The sun's uninhibited glare shines through a 4th floor flat's window overlooking Vienna. I sit in bureaucratically imposed traction wondering if the number plates, which now rest in the 13th district Polizei headquarters, will make a miraculous return to their rightful place upon my van's bumpers. I, of course, know better. It was Thursday afternoon when an Austrian copper spied the Polish tags on my legally parked van and decided it needed closer scrutiny. It turns out that I, a supposed Pole, was endangering the Austrian public with a shoddy tire. My tags were removed and I've remained here since. During the past ten days I have watched the world stew within a cauldron fired by greed, fear, and hatred. The land of opportunity is chucking immigrants into cells at an alarming rate as its police continue to pillage the innocent. My hope for the future in Europe is crumbling under the weight of crushing austerity. As to whether fools in Ukraine intentionally blasted a MalaysianAir jet out of the sky is immaterial, roughly 300 innocent people are now dead. Finally, my namesake has been proving very efficient at exacting revenge for the deaths of their boys. Here, then, I sit, in the midst of it all. I have relevant stories regarding each of them. However, the most personal, I now present as honestly as I know how.
http://www.israelgillette.blogspot.co.at/2011/07/time-and-rain-in-san-jose-dusting-off.html but the latter has been stewing within my head for five years now.
The distance from Eilat to the 24 hour border crossing into Sinai is roughly 10 kilometers. Being that we were in good shape, and of thrifty minds, we opted to walk. The night's warm temps were aided by the Red Sea in producing a tacky atmosphere that clung to our clothes as we passed through on our way to the doorway out of the Promised Land. We arrived at the Taba border just before midnight on Eid to find it a cluttered mess. Empty buses and taxis were engulfed by a sea of Palestinians waiting to get through the border, presumably to feast with their families following Ramadan. I was quick to assess the situation and saw that the queue wasn't diminishing. After half an hour of watching I walked through one of the open border gates, used for passing vehicles, and inquired of one of the Israeli guards, "what's going on, why isn't anyone passing?". The young soldier replied "go stand back in the line, please". "Oh come on", I prodded. Reiterating my earlier question, I received the exact same answer. I walked away, catching the eye of another soldier that shot me a grin, and they closed the fence behind me. Chris and I chatted briefly about possible causes for this, but we arrived at similar conclusions. There was no reason to prevent this this Arab exodus from Southern Israel. It was a power play. Chris went about documenting the scene with his camera. Myself? Well, at this point I should have thought of my friend's parting advice back in Jerusalem, but instead I dug Glenlivet out of my backpack and thought about how much I dislike fences. The night was still young.