How armed extremist men reach decision-making levels of EU capitals: The irresponsible case of Vilnius

While some EU countries struggle with the concept of humanity (un)extended to the „other“ [those who arrive on our shores in capsizing boats, or those who run through barbed wire to expected safety, only to be locked in cages and thrown out of train stations with babies in their arms], the mayor of my country‘s capital hires an illegal Israeli settler-colonist as his public  adviser.

On Friday, the 4th September Remigijus Šimašius, elected mayor of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, announced on his Facebook page that one Daniel Lupshitz – member of the Israeli army, illegal colonist in the occupied West Bank and a man who publicly declares his love of guns as well as his disappointment that Gaza was not levelled to the ground during the summer 2014 invasion – has been invited to advise the mayor of an EU capital city on matters that were not publicly declared.

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Let me share with you some thoughts that have crept into my mind since. Spoiler alert: this isn’t about some alleged “global Jewish conspiracy” and it has nothing to do with the declared religion of any of the involved.

To note, the announcement of this appointment couldn’t have been done in a more undiplomatic manner; Mr Šimašius posted a photo (see below) of this new adviser geared in ultra-religious equipment and holding an automatic assault rifle most likely belonging to the self-proclaimed “most moral army in the world”. As if an army could ever be a moral compass.

We see in this photo an armed person who believes, according to his public statements, that God gave his nation the “Holy Land”, and who tells an EU capital that he will “do his best to make order [t]here”. How, exactly? By scowling with an assault rifle?

Vilnius mayor Mr Šimašius publicly presented his new adviser as “the knight of goodness“ and “the warrior of light”. As a friend of mine, an expert of Ancient Greece and the Greek language, wrote – “the Goodness“ and “the Light” are probably chocking at this presentation of them.

Now, you will rightly ask me, what does that have to do with the larger-scale serious issues?

Lithuania, an EU member state since 2004, has been refusing to accept any refugees whatsoever. None.11838841_10204757938370039_6971288302797986736_o

However following all sorts of naming-and-shaming as well as diplomatic means, our president Dalia Grybauskaitė finally “agreed” to take in 325 (not thousands!) refugees, mainly from Syria. They will be allowed to start arriving to this territory on the 1 January, 2016. Yes, you read it right. Yes, it’s September now.

Truth must be told: Lithuania does not have a good record of neither accepting refugees nor providing for their basic needs such as food and housing.  On the other hand, perhaps, given Europe’s current refugee crisis, nobody here has a good record; yet some populations tend to have larger numbers of people in a good relationship with decency. Mine doesn’t. Especially when we talk about some “terrorist Muslims” who are coming to “occupy and destroy our pure white Catholic country”. Obviously, they have nothing better to do.

In such context, what do you think a person like the one in the picture would possibly advise our liberal smiley mayor regarding these refugees? As they say, when you think that it cannot get worse, always be ready for more.

It is no news that every place has its own characters who abuse public space and social media networks in order to be noticed, so they can continue to rabble-rouse hatred and disunity; we also know that for some of us such acts are extremely shameful and embarrassing. In Lithuanian we call it “an alien shame”: we feel and experience the shame on behalf of another and it hurts.

It hurts and I feel I owe an apology on behalf of the new mayor of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, whose newest adviser publicly accuses professors, journalists, experts, activists of being donkeys, idiots, liars, Russian fascists, dogs, clowns etc.

This new adviser also promises to advise his “rich fellow Israelis to throw their shekels [Israeli currency] to our city”. This remark was posted on the same day as the appointment and, I’m afraid, it clearly shows that we were sold.

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I apologize. Screen Shot 02-04-15 at 04.56 PM Screen Shot 02-04-15 at 05.02 PM Screen Shot 02-04-15 at 05.56 PM Screen Shot 02-04-15 at 06.05 PM11933413_10204784047822759_4519540870454299459_n

Greece, Kos island – at the height of the “Grexit“

A few times in my life I have had a popular holiday and even less times (exactly, none) I have gone to a very very “charter flighted“ destination, yet this summer was my “break through“ AND there it was – Greece. I know, I know, you are smiling… At the very heat of the consultations on the deal between troika and Greece in Brussels – I decide to ignore this as much as possible and enjoy spending some euro in a country where no one is paying by a card anymore.

