Jewish And Arab People Posing Together Online, ‘Refusing To Be Enemies’
In the midst of news about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some people are posting photos online for an international social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag, #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies.
Consider the peach. It’s delicious. It’s covered in fine fuzz. It’s generally yellow and red or pink. Inside it, around a porous pit, is an edible and popular fruit-flesh that can be consumed raw, or cooked into pie and cobbler, and so on.
But to the Greshami, the peach is far more than a fruit. It’s even more than a way of life. To the Greshami, the peach is God.
From the dawn of Greshami culture as recorded in their history (which is written entirely on leather-tanned peach skins), the peach has been revered as the sole source of food for the Greshami people. Limited in trade by their isolation (until recently, see below), the Greshami developed over ages to subsist solely on the peach. Peaches, like potatoes, contain nearly every protein and mineral necessary for human development, with the exception of fatty acids, which the Greshami ingest in minimal portions from the fatty air that surrounds their region.
As the sole food, the peach has long been revered as their god. That they follow the peach harvest with the utmost solemnity is a given, but the more curious nature of the Greshami is how they’ve incorporated this godly fruit into the rest of their culture:
When the Greshami are born, they are taken from their mothers and immediately given a peach from which to suckle. That peach nectar is the always the first flavor to touch their lips, and in their last rites, it is administered again as they die in the same manner. Their mantra, recited each morning and night, and upon the onset of death, translates roughly as “From the Peach we came and to the Peach we go, for the Peach is life, and life is Peachy.”
The linguistics of the Greshami also show reverence for the fruit. “Hello” in Greshami is “ZnZni-Zni” which literally means “Peach be upon you.” This invocation is a blessing of good fortune. Goodbye is “HuHu-Ha” meaning “Parting is the pits,” also a benevolent though melancholy statement.
The peach pit itself is the currency of the Greshami. This has led to extreme class disparity, as those who have the most peaches to eat get the most pits from those peaches and can afford even more peaches. However, charity is also important to the Greshami, and a rich tribesman who ignored the hungry would be ostracized instantly and permanently. To deny a hungry person a peach, among the Greshami, is total anathema because it is to deny them access to God, a religious offense.
Greshami contact with the European world has been fairly problematic. They were first recorded into European history when explorer and ethnographer Richard F. Burton encountered them by chance when one of their peach peeling ceremonies spilled over into his camp. The Greshami run while peeling peaches so that the skin can be scattered and enrich the land. One boy, known only as Znizne (Peach eater) ran into Burton, who he led to the nearest encampment, a village known as Znu-Az-Zni (Peachville). Burton was given the ritual greeting peach, which he consumed on the spot, much to the pleasure of the Greshami. Unfortunately, Burton had no peaches of his own and was unable to reciprocate, leading the Greshami to consider European culture childish, as children were the only ones in their world who did not carry peaches (the concept of an “Adult” or “Child” does not actually exist in Greshami culture, there are simply those who have peaches and those who have yet to carry their own). As such, the Greshami are very kind to visiting Europeans, who they look down upon with a kind condescension. They are quite helpful to anyone they meet, giving them peaches and conferring upon them the blessing to the young or unfortunate, translated, “May you one day eat a peach so delicious that it blows your dick off.” Note that this is a wholly positive blessing to the Greshami.
The Greshami are a dwindling culture. The Orange-folk of the south and the northern Applemongers (both known to the Greshami as “GuZni” or “Non-Peach people” intermittently declare war on this peaceful tribe. According to Margaret Mead, “The Greshami are a pleasant folk, but a doomed folk. When they are attacked, they merely pelt their attackers with rotten peaches. Their birth rate is low, and they never accept outsiders to replenish their stock. I do not expect they shall live to see the 21st century, no, nor even the 1990s.”
