Abu Mahjoob, principal character of artist Emad Hajjaj's daily cartoons, giving driving directions
"Look: drive straight ahead past the first, second and third sit-in and take the far left, you will find a demonstration on a small circle! You leave it and continue to the second solidarity tent!! Take a right and at the first demonstration you find and ask any activist you see and they will tell you the way!"
It's striking how events that occur in places become a primal source for memories related to that place. Take our infamous Duwwar Al-Dakhiliyeh, the site for this blog's investigation as an example. After the events of 2011, it was common to hear things like:
انشالله إنت كنت من هدول إلي عالدوار؟
"Were you one of those people at the Duwwar?"
or, in male testosterone induced arguments a slip of a sexist comment like:
"Your sister on the Duwwar" (implying I will do your sister on the Duwwar)
The latter can be used as a joke also.
The space of the Duwwar has been constantly identified as that central point of traffic and connections. “Central’ takes on another meaning now; it is central for many other reasons due to the memories associated with the gathering of hundreds of people on it last year and perhaps also the hope, if faint, of a possible revival of the demonstrations.
Not only is the physical structure of the Duwwar now imprinted in mind as spatial knowledge, but faces of people, sounds of collective screams and emotions of the time. These have become part of a mental map, continuously constructed and re-constructed with the passage of time (as memory fades, only solace remains.) So, the space has ceased to exist as just a space (not to say it was every that way) Or, better, this space will not be seen as merely a space anymore.
Combine those with the black ‘monument’, also a site of investigation for this blog, and the mental map of the site becomes slightly more complex. Perhaps the Duwwar has been ‘landmark-ed’ (if possible to say) by this structure; solid black, shiny, sharp in its edges, meandering in the paths around it, and, attractive for a lone masked assailant. Now it has become a site for actual and constructed memory. Now one can say ‘I’ll meet you at the monument at the Duwwar’, ‘I'll meet you where they cracked my head last’ or ‘I'll meet you at the place of desperation’.
I found this images in my archive of ones downloaded from the Internet, reminding me of things:
"This is what I saw on Duwwar Al-Dakhiliyeh"
"If you don't release the free, we will gather at the Duwwar" referring to the arrest of youth activists of late.