Towards A Vegan Essene State

Posted on 31st July 2014 in Animal Rights, Articles, Self Determination

Vegans, for as long as the word existed, have been persecuted around the world. You know, you’ve done it yourself. We’re tired of having wieners waved in our faces, we’re tired of stupid questions like “where do you get your protein?” and “so you don’t eat chicken” as if chicken were a vegetable, fungi, prokaryote or other colonial organism. We’re fed up – so to speak.

Further, we want to live in a state where no animals are cruelly treated: used in factory farming or raised as commodities for human benefit; used in testing for the safety of human ego glamor products; used to test farmaceuticals to cure the ills that humans bring upon themselves from poor attitudes, bad diet and a disconnect from the very land which gives them life.

Vegans deserve a place where they don’t have to put up with inflated vegetable prices resulting from farm subsidies to the animal slaughter industry. Vegans don’t want to smell the burning carnage billowing out of restaurants as they walk down the streets of their communities. Vegans don’t want to have to breath in the dead skin cells of the omnivorous counterparts and would like to bring that cell count to a minimum.

For our homeland we propose that we create a state within a state within a state – we can be given land in Israel – perhaps the Golan Heights, southern Lebanon, Jerusalem or maybe somewhere in the Negev since they were going to take that place form the Bedouins recently.

We choose this place because we, as vegan Essenes, follow the same beliefs that Jesus did – according to the dead sea scrolls Jesus was an Essene and therefore a vegan. Since Jesus was a Jew, since an entire religion created in his name, and since that is where the 3 or so major religions claim as there homeland, we feel we should have a homeland too.

We hope the state of Israel, created as a homeland for an oppressed, persecuted and dispossessed peoples, will understand our plight and will give us a piece of the land that was given to them by the former empires of the world on a land where other people were living. They should be able to relate to that and empathize with us.

We will soon be petitioning the UN for the right to legal veganhood and seeking funding through the Vegan Defense Fund. We shall soon be publishing a complete manifesto of how we shall go about funding this large scale emigration, assimilation into the existent community and security concerns.


Breaking In/Out to/of Israel

Israel, a w(W)hite W(w)estern Jewish democracy (Orwellian Newspeak), is not always that easy to get into. You have to be crafty to break into such a fortress (aka Enchanted Prison). Those amongst we holy wanderers, political dissidents and ignorant travelers have different types of preparation to perpetrate. Some just have to pack their clothes and get on and off of a plane or two. Others have to clean up their facebook accounts, look tired, and prepare names and phone numbers of friends or friends of friends or acquaintances of friends and/or family and their friends and/or associates who might lend a phone number and rough location along with a corroborative report. Others, I’m certain, spend a little extra money on the latest grunge fads to like they are already a part of the Tel Aviv hipster crowd.


When you arrive, your boyfriend may not be allowed to enter. He will call you when he is at the gate departing with the news that he is being sent back and he is not exactly sure why and neither were the Israeli’s who are making him go back. You might get asked a series of questions pertaining to your travel intentions, who you’re staying with, and how long you’ll be there. You might have to provide a phone number and an address or two and watch as they call the number to make sure your story holds water. If you are a known activist or know any known activists you might likely be taken to another room and undergo an interrogation. You may be asked to strip. You may be asked to open your computer and login to your accounts so they can see what you’ve been up to. You might get a stamp on your passport indicating you are not welcome back to Israel for a decade – presumably when the social and political order is a bit more chill.


Whether you are entering or leaving, if you are actually acting with dubious intentions (maybe you’re an intellectual studying Palestinian Art as a form of resistance, or your teaching Pal children to build skateboard parks and learn how to skate, or your a young German girl working for the UN in Ramallah), you’ve gotta do a minimum of two things to enter safely: you have to have a viable story worked out and you’ve got to de-arabize or de-palestinianize your travel articles. Maybe you won’t abring Said’s book on the Question of Palestine or the book on Dabka but would rather grab yourself a copy of Hertzl’s Jewish State and pretend your coming to visit the holy sites and explore your Jewish or Christian roots. Maybe your contemplating Aliyah to get some of your tax dollars back. You’ll learn a couple of Hebrew words to pretend your on in being in on the know. Most of all, deep down inside, you’re prepared to be carted and cordoned off, questioned, cross examined, caressed, and sent back across the Mediterranean lest you be suspected of seeking a dialogue with like minded humanists (Allah forbid they be Arabs), learning a little bit about the cultures of both sides: the indigenous Arab populations and the mostly white implants (read colonizers) in Israel proper. [Note: everyone should have the right to a decent and safe place to live but the history of colonization implies dispossessing others of their homes and land and that tends to piss people off and cause protracted conflicts – something Hertzl was well aware of and wrote about].


