JERUSALEM — My most unsettling neighbors here in Jerusalem are Indians: Afzal Hussein Shah, Chulam Muhammad, Mansub Ali. They occupy a lot on a street near my home. You pass No. 22, then No. 24, but instead of No. 26 you find a rectangle of grass and rosemary shrubs. Engraved on two memorial stones are the names I mentioned, along with dozens of others.
I recently wrote a book about a small war, a mostly forgotten guerrilla conflict in Lebanon in the 1990s, in which I participated as an Israeli soldier. When I walked to the cafe where I did my writing, I took to pausing for a moment by their memorial. I still stop every few days. Each time I do, their presence, or their tangible absence, seems to tell me with greater insistence something about their experience and mine, about the bewildering century since Britain captured this city and lost these men in 1917 — and about the century that’s coming.
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