Monday, February 5

Umm Abed Died

Umm Abed died . The muezzin of the near-by H'san Arafe mosque cried it out over the loudspeakers, usually reserved for the 5 daily prayers.
A small van arrives with about a hundred plastic chairs.
A big tent is erected in the parking lot next to my house. Neighbors quickly remove their cars, understanding, respectful.
A tape starts playing non-stop prayers.
The women gather in the house, drinking endless tiny cups of bitter coffee.
The men gather outside in the tent, sitting on the uncomfortable black plastic chairs, listening to the religious speeches offered in Umm Abed's memory.
People come in to pay their respects. Everyone comes in, even for just a few minutes, while on their way to somewhere, something else.
Only very early in the morning, when the mourners have not yet arrived, the little children use the tent for their games. Playing football between the chairs, racing a chair-slalom on their bikes, laughing out loud, a dry spot on a rainy day. Life goes on.

Three days of mourning.

Umm Abed died.

Jaffa, winter 2007

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