click the link below for the q9 timeline:
Dear all queeruptors, actual and potential,
Sorry to jump on the bandwagon, but I was so inspired by people's
responses from Tel Aviv that I felt I should give something of my
perspective about the upcoming queeruption in case it helped anyone in
considering whether to go or not.
I arrived in Tel Aviv in January and have been working with the
organising group since then in a state of perpetual surprise and
inspiration. really. Few times in my life have i felt so connected with
a community of people working so hard on something amazing and few times
have i felt so supported and cared for. Out of the idea for a safespace
during Q9 we created the t-team – a trauma team for activists in
israel-palestine (or at least the israeli side so far) and have hence
created something desperately needed that's been a great source of
personal support and learning for me. I also had the opportunity to tour
on behalf of queeruption in catalunya, spain, galicia and the basque
country and every time i showed the movie and spoke about q9 i felt proud
to be part of something so damn cool.
Right now i'm back in England and i've been talking to folks who are
thinking about not booking their flights to t.a. or cancelling them or
whatever and i feel saddened that q9 will be missing so many amazing
people because of the incredibly shitty happenings of this week. i can't
say that i personally feel any less safe about flying to tel aviv right
now than i did 6 months ago. the time i've spent in palestine made it
perfectly clear to me that the war there is perpetual and though bombs
might not be 'raining' onto 'israeli soil' every day, it's clear that the
danger lies in who you are and where you live. i don't imagine the
privilage of being in tel aviv and not beirut, gaza city, bil'in, sderot
or wherever has changed so drastically in the last few days.
I do understand how it seems from afar. right now i'm trying hard to
limit my input from the mass media and trust instead in the views of my
friends who i've found to be much much more reliable. i also understand
that it's hard to imagine planning parties and sex parties and porn
workshops when 'israel's at war'. but i have to say, from my limited
understanding, that israel always is. that's the situation when you
organise a queeruption somewhere like tel aviv. there's occupation,
there's war, there's religious fanaticism in jerusalem that offers
rewards to anyone who attacks gays during world pride. And there's also
an amazing network of people opposing all of that, constructing
something beautiful and free and respectful in its place. there are
people taking direct action and people supporting them. there are
people opening a new world through party and people breaking boundaries
with sex. there are people who worked for over year to make the best
daydreaming at my computer at work, inspired by the thoughts of friends,
i can't wait to be back in tel aviv.
This is a personal and completely subjective account of what's happening to ME over here in tel aviv. I know that watching the news from afar can be stressful because you always get a feeling that somethis bad is happening is some other part of the world and you don't exactly know what because you are not there, so this is just to tell you what's up.
Yes there are bombs falling on this country. And they aren't in tel aviv. Yet. I personally don't know anyone who lives up north or in haifa where the missles have landed, but my roommate does and she's constantly on the phone with her family who are sitting in bombshelters. Meanwhile in tel aviv life looks as usual when you look around, with some exceptions: everyone's tv's and radios are turned on all the time to get live updates and people talk all the time on the street about war. The discussion on the street is so pro-war, racist and violent that even when we chant at a demonstration against war slogans that are as non-radical and simplified as "No to war, yes to peace" we get very very angry responses from the brainwashed masses who are convinced by the media and all sorts of high-ranking army generals that this war is necessary. On internet websites like gaydar, for instance, traffic is at peak rates “ I guess war makes people horny, or is it the thought that soon theyâ€™ll be enlisted in the army up north and won't have another opportunity to fuck. As about me “ I'm not scared, I'm depressed. Depressed of the complete ruins of Lebanon, of the rising death toll from a war that is so fallic and male-ego driven, on the disguisting dialogue that is prevelant in israeli media and on the street that makes no room for expressing opposition to war and is completely careless at anyone who dies who isn't jewish or israeli – for whom over the death of over a hundred people doesn't count if they're not jewish. my need to scream against the war is rising.
But no, I'm not scared and neither is most anyone I know. The general feeling around me and my friends is that even if something happens in tel aviv, no one is going to leave this city. No matter what will happen, I don't see tel aviv being hit anything remotely like beirut is, or having any real war-like situation happening here, and sorry, sitting in bombshelters a little bit isn't quite war.
I guess that there are a few things that should be made clear about the middle east: one is that disregard with the thought of planning for the future is common here (for example the idea of planning something like the queeruption a year in advanc)
because you never fucking know what you'll wake up to the next morning that will ruin all of your plans. The second thing is that even under warlike conditions, siege, occupation, incursions, etc. people continue on living their lives. Whether it's road blocks or checkpoints or the apartheid wall in palestine, people still go to school and work, even if it takes them three hours instead of half an hour. People in israel will go to work and school the day after sitting in a bombshelter. Life here continues. It's not pleasant, but it's a part of living in the middle east. And no one is panicking over it either. For this reason, I like others in the queeruption think that plans for the queeruption will continue as usual.
