Four days ago and in honor of the shortest day of the year, the Jerusalem Municipality covered the lights illuminating the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City with green filters–with the result that as we are writing this, the walls are glowing green against the night.
Why green? Apparently this special lighting, which was inaugurated in a ceremony with the mayor, no less, is meant to represent Jerusalem’s promotion of environmental issues. According to the Jerusalem Municipality, the illumination is being carried out with the cooperation of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and Greenpeace.
While our first thought was that to have a bunch of lights burning in honor of energy conservation is an irony, the lights are also going to go on an hour later than usual, so that energy is saved. So far, so good.
But seriously, while the plan might have sounded good when it was a stapled proposal on someone’s desk, the reality is another thing altogether. To be more specific: those of you who have seen the Lord of the Rings movies might remember the scenes set around Mordor, the center of all evil. And perhaps you might remember that the gates of Mordor have, well, kind of a greenish tinge.
Maybe we’re biased, but there’s something a bit creepy about those glowy green walls. Thanks for the memories, people, but there might be more aesthetic ways to demonstrate environmental concern.
Old City visitors will be seeing green for awhile yet–the filters are staying on until after President Bush’s visit, though the exact reason for this has been left unexplained. Perhaps the hope is that he’ll be so creeped out by the green walls, he won’t bother to go to the Western Wall, thereby averting a traffic nightmare for the rest of the city. We can dream.