Then, of course, there is a sort of un-re-decolonizing of the mind/heart/spirit triad that has to take place. It goes something like this: you realize that your spending so much time coming up with stories so that you can continue to enter and exit Israel. You realize that realizing how much time and energy realizing it takes up more time and energy. You realize that it is this way intentionally. You realize that for a brief period of time you are Israel’s bitch because they’re forcing you to make unethical decisions – you feel boxed into lying. You invent the term “flying ethics” (once again, to mock the flying checkpoints that Palestinians are subject to): literally ethics on the fly, a tactic used to avoid telling incriminating truths in the face of arbitrary and unreasonable searches and seizures such as: I was in Hebron, I visited the Darwish Museum, I purchased olive soap and sweets in Nablus, I ate felafel in Birzeit, there is a really beautiful human being that I’ve fallen in love with that lives in East jerusalem, and/or I am an ardent supporter and promoter of human rights and I support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.


You realize its fuck all that you’re forced into this shituation to begin with and you can’t just smile and be honest and travel freely to visit a beautiful peoples in a beautiful culture in a not too beautiful circumstance. You realize that if you make it in or out you might not make it in or out again. You realize that this cycle is precisely what your being forced into again and you argue the virtues of honesty versus the virtues of lying knowing full well that they’re just toying with you and they know where you’ve been in any case and since they can’t really do to you what they do to the Palestinians at least they can have some fun with you, own your ass, watch you sweat, catalog the inventions that you’ve come up with, and determine whether or not you should be made an example of.


They know you’ve spent countless hours with your friends telling stories of what happened to them or people they know. They know you’ve been busy coming up with stories of your own. They know it doesn’t matter what you say, where you’re from or your station in life. If they want to fuck with you, in many splendid ways, they will. So, for just a little amount of time you are their bitch.


You can imagine the kind of intellectual tai chi chuan that is required to skate flawlessly through the system of checkpoints, questions and border crossings. It is, in many ways, however, like roulette. The outcome is seemingly random.

Political Asylum in Palestine

Posted on 10th March 2014 in Poetry, Reflections, Self Determination

I don’t mind the too much smoke too much
the tiling and counter tops are exquisite
the rubble from house demolitions
and pulverized minds
everywhere barely noticeable
stray dogs disinterested in human flesh
in the Ghetto of Ramallah
a dusty place I am told
human skin meteorite and white phosphorous
nose food du jour
waiting for the next incursion


pole vaulting the wall
new fad sport
keeping the occupiers preoccupied
sipping pomegranate fresh
from the skull cup of your monkeyed child
lemon and mint overlooking Nablus
your guilt becomes neuroses
Shiraz from Ksiesh
sick on your own medicine
planning the next excursion


you’ve all become the victims
cut off from each other
you no longer know yourselves
the plan to prevent
civil unrest east and west
Damscus gate Jerusalem
ancient place of restructured history
occupied colonized uncivilized
there are no sweet angels
on stolen land


even the artists forgot the art
the politic an inescapable reality
all fighting amongst themselves
don’t have to talk to each other
coexisting the next best thing to killing
on the front lines of UN borders
where the felafel is always fresh
sustenance for the soul of combat
through dance music theater child
feel the warmth of the coffee and culture
homeless in the homeland
the bitter tide of privilege

Lunchtime on the Playground of Our Commonalities

Posted on 19th May 2012 in Peace, Poetry, Self Determination
“Don’t take my love for you personally” — Polish Proverb

You’ve all heard about the “Falafel Stand in No Man’s Land,” of course. Certainly, it highlights the irony of war. Such things do take place during war when people will take little breaks from fighting to smoke opium, masturbate, medibate, and even kill some more; Such things do take place on both sides of Terra Nullius (No Man’s Land). That is, in their hatred, both sides are the same. In the way they masturbate, both sides are the same. There are cultural differences in toilet paper, no doubt, like sheet size and overall accepted textures, but toilet paper  serves the same function across conflict boundaries.