I have spent one week on an island Kos – wonderful place to forget many harsh things happening around the world or even closer… in the city of Kos…namely the refugees… breaks the heart… What breaks the heart more is the faces of the tourists when they pass buy a group of these darker smelly sad and poor human beings… even more so, when there are written opinions in media about how “those“ ruined the holiday… (point one)

(Point two) The Greeks (in Kos) when asked about the whole shabang with the crisis – sing one very narrow and painful song – Europe is taking from us everything we have….maybe…just maybe our state has not managed very well (!!!), but so what… do we have to pay for this? EU and the banks wants all our money and the vulnerable to pay – why oh why do they do this to us? They want the country to sell everything (not many can utter the word privatization) and then what? Anyways, sad thing, but at least in Kos – the only seen problem was the stopped internet banking (the hotel I was staying in, said they cannot pay the bills now as easy as they used to…) boo hoo.

(Point three) – Russians! So many Russians. Menus are in Russian, ticket sales, renting facilities and rules, explanations in shops, beaches – everything… I do believe that people are free to enjoy their time wherever they want to, but let me just quickly tell you this – on a mini bus from Kaunas airport to Vilnius (after the flight from Kos), there is a mother and her son (around 10 y.o.), they talk in Russian and among things like:“mum, what is that negro doing there?,- you go and ask that negro, son (loud laughter)“, there was another thing that chocked me as much as the previous one: “mum, what is their problem here, don’t they speak Russian?, – I don’t know, son, really, they should all do that“… (“they“ was clearly Lithuanians, as the conversation was about how the mother could not explain what she wanted in one of our holiday destinations, Palanga).

(Point four) – I still don’t know how to spend a lot of time on the beach, but if you know how to drive, rent a quad and go around the island – one week is perfect for seeing everything and supporting the Greek economy 😉

(Point five) – English breakfast is served everywhere… Probably because there are around the same no of Britons as there are Russians 🙂

Enjoy the views and go to Kos 🙂

Poppy – you are. My field of wild poppies…

You are my poppy. Even though I called you sunshine every morning, you were never my sunflower… As a matter of fact, you are my field of wild poppies… Red, bright, swaying in the wind, sun and rain… never to be picked, never to be mine…

I must be careful as you can become my drug. My poppy drug, my never reachable, almost unreal drug…

I must pay attention to my line of thoughts. You are my illogical line of thoughts. You are my field of poppies which, through the direct view (as I look at you) impacts me as a whole….impacts me and beyond…

I want you to stay.

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As a field of wild poppies. As a possibility to be my drug yet to never reach that stage.

I want to wake up and call you my sunshine yet to have you much more fragile than the never ending sun…

 

It is now the apart life, isn’t it?

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…that moment…

There are these striking moments in life that define the rest of your flow…they keep accumulating and once in a while they take a shape of relief (if one is lucky) and burst out…now in my case the burst outs might take various shapes and forms…this time it is an emotional realization based on my day and night dreams, my physical and emotional experiences, my touches and looks, my imagination and alternative reality that I sometimes dive into.

NB: The characters and events in this fictional story are alive only in my head and nowhere else.

***

It’s that moment when you spot a FB post of someone you secretly liked (but never hoped for anything) saying “Good morning“ and sharing a photo of two cups of coffee and fresh orange juice…

It is also that moment when someone you openly like keeps sending you emoticon kisses on whatsapp but it very clearly dawns on you that nothing ever will evolve between you two except occasional overwhelming sex…and that only until he finds what he is looking for – a loving and devoted wife…

It is that moment when somebody you used to like is not in your every day thoughts and that makes you sad… that makes you think you’re incapable of dedication, loyalty  and love… and only when ou think deep and long you realize that this mere realization is a moment of truth. Stop lying to yourself. You want to be needed. You need to be needed regardless of the subject… You will not tell him the loss of a feeling because you need to be needed. That is the naked truth…

It is this bitter-sweet moment when your legs belonging to your naked body are entangled with his legs belonging to his strong, powerful, never ending and passionate castle of muscles… when his phone rings and there you have it – his beloved wife from the other side of the world calls to wish a good night and passes the phone to their beautiful daughters who cry for daddy and he responds with tears in his eyes…:“my loves..I miss you so much…sweet dreams…“… I rest my head on his back and know that he is going to turn around in a second and kiss me… Kiss me with guilt and passion…kiss me with a clear understanding and appreciation of the precious “here and now“ moment…

I am free and at ease to know that I do not belong to anyone, I am embracing whoever I want, regardless of his belonging to someone else… I embrace you now – my sweet, caring, overwhelmingly full and deep lover. We share these moments and through them we broaden our worlds which will take completely opposite directions tomorrow and will never meet again. Yet the experiences, unconditional happiness of those entangled moments will forever stay deeply hidden in one of those secret memory shelfs…

It is one of those moments when almost everybody around you needs to make a call before taking a decision whereas you just have a short debate with yourself and are able to give a needed answer….