The Greshami number only in the hundreds now, but they still thrive. And they have begun to explore the regions outside of their native land (Gresham in Atlanta, GA, near Melvin’s Used Appliance Sale and Repair). Recently they stumbled upon the local Wal-Mart SuperCenter and their access to its produce section has provided the “XiZni Unu” or “great Peach feast” weekly, when it was previously only celebrated each season. The manager of the aforementioned Wal-Mart has welcomed the Greshami and is currently learning their language:
“The Greshami language is beautiful. They don’t say “I Love You” in Greshami, they say “Znizi zi Zni, Xuzni Hu Zniznu” which means “Your company is as delicious to me as a peach,” and I think that’s beautiful.
also last night I was talking to my mom about reading War and Peace and she’s like “sometimes I think you read this books–” and I’m like “…out of spite? because I do” and she’s like “to show off”
and I couldn’t even wrap my head around this, I mean, what??? has my attitude been show-offy??? MOM. NO.
THIS IS PURE SPITE.
I don’t like the world‘s attitude of mmmm this book is a classic but it’s super hard my response every time is oh?? OH??? IS IT HARD??? IS IT??? BRING IT THE FUCK ON. I’LL READ IT. LET’S SEE HOW GOOD IT IS. because I don’t believe in gatekeeping and I don’t like the insinuation that I a mere plebe am too stupid to understand these things that are Only For Academics.
I also hate that people think these books are “““““boring”““““
nah. y’all know about Moby Dick and the Sperm Squeezing. War and Peace is so far just a super long Napoleonic War soap opera. Shakespeare is dick jokes mixed with existential crises. there’s a lot of things going on but “boring” ain’t one of them.
I’m not trying to ~~breathe life back into the classics~~~ or any shit like that. for one thing, I really do hate some of it (James Joyce can bite me, except he would probably enjoy it, weirdo).
I just want to have fun with what I’m reading and not be intimidated by all the people who think Literature Is Just For Them because yo. yo. this shit is fun. I enjoy having experiences I didn’t expect, and sharing my fascination, regardless of whether the people I’m talking to choose to read it. And I’mma keep doing it.
Ares, the God of War, has a throne on Olympus, has followers
and temples and tributes.
Ares, the God of War, has the screams of the dead and damned
echoing around in his skull, and has not had a moment’s peace since his father
declared his dominion over battle.
He tries to ignore them. He can’t stay on Olympus, not
anymore where his father’s proud gaze follows him and he can’t help but flinch
from it. At first he hides in his mother’s rooms, curling up on her lap and
crying like he hasn’t since he was very small. “I can hear them,” he says,
tears dripping down his nose and onto her dress, “I can hear them calling for
She combs her fingers through his hair and drops soft kisses
onto his forehead. “I’ll kill him. How dare he – how dare he.”
“You will do no such thing,” he says, and turns so he’s
looking up at her. He presses his hand to her cheek, and she leans into his
touch. Her eyes are alight with fury and grief, and it soothes him just to see
them. Her eyes are his eyes, are his brother’s eyes. “You are the goddess of
marriage. To kill your husband would be to kill yourself. Would you make me an
There is a war raging within him now, soldiers and generals
and widows crying out for him, but for now all he is worried about is
preventing a war within his home.
Nothing would tear apart the pantheon so firmly as to pit
Zeus against Hera.
She doesn’t say anything, but her grasp on his hand becomes
almost painful, so he will take that as agreement.
He can only stay away for so long. He must go to whoever
invokes him most strongly, to who builds him the biggest altars, to who
provides the largest sacrifice. He is not a god who is lucky enough to be able
to watch his domain from afar, to simply provide blessings and guidance. The
screaming inside of him quiets only when he joins them on the battlefield, only
when he is in the thick of it with a sword in his hand is it quiet enough for
him to think.
Only when his battle fury turns the tide of a war is he,
even just briefly, free from the crushing weight of his followers and his
He does not get to choose which side to support. Whoever
worships him more, whatever side invokes his name the strongest is the one who
gets his aid.