The irony runs deep. Our most fundamental needs as human beings, our commonalities, are a cause for struggle. How do we transform competition for provision of our human needs into cooperation for the provision of our human needs. Yo, I’m not just talking about food, clothing, shelter, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. We have spiritual needs. We humans have emotional needs. Human beings have psychological and psychical needs as well.

Still, we can do much better than cooperation. We can actually have fun hanging out together in between the bullets and the bombs,  the fists and the knives. Yes, it can be like recess – with the broken monkey bars, the tire swings, the cigarette butts from last nights hoodlums – during Lunchtime in elementary school before our egos are developed enough to take our differences to war.

And why not learn to play nicely together since we all need the same things? Well, it has to do with desire and expectation of course. That is where the struggle comes from. Maybe it is true that the tapeworm in your gut actually pulls the trigger, or the spirochete in your mitochondria deludes you into thinking you’re in love. More likely, it is the self love/loathe — you know, when your self hatred cultivates narcissistic asshole behavior, apathy, and/or  self-deprecation — which prevents us from seeing self as other, gears us towards exploitation of others as we try to control them; steal their resources to acquire our desires (not mutually beneficial) not our human needs  ( “They” could be a person, place or thing).

Of course, what I am suggesting is the Unified Field Theory of Human Endeavors – that which draws us to the Playground of our Human Needs. It requires a transformation of our core temperament with the intention of transcending the border between self and other. Perhaps when the human population was approximately 18 it was not such a difficult task to perform.

Yet, even the internal workings of a persons fwang can, and often do, cause conflict. When our emotional, physical, sexual, psychological, psychical, and spiritual needs are not thoroughly understood – that is, when our internal states are not clearly defined and in resonance with our  core temperament- there exists a fertile ground for conflict. Toss into that internal mix the external forces of 7 billion people working towards the same thing among the external forces of economy, environment, politic, media, and other socal influences and you are left with a highly complicated system in which there is a great deal of friction and uncontrolled oscillations.

In the language of Natural Philosophy this dynamic is  considered to be a ‘many body problem’ for which there is no exact solution. However, this does not mean an empirical solution can not be expressed. That is, the way we live can be transformed – through a series of practices and rituals – to unravel our fwang and re-ravel it with a new formulation more in resonance with our original instructions – this time derived from our practices and spiritual advisers who will prompt us towards expressing who we are supposed to be. This guidance and practice, along with the tools of non-violence and conflict transformation, will instruct us in a way that we can learn to play nicely among the commonalities of our human needs.


From the Polish Book of the Dead and Other Drunk Incantations


Bardzo VII


bardzo zimna
we carried our corpses
a flute a guitar a violin an accordian
and a case of vodka
accomplanied by
a dancer a trickster a warrior a crier
cursing along the backroads of the nowe miasto
to where
we once gathered to play
our love songs
after the invasion
and the next
to the places our father’s
fought to their deaths
to play for them
to drink for them
to sing to them
to smoke their last cigarettes
until we were drunk
hurled on the ground
our cold red faces pressed against
white crystals formed around
the edges of bootprints in the mud
sleeping as they do
a few meters underground
buried by decades of war
covered by the new world order
and a fresh layer of snow
Now mostly sober
we carry our corpses back
from the Cytadela
half pickled half fermented
gathering unearthed ordinance
and dislodged shrapnel
to place inside the violin’s F-hole
drop into the sound hole of your guitar
jam into the end of her flute
pierce the trickster’s accordian
and ram down our throats
until there is no memory of the fighting
save the muted sounds of instruments
doing their dirty work

© Adam Roufberg

The Falafel Stand in No Man’s Land

Posted on 24th April 2012 in Poetry
Hey, my friends
On both          |sides|         of the wall
Put down your weapons for      just enough time 
to remove the dead                            collect the wounded
play some music                                and eat a little
on the playground of our commonalities
while we                                              stop the bleeding
get the dead out of sight             dance a little
and eat together                           in no man’s land
when we’re done                           not fighting
for just                                                   a little while
we can get back to the fun                with our guns
and shoot at each other                        again
kill   each      others       families             and friends
addicted to retribution
      and the food breaks in between
          satisfying our human needs
together, as enemies
with the new rules of engagement
art with my missiles
tea with your air strikes
and music                                don’t forget
while we take a break from the fun
put down the gun                    for long enough
to remove the dead                  collect the wounded
eat a little                                      smoke the hooka
on the playground of our human needs
together, as enemies
while we rest                          catch our breath
so we can     kill        each            other              again