onsdag, juni 23, 2010

Lärdomar av en judisk gravplats

Marc Steyn skrev 17 juni i kanadensiska
MacLeans.ca om lärdomar av ett besök
en judisk gravplats i Tanger, vars
"helighet" påstås respekteras av den
marockanska regeringen:
Thanks to the wonders of globalization, I’m
writing this in a fairly decrepit salon de thé
off the rue de la Liberté in Tangiers, enjoying
a coffee and a stale croissant grilled and
flattened into a panini. What could be more
authentically Moroccan? For some reason,
the napkins are emblazoned with “Gracias
por su visita.”
Through a blizzard of flies, I can just about
make out the plasma TV up in the corner
on which Jimmy Carter, dubbed into Arabic,
is denouncing Israel. Al Jazeera doesn’t so
much cover the Zionist Entity as feast on it,
hour after hour, without end. So here, at
the western frontier of the Muslim world
(if you don’t include Yorkshire), the only
news that matters is from a tiny strip of
land barely wider at its narrowest point
than a rural Canadian township way
down the other end of the Mediterranean.
Notwithstanding saturation coverage
of the “Massacre In The Med” (as the
front page headline in Britain’s Daily
Mirror put it), there are other Jewish
stories in the news. This one caught my
eye in Canada’s Shalom Life: “No danger
to the Jewish cemeteries in Tangiers.”
Apparently, the old Jewish hospital in
this ancient port city was torn down a
couple of months back, and the Moroccan
Jewish diaspora back in Toronto worried
that their graveyards might be next on the
list. Not to worry, Abraham Azancot
assured Shalom Life readers. The Jewish
cemetery on the rue du Portugal is perfectly
safe. “Its sanctity has consistently been
respected by the local government that is
actually providing the community with
resources to assist in its current grooming.”
Sounds great. Being in the neighbourhood,
I thought I’d swing by and check out the
“current grooming.” It’s kind of hard to
spot unless you’re consciously looking for
it: two solid black metal gates off a steep,
narrow street where the rue du Portugal
crosses the rue Salah Dine, and only the
smallest of signs to indicate what lies
behind. On pushing open the gate and
squeezing through, I was greeted by a
pair of long underwear, flapping in the
breeze. In Haiti, this would be some voodoo
ritual, alerting one to go no further. But in
Tangiers it was merely wash day, and
laundry lines dangled over the nearest
If you happen to be Ysaac Benzaquen
(died 1921) or Samuel Maman (died 1925),
it is your lot to spend eternity with the grounds-
keeper’s long johns. Pace Mr. Azancot, there
is no sense of “sanctity” or “community”: as
the underwear advertises, this is no longer a
public place, merely a backyard that happens
to have a ton of gravestones in it.
I use the term “groundskeeper” but keeping the
grounds doesn’t seem to be a priority: another
row of graves was propping up piles of logs
he was busy chopping out of hefty tree trunks.
Beyond that, chickens roamed amidst burial
plots strewn with garbage bags, dozens of
old shoes, and hundreds of broken bottles.