Thursday, November 8, 2012

Headlines; Israel; Knopfler/Dylan Tour 2012 (Part 1)

Last time I wrote in here was on August 25. I was going to write a series of posts about what makes for a good software professional. I had many ideas to write about – actually, I still have – however life seems to have had different plans for my free time.

Other than being caught up with a lot of work, I also went for a short visit in Israel to spend some time with my beloved family and friends. It was the first time in ten years (!) since I spent the Jewish holidays’ time in Israel. I’m not religious by any means, but there’s something about the atmosphere in Israel during the High Holidays that makes it very special. And it was.

And just as it was special, it was hot. I arrived to Israel on a Saturday, noon time. Temperature outside was around 28℃ and I felt as if I’m going to have to peel my own skin off, in order to stay cool. From the airport, I headed straight to my sister’s house, where some extended family members were seated having cold drinks and snacks on the patio.

I looked at them.

– “How on earth can you withstand this heat?”

One of them looked at me as if I have just arrived from outer space.

– “Heat? It’s nice outside! Can’t you feel the breeze?”

It’s been ten years since I last felt the full force of Israeli summer. However, as it turns out, what I thought to be unbearable heat was actually considered mild weather in Israel nowadays. I was later told that, during the month of July, there was a period of about two weeks during which you couldn’t possibly be exposed to the sun for more than a few seconds without desiring to curse the entire world and its sister.

I have no idea how people there stand the heat. Humidity at around 3,000%. You take a shower, wipe yourself dry, and on your way back to your room to get dressed – you’re already sweating again. Insane.

Two weeks earlier, at one pleasant Saturday evening, I spoke to my father on the phone. He was telling me – as he usually does – how unbearable life in Israel has become. I won’t get into the details (now) but suffice to say, “security” is not the only problem Israel is facing. The country has been led by a few incompetent governments that pretty much wiped out the entire so-called “middle class”.

So, I decided to write something. Israel’s Prime Minister happens to have a Facebook page, where he posts populist propaganda in Hebrew as well as English. Fifteen minutes later, a post – in both Hebrew and English – written by yours truly, made its way there (see here).

I don’t know what it was that prompted me to do so, but I also contacted Y-Net, which only happens to be the most popular online Israeli newspaper, and asked them if they would like to publish my article. I got an email back within 5 minutes: apparently, someone there got the impression that my writing could be of interest to others.

The next day, I went for a hike in the Stawamus Chief, north of Vancouver. Just to give you a taste as to why this hike is so popular, consider these:


As I was struggling to make my way up, I suddenly got an email: my posting has made it to Y-Net’s front page, in both the Hebrew and English sites.

Turns out that my posting has hit a painful spot amongst readers. Comments were mixed, with some of them agreeing with my message and others being extremely harsh towards me – personally. Israelis absolutely hate it when outsiders criticize them, let alone when the outsider is someone who grew up there and decided to emigrate in search for a better life; needless to say, that hatred did find its way out in the form of extremely abusive comments.

Later on, a flurry of Facebook friends requests and private messages made its way to my inbox. The articles were also linked-to by a few online magazines that cater towards Israelis (and former Israelis) living abroad.

Regardless, I was happy for the opportunity I had to sound my voice; and just as I was happy for that, I was sad for the fact that Israel is being ruled by fascists and this is very unlikely to change soon.

Back to Canada on October 6. Four days later, a visitor who answers to the name Jeroen Gerrits made his appearance in Vancouver’s international airport, in preparation for our joint short attendance in this summer’s tour.

Oh, the tour. Yes, I completely forgot. Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan – having toured Europe last autumn – are doing this again, this time in the USA and Canada. For all sorts of reasons, a full tour attendance wasn’t on my plans this year; instead, I opted at following the tour from Vancouver to Los-Angeles. We’ll get into the reasons later. Or not.

Showed the Dutchman around the city for a couple of days, and then, on October 12, it started. Knopfler and Dylan’s tour made it to Vancouver, performing in the Rogers Arena on Friday evening.

Admittedly, it was strange – even very strange – to be able to leave my apartment and attend a Knopfler concert by merely walking a few blocks. As I live in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown, all major venues in the city are within walking distance and the Rogers Arena is one of them. Strange, really strange; usually, I fly to attend concerts; I drive; I sail; I’m being picked up by UPS trucks; but walk?! from my own apartment, into a Knopfler concert? that’s unheard of.

More about the tour – in the next post.


1 comment:

dee said...

great you're back Isaac: it is always funny reading you.
I cannot tell what has arisen more fuss: your letter to PM Netanyahu or your comments during previous Get Lucky Tour in Spain...:-) dee