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DH

denise hochbaum

independent broker
The Brazilian Scene by Lina Bo Bardi
Brazilian/American
As the current round of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinians reaches its recurring "moment of truth," the problematic question of national identity surfaces as a major difficulty. From the Jewish Israeli perspective, whereas over 20% of the Israeli population would identify themselves as Palestinians, Jewish settlers In the Palestinian Occupied Territories have to live with the growing acuteness of becoming citizens of the forthcoming Palestinian State. Writing what may be read as an allegory on the universal ennui of blurred national identity, Gilead Evron embodies his Palestinian Ulysses (Ulysses on Bottles, 2011) as an Israeli Arab teacher, who against all odds and contrary to all logic, risks his life sailing on a fragile raft he made of wooden logs and glass bottles to sieged Gazza to provide his fellow non-compatriots with unsolicited samples of Russian literature, grotesquely designed to sustain their souls. The absurdity of his self-appointed identity as both saviour and compassionate prophet, is addressed by the Israeli authorities who interfere with his project and keep him in both punitive and protective custody, just to release him eventually to fatally renew his obsessive mission, falls hardly short of tragic catharsis. This latter effect emanates from the absence of empathy from what is revealed as a shallow image of nationhood, where patriotic empathy contained in the tragic sense of the imagined community exists on the verge of the unfathomable.
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