New Adventures of The Magic Bagel

The Magic Bagel is an interactive children’s book I co wrote with my daughter Maayan and takes place in Beacon, NY. The third issue, “New Adventures of The Magic Bagel” is about to come out and is inspired by a program in Mozambique in which 600,000 weapons were exchanged for agriculture tools, sewing machines, building materials and bikes. The weapons were cut and used by artists as material for sculptures. The Tree of Life is a half a tone, 11 feet tall tree made out of recycled guns and is one of the most inspiring artworks I know. You can learn more about the program and the sculpture here  http://bit.ly/1zKU80Q.

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                                                           The Tree Of Life

And on a personal note – I hate guns. As a soldier I had to carry one and I still feel the disgust when I remember the feeling of it. These poisonous metal snakes SHOULD be made into artworks and optimistic stories. I hope you’d enjoy this Magic Bagel issue as much as you enjoyed the previous ones and as much as me and Maayan (and Shasha helps this time too!) enjoy making them. Please share The magic bagel with your families and friends! And if your child or you made an artwork about the magic bagel or an ending to the story of Vera, who brought a magic bagel into a soup kitchen, send it to us!
You can get the previous Magic Bagel books at http://bit.ly/1wia0li for a suggested $5 donation to Doctors Without Borders or your local soup kitchen. We managed to raise more than $600 to these causes and we’re going to decide soon on an organization we’d like to support with this issue. Stay tuned for updates!

Ori, Maayan and Sasha

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Protest songs, protest letters

Bush is no longer a president, but this song is still powerful. Young said he read an article about the war in Iraq and started to sob, soon he wrote “Living with War”, not the most mellow protest album out there. He said he looked at the younger musicians and they didn’t say much against the war, so at the age of 61 he did it himself, and later toured with CSNY around the country and made a documentary about it

As far as I know, the only Israeli mainstream musician who sang more than 3 protest songs in his career is Shalom Chanoch. His last protest song was sang in 1997 – “A person is a person don’t call me a nation”. After the first Intifadah (1987) many Israeli singers vocalized what they think of the Israeli army treatment of Palestinians, like Nurit Galron (“Don’t tell me about a girl who lost her eye”) Shlomo Arzi (“we haven’t learned anything, apparently”) Si Himan (“I didn’t ask for a green plastic hero”) and Chanoch (“your enemy is just like yourself”). But soon after, a political silence came and there are almost no anti-war songs written in Israel these days, similar thing is happening in the US. Therefore Young’s voice is so special.

As a snail mail artist (yes, there is such thing, you can see some of my art here) who send a lot of letters to Israel and to the US, I often try to make political statements using the old fashioned method. Maybe it’s a form of a protest letter, I’m not sure.

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(a sketchbook made out of old record cover, see more of them here)
Lincoln: Who said “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”
Hendrix: Ecclesiastical?
Bird: Pirkey Avot?
Joplin: Mussolini?
Lincoln: What’s up with you? Are you on drugs? It was Neil Young in his masterpiece album ‘Rust Never Sleeps’
Lincoln: Abe, you forgot to mention that Young didn’t write it about anyone specific but about the spirit of the Rock’nroll, even though Kurt Cobain quoted it in his suicide letter

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Hendrix: What’s up Abe?
Lincoln: I’m worried
Joplin: is it because of the Israeli Palestine art world?
Hendrix: it must be the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, he’s a lefty
Woman: He doesn’t answer. Hang him!

Reflection of the recent restrictions on the freedom of speech in Israel and Palestine

See more talking stamps at http://alfassibooks.weebly.com/blog/comics-stamps

Don’t call me a nation / Shalom Chanoch 1997

If you come by our block

You’ll see an old writing on the wall

“God, save me from faith”

There’s no chosen nation, only individuals

Not everyone is a full, not everyone admits it

These are Jews, so are these

A person is a person

Don’t call me a nation

Same diaspora here, I’m working for nothing

How many more soldiers  against one suicide bomber

Not of God, I’m afraid of you

Again you’re riding on the blood

Again you think you’re smart

If you didn’t notice, I’m here too

Need nothing from you, from them

A person is a person,

Don’t call me a nation

When flowers are blooming, kids are happy

Old enemies are brothers today

Heros are resting, borders are open

The dogs bark, the caravan goes on

A person is a person, don’t call me

Don’t call me a nation

If you come by our block

You’ll see an old writing on the wall

“Even reality needs protection,

God, save me from faith”

A person is a person,

Don’t call me a nation

 

Let’s impeach the president / Neil Young 2006

Let’s impeach the President for lying
And misleading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

Who’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
They bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the President for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop

Let’s impeach the president for hijacking
Our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he’s cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lots of people looking at big trouble
But of course our president is clean.

Thank God

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An Army Draft

I was ready to go to the army. I was preparing my bag when I suddenly got a phone call from the supervisor of my program who told me that there was some misunderstanding and I actually had two more months until my draft. It was a few months after my dad died, a few months before I lost my virginity. I think I smoked my first joint during those two months, at a festival with a few strangers. It made me laugh a lot. My second joint was inhaled during the second Intifada, about a month before the end of my army service. (I’ll never wear a soldier’s uniform again). A friend came by while I was patrolling the northern Jerusalem Hill that was our army base, between a settlement and an Arab village. It made me fantasize. I told him, let’s pretend I’m Arik Einstein and you are my musical partner, Shalom Chanoch. I arranged my hair accordingly and sang into the night. I don’t remember if he sang with me. In a southern industrial hill of Jerusalem, a little later, in some weird art school, I still had no sense of control over my life. Only when I returned to Brooklyn, a seedling of mine already in Ana’s belly, I got some

   I didn’t want to supervise Palestinians so they told me to do some office work instead of manning checkpoints. The office was a trailer with an old couch, a broken chair and a table. The soldiers who did checkpoints told me ID numbers of men they had arrested over the distorted phone and I was supposed to call someone who would decide what to do with them. I might have misheard some numbers.

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