Sunday, April 12, 2009


Coming into Ramallah now. Raja Shehadeh, a lawyer who lives here, says that it is Ramallah's greatest good fortune not to be mentioned in the Bible. For that reason Ramallah is left alone, of no interest to fanatics, because its religious significance is precisely nothing. Nothing divine happened in Ramallah. What a stroke of luck for any town that wants to survive! Not to be named in any Holy Book! And along the cement wall, as we enter the town, is the blossoming graffiti. Oh yes, there's a parallel here and it's being made with aerosols and poster paints, so that every visitor will be forced to think "Ah! Berlin!" The wall may be obsolete for Professor Lochery, but for the inhabitants of the West Bank, it's all too real, blocking out the sun, blocking out the view, forbidding passage. There are people here on the West Bank who have not seen a body of water—lake nor sea—for fifteen years. The wittiest graffiti by far, in enormous capitals, the instruction scrawled across six cement blocks, just the letters CTL ALT DEL. As if at the press of three computer keys, the wall might disappear. Not a wall, just a drawing of a wall.
David Hare

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