Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Jawa Stole My Balls

Art imitates life. Then life imitates art. Or life becomes infused with the images of art mixing the two up so we can't tell where one begins and the other leaves off. 
Epic poetry and Tragedy, Comedy also and Dithyrambic poetry, and the music of the flute and of the lyre in most of their forms, are all in their general conception modes of imitation. -- Aristotle, Poetics
I am sure that  Dune imitates the life of the Nabateans, for whom the Spice Road, connecting Baghdad with the port city of Jaffa,  was their means of livelihood. I am sure that the Jawa of Star Wars, strange little dark robbed creatures with shining coals for eyes, for whom stealing scrap metal (and droids) was their livelihood, imitate the Bedouin of the Negev.

Every time I drive into Beer-Sheva this view of the city from Route 40 imitates the first view we get of Mos Eisley, the space port town of Tatooine, the planet where Luke Skywalker grew up.
Mos Eisley, Tatooine

Beer-Sheva, Israel

Beer-Sheva toward the south is surrounded by Bedouin shanty towns whose shacks are built from corrugated metal. Some have high tech satellite dishes or solar-powered arrays on their roofs. Most are just poor, shabby shacks. The encampments run along the highway in the shadow of the power lines and desert industrial complexes that rim the city of Beer-Sheva.

Bedouin shanty town house with solar array

Bedouin shanty with satellite dish

Stealing scrap metal and selling it on the black market is a way of life for the Bedouin, as it was for the Jawa. Some of you may remember my post, The Bedouin Stole my Internet, wherein some Bedouin tried to steal optical cable from Bezeq but got it wrong and stole a useless (to them) optical router instead, bringing down Mitzpe Ramon's Internet and telephone service for a number of days.

Well, the Bedouin have been at it again, but this time they stole a large public art installation from the crater's rim, not far from our home. These were two very large metal-clad balls, one much larger than the other, that were tethered to the side of the crater by heavy metal links for security. These balls were always very odd to me, and quite a surprise to come upon, but that was, I think, the intent of the artist. I finally decided they looked like a pair of buttons designed to hold the crater in place.

Public art balls by the side of Machtesh Ramon

Public art "buttons" secure the side of the crater to Mitzpe Ramon.

Over the week of Yom Haazmaut the tethers holding the balls to the side of the Machtesh were cut. The large ball was rolled to the crater's rim, making us think it was some kind of prank with the intention of pushing the large ball down the side of the crater. But then a few days later both balls were gone, leading to the conclusion that they were stolen for their scrap metal value.

The large ball, with its tether tail, pushed to the rim of the crater by vandal-thieves.

As of this writing we have no more information on the thefts. The balls have certainly been cut up and sold for scrap metal by now. We have reported the theft and vandalism to the authorities but sad to say they are irreplaceable and will probably never be replaced. We have no idea who commissioned the art or who the artist is. I hope the Machtesh doesn't fall without its buttons to hold it in place.


1 comment:

  1. What a story! You should pass that on to Uncle Rafi (Dod Rafael)!


Related Posts with Thumbnails