After a long thinking about this post and the task what inspired me the most during our week long trip to Israel, I actually come up with the idea to apply some of the work of one of my colleagues related to Yugoslav wars to Israel.
Nenad Porobić, who was also a part of our group that was visiting Israel, is also part of Belgrade-based group of artists and activists called Working Group Four Faces of Omarska .
The title Four Faces of Omarska comes from four constitutive layers in the history of this mining complex in northern Bosnia. It was established in socialist Yugoslavia as an iron ore mine near Bosnian town of Prijedor, then at the beginning of the 1990s wars, Bosnian Serb forces and local authorities transformed the mine into a concentration camp for ethnic Muslims and Croats.
After the war, in 2004, Arcelor Mittal, one of today’s largest multinational companies, assumed majority ownership of Omarska mine and resumed commercial mining operations. In 2007 it was used as a film shooting location for Saint George Slays the Dragon, the historical ethno-blockbuster about World War I, co-produced by film companies from Serbia and Republika Srpska.
During our trip, Nenad presented his work to our Israeli colleagues, but also inspired some of us to think more about other places that can have “four faces” and are the so called “victims” of various narratives. Here I would like to point on “four faces “of Tel Aviv, but I am sure there are many more.
Tel Aviv, 1st face –“Establishing Tel Aviv”
According to the official Israeli narrative (which we heard during our tour at the city museum) the town Tel Aviv was established in 1909 by 66 Jew families, whose goal was to form a "Hebrew urban centre in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene." It was in fact the first Zionist neighborhood, built nearby the at the time Palestinian town of Jaffa.
Tel Aviv, 2nd face – “Declaration of Independence”
In 1948, when the war between Arabs and Jews broke out, majority of Palestinians living in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas was expelled, while their homes were either taken away or destroyed.
Tel Aviv, 3rd face – “Merging Palestinian Territories”
Two year after the war Israeli authorities merged once Palestinian town Jaffa and famous port into Tel Aviv, naming this part of the city Tel Aviv-Yaffo. Property of Palestinians who lived there was confiscated, while they were forced to flee.
Tel Aviv, 4th face – “Economic and Culture Capital”
Today Tel Aviv is often called “the city that never stops”. It is the country’s economic and cultural center. It is a lively, active city with entertainment, culture and art, and a rich night life.