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Issue 07 – Saint Rose 2021


The One That Rules

On Jerusalem.


On my last day in Jerusalem, a woman was shot and killed near the Damascus Gate. This was in early 2017: before the United States moved its embassy to the city, before this year’s recent explosion of violence over Sheikh Jarrah. I was returning to the city for the first time in my adult life.

The woman who died was forty-nine years old. According to the authorities, she’d approached a metal police barrier brandishing a deadly weapon, at which point the cops opened fire. The deadly weapon in question was a pair of scissors. A few months earlier, her son had also been shot dead in Jerusalem while riding in the passenger seat of his cousin’s car. The cousin was driving haphazardly; the police claimed they thought he was about to ram into a crowd of pedestrians; they opened fire. The passenger died. He was twenty-seven years old. The driver, his cousin, survived. After a short investigation, the driver was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, for previous traffic offences, and for manslaughter: by driving erratically, they said, he, and not they, had killed the man sitting next to him. I don’t need to note who in this tragedy was Jewish and who was Arab, who was Israeli and who was Palestinian: you already know. I can’t say with any certainty that one killing led to the next. Just that first the son was killed, and then his mother; that others were killed before them, and others would be killed in the days to come.

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About the author

Sam Kriss

Sam Kriss is a British writer and dilettante.