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Map 2.0

Words by Adele Jarrar

Illustrations by Eda Çağıl Çağlarırmak


M. was sitting at his desk at work. He was a good programmer with great

potential. His 9-to-5, however, was unbearable.

"Ugh, it's still 1:00 p.m.! Can't wait to go home!" He murmured

to himself while staring at the black programming screen. Then, he grabbed an

old-school sci-fi book which he enjoyed, and immersed himself in the imaginary

world. Since he was a kid, reading was his only outlet in hard times. After a long

day, the clock on the wall pointed to 5:00 p.m.

M. jumped off his chair, put everything on the desk inside his distinctive

black backpack, goodbye-d his colleagues, and left quickly. He was glad

to be in the 'external' world again, hearing different sounds other than the fan

of his old PC. M. went to the supermarket and picked up some processed food

cans and then directly home. That night he couldn't sleep and decided to skip

work the next day.

"They won't even notice I'm gone, Toto!" He said to his goldfish.

It was midnight when M. headed to his balcony and sat on his rocking

chair (his favorite spot in the studio apartment), putting the laptop on his lap.

He started doing the two things he liked the most: chatting with strangers and

learning new code. M. sat listening to the silence of the subtle summer night.

After a while, he grew tired and stood up to stretch his legs. He removed his

sunglasses, rubbed his eyes, and looked at the building opposite the balcony. It

was a commercial centre, one of many built in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Those buildings centres had been a thing back then in Ramallah, but now they

weren't so popular; since people went to huge malls and boutiques in the city's

peripheral. As with many other places, they had become obsolete now.

"Super-modern ruins," M. thought to himself.

While staring across towards the centre's parking area entrance,

M. saw a cat eating some food remains from a tin can. Suddenly, something

unbelievable happened! M. took a step back in shock. Firstly, he saw all the

fluorescent lamps inside the building flicker strangely, then, all of a sudden, the

cat vanished. It disappeared without a trace!

"What happened to that poor cat?" M. said aloud in a shaky voice.

"Maybe I'm just too tired! I should go and wash my face and get back to thinking

clearly," he thought. M. walked to his tiny bathroom and splashed his face. He

looked at himself in the rusty mirror. His face was pale. He dried off and went

back to the balcony and said in a low tone,

"I am not making this up. The food can is still sitting there! A cat

was eating from that can, and it just disappeared right before my eyes!"

He grabbed a cigarette and lit it up. While he was blowing out smoke, he had

an idea.

"I have to ask people in the chatroom about this!" He thought.

He opened the laptop again, changed the settings of the 'radius' he wanted

his website to find people in, and limited the distances to only 3 blocks around

where he lived.

He posted:

M : Have you ever seen a cat vanish at 3:00 a.m.?

(The minutes went by slowly and heavily. He smoked maybe four or

five cigarettes, walking back and forth on his balcony.)

Then, after twenty-three minutes, suddenly his laptop beeped:

Anonymous: Yes.

M : What?

Anonymous: What' what?

I've seen a cat disappear, a dog too.

M : Where?

Anonymous: In that ruined house in Al-Irsal st. in Ramallah.

But I've seen the dog disappear next to an old playground in

Haifa. I was there visiting a friend.

M : Are you kidding me? I don't mean that they run away.

I mean totally vanished in an instant.

M : I'm not kidding. I know exactly what you mean. I actually

started collecting information on these places. Where they are,

how did they appear, what is their function… etc.

M: And what did you find?

A : I am still doing my research, but I believe that places

like these are all over Historical Palestine. I'm still not sure

what they do or how they do it. There might be some sort

of magnetic energy trap or vortex… someone should go

for a trip.

M : I don't believe you. I need evidence.

A : Do you have a printer?

M : Yeah.

Immediately, three sheets of A4 paper came out of his


M : What are those? How did you do this? Did you hack

my laptop?

A : No. Now please take a look.

M. grabbed the papers. He wasn't lying. They

contained basic information about the mysterious

places he had mentioned. The anonymous person

didn't know where all the places were or exactly

what their function was, but this was his research

on the phenomena—how to find and inspect


M : You said that the cause could be activated

one-directional collective energy. What

does this mean?

