Monday, May 16, 2005

The photographs, which I found at the archive of Imperial War museum a year ago, were taken here, on this platform. They were on the train, about to leave; it was the early 1940s. If they were leaving for Jaffa, or travelling further, to Europe, I do not know. Something tells me it was an official farewell, not simply a day jouney. The pictures show a short and plump British official, wearing short sleeved uniform. His sportive manners seem awkward. His smile, beneath a thin moustach, seems affected: it does not succeed in its role, to stiffle this official situation with thick layer of normality. They look out of place, completely out of place, lost in sea. The old dying general. The priest. The mother, her two daughters, the little boy. Exiled nobility, now leaving Jerusalem. So painful is their reserve, they look not quite alive. Their expressions evoke neither pity nor compassion. Yet their eyes, looking deep into the eye of the camera, have the most uncanny effect. As if the whole world is out of place, and not just them. These photographs moved me so much.


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