Monday 18 January 2010

3 February 2010, Hoxton Beach


Market Stall
Pitch 36
Whitecross Street Market



The falafel wrap in Hoxton Beach is fantastic! The falafels are flufy and spicy from chilli!

When we first asked the guy who works in Hoxton Beach where he was from he said:' Lebanon'. When Larissa said she was Palestinian, he said that he was too. This confirmed what Ahmad from Mr Falafel said, and that probably some of the credit that goes to Lebanese food is in fact, Palestinian.
Tali Ceredbaum came to this meal in Whitecross market. Tali used to own and run Tal Esther Gallery in Tel Aviv until recently, before coming to live in London. We asked Tali about her associations with falafel and she spoke about Abu-Hassan in Jaffa, where various men, mainly taxi drivers, gather in the early mornings to eat and burp. Her associations with falafel are with burping men. We all tried to figure out if falafel has gender issues attached to it, and if the fact that it is heavy and messy to eat makes it more of a ‘men’s’ food, but did not arrive at any conclusive opinion. This reminded us of a story that Gary Thomas told us in the Progress Report opening at Iniva, about coming out of a club in Bristol late at night, when someone said: “Lets go have falafel’ and another shouted: ‘Falafel is for poofs’. We guess that this is a comment on falafel being vegetarian, and hence not as ‘manly’ as kebab.
Tali's recollection of Abu Hassan in Jaffa made her miss Jaffa, the view of the sea she had from her window and the sun. When we asked her if Israeli stole the falafel from the Palestinians, she said: ‘yes, for sure, they did’. She also said that Israel indeed has done many bad things to the Palestinians, but that she can only be accounted for what she is able to do.

A view from the sea at Jaffa looking east onto the city, 1898-1914. (Matson Collection)

It was interesting for us to think of Jaffa and the sea since moments before that, whilst we were on our own, Larissa mentioned how seafood has been such a big part of Palestinian cuisine, and how this is absent now, since they have no access to the sea. In the light of the previous conversation we had at Mr. Falafel about the lack of representation and knowledge of Palestinian culture we thought about Jaffa and Heifa as one of the most praised and beautiful towns in Palestine. They were very vibrant culturally and often served as a meeting place of Arab intellectuals from all over as it is so close to Beirut. Um Kutlthum used to come and perform in Jaffa. It had a really close affinity to Beirut and Cairo.

Palestinians from Jaffa attempt to take with them whatever they can as Zionist militias force them to leave the city, May 1948. (Palestine Remembered)

An image of Alhamra, one of the most famous cinemas in Jaffa. This one is from 1937.

More thought about the history of Jaffa:

Jaffa was the most advanced city in Palestine in the development of its commercial, banking, fishing, and agriculture industries. Jaffa had many factories specializing in cigarette making, cement making, tile and roof tile production, iron casting, cotton processing plants, traditional handmade carpets, leather products, wood box industry for Jaffa orange, textile, presses and publications. It should also be noted that the majority of all publications and newspapers in Palestine were published in Jaffa.
Since Israeli still maintains and enforces the "Law Of Absentees", all Jaffa's industries, farms, buses, cars, railroads, cattle, real states, etc. have been looted and became the property of the Jewish State. When such practices were conducted by the Germans and the Swiss, the Jews of the world demanded justice for their looted art works and properties. The question which begs itself :- Are the Palestinian Arabs entitled for compensation for their looted properties too?

Newspapers from Jaffa:

Filisteen : Founded in 1909 by 'Issa Doud al-'Issa and Yousef al-'Issa. Until al-Nakba, it was considered to be one of the largest newspapers in Palestine. After al-Nakba, it resumed publication in Jerusalem, until 1967.
Al-Salam : Founded in 1920 by Naseem Maloul, and its name means Peace.
Al-Jazeerah : Founded in 1924 by Hassan and Mahamoud al-Dajani, and its name means Island.
Sawt Al-Haq : Founded in 1927 by Fihmi al-Husseini, and its name means The Voice of Truth.
Al-Jamia' al-Islamyyah : An Islamic related paper, founded in 1932 by Suliman al-Taji al-Farouki.
Al-Difa' : Founded in 1934 by Ibrahim al-Shanti, and its name means Defense.
Haqiqat al-'Amr : Founded in 1937 by the Histadrut in Tel Aviv.
Al-Jihad : Founded in 1939 by Muhammad al-Maslami.
Al-Sha'b : Founded in 1947 by Hilmi Hanoun and Idmound Rouck, and its name means The People.
Al-Youm : Founded in 1949 by the Histadrut and whose editor was Dr. Abu al-Thu'yb, and its name means Today.
Al-Huryyah : Founded by Heirout part (now the Likud party), and its name means Liberty.
Sada al-Taribyah : Semi monthly newspaper founded in 1952, and its name means The Echo Of Education.
Al-Youm le 'Awladuna : Semi monthly newspaper for kids founded in 1960, and its name means A Day For Our Children.
Al-T'awun : Founded in 1961 by Dar al-Nasher al-'Arabi, and its name means Collaboration.

Magazines from Jaffa:

Al-'Asma'i : Founded in 1909 by Hana 'Abdallah al-'Issa, which was the first magazine to be published in Palestine.
Al-Haqq : Founded in 1923 by Fihmi al-Husseini, and its name means The Truth.
Al-Nashra al-Tijaryyeh : Founded in 1924 by Jaffa's chamber of commerce, and its name means The Commercial Publication.
Al-Tahreer : Founded in either 1935 or 1936 by Iskandar al-Halabi and Muhammad Yousef al-Din al-Irani, and its name means Liberation.

The Picture shows Jaffa's southern slum neighbourhoods before demolition, 1949.


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  3. As Freud might have said, sometimes a falafel is just a falafel. Reading Al Jazeera's website article on the Falafel Road, I can not stop thinking about the stupidity of the discussion on the legitimacy of the Israeli's falafel. I strongly recommend all Muslims to stop eating chicken soup.