He shows up sobbing at his mother’s door, whole body
vibrating in pain because the soldiers shout his name in a glorious chorus and
he should be with them now, but instead he’s here. Hera grabs his upper arms to
keep him upright, eyes wide and concerned.
“I don’t want them to win,” he confesses, the words making
his lips burn, “the soldiers are simply soldiers, but the generals and lords
and kings seek glory for money, for profit, for nothing but selfishness. Their
enemies only want to live.”
“I will take care of it,” she swears to him, and he has no
idea how she expects to do that. Yet he trusts she’ll find a way, because she
always does. He comes to his mother, asking her to help him, and she always
has. “Now go, before you are hurt even more.”
Hera had no influence on the battlefield.
But it is not solely the battlefield where tributes are
She is the goddess of marriage and family.
She goes to wives and husbands, to sons and daughters, to
sisters and brothers. She whispers in their ears, speaks of devotion and
fealty, makes them all wail for their missing family members caught up in a war
none of them wanted.
Hera brings their grief and desperation to the fore, until
they’re nearly mad with their need to have their family brought home.
They build a temple to Ares, sacrifice gold and food and
anything of value they can spare. They cry prayers over hearth fires, and burn
messages to the god of war to bring their family members home.
The tides change. He’s midway through the battle when the he
feels the shift, when he realizes his mother somehow did as she promised and he
no longer has to fight for these people, that now he can fight against them.
He doesn’t want to fight at all. But if he must, then at
least he can fight for those he believes in.
Ares doesn’t allow himself to fall into bitterness or anger
at his father often. But he wishes, not for the first time, that Zeus had named
him the god of justice, of peace, of fairness, of loyalty. That Zeus had named
him the god of something he believed in, something he could believe in fighting
All war does is kill good men and women, all it does is breed
resentment and anger in the victors and losers both.
Although. Ares is of the opinions that wars never have any
true victors. Just people that lose less than the people they’re fighting.
There is a lull. No one is invoking him powerfully enough
that he can’t ignore their cries.
He goes to Haephestus’s volcano and slides into a magma
pool, the burning heat of the lava the perfect temperature to work out the
knots of stress in his back and thighs.
“It’s unnerving to see you in there,” his brother says, and
Ares opens his eyes to see Hephaestus looking down at him in concern. “You look
Permanent purple bruises have formed under his eyes. He can’t
remember the last time he saw himself without them. Everything hurts, it always
hurts, even when there is peace there are people who covet war and call out to
him and it tears at him whenever he leaves a tribute unanswered. He’s exhausted
and rode hard, stretched so thin that he’s terrified he’ll snap at any moment.
He looks at Hephaestus’s concern and admits to him something
he hasn’t told anyone, something he’s too afraid to say to his mother just in
case she decides to smite Zeus for it. “I think that these wars might be
His brother’s face goes tight, but he doesn’t say anything.
That’s all right. Ares hadn’t expected him to – there really is nothing to say.
He wonders if the screams will still find him in death.
“I need a favor,” Hephaestus says the next time Athena comes
to visit, wringing his hands, anxious in a way he usually doesn’t let anyone
Athena tilts her head to side. “I’m listening.”
Ares is resting, the moon high as he lays back in the middle
of the battle camp and tries to quiet the cries in his head enough to catch
even an hour of sleep.
“War is not just about fighting, about blood and battle.”
His eyes pop open and he looks over to see Athena sitting by
his side. He pushes himself up cautiously. “Sorry?”
“You should pay more attention to the generals,” she says, “war
isn’t won with blood. It’s won with strategy. With planning, with tactics.”
“I don’t know much about all that,” he admits, “it’s enough
of a struggle just to keep up with the soldiers.”
Her face softens, “I know. That’s why I’m here. No one
expects to win wars alone, Ares.”
This is how Athena, goddess of knowledge and weaving,
becomes a goddess of war. She is a master of strategy, of planning campaigns,
of ensuring that a victory on the battlefield remains a victory at home.
