La Mecca sfigurata
Del processo che ha portato a sfigurare la dimensione storico-culturale del luogo più importante dell’islam ho scritto qui.
Dopo essere stata quasi completamente rasa al suolo la Mecca sta diventando così:
Per me e per quelli che come me amano la storia, il cosiddetto “ampliamento” della Mecca rappresenta un colpo al cuore (anche se io alla Mecca non posso andare).
Una tragedia paragonabile alla distruzione della Biblioteca di Alessandria o a quella, più recente, di Baghdad.
Questo post è per segnalare che su “Onislam“, il sito nato dalle ceneri di IslamOnline, pubblicano un articolo su quella che viene definita una “Mecca trasformata“, nel quale figurano le testimonianze di persone che avevano visitato la città prima del disastro e che fanno le dovute comparazioni.
L’articolo illustra il senso di spaesamento provato da questi pellegrini (il 15 novembre inizia il pellegrinaggio, un’occasione ghiottissima per gli islamobusinnesmen) per le nuove “spettacolari” architetture, e gli altrettanto spettacolari abbattimenti.
“The whole area is unrecognizable,” Mukhtar Nadwi, a pilgrim from Saharanpur, India, told the English-language Saudi daily Arab News on Friday, November 12.
Nadwi was in Makkah for hajj in 2005 along with his wife and mother.
“We used to stay at a hotel just opposite Bab Al-Umrah, which is one of the many imposing gates leading into the Holy Mosque.
“I went there last night to see if I could find the place, but there is no trace of it,” Nadawi said. “Everything has changed in five years.”
Syed Ashfaq Muscati, another pilgrim, was sharing Nadawi’s amazement.
The Pakistani national of Yemeni origin was surprised by the speed with which Makkah’s skyline has changed.
“I was here six years ago, and our group of pilgrims was staying in an old building located behind Ibrahim Khalil Road,” he said.
“The whole area is now part of the massive Jabal Omar project.”
He still recalls the tiny Pakistani eatery where they would go to have their meals
“All that is gone. We are told that huge buildings will be coming up here.”
A questo senso di spaesamento si aggiungono le voci critiche:
Many Saudi intellectuals are disturbed by the government’s building frenzy.
“One cannot help but feel sad seeing al-Kaaba so dot-small between all those glass and iron giants,” novelist Raja Alem told Reuters.
Alem, whose recent novel exposes destruction of historic areas,.says that even long before Islam, Arabs didn’t dare live in the circle of what Muslims call “al-haram”, which is the sacred area of the holy mosque.
“They spent their days in the holy city and moved out with nightfall. They thought their human activities defile God’s home.”
The rites of pilgrimage reinforce this sense of humility before Allah, with men and women wearing only simple pieces of white cloth.
Now, the first thing that strikes the faithful eyes in the area is the new Makkah Clock Royal Tower Hotel which boasts two top-notch spas.
Many old houses have been torn down in Makkah, making way for towering shopping malls, Vegas-style five-star hotels and huge underground parking areas.
Wherever pilgrims can look, there are glittering billboards of famous trademarks, like Cartier, Tiffany and H&M. Starbucks cafes and western-style restaurants are no strange too.
“The replacement of the old city has taken with it centuries-long preserved traditions in academic, social, and cultural systems and mechanisms” said Saudi columnist Mahmoud Sabbagh.
“The whole cultural paradigm has been damaged.”
Irfan al-Alawi, an Islamic theology professor based in London, said the Vatican would never sanction such work in its own sacred precinct.
“Makkah doesn’t have to look like Manhattan or New York.”