Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Jerusalem Syndrome

My mother has come to visit. And like any good tourist, she demanded to go to Jerusalem. I hate Jerusalem*. But what can one do?

In the old market, alongside the usual 'my lover/mother/brother went to Israel and all I got...' and 'Free Palestine Now' and 'I got stoned in Hebron/Ramallah/Gaza' tourist tat was one, in English, with the inscription 'To all you Virgins...Thanks for nothing'.

I'm still not sure what quite to make of it.

We did the Stations of the Cross. Or, rather, my mother did the Stations of the Cross. I looked pretty and took the photographs.

The Souk was busier than I remember seeing it before now. I suppose the tourists have started to come back again. A shopkeeper even invited me into his space with the words 'don't be afraid...' I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be afraid of for a moment.

On the other hand, the little boys puffed themselves to their full height and shouted 'Sudani' as we passed, trying (and failing) to look ferocious and threatening. Refugees, apparently, rank lower than dispossessed Arabs in the Food Chain.

I think my mother enjoyed the trip. I for my part, finally laid my hands on a copy of Time Out Israel in English.

A couple of ideas I was going to pitch to my editor were running as features inside. This means (1) Great minds think alike, (2) There is less to Israel than meets the eye or (3) I need to stretch my imagination a little more.

I think I'll have a nap and think about it a little more.

*I don't actually hate Jerusalem. I am, in fact, benignly indifferent to the city. But I like to say that I hate it to piss people off.

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