Hevron from our dusty maps
A year ago I wanted to clarify Mellissa’s note: “Should I tell the story of this place? Is there anything to say about it? “. And then so many events have occurred and I couldn’t work on it.
All those who are familiar with Wim Wenders movies may remember the famous speech of Homer in Der Himmel Uber Berlin. This old man, storyteller, lonely and homesick is the only one who still remember Potsdamer Platz and me too today more than ever.
Singular forces pushe me as they pushed all the characters in Wenders movies back to the place of their childhood, but all of them end with the same feeling of anguish and infinite sadness, because once back there they became aware that what they thought have changed remains as damaged as mutilated than before, and what they would have wanted to see unchanged became deteriorated in the same way as cinema was brutally repressed and destroyed by the logic of production utility.
Potsdamer Platz made me think about my Jewish identity. The Jewish people have built their identity on a mythical basis: not on the consciousness of historical continuity.
Roland Barthes explains that the myth exists as long as the speech is its source, it is a supreme History above history, trying to reach a deeper and eternal truth of an historical event whatever this one is proven or not, that doesn’t matter.
Saying for example that each generation must see themselves as they came out of Egypt is a mythical speech because it involves every Jew as if he was above history. It becomes part of our active identity. The myth is also beyond the borders and totally an immutable destiny.
Jews spoke different languages along with Hebrew, there was no common Jewish destiny, everything depended on where they were, but they kept saying, “Next year in Jerusalem “. Because they had this deep feeling that the real focus is elsewhere, everything was temporary.
Myths have allowed us an effective geographical mobility, maintain this mythical identity until we made ourselves mythical. The birth of Zionism was and is not messianic, his only purpose was to bring back the Jews in the history arena as said Gershom Scholem. Because before Zionism we were not in history, we were in the myths.
If the myths were true or not, this really doesn’t matter at all.
This is why Israel has no clear borders until today, It’s because of this mythological quantum leap in the history that we are exhibiting dusty cards straight out from our dusty closets and claim that Hevron during Avraham’s time is the same Hevron of today.
Myths are incorrigible. The Germans did an amazing job by correcting their history, and I admire them for that, but they rewarded us and the entire world with a Berlin museum of horror and lies.
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