From my childhood days I was very close and regularly as a grassroots Christian, in the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Salamanca. First as a candidate for confirmation, and once successful, as a member of church youth groups run by Don Miguel the priest. Later as a catechist and brother of the groups of Adsis (to be present in Greek). To end in the JOC (Youth Christian Workers) with their social and labor orientation. A time when I felt in my second home. Very happy and close to the Christian ministry. It can form my foundations of a humanistic solidarity and help to the neighbor. Drinking from various sources I quenched my thirst for personal and spiritual growth.
Always in the premises of the Parish, through paintings, charts and calendars, you can admire the Holy Land, interpreting it as a whole. For me Israel, Palestine and Jerusalem everyone’s capital, was the myth of religiosity, of mysticism, of my spirituality and the cradle of my Judeo-Christian humanist education. The city of the Near East with the golden dome, was the unequivocal symbol of the maximum religiosity existing in the 70s. I dreamed of one day being able to visit it, I idealized walking where Jesus did it after seeing him in so many Christian movies. Bathe in the Dead Sea and the Jordan River, visit Bethlehem, Nazareth, the palaces of Herod and Pilate. Visit the Rock of Abraham, the Wall of the Jews, walk the Via Dolorosa and feel close to the Mount of Olives, Golgotha and be able to touch the stone that covers the Sepulcher of Jesus.
60 years after my baptismI have been able to tread the streets of that Jerusalem totem blunted by religion, deities, mysticism, vital holy places of so many religions and ethnic-racial peoples. A magical city, tense, attractive and overflowing with smells, tastes, colors and pain for human beings.
Divided into four neighborhoods very different and that cohabit nobody knows how. jewish quarter entering through the Puerta del Estiercol, with its maximum exponent that is the Wailing Wall and its multiple synagogues. The Muslim Quarter, with its gates of the Lions and the Damascus Gate. In addition, the neighborhood includes the Via Dolorosa, a Christian pilgrimage site, and the esplanade of the Mosques, where the third sacred place for Muslims is located: the dome of the rock. The Christian Quarter Among the New Gate and the Jaffa Gate . Within its alleys, the jewel of it: the Holy Sepulcher. This great church is the holiest place for Christians. And theArmenian Quarter that is the smallest and unknown of the four, despite having been present in the Holy City for centuries.
You are invaded by the fragrances of the gardens in front of the Jaffa Gate, the spices in all the streets and markets, the incense, the candles and the tapers. The appetite is present in each bakery with its multiple types of bread and that aroma that invited you to want to try them all. Also the nostrils receive the blows of sweat and humanity mixed in the crowded and mercantile Damascus Gate. And the pitiful smelling rubbish in the streets of Jordan’s villages; or the remains of plastic, glass or paper on desert roads. And the same in busy Bethlehem.
Vapors from pipes and their smokers in the streets of any town or city also left their mark on the pituitary. And more in the streets perpendicular to the great esplanade of the Rock within the Muslim quarter.
Tuberose oil has a characteristic odour, sweet and spicy. It is one of the herbs used as incense in the Jerusalem Temple and the anointing of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre.
Lamb roasts on the floor of the Jordanian desert, corn, hummus, falafel, breads and sweets, kebast and grills on the Tel Aviv beach. The many culinary delicacies in old Jerusalem, seasoned with thousands of spices, rich in cultural flavor. Slowly taste the bread called pita with humus, based on chickpeas.
The spices are used to cook legumes, rice, meat, and maklubeh (an oriental dish), mixed with cinnamon powder and sometimes cardamom; They transported us to tasting paradises, finished with exquisite Arab and Jewish sweets along with strong Arab tea or coffee. All as a break from routes between alleys, in the shade of a terrace. Logically, the flavor of the beer was scarce and prohibitive.
They are the black and white brush strokes of Jews cloistered in caps and ringlets, multiple colors of looms, bags, backpacks, blankets and carpets with Muslim motifs. In addition to the gilding of teapots, of plates of symbology of Islam in the Holy Land. They are the wood-colored browns, metal-colored gold of crosses, Virgin Nativity scenes, and figures of Jesus Christ and God. They flood the iris, the blue color of the eye of God, colors piled up from a multitude of spiritual expressions. The somber tones of dresses of women covered with multicolored cloths of the Palestinian Muslim neighborhood wander.
The ranges of brotherhoods, orders and confessions appear: Franciscans intercommunicated with Orthodox, Copts, imams and rabbis. They are all the possible essences of religions, races, ethnic groups, cultures and ways of living.