A moment…when you make your dream travel plans based on the dreams that will never come true but it doesn’t make you sad nor powerless… it is my never ending and never realizing dreams. It is my body that gives and takes, that carries me to my daydreams, my lovers, my future pains and joys. It is my heart and soul that will never ask anyone to be a part of my decision and action…

These are the exact moments which bring the feeling of meaningless belonging and lonely independence. These are the moments when a woman like myself is inclined to stand on her own two feet stronger and trust her guts more. That is exactly when I know – I am not lying to myself. All I am is a gallipot for life…life passes through me and I enjoy every bit of it with my body, soul and brain….

Take me as I am for I come as I stand

On one part, we want to believe,

we want to step into it as an easy and simple game.

We want to make a decision weather we are stepping into it at all.

We fool ourselveimagess into believeing it can be a practical decision with a cup of coffee in one hand and a smart phone in the other.

We sit there and we base our decision on bad experiences and fears

And THEN we think we make a pragmatic choise.

So we want to believe.

Brick on brick and you have a house.

Human to human and you have a couple. Add some chemistry to it and it will work. Brick to brick with some cement inbetween.

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So on the other hand, if we step into it, we take the brick on brick approach and if something breaks, we put the coffee and the smartphone down and…we run away. Oh wait. We keep our fancy iPhone6 in hand and get a new coffee on the run.

We do not believe in correction. Two layers of brick and the new house, a better one with more belief must be started.

When do we know we are out of energy, coffe and cement to try and take the bad brick out and put a new in? Or look for a new kind of cement?

I come as I stand. I and even lovely you to whom I can give my immediate energy for a day or two… maybe even a week or three…CANNOT deconstruct me and take the pieces that fit onto your pieces.

You cannot expect me to come in a full sparkling package in the time of the day or seazon of the year which suits you the best.

Your fears do not put you in a more delicate position to which one must adjust, because your fears stem from the same root as my fears and his and hers fears…

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I come in full. I leave in full. A piece that can be detached from me and left in your hands is a worthless piece. It is not me any longer.

I come as I stand. As ambiguous and ambivalent as a human being can be.

I take strength and power from Faust and Mandela, yet I have the ability to loose my sanity, senses and grib as a mother who just lost her child. Take me as I am or leave me as I come.

Take me today and you still might not have me tomorrow. Take me tomorrow and I might have not been yours today. The reality is in NOW. The future is never.

The fears guide the future which will never be. The fears make us loose the now and the now might not repeat itself tomorrow.

I come in full. I come as I stand. To you and to him and to her and to life and to ungraspable terms like home, city or country. I come as I know it. I give what I can and ask nothing in return. I ask nothing but n o w.

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You ask me, what is God, I tell you it is energy. You take my hand and you feel the god. He takes my hand and there is nothing but the cold blood. God is in now, god is in no fear and no looking back. God is giving my now into your hands and asking to watch it as if it was tiny grains of fine sand and they are being blown out of your palms. It is now that you feel me and when the sand is gone. Now will be different. We will handle it when the different now is in your hands again. sand

You want to believe you make a choise. There are no choises with energy. There are no choises with god. There are no choises with the fine sand in your palms. Even if the sand it is not there the feeling will haunt you as if it was now.

Do not make a choice. Take now. The life will flow through you. Resisting the flow will just make the now and the sand more scary and less fine…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdJtJSx5QTA

Life

I don’t know what is before and after it. It would be expected to say that I know what is during. But at this point I do not know either. As my head is lightly spinning from the poisons going to my body the most un materialistic thing -thoughts – are non stop swirling inside and around as well. Some kind of cathartic unrecognized feeling is like a halo around me puts my body in a slow mode and pushes it to exhale the thought in the only way I know – to write.

To breath is to survive – that is how all live creatures survive and I do not see much difference between the live creatures that walk on four, crawl, fly, swim or live next door from myself. We are all connected.  We are all one. I find it so overwhelming to see that it is still a struggle and an unaccepted thought for so many.

Even though at the same time on this planet earth so incredibly many things are happening varying on a wide scale from total despair to total happiness – we are still one. The other and the others’ reality and feelings and thoughts are “just“ and extension of me and mine.  I am just and extension of you.

