Uit:My Left Foot
“Very worried by this, mother told my father her fears, and they decided to seek medical advice without any further delay. I was a little over a year old when they began to take me to hospitals and clinics, convinced that there was something definitely wrong with me, something which they could not understand or name, but which was very real and disturbing.
Almost every doctor who saw and examined me, labelled me a very interesting but also a hopeless case. Many told mother very gently that I was mentally defective and would remain so. That was a hard blow to a young mother who had already reared five healthy children. The doctors were so very sure of themselves that mothers faith in me seemed almost an impertinence. They assured her that nothing could be done for me.
She refused to accept this truth, the inevitable truthh as it then seemed”that I was beyond cure, beyond saving, even beyond hope. She could not and would not believe that I was an imbecile, as the doctors told her. She had nothing in the world to go by, not a scrap of evidence to support her conviction that, though my body was crippled, my mind was not. In spite of all the doctors and specialists told her, she would not agree. I don’t believe she knew why she just knew without feeling the smallest shade of doubt.
Finding that the doctors could not help in any way beyond telling her not to place her trust in me, or, in other words, to forget I was a human creature, rather to regard me as just something to be fed and washed and then put away again, mother decided there and then to take matters into her own hands. I was her child, and therefore part of the family. No matter how dull and incapable I might grow up to be, she was determined to treat me on the same plane as the others, and not as the ˜queer one” in the back room who was never spoken of when there were visitors present.”
Christy Brown (5 juni 1932 – 6 september 1981)
Uit: Wall: A Monologue
“On June 1, 2001, nine months into the second intifada, a Palestinian suicide bomber named Saeed Hotari crossed into Israel from the West Bank, and exploded himself at the entrance to the Dolphinarium discotheque on the beach in Tel Aviv, killing twenty-one civilians, most of them high school students. A further 132 people were injured. In response to the massacre, a grassroots movement grew up all over Israel calling itself Fence for Life. They argued, as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had argued ten years earlier, that the only way of protecting the country from infiltration by terrorists was by sealing itself off from the Palestinian territories, by removing the points of friction between the two communities. But separation would not be a purely military tactic. No, before he was murdered by a fellow Israeli, Rabin had been arguing something much more radical. “We have to decide on separation as a philosophy.”
There it is. Not just a wall. A wall would be a fact. But this wall is a philosophy, what one observer has called “a political code for shutting up shop.”
Construction began in 2002. The original plan was that the fence should stretch a full 486 miles, the entire length of Israel’s eastern border. The current estimate for its completion is some-time around the end of 2010. Varying in width between 30 and 150 meters, this $2 billion combination of trenches, electronic fences, ditches, watchtowers, concrete slabs, checkpoints, patrol roads, and razor coil is priced at around $2 million per kilometer. Some seventy-five acres of greenhouses and twenty-three miles of irrigation pipes have already been destroyed on the Palestinian side. More than 3,700 acres of Palestinian land have been confiscated, some of it so that the wall may run yards away from Palestinian hamlets and villages. Already, 102,000 trees have been cut down to clear its path.
It is, says an Israeli friend, an acknowledgment of failure. “History has not followed the course we might have wished.” Another way of putting it, later the same evening, after a few drinks in one of the big beachside hotels that are beginning to make the Bauhaus quarter of Tel Aviv look like Florida: “You do have to ask yourself: I’m not sure Ben-Gurion would be thrilled.”
David Hare (Sussex, 5 juni 1947)
Uit: Another Evening at the Club
“Her mother had herself laid them out on the silver-plated tray with its elaborately embroidered spread. When the two men had taken their coffee, her father had looked up at her with a smile and had told her to sit down, and she had seated herself on the sofa facing them, drawing the end of her dress over her knees and looking through lowered lids at the man who might choose her as his wife. She had been glad to see that he was tall, well-built and clean-shaven except for a thin greying moustache. In particular she noticed the well-cut coat of English tweed and the silk shirt with gold links. She had felt herself blushing as she saw him returning her gaze. Then the man turned to her father and took out a gold case and offered him a cigarette.
