I haven't offered you tea in a while. This will be a shot. I have very little to say.

This is in part for the cool branding reasons: I've been to two cons in two months, and they were both rad, and I owe you a Big Bad Con recap and lots of talk about the experience of playtesting one's own game in a room full of strangers and World Fantasy was lovely and I would have loved to gripe about how the cold didn't bother Elsa but it sure as hell troubles the life outta me.

But all of that would seem rather distracting.

Smarter people have said more deliberate and thoughtful things about the Palestine conflict: about the tendency of those with institutionalised power to deflect from the real consequences of occupation and disenfranchisement of those in the territory; about the civilian toll on both sides and how their suffering is the deliberate side effect of a political regime seeking out and relying on amplifying the threat of violence to shore up its own power in a very ur-fascistic 'at the same time too strong and too weak' sense; about the swell of civilian abuses that occur both in the territory by way of increased settler agitation against Palestinians and increased antisemitism and islamophobia in the rest of the world; and about the revolutionary rising of guerrilla art and journalism to document the event in the face of rampant propaganda and media dismissal. I feel like it would be rude to say I know anything that I would not have learned from dozens of smarter tweets and articles on the matter.

I can't help but think of Yeats' 'The Second Coming' in this moment. About the very obvious dramatic language that describes this altogether decline into fear and trouble. About how "[t]he best lack all conviction, while the worst/ [a]re full of passionate intensity"--or rather, how that can not be true, how there are those fighting with all their might against the intensity of propaganda and violence, but how it reveals that the otherwise good in our fellows can be weakened, buffeted against by misinformation and doubt and most of all the desire to not make enemies of our equally conscientious neighbours for standing against apartheid and violence. About whatsoever beast now slouches, and how everyone agrees about what direction it's walking in, but doesn't agree on what's going to happen when it gets there.

There are lots of people sharing radical information about the conflict and the ways that you can be a challenge to it. But above all, from someone on the outside of that conflict, I want to implore others like me to do this as well: be aware of your conviction. Have it, and know when it is waning and why. Know what pressures are getting in the way of standing up for the lives of others, and be willing to confront that, to say no to the doubts that emerge, or give room for them so you may continue challenging when it subsides.

Other people's lives are at stake, and sometimes it can feel like you are being so sternly judged just for noticing that something obviously wrong is happening.

That feeling is valid--but remember, if you're feeling pressured just by saying something, thinking something, feeling something about the issue, imagine how those in the middle of it feel about living it all.

I also think so much about the oft-quoted line: "[t]hings fall apart, the center cannot hold".

I know what he means, and I know as well that the image he's invoking is so large, the breaking of seals, the awful opening of the very sky, tragedy falling all over us from everywhere.

But every time I read it, I imagine the exaggerated alternative: surely if we all pulled, it could come together again.

Haymarket Books has made several texts on the Palestine conflict available for free. So has Verso Books.

Many spaces working to provide aid require support: you can learn about some of them here. Among them is the Games for Gaza Bundle on itch.io, raising funds for UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. Also consider: not all support is financial in nature, and many Palestinians have insisted that due to the violence and blockades in the territory, direct aid may not be your best contribution at the moment.

Watch this video from Al Jazeera +. And then this video.

Read this newsletter from Daniel José Older.

Do what you can. Do what you must.

Take care.

A Hot Toddy: the center cannot hold