when love is converted into money

when love is converted into money

I still haven?t understood why they say that the Holyland project doesn?t suit Jerusalem - a city which since taking over from the British Mandate has built the ugliest of the country?s buildings, and has not hesitated to destroy some of its most beautiful ones. A city whose corrupt leaders are kicked upstairs to the Knesset and government, like the shoe of the Bagdadian journalist thrown at President Bush, may the lord preserve him - and who knows where it?s going to end. You see, one can easily find an implicit connection between the project that pisses on us from above to the tune of Calatrava's stringed bridge, and the Safdie Plan still threatening to inhabit the open space at west Jerusalem, the Tolerance Museum we?ve lost, the Prime Minister?s house that is still being built despite all the promises, Habima Theater that has slipped from our fingers, the Mann Auditorium?s culture-free plan, and the Tower of Babylon whose planning will also most likely be attributed to veteran architect Ram Karmi.

Why is this project called ?a monster? when it is the precise product of the now prevailing policy claiming that high is good for the city because it?s dense. Just look how many national faces it manages to house on one Jerusalem hill - judges, professors, lawyers, bribe-takers, gift-bestowers, connection-seekers, footballers, military personnel, humus-sellers and tehina munchers. Good people that every Israeli encounters during his life-time in the country of unlimited possibilities; a country of altering and improvising; a country that devours its inhabitants, its culture and its morality; a country that hasn?t yet learned that ?respect? includes thy neighbors, whose over-crowdedness is a way of life. The holy land where the term ?light unto nations? is used as an energy-saving device.

And speaking of energy - has anyone figured out how much fuel this project saves by enabling its residents a view of both the Mediterranean and what was once the Dead Sea? How much water can be conserved when it?s flushed on the top stories, cleans the toilets on the bottom ones, and from there - straight to the fields of Jericho (no one thought of that); how much cakes, burekas and diet sprite can be saved when the architect, town engineer, mayor and entrepreneur can hold a meeting of the local committee within the walls of prison, with the jailer as the built-in state witness?

I know a person is innocent until proven guilty, but I remember the same said of Demyanyuk, may his soul rot in hell. With talented lawyers like we have today, we?re all guilty until proven rightful. Rightful for freedom from drunken leaders, from tantalizing politics which do not think twice before deciding to move a hospital at the cost of 500 million IS, just for a few ancient graves that were discovered, or to change in three months the Planning and Building Ordinance that had managed to survive fifty years. Truly, every rule needs to be updated, but even a Prime Minister who is motivated by political promises can grasp that the problem lies in the over-power of local authorities, and not the opposite.

Karl Jung said that where there is control there is no need for love, and where there is love there is no need for control. And if I may add - in a city that lost control because love is converted into money, there?s no reason to build.

Architect dr. Ami Ran

חזרה לגליון 81    back to issue 81