“You really shouldn’t, my dear sir,” said her father, patting his chest with his left hand and extracting a cigarette with trembling fingers. Before he could bring out his box of matches Abboud Bey had produced his lighter.
“No, after you, my dear sir,” said her father in embarrassment. Mingled with her sense of excitement at this man who gave out such an air of worldly self-confidence was a guilty shame at her father’s inadequacy.
After lighting her father’s cigarette Abboud Bey sat back, crossing his legs, and took out a cigarette for himself. He tapped it against the case before putting it in the corner of his mouth and lighting it, then blew out circles of smoke that followed each other across the room.
“It’s a great honour for us, my son,” said her father, smiling first at Abboud Bey, then at his daughter, at which Abboud Bey looked across at her and asked:
“And the beautiful little girl’s still at second school?”
She lowered her head modestly and her father had answered:
“As from today she’ll be staying at home in readiness for your happy life together, Allah permitting,” and at a glance from her father she had hurried off to join her mother in the kitchen.”
Alifa Rifaat (5 juni 1930 – 4 januari 1996)
Uit:Tiefer Sog, freundliches Plätschern (Recensie van „Zeit des Fasans“ door Reinhard Baumgart)
“Rekonstruktion ist in beiden Schichten, in der braven wie der kühnen, Aufgabe und Schreibziel: „Rekonstruktion von möglicher Geschichte und als Vermutung“. Die dreißiger und vierziger Jahre vor allem mit ihrer weltgeschichtlichen Blut- und Machtspur bis nach Jammers/SO und dahinter oder vielmehr davor die gewaltigen Schatten von Onkeln, Tanten, Vater, Mutter, Schwestern, Groß- und Urgroßvätern, dazu Geschichten von Bäumen, Hunden, Hengsten, Mardern und Hühnern, von Revolvern, Madonnen, Reitpeitschen, Schlagruten. Rekonstruktion einerseits am Faden einer bis in Traumschichten abgedrängten Erinnerung, Rekonstruktion andererseits mit dem Hilfsgerüst abrufbarer Geschichtsdaten und aufgeklärter Meinungen über deren Zusammenhang. Montage soll die so gebildeten Schichten und Geschichten, das Erfahrungsmaterial und das Aktenkundliche verbinden, vermitteln zwischen der epischen Sinnlichkeit und Phantasie des Walterschen Erzählens und einer bald klug, bald linkisch, aber immer sympathisch mit dem Blick von unten dazuarrangierten Zeitgeschichte. Doch die Hoffnung aller Montage, daß nämlich die Ränder der kalt gegeneinander gesetzten Fragmente nicht nur Grenzen markieren, sondern Verbindungen stiften, daß sie zu flimmern beginnen, ja verschmelzen – diese Hoffnung will sich hier kaum je einlösen.“
Otto F. Walter (5 juni 1928 – 24 september 1994)
Uit: Manservant and Maidservant
“You are rather old for a tutor,” said Marcus, “I thought they were generally young.”
“Some young men begin by being tutors, and pass on to something else.”
“Then you are a failure?” said Tamasin.
“I think I should be called one. I paid too much attention to my studies when I was young, and that does lead to people’s being tutors.”
“How old are you?” said Marcus
“I am forty-one.”
“Oh, quite a young man,” said Tamasin.
“Does your wife think you are a failure?” said Marcus.
“I am not married. I live with my mother and sister. If they think so, they do not betray it. Women are so loyal.”
“What do you do with the money you earn?” said Jasper. “If you have no wife, you can’t have children, and you don’t seem as if you spend very much on yourself.”
“Part of it I subscribe to the family expenses, and part to a fund that is to give me an income when I am old.”
“Your hair is gray now,” said Marcus.
“Yes, but that is premature. It merely gives me a personality.”
Ivy Compton-Burnett (5 juni 1884 – 27 augustus 1969)