Monday, January 21, 2008

Theres only so much abuse you can be expected to take before needing atleast a little nap

I fought every moment to keep my eyes open. Fixated on the road ahead I resisted the urge to sleep, trying to burn every vision into my memory so when I needed to escape or avoid monsters descending upon me I could close my eyes and be back there. Years later I can still squint into the sun and remember Australia and the comfort that distance provides, or concentrate on the slush filling my boots and pretend I was a revolutionary standing against a cruel regime in the streets of Kiev. I’d channel these memories at times of hopelessness and despair and use them as a guard against the prevailing wind of doubt, to shield a vulnerable soul and wrap it in escapism to pretend that I am mighty beyond what my feeble body would suggest.

Alas, I slept. Up until this point I couldn’t, exhaustion punished my body, questions tormented my soul, grief and regret followed me around every corner of the old city and its icy feet kept me awake at night. I could see the veins in my eyelids and drifted off to sleep in a field of red.

When I awoke we were at Givat Haviva, they were some sort of NGO that deals with the conflict and brings both sides together to pursue solutions or something. A woman bordered our bus and spoke about the problems that proximity present. We cruised past the new subdivision on the fields where Armageddon is to be fought and crossed a flat valley to see the towns of Jena and Edin. They were a 12 minute walk apart and maybe 15,000 each, they were also in the news during the second intifada because suicide bombers from Jena would blow themselves up in Edin. It was hard to believe that a place smaller than the town I grew up in could produce suicide bombers, and perhaps stranger, that you would have to worry about it in a place like that. The wonders continued. We climbed a mountain and looked over an Arab city bathed in sun. From that mountain we could look east and see Jordan beyond the West Bank and the Mediterranean to the west. It really started to hit home just how tiny this country was.

Finally we looked down the hill at East and West Baarta. Once a single town, it was split in half and different citizenships were given out. The towns were predominately a few families who now had to endure the humiliation of checkpoints just to see each other. Perhaps the single most telling event of the trip happened when dusk hit and the Israeli side lit up, while the Palestinian side remained black save a few lights at the mosque. To the East as far as Jordan and to the west as far as the Mediterranean the trend seemed to continue. Out of the darkness of the east came the call to prayer as we boarded our bus.

Next stop Tel Aviv


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