Friday, October 24

Preparing the party for whom?

Chinese construction workers are frantically running around, while Russian speaking carpenters are assembling the hardwood deck and fences surrounding the building. A huge tent has been erected and electricians prepare light fixtures outside. A gorilla-sized guy from a private security company sits idle on a small chair, overlooking the sea. Small children play in the little public sports play ground that has been prepared just outside the Peres Center for Peace.
The kids are the only locals in the immediate area. No one from Jaffa seems to be employed here.

I sneak inside the compound to have a look at things. My eyes catch sight of a pig-ugly statue of an anorectic looking grotesquely long-necked woman releasing iron doves upward into the sky. It looks straight out of the fifties and is heavy on symbolism. The sort of statue used in shopping malls; not offensive to anyone, sort of "pretty" and "pleasing" but not carrying any weight. With the money spent here, they could have done better. But then, the whole building is such a colonialist mis-fit. And very symbolic of what is happening in Jaffa, in the country, in the Middle East.
Inside , the building is more or less empty, unfinished. Natural light, but very stuffy. There are no windows to be seen (except for the top floor, facing the sea), there is a lot of glass, but not one window which can be opened to let in fresh air. Weird, because close to the beach there is almost always a nice wind, even on hot days. Just open the windows on the shadow side of the building to let in the breeze, and you will not need air-conditioning. Not so in this building, they'll either be cooking or waste much electricity on keeping cool, i guess.

The inauguration ceremony is a few days away and the building is far from ready. The beach surrounding it has been cleaned, the road towards the beach, which has been coming apart over the last several years, has been repaired as well and newly asphalted. The area surrounding the huge pipe passing underneath the center and ending on Ajami beach (the rain overflow from Pardes Dake) has been cleaned, amazing what they're wiling to do in order to impress the foreign guests.
That area of Jaffa hasn't been so clean for ages.
Now and then kids from the neighborhood pass by to have a lok.

I have finally deteced the entrance of the building. It faces the sea and when arriving from the street you need to go all around in order to find it. "Most welcoming".

The building could be used as a shelter for many of Jaffa's homeless and poor families. That would be a great use for it. Then maybe it would turn into something that could become part of the community. One could also operate an art center for kids in it. A community center. Although not inviting nor pleasant, i can think of a few uses for it. Obviously more entrances should be made into it. To let the neighbors in. Ad windows, for a fresh breeze.



1 comment:

J.P. said...

Chinese, Russians?
To sustain the community they, we are talking about a Peace Centre yes?, should have used locals.