A stone color art in mosques in synagogues and in cathedrals. They stand next to each other shaking hands. This is how you rub your hands on the stones of the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Nativity, Herod’s Palace, the Via Dolorosa, the windows and arches of the Church of Santiago and the Great Synagogue. Or the great mosque of Al Aqsa next to the octagonal base of the Rock, in a thousand shades of blue with its immense dome reflecting the sun on the golden cap. The ancient stones and slabs of the esplanade where our Abraham was the origin of all the religions that coexist in the city.
The holy Jewish place, allows you to touch and enter the maximum wishes on white pieces of paper. With them, the Wall of ancient blocks with a hodgepodge of civilizations and peoples, seems to feed like an insatiable monster. Like the faith and prayers that so many head shakes provoke in his faithful children of King David.
To drown your eyes and chest, the immense color of the market stalls overloaded to the point of exploding with spices, nuts, fruits of an appetizing rainbow, clothing stalls, utensils, drinks, musical instruments and endless realities is enough. ; it’s like finding paradise in a single street.
The swarm of colorful brushstrokes of Jerusalem; with its streets, corners and passageways. The serious beardless color and rosy faces of the military young men and women in their military service. The motionless and sober blues of policemen armed to the teeth throughout the old city. Contrasting colors between the Muslim Esplanade, motley tourists, Western Jews and Orthodox Jews at the colored Wailing Wall celebrating the sabbath and sukkot. They are the dark feminine colors of dresses, wigs and shoes from the middle of the 20th century in old Europe.
We do not stop remembering the golden color of the walk along the beach of Tel Aviv until you get to jaffa port where again the three cultures accumulate in a few steep streets, touching each other the mosques, cathedrals and synagogues.
And sharing the same space in formalized harmony, people of a different religious or racial expression. The sea causes people to mingle doing sports in shorts and tank tops; with women covered from top to bottom. They exchange on the walks, the Muslims with their tunic and olive face and the Jews with their white shirts and neatness of their faces. We are invaded by the multicolored music, the Muslim melody, the calls to prayer and with the dances or praises of the Hebrew music. The Tel Aviv Lgtbi, of artists, cafes and restaurants. The European dynamism to the Mediterranean breeze. Those are the colors of sound integration.
The reddish of the Jordanian city of Petra immense cradle of the Nabataeans, where so many civilizations passed and left their mark. It is the crushing colorado of those imposing rocks of Wadi Rum where you only see groups of camels next to the dust of the desert and Asian 4×4, marking the path of dust.
The rural world invaded by the colors of plastics and cans along its roads; ejected from cars and trucks; they make it a spooky waste road.
They are countries of the route of the sun and of a Dead Sea salty, which separates both countries, attached to a breeze as if it were the mattress of its waters. The color of the night in the desert or that powerful reddish color that never ends up turning black because the starry sky allows all those colored lights in the mountains of Wadi Rum they will be the signal and the landing strip of the different nuclei of a starry sky.
They are the ones that look at women with burqas, veils and wigs or with covered cloths. They are respected customs but far removed in time. It is the unacceptable pain of the walls and concertinas in Bethlehem, Gaza or the West Bank, the police in the souks, the tension in the esplanade, the constant controls to prevent acts of terrorism; in short, a sad and helpless feeling for the current tension between the Arab and Jewish peoples. The color of Jordan uniform with the presence of men and boys or youth; but absence of women in cities and towns.
The excitement of Jerusalem is tension with pain. It is passion, feeling, spirituality and pleasure. Our mind is constantly on and on alert; the eyes enjoy the contrasts of its people, streets and shops. It is a suspicious enjoyment of the movements and non-verbal language of its inhabitants.
It affects being in the cradle of religions and at the same time in the dispute over the eternal creed. The perennial conflict between Jews and Palestinians hurts; and that it is not the cradle of an idealized integration. In truth it will be very difficult to crucify. The forced and forced coexistence by some military controllers, with a resigned and pained people; with a fenced-in Bethlehem, with a threatened Israeli town. So the pain may be chronic. It is the capital of two peoples that have suffered in history, and perhaps it is the neverending story.
The hope will be to see a Palestine and Israel, all in the same land without distrust, disputes and with healthy coexistence. That, which is always in the historical background of the experiences of the tribes that cohabited in the Land of Abraham and David. Today, Jerusalem hurts.
Israel and Jordan: smells, flavors, colors and pains of the East. – Life is not so bitch