Jewish Maghrib Jukebox

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting into the hole - Guercif

Foiled again by the strike. Strikers are very serious. There are also gas shortages throughout the country which I think helps the strikers remain principled. The taxi drivers told me that if I wanted to get to Debdou I could take the train to Taourirt (true) and walk from there (not true). Perhaps I would have had better luck in Taourirt but very hard to say.

I decided to make the most of my last day in Guercif and head back to the "Jewish" cemetery. Something about yesterday didn't totally convince me that it was in fact a Jewish cemetery. It looked like one but I wouldn't be content unless I went it back.

I found it easily this time and stood opposite that hole I had earlier described for some time. The cemetery is opposite a high school and there were far too many people out for me to casually crawl under an artifical hole in the wall of a cemetery. I waited until most people and most students had cleared out. Just as I was about to make my way for the hole, 5 or 6 students climbed under.

I decided to follow them in. I headed towards the cemetery ducked and put one hand down to the dirt and pulled myself through. There were the students sitting on what used to be the entrance to the cemetery and they had now spotted their uninvited guest.

Is this a Jewish cemetery?
No it's a Christian (Nasara) cemetery.
Are you sure? I was told it was the Jewish cemetery.

They said it was both. I didn't believe them. They wanted to know where I was from and what I was doing there. I asked them why they had snuck into the cemetery. To smoke, they said. Seemed very American although we would probably sneak into a high school bathroom or a park before a cemetery.

We went around surveying the cemetery. The tombs from a far looked very similar to tombs in Jewish cemeteries throughout the country although this was indeed a Christian cemetery. The boys made sure that we looked at every tomb just to be sure. I was sure. It is an interesting find nonetheless and should be the subject of another trip. One tomb, a Christian one, was even inscribed in Arabic. But the Jewish cemetery had eluded me and I headed to the train station.

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