And these are some of the reasons expressed by the israeli queeruptors to keep on going (this could be seen as a sales pitch of as to why you should come here, but like ishai said in his letter, just because I don't feel scared I don't think that I should convince anyone who feels scared or unsafe to come here. Such feelings are understandable.)
we are not expecting a harsh or devastating war. At best nothing will happen here and at worse we will sit a bit in some bombshelters. What will happen if the queeruption will be cancelled? We will have paid a lot of money to rent a huge club that will sit empty and will have thrown a year's worth of planning and work away just so either nothing will happen or at worse, if something does happen, we'll be stranded each one in his or her home in front of the tv and bummed out that there is no queeruption. Instead, if we hold the queeruption we can unite our powers to have some fun together at a time we need it, to empower our queer community, and to use our collective prescence to resist the war. As someone mentioned at a meeting we had, more people die in suicide bombings than in all the people who died in haifa and all the suicide bombings didn't stop people from coming here for tourist purposes. But say, worse comes to worse, we can sit together in a bombshelter, hug each other, have sex, throw anti-war parties “ bombshelters are sexy! “ which is so much more than what we will do at home.
No one thinks its dangerous enough not to live here, and we won't leave tel aviv, and for this reason we all think it's safe enough to come here.. A part of the idea to move the queeruption from the safe harbor of europe into the lands of the middle east is to make more political and attunted to what's happening in the sphere around them. Unfortunatelly, I think that essentially this is life in the middle east. People who will come here will both have an opportunity to feel it and to act against it, which is why coming here is important. And personally, a queeruption live from the bombshelter, as unlikely as that will happen, is an exciting thought to me.
Should anything happens and we will lose our feeling of safety and need to modify our scheduled plans for the queeruption like if the world pride is cancelled, we promise to let you know and you can re-assess the situation.
Sending kisses of peace
It feels out of context to write this message as people are being killed in Lebanon and in Gaza, as civilian neighborhoods and infrastructure are being devastated, and as whole villages are being targeted and ordered to be evacuated and their residents become refugees… and still, I think this message should be written and sent.
When we started working on the 2006 queeruption it was clear that it would happen while the Israeli oppression in the Palestinian Occupied Territories continues, as well as the global war of Bush and so many other expressions of oppression and brutality. The queeruption is both an opportunity to directly confront these evils and an even rarer opportunity "to be what we believe in" – something which i believe to be most necessary to any kind of activism, though it always seems that no time is right for that.
I think that it is very clear that we will need to dedicate a lot of energies to protesting the escalating aggression of Israel in the region, which makes having the queeruption here more relevant than ever. But this also means more work on ourselves, and maybe also more need for space to relax and contemplate. Which eventually brings me to the subject of this e-mail.
As part of this exploration we decided to have the last days of the queeruption outside the traditional urban scene – in nature. It is not a totally new experiment – radical faeries and queer pagans have done it before and survived. And it does have the potential to open new ways and liberties in our relations to our bodies, to each other and to our environment; to experience inner and outer nature in a new way – and at least search new ways of DIY culture outside urban settings. Last but not least, these days can give us some space to relax and contemplate after the intensive urban days, and after the worldpride march – which now (with all the homophobic opposition to it) is kind of guaranteed to be dramatic.
What do we need for the nature days to succeed?
We need your talents.
If you drum;
If you can facilitate a meditation session;
If you can teach (or just give) massage;
If you want to talk with others on witchcraft and queer politics;
If you want to share your experience in environmental activism;
If you want to organize some ritual;
If you are ready to facilitate a yoga workshop;
If you can facilitate any other activity that feels fit to the nature days….
Contact us so we can arrange in advance, and tell us if you need any special equipment. Of course, on-the-spot initiatives are more than welcome (but we do have this inner need to know in advance that things are working out well..).
You do not necessarily need a tent for the nature days. The weather will allow sleeping outside in your sleeping bag (if it is not too warm) or sheets, and this will be the general sleeping arrangement. However, you might want to consider bringing a tent – it has some advantages, after all…
Other things you might want to bring are:
Musical instruments (the kinds that are not dependent on electricity);
Your own dishes (plate, cup, fork, spoon, knife…) – I guess this goes for the whole queeruption;
Clothes that you would otherwise never dare wearing (or that someone else who might be there might otherwise never dare wearing…);
Mosquito repellent (this also goes for the whole event).
