1. birth

3m33s

2. cast

5m50s

3. sculptue

3m22s

4. olives

4m47s

The Jaffa Bus Tour, 2008

In collaboration with Scandar Copti 

In the project “Bus Tour” (by video artist Yochai Avrahami), Jaffan filmmaker Scandar Copti led organized excursions, which presented the tourists with an alternative history of Jaffa and its landmarks. The fictitious stories Copti improvised bear but a loose connection to the actual historical events of the city. To his surprise, he confessed, the tour’s Jewish participants, unequipped with the required knowledge or political authority to refute his “testimony”, were inclined, by and large, to “believe” him24. Inside the bus, a video was projected featuring Scandar fabricating a moppet out of rags found on the local dunghill overlooking the sea. He gives it a name, Sun, takes it on a tour in Jaffa and addresses it as his son. The video proceeds to show Sun and Scandar in a provisory olive orchard of ten trees in ‘Ajami (Hursha Zmanit in Hebew). Planted by the municipality over the ruins of a demolished house in order to prevent “illegal construction”, the orchard is located across the street from the imposing “Peres Center for Peace” – contested by local Palestinians as one of the symbols of Jewish creeping gentrification25. Scandar attempts to educate his son and tighten his attachment to the land. “Come,” he tells Sun, “feel the power of the place. Do you smell the wonderful fragrance of olive trees?” The scene becomes an ironic play on the trope of Palestinian autochthony (through its key symbol – the rootedness of the olive tree) mixed with urban debris: “This is very special land here, you have to learn the trade if you are to take my place when I die. You need to take care of the land.” Collecting shreds of stones and bricks, residues from the ruins of the old Palestinian house, Scandar instructs his son to identify different kinds of materials: “This is called cement. You have to use it as fertilizer and only then the trees can flourish. Come my son, let’s rest under the shadow of the tree. Slowly... We’ll drink some good Arabic coffee from the market.” Pointing to the monumental Peres Center for Peace, he says:

See this building – it’s made of the same blessed cement we use as fertilizer. This is the Peres House, and these olive trees symbolize peace, hence the Peres House of Peace. Very touching isn’t it? I’m also moved… When I leave this world you should make peace with Peres, and at night take some of his cement to fertilize our land. (Avrahami 2007)

Turning to the other side, now facing the neighboring Palestinian housing projects, also known as the Safari for their notoriety of poverty and crime, he concludes, “one day, Sun, this all will be yours.”

 

from :Jaffa Shared and Shattered: Contrived Coexistence in Israel/Palestine, by Daniel Munteresco