On a bad day every bit of me expects to melt into you where you can cope with my bad bits. And on a good day every bit of me wants to carry you on a high cloud of euphoria in order to share and lift you up if you are in need of it. Reciprocity and mutuality.

You can be a physical stranger. A body that I have never met but a soul from the same universe that was floating with my soul once or will be floating with it again.

As some people just meters away are fooling around, celebrating nobody knows what and thinking that it is what life is about…other people are mourning their loved ones who left them unexpectedly in fear, pain and loneliness. While some of my fellow souls are deep into a thought that simply by diving into some logical actions stretching from a to z can help themselves and the others, different souls are meditating and trying to reach the enlightenment, believing that this is the only way through and forward.

I fear that this absolutely praised creature who lives just because it gets air into its lungs has become its worst enemy. I fear that the lack of introspection is killing me as your extension and you as mine.

It is incomprehensible for me why it still is so difficult to understand that only by realizing that we all need the same basic things makes us all equal and therefor worth exactly same things. You are not more than me. I am not bigger than you. You should not take up more space on the pale blue dot than me. And I have no need nor right to tell you how much space you are worth.

It is so simple, yet so unrealistic in the current times.

I do not posses the vocabulary that could express my feelings and willingness to take your pain away. To make you realize that life is much more than here and now, that you are me and I am you if you just let this concept to sink in.

I do not have better tools than my words and my body to melt with your words and your body. Let me caress you now because I can and you will caress me when I am stumbling and down.

I am hesitant to use terms like good and bad, happy and sad because they are so one dimensional and describing almost nothing. The whole universe is inside of each body and soul and each one of us is in the same universe.

Let the feeling of loss go into the wilderness of the space. The grief, fear, unmet expectations are our imaginary friends that come and go and we mustn’t think that we are alone with them nor that we should chain ourselves to them.

Life happens through us. Life is like the water and air – it runs and breathes through each one of us.

Come. I will hold you in my arms as I do not know how to hold you with my thoughts and heart.

 

 

 

RUNNING ORDERS

Palestinians mourn over the body of boys from the Baker family, whom medics said was killed with three other children from the same family by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat

Palestinians mourn over the body of boys from the Baker family, the children are from the same family and were killed by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat.

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?“
They call us now to say
Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Run.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

 

The way we numb and distract ourselves… Intentionally.

Emotional-Numbness1-300x246This piece does not intend to make you feel guilty…it would if I would believe that guilt will result into the adequate actions…even if sometimes it does, I do not approve nor believe that “doing a right thing” because somebody else says so is “a right thing”… One has to feel it in the guts, one has to understand that there is no other way in life. If a question whether something is right or wrong arises, most probably, it is wrong. That’s it.

There my religion example plays out very efficiently – if you do good in
life only because “somebody is watching” and you want to live a wealthy life after the death (I am sorry, but nobody came back from there proving that there is a life there at all, but oh well, we’ll leave that for another discussion) as a reward then screw you. I am sorry, I have no patience today to cover it with cotton candy…

Screw you, because honestly, you do not care about another human being, you just want to spend your minutes, hours and days rolling with a careless deception. You think (most probably, you don’t, but IF/WHEN you do) that this kind of life is better, easier for you (yes, I am pointing at selfishness).

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We are crudely bombarded with all possible tools, ingredients and recipes on how to distract us from us. When the information (usually not even very clear nor objective) about people’s (numbers and nationalities) death somewhere near or far is presented next to a “new” diet, celebrities haircut, fashion or even our elected politician’s corruption scandal not forgetting “breaking news” in sports, world cups and earned salaries, it is truly impossible to believe that people can prioritize themselves. It is naïve and ridiculous to think that the mix of meaningless cold words does not level out and become another injection for lifelong numbness… How can you care if you were never taught to care about the ones whom you have never met nor will meet… In fact, you were fed with everything what is opposite to caring about the other human being.

You were taught to run your errands no matter what and if something changes it immediately becomes uncomfortable – perceived as going out of your way to do something else – you have to change your routine. No good.

