What Do I Know of Ramallah?
I have visited Ramallah twice. Each visit as memorable as the other. On both occasions I was issued with a map, and on neither occasion did it serve any practical use. A map of Ramallah is not a map to be taken literally. I recall taking a wrong turn and walking for some hours through the low stone retaining walls and olive groves, at dusk, waiting to come across a main road. As I came across no road or dwelling of any kind, I quelled a rising sense of panic with the thought that from where my friends lived, on a hill near Amman, in Jordan, they could see Jerusalem, and liked to remark that on clear nights the walk was six hours. Linda Quiquivix suggests that these are the kinds of measurements that make a place like ‘Al-Quds’ (Jerusalem) too far: ‘the distance has become impossible for most’. Reminders of this kind, distances that were denoted at a time when Cartesian space might have been assumed, are littered throughout the West Bank. They illustrate, argues Quiquivix, that, as they claim distances, ‘the map here is useless’.
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