A : I believe that the cause might be the

suppressed collective wish that all Palestinians

do have. They want their land free. Since

now there is no collective project or real work

on this issue, the Palestinians internalized this

drive without them knowing. I think it might be

the energy of a collective hope. The strength of

this suppressed 'urge' might be what is affecting

the magnetic energy. It seems that it has

transferred and occupied the places that are

not used as usual and has created vortexes of

some sort.

M : I want to help. I want to be useful and assist

you in your work. This might lead us to something


A : It is dangerous. I hope you consider this.

Please think about this thoroughly.

M : Alright. I will think it through tonight. Talk to

you later?

A : Alright. Bye. Whenever you want to chat

with me, just choose the same distances and type

"3:00 a.m." as your status. I will know it's you.

M : Okay. Bye.

M. closed his laptop and went back inside. He was

freezing. He couldn't sleep that night either. He

was thinking of all possibilities, threats, and advantages

of investigating the phenomenon.

Part I: Resolve?

It had been four days since M. contacted Anonymous. During this

time, he hardly slept. He decided to apply for a one-month vacation.

Colleagues and managers' emails and calls were never returned.

What he had seen and what he had been shown were affecting M.

intensely. He was torn as to accept the anonymous offer for help.

Sometimes his facial expressions would be hopeful, like someone

who is lost in the fantasies of what the future could be, how his

homeland might be free, and how great, unusual, fruitful, and prosperous

life could become.

At other times looked grumpy and blue, like someone thinking of

their worst fears. Then, on a nice afternoon, while he was sitting on

his couch, the sun sent one of her rays and entered the room.

"The narrow and light rays could find their way through the rough

concrete." He said in a low tone. He added: "This would mean one

thing: No matter how I feel. I should give it a try. It would open new

possibilities into my and our future." And without thinking twice, M.

grabbed his laptop, opened the chat website, swiftly changed the

settings, and typed: "300am" as his status, and waited. After a few

seconds, he got the following:

A : I am glad that you came back. I guess this means that you decided

on going forward.

M : Yes. I want to give it a try. It's better than just laying around here,

doing the same shit every day.


M. went to sleep before his trip.

It was 2:00 p.m., so he had to take some sleeping pills.

At 10:00 p.m. that evening, he woke up feeling refreshed and

active. The first thing he did was packing his stuff. He brought

his backpack and started thinking about what he should take. He

went to the kitchen and looked around. There were two apples

on the table; he grabbed them and put them in the bag with two

plastic b ottles of water and a bar of chocolate. He walked back

to the living room and took a jacket, a blanket, a camera, and a

torch, and put them into the bag. Suddenly, M. felt a wrenching

pain in his chest out of the sudden terrifying idea he had: that

he might never come back! He wrote a brief farewell email and

scheduled the sending date to two days ahead. In doing so, the

email would be sent if he did not come back, and if he made it

home, he could discard it.

Before he left, he smoked a whole packet of cigarettes, drank a

bottle of beer, ate four bars of his favorite chocolate, put some

food in the fish tank for Toto, and called the only brother he had

(who lived abroad). After finishing those tasks, he said in a clear


"I think I am ready!" He looked at his watch, and it was 1:00 a.m.

He sat in silence listening and listened to the album 'Scenery' by

Ryo Fukui - he'd put the forty mins album on repeat. It was 2:55

a.m. when the alarm he's set on his phone went off. M. stood up,

stopped the music, took his bag, dimmed the lights, closed the

door, and ran down the stairs to be outside the parking gate at

3:00 a.m. sharp.

Part II: The Trip

M. stood in front of the parking gate. Out of uneasiness, he started humming the

melody of a lullaby his passed mother used to soothe him with. Suddenly, a black

cloud appeared, surrounded by sparks and dots of lightning. The cloud moved

steadily towards the wall inside the parking garage in front of him. Meanwhile, the

old fluorescent tubes started in the building began to flicker. M. felt a mysterious

power pulling him to the wall. He started taking steady strides toward it, and

when he reached it, the wall swallowed him inside.

He appeared on the other side, and the cloud was gone. It was dark,

and he felt he was in the middle of nowhere. Outside of regular time and space.

He felt a dense humidity there, a sharp chill. The air was heavy and rotten, and the

silence was deafening to the point that he could hear his own pulse. He reached

into his bag and searched for the torch. *CLICK* and there was light. He was

inside a very small room. In fact, it was more like a well with a very high ceiling

which he could not see. All the walls were empty except for the one in front of

him. It had two openings that looked like air conditioning vents.

