July 21 – August 4, Nicosia, Cyprus & Jaffa, Israel
The 2010 ISSRPL was held in two Mediterranean cities: Nicosia, Cyprus and Jaffa, Israel. Both are ancient cities—Cyprus was populated in the Neolithic period, when Jaffa was already a thriving port—and both are in successor states to the Ottoman Empire. Both are characterized by ethnic and religious diversity, contestation, and conflict. In the case of Nicosia, this led, with the Turkish military intervention of 1974, to the physical division of the city and the displacement of its populace. Jaffa, a mixed city, saw its Palestinian population flee and be expelled in 1948, to be replaced by both refugees from other areas of Palestine and, at the end of the Israeli War of Independence (what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba), large groups of Bulgarian and North African Jewish immigrants. More recently, Jaffa has seen the development of “gated communities” of the very wealthy, as well as an influx of ideologically committed, extremely right-wing, and religious Jews determined to oust the remaining Palestinian population. All this makes for a very volatile mix.
“The idea of the other being a homogenous group has been shattered.”
The growth of such mixed cities and contested urban space is an increasing global phenomenon, characterizing cities such as Birmingham, United Kingdom; Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Yogjakarta, Indonesia; and Istanbul, Turkey. Nicosia and Jaffa present two very different modes of accommodating such difference.