Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bella Freud & Hoping Foundation & Hideous Kinky

I've been meaning to do a longer post on the Hoping Foundation's recent (July) charity event that raised 430,000 pounds sterling for Palestinian children. Among those who performed were: David Gilmour and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Nick Cave, Tom Jones, and Kate Moss (yes, she sang back-up and played tambourine). And maybe I will in future still do that post.

But then I came across this photo (source here) of Kate Moss and Hoping Foundation co-founder Bella Freud at the event.

I guess if I lived in the UK I might know that (a) Bella is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund; (b) she is a well-known fashion designer; (c) she has been an outspoken critic of Israel and (d) she is the elder sister of Esther Freud, author of the autobiographical novel Hideous Kinky (made into a fairly decent movie, starring Kate Winslet).

Having seen the movie (but not yet having read the book), here's what I like about what I learned about Bella Freud. Hippy mom who is way into Sufism drags her daughters off to Morocco in search of spirituality and exoticism. The elder daughter, who survives this difficult ordeal, which includes a nearly-fatal bout of streptococcus, returns to the UK and...grows up to become a successful fashion designer with a political conscience.

So let's not overdo it with making fun of the "Orientalism" of all those hippy treksters and seekers after spirituality who descended on Morocco in the sixties and seventies.

Multi-colored Kufiyas, Arab-American National Museum, Dearborn

Some activists have decried the fact that kufiyas, over the last 5 years, have become multi-colored, thereby seeming to diminish the 'original' & political purpose of wearing the kufiya: to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

I've come to like the multi-colored kufiyas, and think that the proliferation of colors, as well as scarves, creates even more possibilities for Palestine symps to talk to more people about Palestine.

The Arab-American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, has very nice kufiyas, in many colors, many of them made in Syria. Check them out here--some as cheap as $12. I bought a really nice brown one.

I'd like to wear it the next time I get on an airplane. But I'm worried that I might run into Juan Williams, and that he might hit me--out of fear.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fair Trade Palestinian Olive Oil from Alter Eco

My brother Ray sent me this photo. (Thanks, Ray!) He bought this at his local food co-op in Eureka, California.

I wish I could buy some at mine!

This is from Alter Eco, an outfit based in San Franciso that specializes in Fair Trade food products.

This olive oil comes from the Canaan Cooperative, in Jenin, West Bank. The olives are Rumi.

My only quibble is that the olive oil is "extra virgin." Traditional olive oil from Palestine that is not "extra virgin" tastes much better, much more robust, much more flavorful. My friend Anne Meneley is doing research on Palestinian fair trade olive oil; she notes the unfortunate effects of the yuppy craze for "extra virgin" on Palestinian olive oil production.

In any case, this is well worth a try. You can order a bottle for yourself online here. $19.99 for a 12.7 oz. bottle. Try it on your homemade hummos. Or mix it with some garlic and yogurt, for a delicious dip. Que viva Palestina.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Update on Cheb Mami: Parole denied

Jean-Marc HAEDRICH / VISUAL Press Agency

From RFI, October 12, 2010, this item, entitled: "Franco-Algerian star refused parole"

Maghreb music star Cheb Mami has had his appeal for parole rejected, his lawyer said Tuesday. Mami was sentenced to five years in prison in July 2009 for attempting to induce his girlfriend's abortion by force.

Mami had submitted a request for parental parole to see his two-year-old son, who was born while the singer was in hiding in Algeria. The judge in Melun rejected the request because the son is not in France, but in Algeria.

In August 2005, Mami's then-girlfriend Camille
[this is incorrect, his girlfriend is named Isabelle Simon- TS] was forced to a villa in Algeria after telling Mami that she was pregnant. She was then drugged by two women and a man who tried to force her to abort the child. Camille subsequently gave birth to a healthy girl, who is now four.

The prosecutor said the star will be eligible for parole at the end of February.

Another report I read said Mami plans to appeal the ruling.

My previous post on Mami's conviction is here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"The Good Wife" discusses: Hamas, the Gaza flotilla, the cultural boycott of Israel...

Thanks to Noa, who alerted me to this. I had not seen "The Good Wife" previously, but now I am going to start watching this series. You've gotta see this episode (broadcast on October 12).

A macher in the gay community who also happens to be Jewish causes a big drop in donations to Peter's Attorney General campaign. Not, as it turns out, because Peter's brother-in-law said (it was a joke) that Peter was homophobic, but because Peter was photographed carrying a copy of Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. Peter is forced by his campaign aide to host the potential Jewish donor at a Yom Kippur dinner, where he will be expected to give his mea culpas and to proclaim his undying support for Israel.

At the dinner Peter and his aide express their 1000% support for Israel, the cultural boycott (Elvis Costello, The Pixies) of Israel is mentioned as a terrible thing. Then, Peter and Alicia's daughter reveals that the book was in fact hers, and she proceeds to argue with the Jewish (potential) donor, and criticizes the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla.

What is interesting is that Peter and Alicia don't chide or shut up their daughter (probably they don't agree with her). Her position, critical of Israel and sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, is not punished. It is permitted, and not contested. Moreover, the Jewish guy is made to seem rather creepy and small-minded for going after Peter for simply carrying a book--which turned out not to be his in any case.

Rather remarkable for US television.