Monday, May 7

Les Miserables, in Jaffa, in a way.

Several years ago i lived in a small street, just behind the "Nouzha" Mosque, in Victor Hugo Street. What i loved most about the small house, was its garden. I planted a vine, rosemary, morning glory "Leylet el kader" (a big green bush with tiny white flowers opening only at night, with a wonderful smell) flowers, herbs; my own small paradise.
I thought i would always live there.
True, the two drug-dealers in the street operating their business like a banking machine (put your money in a slot, collect your wares through the window) wasn't exactly my idea of "nice neighbours, but i loved the street, the house and the garden i planted.
Victor Hugo Street connects between Dante and Michelangelo streets. Somehow referring to both hell and heaven.
And yes, there were some really wonderful people living there too. And some very funny ones. Opposite my house there was a small 2 room apartment. The owner filled it up with 3 layer bunk beds and some 22 (yes twenty two) Chinese workers lived there. Only one of them knew English and none knew Hebrew nor Arabic. The English speaking Chinese guy had become a good friend over time, and spent the Seder night with us and many a regular evening in the small garden, joining us for some tea with nana or luisa.

Then, the shooting started. . Automatic guns, that is. A hell of a sound to wake up to. The greengrocer on the corner had been shot. Everybody out in the street at 4 o'clock in the morning. Shouting, scared, angry, fed up.
And me? When the lease ran out, i moved out of my little paradise.
I kept contact with some of the (other) neighbours.

Yesterday evening, the neighbours in Victor Hugo Street sat outside, as usual. People carry some chairs, a small table outside and enjoy the mellow evening temperatures with a tea, a coffee, a water-pipe, some sweets. The children play in the street. Just another evening, like so many others.
The sudden sound of shooting, automatic fire, rapid. Muhamad Zeynab, falls down, mortally wounded. His wife and a female neighbor are wounded as well.

Les miserables, Victor Hugo Street, Jaffa, 2007

1 comment:

Perdix said...


If the foreign workers had been San from Namibia he instead of these 22 Chinese could stack at least 44.