Putting Marginalia to Use

for Danielle Mackey

Eduardo Galeano, The Book of Embraces
31 Saturday October 2009

I reread this book for one reason:  To see if it could help me generate some ideas as to form and content for my third book, which still will deal with Palestine.

So, all I scribble below is from marginalia—ideas, chapter or unit titles, possibilities—I  have made as I read these short, lyrical, lightly dense meditations that still make me think: Ah, this is my form, too!

Today as I finished the book in Borders waiting for Sharifa and Dania, it occurred to me: 10 themes each with 10 chapters, fractured and sequenced, with the ten chapters on Hedy being the “spine” of the work: a link between Shoah and Nakba. This is reflected below in the end of these notes.

It really will be a meditation on history.

Lexicon entries
The Occupation
What Prison can do to a Man [Hitler story]

Ghadeer, 400 words [tell me your story]
Different fonts of Arabic words…. Calligraphy
Reading Chomsky/1/2

Take a quotation and revise it to tell my story
Transformations/1 [Halper]

People I Know: The Actor
People I Know: The Survivor
People I Know: The Professor

Photo Meditation [5 of the best photographs from the five best photography books on Palestine—ask MKM to select]

… told me that…
In Beit Sahour…. [do this for ten others]

Portrait of the Barghoutis/1/2/3
Chronicle of the Ethnic Cleansing of a People [on Ilan Pappe]
Imagination: I and _____ [Darwish?]

The Prophetic/1/2/3
Mahmoud Darwish’s Dreams

Surreal chapters: Say only what you know and imagine
Use original WGTP single lines as some kind of spark for a unit

The Truth Won’t Set You Free
Time Mixtures

Chronology broken
Include something about—why not?—Ellacuria
Maybe photos?


Stories Magan told (and others) [Moonwalk]
The Changing Fortune of Yasir Arafat
Israel, the home of Holocaust survivors

Use a variation on Bureaucracy [Kafkaesque?]
I need some humor!
Generic type title, like “Happenings”

Gaza story of orphan, shot teen-ager

In the Christmas season of 2008-2009 in the United States, the following films were released for the entertainment, amusement, distraction, and ____ of the American citizenry.
On Allah’s Lack of response [So, the Muslims can ask the same question as the Jews in 1944: Where is God?]
The Peace Process: During the PP, ______ tell me a story…

One story from real life after another
Theology [Yes, but a crazier title: Majnoon, Meshuggah]
Allah has the same problems as Yahweh and God the Father

Shorter, the better—mix it up
Further fracture an existing chapter

(Imagined) Graffiti—or, do research.  “Gas the Arabs”
I’m trying to be some kind of historian….

Presidents [examples of their soaring rhetoric, followed by that same year, barbaric treatment of the Palestinians]
Yes, the redactor has a life, chooses this but not that, makes connections….

Give me memory, or give me death
Examples of Soaring Presidential rhetoric
Review: Bauman Modernity and Holocaust

The Brutal Way of the World
Yep, the redactor has a life, chooses this and not that
Worthy and Unworthy Memories; Tsivi Lipsi

A personal incident, involving someone famous 120
Zinn, “Freedom, Freedom”
The System of Occupation (Operatively, Officially)


Conversations with 1/2/3/4/5
Need images
On Torture

The Civilized West
Family Values
Be OK with white space [see Aitken]

Pop Culture, boycott of artistsThere and then, Here and Now: On Sting –Barghouti
Phenomenology of Domination

Ophirian overlay
An encyclopedia of essays on exploitation
Imagine PJ Griffith

True names
Interbeing Connections

25 to 30 paragraphs of scenes, moments, snapshots in Palestine
What do you care?
A: A General Statement
B:  An exemplification.  179

Tormented /1/2/3: Chomsky, Wiesel, Levinas, Steiner
Jewish genius
How to tell the vignette without ego

Have some humor, something upbeat
Possibility: purge myself from my text, unlike Galeano, for whom this is partially autobiographical
Descriptions of the weather

“For 40 years, the Arabs have….”
A Snapshot from the Past
A Day in the Life

The Night That Never Ends
Juxtapositions, left page, right page  [Weeping, Laughter]
Which stories have I told and told?

Bella Barahona
\What are the four chapters about Hedy?  Entitled “Survivor”?  233

Lexicon: Add words, see Mahfouz
Vietnam: What happened to the writers and poets and singers under SVN governments, backed by USA?

Neeta, Do you know the Argentinean poet, Juan Gelman? The following is from Eduardo Galeano’s book, The Book of Embraces: “Who are my contemporaries?” Juan Gelman asks himself.  Juan says that sometimes he comes across men who smell of fear, in Buenos Aires, Paris, or anywhere in the world, and feels that these men are not his contemporaries. But there is a Chinese who, thousands of years ago, wrote a poem about a goatherd who is far from his beloved, and yet can hear in the middle of the night, in the middle of the snow, the sound of her comb running through her hair. And reading this distant poem, Juan finds that yes, these people—the poet, the goatherd and the woman—are truly his contemporaries.

Do I want to read 250 books to cull enough material to write my book?
Humanize a person, like Chomsky, like Darwish…

How does my book end? About Hedy?
Getting attacked before Free Gaza
6 chapters about Hedy.

No, her story is the spine of the book\
Letting go: The Germans and the Vietnamese
Remembering is not enough

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