Sunday, August 3, 2008

The wall at the end of history

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Letter from Abu Dis, occupied West Bank

By Phyllis Bennis
Source: The Nation

"Today, the Silk Road stops in Abu Dis. The road no longer goes through Jerusalem, and can no longer reach the sea. That grimy, garbage-strewn dead end marks the end of 2,202 years of history.

Beginning around 100 BC, the fabled Silk Road brought goods and travelers from China and Central Asia, through the lands of Persia and Mesopotamia, and over to Palmyra in Syria. One branch of the road then turned south, crossing through Bethany, the biblical village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, as it headed west from Jerusalem to Yoppa (today's Jaffa) and the Mediterranean Sea.

Today the town of Bethany is known as Abu Dis. It is still on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And the ancient road is still there. Dusty and pothole-filled, it winds through the center of the Palestinian town, with auto-parts yards and small dingy shops selling vegetables and furniture lining both sides. The road then comes to an abrupt stop, blocked by the towering, graffiti-covered cement slabs of Israel's separation wall........

They were right. The Palestinians of Abu Dis, or Bethany, are no closer to Jerusalem, despite being able to see al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock from high points within their city.And dusty, tired Abu Dis is the place where history at last, at least the fabled Silk Road part of history, comes to its end."

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