9 May, 2015
There were once 600 homes in the village. Prickly-pear cactus are scattered about. The 800 wells dug into the hill bear witness to the lives and memories the JNF sought to erase. Only the cemetery remains intact, rows of neglected graves surrounded by barbed wire, which the DPs say the Israeli authorities have forbidden them to repair. The South African group cleaned them before the ceremony, in an act of purification and atonement.
Other than the faded headstones, no monument stands over Lubya, in Yevtushenko’s words, nor is there a single sign that exists as a reminder, at least, that not so long ago a village stood here. Only the names of the Jewish donors from South Africa, who contributed to the village’s deletion from consciousness.
One of the participants climbed onto the stone dome of what is presumably a grave in the center of the cemetery, named for a commander in the army of Salah a-Din, and hoisted the flag of Palestine.
Among those at the forgiveness ceremony was architect Shmuel Groag, author of a long and detailed essay about the need to reconstruct the village. “Ignoring the heritage, denying and repressing it, turns these sites into gaping wounds in the Israeli collective space and memory,” he wrote.