"Right or Left?" he asked himself in a shaky voice. He decided to toss

a coin. "Oh! Left it is!."

M. climbed into the opening, holding the torch in his mouth and sliding

his bag in front of him so he could crawl through the intestines of the strange

room. He could barely breathe in there but kept moving slowly. After a couple of

minutes, he reached a dead-end. He pointed his torch upward and saw a small

ladder. He scaled it and pushed open what felt like a clay cover. When he climbed

out, he found himself in a slightly less dark room, made of mud and full of ashes. It

was a traditional Palestinian 'Taboun,' a structure that was built in villages and

used as a large oven where women baked 'Taboun bread' among other foods.

He wiped his clothes, pushed an old wooden door open, and stepped outside

coughing. He was starving, so he opened his bag to take a bite of his apple.

"Eww!" he screamed as he tasted it. They were soft, brown, and

rotten. "How?" he thought.

When he left the Taboun room, M. couldn't believe his eyes. The place

looked so beautiful and serene. Green mountains full of pomegranate trees, long

grasses, colorful butterflies, and buzzing bees. It was sunny. The place was so

enchanting and new to him. M. looked around and saw some old houses ahead

and a narrow alley where he headed towards. There he found some children

playing with some stones. He was surprised by their appearance and said:

Where am I? Is it possible that the opening was a sewage pipe

that led me to a village far from Ramallah?"

A boy smiled at him and shouted: "crazy foreigner is talking to

himself, come and see! Come and see!" Many other boys joined and began

pulling funny faces at M. when an older man noticed what was happening and

approached them.

"Can I help you?." He shouted in an affirmative voice. "You look

tired and lost!" He added.

"I am starving," replied M.

"Follow me then," said the man. M. followed him as they walked

through many allies. The man pushed a small door and shouted:

"Haniah! Haniah! We have a guest!" A few seconds later, his wife

showed up and opened the main door:

"Welcome!" she said. M. and the man sat in front of the house while

the wife came back with food and tea. M. couldn't hold back and started eating

as immediately. The man did not speak a word and waited for M. to finish his

meal. M. was swallowing some water when the man said: "So, who are you?

what is your story?"

"Before telling you my story, tell me, where am I?

And what time it is?"

"Son, you are in Shilta village, and today is the 13th April 1941."

"Are you sure? he replied, almost unable to breathe.

"Of course! And who are you?"

"I have lived abroad for a long time, and I came for a visit. Thank

you for the food, but I have to go now. I must have lost my way."

M. started collecting his possessions in a hurry to leave. He left the

house without saying goodbye and walked in a hurry to the Taboun where he

came from. Just before entering the Taboun, he remembered to take some photos,

write down the name of the village, and make some notes. He hid among

some bushes and took two rushed photographs. Then he climbed down the

oven opening in the Taboun, closed the clay cover, and went back through where

he came from. In no time, he was exiting the tunnel and fell through the same

cloud he encountered on his way. When he awoke, he had reached the gate of

the parking in no time; he was gasping for breath. He looked at the clock on the

parking meter - it was still 3:00 a.m.! He crossed the street, climbed the stairs,

and threw himself on his bed. He had no trouble sleeping that night.

Part III: Mapping, Mapping, Mapping

M. woke up after an uninterrupted twelve hours of rest. When he woke up, he washed his tired face and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. With a big cup, he went back to his living room, put his bag between his legs, and started unpacking his things. He opened his laptop and connected his camera to it, extracting the only two photos he had captured.


He is looked eagerly at the two photographs he had printed.

"Did I really go there?" He whispered. He put the two images down, opened his notebook, and typed the name of the village in the search engine.


M. opened the first result, a Wiki page, and started reading about the village. He shouted to himself: How weird that this place is so close, in distance, to where I live now, but so far away—just like a fantasy or fading memory. This place no longer exists. M.s eyes got teary when he thought about this idea. He felt an unbearable nostalgia and strange sadness. Shilta was a small Palestinian Village in Ramlah. It was near Ramallah and close to the villages of Bil'in and Ni'lin. Although some of the homes are still standing today, Shilta was depopulated by Zionist militias; its people killed or expelled in 1948.