Some of his tributes go to her. Some people pray to Athena
now instead of him.
He still hears the screaming. He still doesn’t sleep.
But it relieves just enough pressure that it feels like he
can breathe again.
Ares and Athena are not the only names that get invoked on
Hades’s name has constantly been on their lips. They damn
their enemies to a torturous afterlife, to thrice the pain and suffering they
receive on the battlefield.
He tries to ignore it. It is not his domain. But the more he
hears it, that more it stabs at him. Most of these people are soldiers. Cursing
generals is well enough, but most soldiers didn’t choose to be here. He didn’t choose to be here.
Ares has never been to the underworld. It’s the one place
his mother never let him venture.
He knows that the smart thing to do would be to go to his
brother and ask him to speak to Hecate, the woman who raised him. Or even Hades
himself – he doesn’t know how well Hephaestus knows the gods of the underworld.
For all that he grew up there, he doesn’t speak of it much.
But if Hades’s wrath is to fall on anyone, Ares would rather
it be him.
It’s easy enough to follow the souls of recently departed
soldiers to the River Styx. Charon presses a hand to his shoulder and asks, “What
business do you have here, God of War?”
“I knew a child who was called Kore,” he answers, and he
doesn’t expect this to work, but he hopes it will. “I wish to speak to a woman
who calls herself Persephone.”
He can’t see Charon’s face, but the air around him turns
thoughtful. “It is summer. The Lady is with her mother.”
He’d forgotten about that.
“Then I request an audience with her husband,” he says, and
he clasps his hands behind his back so that Charon can’t see them shaking. He
can’t turn into a mess here. People are screaming in his mind, but he can’t let
it get to him here, not if he wants anyone to take him seriously, not if he
wants to help his fellow soldiers instead of hurting them.
“You are not dead, and so I cannot ferry you across the
Styx,” Charon says, almost apologetically. “But – hold on.” He turns to the
river, “Goddess Styx, could you come here?”
A little girl with skin even darker than Hephaestus’s and
eyes and hair of soft grey appears in front of them. “Yes?”
Charon points to him, “He wishes to speak to our lord.”
Styx turns her grey eyes on him, and he can’t help but feel
unnerved. She circles him, looking him up and down, seemingly looking into him.
“Very well,” she says at last. She moves her arms together, then apart. Two
sides of the river flow in opposite directions so that a dry walking path is
revealed in the river bed. “Move quickly. The longer I maintain a break in my
river, the longer things besides you may be able to sneak across.”
“Thank you,” he gives her a shallow bow, and then goes
sprinting across the riverbed. It takes him longer than it should – the river
is not overly wide, and it should be quick, but it seems like he runs nearly an
hour to reach the other side. He heaves himself onto shore, panting, and as
soon as he’s across the river comes crashing together once more, flowing back
into the proper direction.
He makes it to Hades’s palace, but once again it takes
longer than it seems it should. It takes too long, he’s been away from the
battle field too long, and it shows. He tries to pull himself together, he’s
come too far to fall apart now, but it seems to be a wasted effort. The
screaming of people crying his name is so loud he can’t hear anything else, and
it paralyzes him, he can’t move, he can’t feel, his muscles are tense enough to
snap because he needs to answer the
people calling for him, but he can’t
there’s no easy way out of the underworld so he’s just stuck here –
Suddenly it all cuts off to a dull roar, and he gasps as he
comes back to himself, squeezing his eyes shut to keep from crying. Hands cup
his face, and calloused thumbs wipe the tears from his cheeks. “You must be
Ares,” a soft voice says, “Charon said you were coming. Are you all right?”
He forces his eyes open, and Hades, King of the Dead, swims
into focus. “How are you doing that?”
“Doing what?” his eyebrows dip together. “What are you doing
He grabs Hades’s hands, and pulls them from is his face, but
leaves their fingers tangled together. Luckily Hades doesn’t pull away. Ares
doesn’t know what would happen if he did. “I – I know that they invoke you to
punish their enemies, on the battlefield. They dedicate some of the pyres to
you and ask you to burn their enemies in death, for eternity.”
