Of Jews, History and a Book- O’ Jerusalem by Anupam Dabral
‘Jerusalem’ has been derived from the word Shalom, meaning peace, thereby Jerusalem stands for ‘City of Peace’
O-JERUSALEM is a mystical , cultural, historical account or a journey, that takes you through the tribes and tribulations of the Jews. It is a tale of their fight for there land- Jerusalem, where they were born, they thrived, they fought, they lost, they win and they ruled. It is an epic for any one who wants to learn about the Jews and there religion.
It is surprising to note that all of us are aware of the German- Holocaust, but none of us know about the constant systemic suppression that Jews went through for centuries. The Jewish worship was forbade by the Byzantine Emperor Heraculius. In the year 1215 came the most infamous decision to undermine and marginalize the Jews, they were supposed to be marked , distinguishing them from the normal commoners of the land.
A Struggle for gaining a Cultural Identity
Jews have always been documented in books or even in illustrative animated drawings as people with peculiar facial features, that identity of theirs has been adopted by the world and made fun of.
Physical torture was mandatorily done, resulting in the psychological trauma which very interestingly goes unaccounted whenever there are crimes against a particular race. Why were Jews tortured and for centuries what was the reason for such a shattered fate ? the question still remains unanswered . However their undying zeal for survival is fascinating , today Jews are present almost in every continent . From the diamond market of New York city to the Colaba of Mumbai, but still there are attacks and deliberate efforts to harm the Jews, the 26th December attacks in Mumbai is a very small illustration.
The magnitude of hatred that humans hold against each other is unfathomable.. Violence becomes a very easy weapon to be used against a race as such. India is not new to such kind of struggles, the Hindu-Muslim drift, the Maharashtra ethnic issue, the Babri Masjid controversy all these are some highlighted examples of the human hate, it is just that a quoting of Culture and Religion is given to it. A violent act is done once, but the consequences are far reaching, it’s psychological phenomenon initiated by mere psychical means.
One of the biggest benefits of reading a book with a lot of characters is that it helps in increasing your photogenic memory, if you are an imaginative person u create a picture of every character in your head and after a point u can easily co-relate to all the characters. The novel no more remains a novel, it becomes a movie and its an excellent exercise. This book also has a large number of ensemble characters, each unique in their own imperturbable personalities.
The two authors that I remembered while reading this book were Feodor Dostoevsky ( The Crime and Punishment) and Kafka, there specialty is the dark real literature, which deal with grave complexities of life, they make fiction so real, that it no more remains imaginary. They successfully create a blend of so many peculiar personalities and impromptu situations.
The dynamic duo of Dominique Lappiere and Larry Collins created some master pieces for ardent literature fans, though they wrote novels, critically analyzed, they were much more than novels. Each of their work is an intricate account of history and culture soaked in that element of thrill which is required for any work to be a great success.
For those who have already read ‘IS PARIS BURNING’, this work might not be difficult but for others who are not yet acquainted with the works of Larry and Dominique this book can be a bit challenging, it gives a great in depth account of the time when the State of Israel was in turmoil , the Britishers were leaving and the ever unending struggle was about to begin.
From the beginning book seems to give you a picturesque account of the heat, hatred , violence and cultural fortification that was about to begin.
Jews and Arabs have almost, greased their guns and buckled their belts for the great war to claim their hold on land. There were a number of Arab Nations who decided to work together on the contrary there disagreements between all the Jewish groups namely . The main Jewish army was the Haganah, however the Stern Gang and Irgun were other Jewish militant groups.
The groups had conflicting ideals (for example: the Haganah was willing to internationalize Jerusalem in order to have a unified, peaceful state, but Jerusalem was of the utmost importance to the Stern Gang and the Irgun), but they managed to retain more organization and cooperation than the Arab armies. In the main text of O Jerusalem!, it is related that the Stern Gang and the Irgun massacred the Arab village of Deir Yassin, outraging Arabs and Jews alike. The Haganah denounced the massacre, but the Arabs believed the Haganah to be responsible and retaliated at the Jewish Kibbutz of Kfar Etzion.
Collins and Lapierre also acknowledged that other eyewitness accounts claim that the event at Deir Yassin was a battle and not a massacre.
The book mentions about two characters Golda Meir and like Ben Gurion ( well aware of every Jewish heartbeat ) . Ben Gurion is a great Jew leader and a philosopher who is one of the flag bearers of the Jewish movement. On the other hand we have Ehud Avriel was sent to Prague to buy arms in the name of Ethiopia, who is no less than a Maverick and Captain Abdul-Aziz Kerine bought arms in Prague in the name of Syria, the only sovereign Arab nation at the time. There is an another Arab leader Haj Amin Hussaini , a sophisticated and an elegant man blessed with great looks and brains and was a driving force behind the Arabs in the struggle.
Both the authors spent 4 years in Jerusalem, researching and interviewing people for there book and the ultimate result was this magnum opus O-JERUSALEM. It is a book which is not to be missed , has a great detail of Jewish struggle along with a timely account of International scene. If you are a great Martin Scorcese fan , believe me it is like a Martin Scorsece’s biopic.
Loaded with a great narrative style, deep research, factual accuracy and Jewish – Arab sentiments, is a package for intellectual satisfaction. However the overall mood is grim, the book is way too good to be treated lightly.
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