessert. This is fucking good! I’m ready to turn around and make another batch this week. Finally, as a bread aficionado, I tried a new bread recipe. I think this one is a keeper. It’s pull-apart sour cream and chive rolls and they are so soft and good. All that said, I am highly ready to return to some more normal (less casserole-based) cooking.
Finally, here are some cat photos for your nerves. Enjoy everyone sleeping in weird little places.