Monday, December 27, 2010

Try Substituting "Jerusalem" In That Story

If you go to this NYTimes article, you'll read a fourth installment in a series on "exploring how large-scale urban projects are transforming parts of the Arab world".  The most recent is on Allepo (or 'Halab, and as we Jews know it, Aram Tzuba).

Did you know that

Mohamed Atta, the central planner of the 9/11 attacks, once wrote an urban planning thesis on the Old City of Aleppo in which he said he wanted to tear out centuries’ worth of buildings, Mr. Ruthven said. He dreamed of “an Islamic city that was pure and unchanged — frozen in aspic.”

Anyway, here's the action theme:

The project encompasses the rebuilding of crumbling streets and the upgrading of city services, the restoration of hundreds of houses in the historic Old City, plans for a 42-acre park in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and the near-decade-long restoration of the Citadel itself, whose massive walls dominate the skyline of Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world,

I could easily substitute "Jerusalem" for "Aleppo" in that and leave in "Old City", "massive walls", "park", "Citadel", "oldest inhabited", etc.

Interesting, but what strikes me is that if the NYTimes would attempt to do this in Jerusalem, somehow I feel that it just wouldn't work. After all, they do attempt it and all we get are stories of how Jews don't belong in the eastern neighborhoods of the city and how reconstruction of a Jewish past, a Jewish architecture simply cannot be. It's an "Arab city".


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