5d PASSION MEETS REASON AT JERUSALEM PRISON
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ALMA: Are you Aron Cohen?
ARON: Are you a lawyer?
ALMA: No, I am Alma Mahler-Werfel.
ARON: Ani - Kaiser Franz Joseph.
ALMA: You think I'm lying to you?
ARON: Layla Tov. (Good night)
ALMA: I want to talk to you.
ARON: Ani lo medaber Anglit. (I don't speak English)
ALMA: The Prison Warden says your English is perfect.
ARON: Shalom and Good-bye.
ALMA: Has the Officer in charge of the prison lied to me?
ARON: Go to your boss, tell him I want to see a lawyer.
ALMA: The prison warden is not my boss. I am not a jailer.
ARON: You think I'm a fool? You met the wrong person.
ALMA: I tell you I am Alma Mahler-Werfel! I am here on a visit to Palestine. I came with my husband, the writer Franz Werfel. He plays with the idea of settling in this country.
ARON: Yes? Recite to me his poem "Man is Dumb".
ALMA: How come you know this poem?
ARON: Recite it to me.
ALMA: I never learned it by heart.
ARON: You say you are Franz Werfel's wife. Recite to me whatever you remember of the poem. If you forget a word or a line, I'll help you.
ALMA: All right, I will try...
I've given you a farewell kiss,
And still I'm holding nervously onto your hand.
I warn you time after time:
Watch out for this and that.
Man is dumb.
When will the whistle, when will it finally blow?
I feel that I will never see you in this world again.
And speak plain words - no comprehending.
Man is dumb.
ARON: I know if I loose you----
ALMA: I would be dead, be dead, be dead.
And yet I would still like to flee.
ARON: My God, how much I'd like a cigarette!
ALMA: Man is dumb.
I find myself lost in the streets, and choked by tears,
I look around, bewildered.
For no man's tears can say
What finally we really mean.
Man is dumb.
ARON: Well...! You are the first human being to see me since the British police arrested me. Why did the Warden let you meet me? What did you promise him in exchange?
ARON: Tell me the truth or I won't talk to you.
ALMA: He asked me to come to his office after I've talked to you.
ARON: I see. What did he tell you about me?
ALMA: He said you were one of the founders of "The Jewish Arab Workers Fraternity".
ARON: What did he tell you about this fraternity?
ALMA: He said it's a common Union of Jewish and Arab workers urging the working people of the two nations to struggle together against the British mandatory government of Palestine.
ARON: That's a lie.
ALMA: That's what he said.
ARON: Bullshit! The goal of the "Jewish-Arab Workers Fraternity" is to join hands in the struggle against those elements of both nations that incite racial and nationalistic hatred between Jews and Arabs.
ALMA: If this is true, why did they arrest you?
ARON: The British mandate officials (apparatchiks) do everything they can to destroy any peacemaking initiative between Jews and Arabs.
ALMA: Is that the official reason they gave for arresting you?
ARON: No, the Brits are not that stupid. They outlawed the Jewish-Arab Fraternity - quote: "because its members risk to get involved in destructive actions"- unquote. They even claimed that the goals of the Fraternity were "Contradictory to instructions of paragraph 3 of the Ottoman law of corporations."
ALMA: You say this is why they keep you here between the walls of the Jerusalem Prison?
ARON: This is their official version.
ALMA: Why don't they let you see a lawyer?
ARON: They try to break my spirit. They want me to become an agent-provocateur of the British secret service.
ALMA: What do they want you to do?
ARON: They want me to induce members of the Jewish-Arab Fraternity to break the law, so they can be convicted.
ALMA: I can't believe it! British Officers are Gentlemen!
ARON: You are a well-read lady. Haven't you ever heard of "Perfidious Albion"?
ALMA: This expression goes back to the 19th Century!
ARON: We experience it here, in Eretz Israel in the 20th Century: "Divide and rule!" As long as they can divide Jews and Arabs, encourage extremists of both sides, and incite our two people one against the other, they can dominate and rule this country.
ALMA: I will not repeat these allegations to the Warden.
ARON: On the contrary! Please, repeat it to him. Quote me word for word. The sooner he understands there is no chance to make of me an informer, the better. Tell him: as long as he lives, Aron Cohen will not give up his efforts to conclude an Arab-Jewish agreement that will ensure the real interests of our two peoples. Tell him we will not rest until we build in this country a common system of government that will prevent the domination of one people over the other, and will develop the country for the common benefit of our two peoples.
ALMA: Is there anything else I can do for you?
ARON: What are your plans for the rest of your visit?
ALMA: We are going to visit Franz Werfel's friends in Kibbutz Heftziba---
ARON: Can I ask you a favour?
ALMA: Anything you wish---
ARON: Tell them you saw me.
ALMA: Is that all---?
ARON: They will know what to do with this information.
ALMA: One more question... Do you really believe that one day you will establish in this country the kind of common Jewish-Arab government you described so eloquently?
ARON: I'll answer you the Jewish way: can you see any other solution that will make life in this country viable and worth living in the long run?
ALMA: Can you imagine why I insisted on visiting this prison?
ALMA: I believe forbidden longings and fearful Passions are the powers that propel great individuals in particular and mankind in general. It means the future of a country and a people dwells between the walls of its prisons. So I asked the prison warden to meet a Jewish and an Arab political prisoners. Before talking to you I met a convicted leader of an Arab gang who is waiting for his execution on death row in this prison, a few cells away from yours. He murdered four members of a Jewish family in Hebron. I asked why he did it. To answer me, he quoted a passage from the Quran: "The Messenger Mohammed said: The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews and will be killing all Jews. When a Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say: “O Muslims, O Servants of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
ARON: Well, go back to that Arab gangster on death row in this prison, and tell him it wasn't Mohammed who said it, and it isn't the Quran either that says these awful words. It's the Hadith of Al Bukhari.
ALMA: What's that?
ARON: Imam Al Bukhari was a famous Sunni Islamic scholar of Bukharian-Persian ancestry, best known for authoring the hadith collection named Sahih Bukhari. It's a collection of innovations Sunni Muslims regard as the most authentic of all innovation compilations and the most authoritative book after the Quran, but it is still not the Quran.
ALMA: You are an Islam erudite!
ARON: My dear Alma, the Muslims have their zealots as we have ours. If they prevail, this country and the entire Middle East will go up in flames. We people of "The Arab-Jewish Workers Fraternity" we struggle against our reciprocal Zealots. The future depends on who is going to win.
ALMA: Can't you tell who's going to win? Those who will be more passionate and fearless they'll triumph. It's hard for logic to prevail over emotion.
ARON: Go tell it to my friends in the Kibbutz! ALMA: I will, I will... I'll tell my spoiled Franzl this tough and crazy country is really not for him...