When the beards get longer, the hats weirder, the guns bigger, the domes more golden and the ailes more narrow, when the trams get too crowded, your roomies french, the politics more complicated, the stones whiter, the hill slopes smoother, the cabbies more rude and the sky clearer – then you know that you are in Jerusalem again. Hello!
This is Gunter, he owns a German restaurant in Iraq, in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Ordering a beer in his restaurant was a small home-coming for me. Because the beer was brewed 10km away from where I grew up. The food Gunter cooked was the same my grandma always prepared for me.
Gunter comes from a small town in Thuriniga, in the middle of Germany. Him owning a restaurant in Iraq was not a propect he could have fathomed some 25 years earlier. It was the fall of 1989 when he went for “a walk” and demanded freedom of movement, when he demonstrated against the government of the German Democratic Republic. In a childish move of vengeance this government enlisted him for military service. A couple of weeks later the Wall came down and the East-German forces were reunited with their West-German counterparts. Gunter stayed in the army and did what he had learned. He cooked. In Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Kabul. It was in the Afghan capital that he opened his first restaurant in 2003. Times were good at that time in Afghanistan. Everybody was optimistic, Gunter recalls. With every bomb attack this optimism vanished further, making him closing his restaurant in the process. 30.000 Euros were lost. He started again in Iraq. Same story here: many Internationals, optimism, no competition. This time it worked. Gunter wants to open his next restaurant on the island of Sri Lanka.
When I was asking Gunter what he thinks of Germany, if he would go back, he replied: “What could I possibly want there?”
The palestinia protest village of Bab Al-Karama, Beit Iksa, January 2013. Two men in the background are building the provisional mosque.
This is Salem Smeirat, he usually sells fruits and vegetables on the streets of Ramallah. But one day the Palestinian Minister of Traffic wanted to give him 10.000 Dollars. Because obviously, he has a certain talent. Continue reading “Meet Yassir Arafat, eh, Salem Smeirat”
I wanted to take a picture of Wadi Musa in Jorda during sunset. However, the setting was rather unispiring. Then, I discovered this lamp and the longer I looked at it the more strange it seemed to me in this oriental place. It remembered me of Bauhaus-Design, neat, stylish. So I tried to fuse the heat of the Desert with the coolness of Bauhaus in this picture.
Snow on bleeding Jerusalem
as though bandaging her wounds
all rests in tranquility now
filling the cracks of yearning in the Wall
children in your streets, Jerusalem
the sons of Isaac and Ishmael
are staging white wars
(and their blows are soft)
even the pigeons are hurrying today
cooing because they have found new footprints
on the way leading up to the Gate of Mercy