Saturday, January 29, 2011

Street Wise

Egypt erupts, and in an earlier day I'd be all over it. This uprising is especially riveting, given that the Egyptian people are openly resisting a US/Israeli client state. Everyone from Joe Biden on down are sweating it out, for in essence these protests are also against the US (Made In The USA marks the tear gas canisters and shotgun shells littering the streets). The corporate tap dance between showing sympathy for the protesters and hoping that Mubarak can quiet things down is beautiful to see. Were this Iran, there would be no confusion about how to react. But the fairy tale about "democratic" Egypt is fading by the hour, requiring improvised assessments by propaganda outlets.

In my media activist youth, I specialized in Middle East politics, primarily how the American press dealt with Israel and the Palestinians. (As I then put it, Palestinian dead were buried in shallow, two paragraph graves.) Watching events in Egypt and Tunisia takes me back to that time. Fortunately, there are plenty of younger writers and activists covering these uprisings, and friends tell me that Al Jazeera offers the most in-depth coverage. Good. Anything but the chimp chatter from the cable news networks. My heart is with those struggling to break imperial shackles, yet my personal life is experiencing seismic shifts as well.

I've moved into the hotel-staying phase of my divorce. The papers are signed, the search for a local apartment is on, a new existence emerges. It's not easy, and my son, who's been pretty steady so far, is showing signs of sadness as his mother and father finally split. This absolutely kills me, but it's inescapable. I've become what I swore I'd never be: a divorced dad arranging times to see his kid. I went through this at a younger age than Henry, and it sucks on both ends. I can't imagine ever getting married again.

Happily, Henry's staying with me tonight. We'll take an indoor swim, order room service (the food here is pretty good), watch classic Simpsons episodes and the original Star Trek, which Henry loves. I showed him Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he made snoring noises. "I like some of the plots," he said, "but it's so boring. Kirk and Spock are much cooler."

That they are, son. Live long and prosper.