I felt completely out of my element when invited to take a student trip to
The moment one walks in, the feeling that one is on existential edge is unmistakable—it’s not just the airport security—it’s the size of the country itself. But what was so important that I needed to cross the ocean to a place the size of
Even in the first few days of our trip, we were bombarded by local media, that is to say, Israeli news channels, and by and large, Arabic channels that were devoted entirely to covering their hatred of
Then, almost like lightning itself, the missiles and bombs began to fall. They started out like murmurs, then exploded like thunder in the distance. Fortunately, we were far enough south, under desert skies in
There, it all seemed so normal, now ten days into the fighting. People, families, husbands and wives playing on a beach in impossible heat. Suddenly, an alarm rang, not a siren, but a call just the same. On that crowded beach I watched men and women of almost all ages, hundreds, thousands maybe, get up to leave. I asked where they were going, these ordinary people. They were the reserves; they were off to fight. It was a sight so majestic, and yet, so chilling in its totality that it was the fitting end to my trip. In that moment I saw a nation rise together in stoic unison. I have never seen it here, nor do I know where I’d see it again.
We went home after that day. The war ended. Silly moral equivalences for both sides were imposed once more. And because I know from being there that the coverage I have seen since is all a preposterous obfuscation of the truth about people and places, the war continues.
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