Friday, June 9

Saddam in Jaffa?

Summer, hot, humid, Jaffa's flea-market area, smelly, not too clean, the sound of gunshots, heavy machinegun fire in the background.
A small colorful van arrives. It's covered with photographs of rabbis. Happy reli-trance music blaring out of the loudspeaker on its roof. Five hassidim jump out and start dancing in the middle of the street, to the beat of the music.
One of them doing a break-dance, professionally, testifying of his former career and a recent personal and cultural change.
The gunfire continues, but people in Jaffa are familiar with the sound and don't even pay attention, "see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing", as usual. Even the police men hanging around in the area, are too hot to bother much.
On the roof tops close to the Clock tower square a French movie is being shot. Its' screen story taking place in Baghdad. Jaffa's fleamarket area serving as a convenient backdrop.
The art people from the film cover up Hebrew signs with posters of Saddam Hussein to create a "natural effect".
The parked cars all receive fake Iraqi numberplates. Hebrew grafiti and roadsigns quickly covered with Arabic script.
Once the scene has been shot the art people sort of clean up.
The occasional poster is forgotten ads to the strange atmosphere of the place on a very hot summer day.

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