A couple of days later, M. contacted Anonymous and provided him with information on this portal and where it took him. To the past, to Shilta. Using some of the locations Anonymous had given him, M. took another two or three trips through other portals and started sketching out a mapping. One month later, he started thinking of a new idea. This time was different for M. He decided to choose the right opening and travel to the future. This decision took him so long. Traveling to the future is not like traveling to the past. He wrote this note in his diary:


We already know our past. We learned about it in schools, we saw photographs of it in encyclopedias, we heard about it from our grandmothers, and so on. But knowing the unknown? Knowing the future will banish any hopes which are linked to uncertainty. Knowing the future will kill the will to wake up each morning and go through life. The future, whether it's good or bad to us Palestinians, is better to be unknown. It is better to continue what we are doing without knowing what will happen next. But at the same time, wouldn't it be better if we know what will happen and act accordingly? Will we not be able to change the future? Or reinforce it? I do not know; I just feel the need to go.

Part IV: A Future

M. took the right path that would take him to the future. He reached a downward ladder

that he descended to find himself in what appeared to be an old bedroom. There

was dust everywhere, and the windows were covered with wooden pallets. He tried

to look outside to see where exactly he was, but he couldn't see anything. The room

was fairly dark, with only a couple of candles lighting it. He moved toward the door

and tried to open it, but it was closed. M. then felt trapped. He started knocking hard

on the door and shouting with no answer.

"Where am I? let me out!"

M. decided to sit silently on the old bed and wait. After a couple of hours, to his relief,

the door opened. A tall man entered the room and said:

"Hello, M. We were waiting for you."

"Who are you, and where am I?"

"You will know shortly. Could you please follow me?"

M. was skeptical but followed the man anyway. They silently walked through a small

corridor in the house and down some stairs until eventually, they reached a big door.

The man opened it, and they found themselves in a huge room with a large table,

whiteboards, and many books and blueprints. There were a dozen or so people sitting

around the table waiting for them to enter the room.

"Hello!" Many of them said.

"Take a seat," the man said. ,

When everyone was seated, the first man started speaking.

"M., you are in the future. The year is 2100, in a Palestinian refugee

camp. The world is governed by authoritarian fascist authorities, which use

violence and technology to subjugate people and keep them under their control.

Those authorities in Palestinian geography, for instance, brainwash people

to forget about their cause and refuse their basic innate humanistic freedom

instinct among all other people of the world. This process of brainwashing of

people around the world is known by "Refinement/ Tankiyya = ةيقنت

The man paused for a second, looking deeply at M, and then continued.

"To protect ourselves, we detach ourselves from the whole system

and its institutions. We created alternatives to every single aspect of our

lives: education, food, energy, communication, and so on. We also closed our

communities physically. Anyhow, a few years ago, while using radio waves to

send another ally community in Palestine a message, we noticed an unusual

white noise combined with strange short messages that seemed to belong to

another era. We followed the frequencies to find the source of transmission.

When the messages became clearer and clearer, we knew we are close to

the source. After many attempts of trial and error, we managed to detect

the origin. It was a small UN clinic that was abandoned hundreds of years

ago. We spread the message to other groups across Palestine. Many had

been encountering the same thing, and so we started a mass-mapping

operation. It was difficult because we are not free to move anywhere, and

many of those portals and places stopped transmitting signs. However, at

one site, we found a very old and unclear map. We believe if you redo the

map in the present and pay more attention to it, after a long time, we can

use it now in our mission."

M. was so shocked by what he was hearing. He looked confused.

"I don't understand. What mission? What are you talking about?"

said M.

"We are a group of people, every one of us is specialized in a field,

some in history, some in ecology and environment, sociology, psychology,

literature, science, politics, theology, and so on."

M. looked around the room at the people gathered there.

"You might be asking what we do and who am I. I’m the one who

was contacting you through the internet.

M. was astonished by the news and said:

"Why? How!!?"

The man walked to a small cabinet inside the room, opened a drawer, and took

out an old piece of torn paper with part of it missing.

"Look at this document, Mr. M. do you recognize it?"

M. took a look at the paper in front of him on the table.

"Are not those your initials on this paper, right down to the right?"

M. was surprised again and became tongue-tied when he recognized the paper.

It was showing part of the map he was working on in the present. Those were his

lines, his handwriting.

"We are trying to use the map we found in the future to have

access to specific places in the past. We are trying to change history; we are

experimenting with creating an alternative history by going back to different

places and times in the past and change events. We must stop the Nakba

from happening. We want to change our future, create one without refinement.

One where Palestine and the rest of the world is free."