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It can be the most horrifying news on TV, radio, internet or from friend’s lips, but you will still get your coffee/tea in the morning, look at the mirror and evaluate whether you look good or can look better, are you having a good hair day or not, you will listen to the music that makes you smile (at least inside), you will be concerned about the small things in your house, work, street and city. You will continue your “normal” (hate that word) life imagining that only by hearing and “knowing” what is happening in the world you are already a better person, but this “knowledge” will not make you change ANYTHING. NOTHING in your perception, actions, attitudes towards yourself and the others. You do not understand that there are people JUST LIKE YOU who cannot know if they will get up the next morning at all. Maybe tonight their house will be bombarded because somebody thought that what they believe in is wrong. Somebody is beaten, tortured, threatened, raped, killed every second and WE are that somebody’s neighbor, brother, sister, colleague, classmate…

These people are hostages of OUR carelessness. The level of absurd has risen so high that we all know when the bullshit is being spoken out loud. Nobody even believes the bullshit about the Human Rights, tolerance, respect, value of human life, equality etc. anymore (when the politicians, gun makers and lobbyists of international profit based companies), however it does not prevent us to nod with serious faces and feel better about ourselves because somebody said it “right” and we “agree”.

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

I can almost bet that if you’re still reading this you are about to stop soon because it does not taste good. You would say – it is too heavy; I cannot do anything so why make my life miserable if the change does not depend on me or, what is worse in my eyes, you can say that FIRST one needs to take care of the people close to him/her… yeah, well, here’s the news flash for you – SECOND never comes with that logic.

Look, you have become so numb that you don’t even know it. It’s like the dead skin on your heels. It is think numbness that you still try to smoother with feet cream. Useless spending of the money. Get rid of that skin and you will feel the reality under your feet. Luckily we have enough neurons to pass that reality up to the “thinking organ” (no no, higher than the middle of the body). Train your brain more than your physical body, put it on diets and make it go to the gym, because the body is just a frame for the content. Yes, I also want my frame to shine, but you know what, luckily my brain tells me that it will not become smarter or “stupider” depending on the effulgence of the “frame”.

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

The bottom line is – I don’t even care if you will agree or not, but it I as true as the fact that what you read right now made you a bit angry or at least dissatisfied – that all is one in this world. We are one. Therefore if you will be “working on” only yourself – balanced, healthy, happy life and all of that “couching” hype – nothing around you will actually change for the better…wei-wu-wei-in-order-to-be-effective-truth-must-penetrate-like-an-arrow-and-that-is-likely-to-hurt

We all need to fucking wake up and do something instead of hiding beyond the distractions all around (money and power being the biggest ones). We need to realize that another human being is an extension of me. We feel very bad if a part of us gets damaged (ie my car, my house) when that part is a THING, but we change a channel and go pour more wine when yet another day we hear about another attack on Gaza, more death in Syria, burning monks in Tibet, kidnapped girls in Nigeria and so on and so on…

I sometimes get tired too. I want to shut down and not open my mouth for days. But my heart is failing. It stops pumping blood every time I see, hear or feel the suffering of a human being. True suffering, not the one which is based on numbness and hedonistic distractions…

 

You tell me you hate your job, on a good day I will tell you – I am so sorry, but on a day like today, I will tell you shut up and do something about it instead of whining. You tell me you have a happy life and all you need in it, I will ask you what you have done for the other who doesn’t. You talk to me about how busy you are and have no time for absolutely nothing else, I will most probably eventually move away from your life, secretly hoping that the time that I’m saving for you can be dedicated to someone or something that is much more worth it…

Maybe it comes with age, but I cannot pretend anymore that it is ok to intentionally turn away from the things because they might be uncomfortable, difficult or unpleasant to look at/be close to.

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

GAZA YESTERDAY, 2014 07 08

Teach your children that there is nothing NOTHING more important than a life (be it a human being or an animal). And the life is a lie if you hypocritically and intentionally choose to look at some things ignoring the other things. It is simply a lie after which another lie does not appear (referring to the afterlife here.)

I am not pushing you. Don’t worry. But for every action there is a reaction or a consequence, let’s just hope there is time… It took me almost 30 years of an extremely privileged life to come to these conclusions… It would be a lie not to preach them…

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RAMADAN KAREEM 2014

RAMADAN KAREEM to all who truly find peace in believing… you know that i don’t see the beauty in any religion of masses, you know that I feel like it has been a tool of manipulation for too long and you know that i believe in human beings… however, if one feels the need of inner peace and spirituality that can be brought or gained through/with the help of a book, a building or a common feeling of a concrete higher power, i will support, respect and admire.
So I say, Ramadan mubarak to all of my beautiful Muslim believers, I want you to feel safe, peaceful, joyful, empathetic towards each and everyone around you and further…
May the peace be with you.

Gaza

Gaza

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