“I hear them,” he says, “I know what they say.”
“Try not to,” he begs, and he can hear the screaming still,
he’s shaking and can’t stop and he wanted to appear strong while asking the god
of the dead for a favor but he’s barely able to keep standing. “I know they ask
of it, I know they erect tributes and we must all answer the call of our names,
but they’re not evil. They – some of them are, I mean, but don’t – try not to –
please,” he ends on, and it’s just not fair that the soldiers must continue
fighting after their death. Most of them hadn’t wanted to fight while they were
Hades still looks confused, and Ares will beg if he has to,
he knows it’s hard to go against what worshipers demand but this is important.
He’s about to try again when Hades says, “I am the god of the death, lord of
the underworld. Ares, I hear their cries but I am not bound by them. I rule the
dead. The dead do not rule me.”
He stares. He – he’s never heard of something like that
before. He answers the call of war because he must, his mother is bound by the
chains of her marriage because she is the goddess of family. Demeter’s power is
from the earth and of the earth, and when it suffers she suffers, even Poseidon
is not immune to the sea’s temperament. Their powers are all double edged, half
blessing and half curse.
“Oh,” he settles on finally. “Kore – I mean, Persephone?” They
tell tales of the punishments she inflicts on those that have upset her. He
knew her as a child, and he’s less surprised than most by what she became.
“My wife does what pleases her, and nothing else,” Hades
answers. Ares doesn’t understand. She is Queen of Life and Death, how can that
not pull at her, how does it not twist her into a shape she doesn’t recognize?
“Okay,” he says, and he has to leave, but at least he no longer
has to worry so much after fallen soldiers. “I apologize for the intrusion. I
Hades slides his hands up his arms, and settles at his
shoulders, and oh, Ares becomes distracted enough by those hands on him that
for a moment it’s almost quiet in his own head. “If you like. You may stay as
well. It seems as if you could use some rest.”
He drops his head forward on Hades’s shoulder, and he likes
the solidity of him, the undercurrent of strength and power he gives off. He’s
never met the man before, this is entirely inappropriate, but when Hades’s
hands settle onto his hips he wants nothing more than curl up in his arms and
ignore the war for a little while.
Hades feels like peace. He’d forgotten what that felt like. “I
The god of the dead presses a kiss to the edge of his jaw that
ignites something in Ares that has been absent since before he was declared the god of war. He
wonders what Hades would do if he kissed him properly, he wonders if he pulled
off his blood and war stained clothes if Hades would touch his too-hot skin. “Then
I request that you return,” the god of death says.
He shouldn’t. The time he manages to not be on a battlefield
should be spent with his mother, or Hephaestus. He shifts enough to press their
foreheads together. He looks into Hades’s dark eyes, and says, “I will.”
Ares returns to the midst of war feeling lighter than he has
in a long time.
I know it's stressful just being in this country rn, but I just wanted to give you... I don't know, a virtual hug or something. <3 And if you've been writing, I'm excited. :) In fact, I just reread DAV and I was planning on doing reviews and maybe fan graphics. :D
Thanks friend. At least they’ve finally appointed a special counsel, so maybe we’ll finally get somewhere.
I’ve been…trying to write, but I’ve only managed short fits and spurts, tbh. Possibly I should deal with this by writing some DAV crack.
Furious Emperor Palpatine demands that Vader find and end the leakers in the Imperial Palace. “Yes, my Master,” Vader says.
Less than an hour later, a piece appears in the Coruscant Post detailing Palpatine’s increasingly enraged reactions to the ongoing leaks, the general attitude of terror amongst his staff…and further evidence of his connections to and collusion with the Separatist movement that led to his ascension as Emperor.
Lord Vader remains frustratingly unable to identify the leaker. :(