Friday, October 06, 2006

echoes of displacement

I have not been here for 18 months; much of this time was spent in reading about Jerusalem of 1917, which became more and more vivid and real as I read memoirs dairies and books. Suddenly I am in Jerusalem 2006; I feel like a refugee going back home and finding that it has all changed, while landmarks are still there, something very basic is missing. I walk the city and I feel as if something is wrong, broken, unresolved; something is left without an answer, a problem with no solution, and that the construction work (much of it here) is covering up for a fundamental gap that has not been bridged. Something seems absent from the fabric of the city, something that would glue together its different elements into one network, the uneven, interruped continuouty of history. Yet all I see is bad patchwork.

Partly, this has to do with arriving during the holidays, when normal life is suspended. And I have not been to the market yet, it always manages to console me. Today I thought of going there. Instead, I found myself sitting in a flat that looked familiar (squat like), making decoration for the tabernacle shed and smoking a spliff with people I didn't really know. I should say that it was the nicest and most relaxing time I had since arrival. The decoration scheme was simple: a three coloured chain of paper rings.


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