M. continued to look around, trying to make sense of everything he was hearing.

"You were the person who was working on this map in the

past, your present. But as you can see, you didn't pay attention to preserving

it properly. We need to encourage you and let you know that you

must figure out a better way to create this map so we can find it again.

Time is not linear; time is a crazy loopy circle. What you do back in the

present will certainly change the future, and past and vice-versa. The

future is not something that is going to happen; it is already happening

there, but in the 'future.' time is not created; it is rather lived, flexed, and

twisted. In addition, time's closed-circuit goes again with its eternal

return quality, according to Nietzsche. We can find this map again in

the future and reactivate the portals you mapped. We believe that time

goes in cycles, not linear: one day, this day, and this future will happen

again, and until then, we or 'them' will be ready."

M. closed his eyes and took a deep breath, reorienting himself in the room.

"The dangerous thing is that once you get back to the present,

you will never be able to come to the future again. This is the last time

we meet." said the anonymous man. "Now, I will show you the list we

are working on of the events we are changing and experimenting with.

Ottoman Era: Stealing Rothschilds' money so

he cannot support Zionism?

Sneaking in the printing house of the Moniteur

Newspaper and delete the letter Napoleon

wrote encouraging Zionism in Palestine after

he was defeated in Acre. Or should we better

let him win in Acre hence he would not be this


British Mandate: Hide all the archaeological

sites in Palestine so that first British groups

that came to Palestine hiding behind archaeological

studies missionary schools would have

no excuse to stay?

Before 1948: We must form a number of secret

groups in Jaffa, whose mission is to cultivate

lands inside the city with edible crops so that

they will be able to survive longer during sieges

Before 1918: Infiltrate the Ottoman Land property

department and find the "Koushans"*

(deeds) of the Sursock's family lands of Jezreel

Valley in Marj Ibn Amir and change their ownership

before the family sells them to the


Before 1916: Re-draw Sykes-Picot Map

Before 1916: Sneak into Arthur Balfour's house

and change the declaration document the

night before the speech and give the UK to


Before 1860: Spread rumors about Joseph

Hertzel being unfaithful so that his wife Janet

asks for a divorce before conceiving of their

son Theodore

Before 1915: Edit the McMahon–Hussein


Before 1914: Campaigning for providing and

preserving food in Germany before the blockade

of Germany In WWI

"But why do you not simply go to each village that was depopulated

by Zionists and forbid Zionist militia from massacring the people

or expelling them?" asked M.

"We tried that once, but it did not help us maintain what we are

doing now. You cannot deal with all of history with such a small action.

We once went back to a Palestinian village called "Ijzim," and we stopped

Nakba there, but when we returned to the future, our colleague H. who is

specialized in history was gone. It turns out his ancestors were expelled

from that village and settled here in this camp. Once we changed the

past, H. and everything his ancestors did, built, changed, and had here

were gone. It was a mess! We have to deal with history cautiously, and

to change many events in the past is a cumulative and sensitive method.

Time is an endless equation with infinite variables. If we are going to

change anything, it has to be something that we know will have a dramatic,

positive effect."

M. began to realize the situation he had found himself in. Before he

could think of any more useful questions, he noticed the room began to fill with

the black smoke and sparks he has seen before.

"I understand. I think I have to return."

"Yes. It seems that the vortex is closing. Quickly, head back the

way you came. Good Luck."

Chapter IV: Epilogue

M. had changed. What he had heard changed everything he used to be. He felt

less imprisoned in his own life and his own options, and the collective futures

of his people. Palestinians.

The 15th of October 2020

We should keep on doing what we are doing. And we should do it well, even if

we do not know how things might turn out in the future. We must believe in what

we do and do it so well. We are important as individuals and as communities.

Maybe we do not know how to get what we hope for, but at least, as a group,

we know we want to be free.


M. continued, dedicated, to work on the map. When he finished it,

after many sleepless nights, a small smile pulled across his pale face. Rather

than file it away as he had planned, he scanned the precious document. On

his desk sat hundreds of memory cards. Carefully he copied the file, saving

an electronic edition of the map onto each. He took the small chips and glued

them to the back of embroidered maps of Palestine, the ones found in every

Palestinian home. Finally, he framed and packaged them. He sent them as gifts,

first to family and friends, then to random families in Palestinian refugee camps

all over the world, spreading the stories of the past as far as he could so that

one day, the future might be different.