If you want to participate in organizing the nature days, if you have any ideas or questions, if you have any special needs that we should arrange for in advance, or if you are able to contribute in any of the ways mentioned or not mentioned here – please contact us!
You can contact the nature team through Yossi at firstname.lastname@example.org
do you think it`s problematic to go out from Israel/palestina with min Dv-Material?
a lot of people are doing it. some of them (espicially people who are sespected in solidarity work in the occupied teritories) get some problems with it at the air port. it's shouldn't be a big deal. you can also send it by mail to your country and save any problems.
is it problematic to film there without a press card?
no, it's not a problem, though sometime press card can help you.
could i make copies some where? is there the possibillity to edit the material somewhere? do you have an videocollective or people who could help?
it should be possible. you should check it with indymedia group or some individuals in the queeruption.
i will organise a paper from the artschool that says im on a artproject. do you think that can help?
yes. it might help.
The following can be useful for those people planning to go to Tel Aviv from Europe by car or by public transportation via Turkey, Syria and Jordan, especially if going back home crossing those countries again. If you dont plan carefully about the difficult visa policies among all these countries you can be in the middle of a nightmare when trying to go back home (or even on your way to Tel Aviv).
If you dont feel like reading all the boring explanations below, just follow this brief rules in bold:
1. Get your Syrian visa at the Syrian embassy in your country. If you plan to cross Syria twice (one-way and return) get a multiple entry visa.
2. When entering Syria, dont say you plan to go to Israel/Palestine or you have been there. Dont bring with you anything that could make them suspect you plan to visit Israel/Palestine or you have been there (Israel guidebooks, Hebrew writing, phone numbers, things bought in Israel ). If you go back to Europe across Syria, avoid stamps in your passport which are a proof of your stay: Israeli stamps, of course, but also Egyptian or Jordan stamps at the border-crossing to/from Israel. Jordanians and Israeli will accept stamping a separate sheet, but Egyptians wont. Avoid also issuing any visa at any embassy in Israel.
3. If you plan to re-enter Jordan when leaving Israel/Palestine AND you plan to enter Syria later, get a multiple entry Jordan visa at home or at a Jordan embassy/consulate in any third country before arriving in Jordan the first time.
Good luck you all.
SYRIAN VISAS: Have your Syrian visa issued at the Syrian Embassy in your own country (or country where you live). Dont take for granted you can get a Syrian visa in Syrian embassies or consulates in Turkey or any other third country. In most cases you cant get it, or else you can get it only after a long bureaucratic delay (weeks, not days).
If you plan to cross Syria twice (returning home via Syria again), you should get a multiple entry visa at home (dont get a one-entry visa). If you dont, youll have to do a lot of paperwork in Syrian Embassy in Jordan when trying to enter Syria in your way back home; this process can be several days (or weeks) long.
Take in account the rule by which you are not allowed to enter Syria (or Lebanon) if they find out you plan to go to or you have been to Palestine or Israel, and this makes advisable extending your entrance visa in Jordan up to 3 months (free of charge) in Amman before going to Israel/Palestine (as it was explained in a former mail).
JORDAN VISAS: You can not get a multiple entry visa at Jordan borders only a one-entry visa. If you get a one-entry visa at the Syrian-Jordanian border you wont face any problem for entering Jordan the first time, but this will involve a lot of problems when trying to enter Jordan again from Israel/Palestine in King Hussein bridge (a.k.a. Allenby bridge) border, as they dont issue any kind of visa at that border. So youll have to go back to Tel Aviv for getting a new Jordan visa at Jordan embassy (and youll pay twice the pricey Israeli exit fee); this new Jordan visa you get in Jordan embassy in Israel will allow you the entrance back in Jordan, but will stop you automatically when trying to re-enter Syria from Jordan as it will be a proof youve been to Israel/Palestine. SOLUTION: make sure you get a multiple entry Jordanian visa at the embassy/consulate in your country before starting your trip or at any Jordan embassy or consulate in any third country (Turkey, or even Syria) before entering Jordan the first time.
DRIVING YOUR OWN CAR: Beware of very aggressive driving in Turkey and Syria. Contact Turkish, Syrian and Jordan Embassies and ask for information about driving your own car in these countries, as special car permits and/or international driving licenses may apply for nationals of different countries. Most Europeans can use their national driving licenses in Jordan and Syria, but check it just the case. Some friends of mine had problems when trying to cross borders in the middle east without certain requirements related to their car. Though petrol is very cheap in most of these countries, Jordan taxes for private vehicles from abroad are very expensive (abusive). So public transportation could be a better idea than bringing your car with you in Jordan. Cheaper, with no doubt. Public transportation in the middle east is frequent and cheap (buses and shared taxis, at some routes also trains).