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  • Writer's pictureEva van der Zand

Jerusalem the city of mirrors

We enter the house of Ram, but he calls himself like Ramsey (an Arabic name). He plays with identities. He is an actor in one of the religious television series in Israel. His family was for 5 generations in Jerusalem. He has the key of a Synagogue that his grandfather build. He know the people in the area. He uses religion in his theatre and performance pieces.

A friend comes in. They went together to kindergarden. The friend just became father, and a curious redhead baby stares at me. The father just came back from Turkey. He shares his view on Jerusalem. The whole city is build out of Jerusalem stone. Even the law says that you can't build without the Jerusalem stone. People can live here as stones. move a bit, and become stone again. Throw arguments as stones on each others roofs. carved stone in a specific posture. eating stoned food. Stone recipes, of thousands of years old.

People say it's the stone city. But, you think the city is made out of stones. But it’s actually made out of mirrors. You will see yourself in those mirrors. in many different ways. From many angles. and often.....every moment it’s emotional. As if you encounter yourself, after many encounter with things that didn't seem to be you.

I realise that it already happened everyday so far to me. Where I put my focus, I get some answer. So I hope I will remember myself and other people about this mirror city.

Like the story a friend once told me. I found the story back on folktales for travellers. ( A traveler came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

"What sort of people live in the next town?" asked the stranger.

"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

"They were bad. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I'm happy to be leaving the scoundrels."

"Is that so?" replied the old farmer. "Well, I'm afraid that you'll find the same sort in the next town.

Disappointed, the traveler trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work.

Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk. "What sort of people live in the next town?" he asked.

"What were the people like where you've come from?" replied the farmer once again.

"They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I'm sorry to be leaving them."

"Fear not," said the farmer. "You'll find the same sort in the next town."

I stare at one of the framed pieces at the crumbling wall. Ramsey's place looks like an apartment from the 30's or even older. Here Jerusalem in shown in a really simple way. Simple and with a soft fabric. The softness is put behind glass, and framed. Today the world presents me a woven perspective on the city.

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