I was a 20 years old soldier, towards the last year of his military service. As a combat soldier, I was positioned with my unit in every godforsaken place on the Israeli borders – from north to south, east to west. At that particular time, I was positioned along the border between Israel and the Palestinian west bank, near the city of Jenin. My platoons’ duty varied from home base guarding all day long, to spotted anti-terror activities, to guarding around the actual border to standing in a check-point, examining the Palestinian population wished to enter Israel for a visit or work, and to make sure they don’t carry any weapon or explosives on them. Due to the long and rich history of the place, being a terror nest, our activity was crucial and important and everyone was a potential suspect in terrorism – man, women, children and elderly. Many times terrorists took over ambulances entering Israeli hospitals to carry out explosives for terror attacks.
She was a 20-something year old Palestinian girl from Jenin, speaking fluent Hebrew, looking well educated.
It was 15:00 in a hot summer day, after sleepless night full with activities. We carried a 3 kilos weapon; 10 kilos well geared vest, a helmet and a 15 kilos ceramic ballistic vest.
She claimed she forgot her “tasrich” – entering permission back home. I refused to let her in. She said she have to go to work in Afula (an Israeli city close to the border). She was stubborn and behind her there were about 50 people waiting. I was worm, frustrated and tired and for some reason I didn’t believe her. I always tried to we as nice as I can, but at some point I just lost it, I became agitated. I rudely told her to get back home and get her ID if she wants to enter the checkpoint. She probably got scared and started to cry and left.
I kept thinking about her for a long time. It’s not that I felt powerful as a soldier in front of her, having the possibility to decide if she enters or not. It just happened.
I would like to say to her now – I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I didn’t do my best to check about your background and let you in.
I’m sorry I was impatient to your needs as well.
I’m sorry you felt scared by me, I’m sorry I made you cry.
I’m sorry that just because I’m on one side of the border and you’re on the other side, I had the power to decide on you.
I’m sorry parts of your people made me think along the years that you are all the same. Now I know it’s not so.
I’m sorry you remember that day as much as I do, I’m sorry you probably being through it before me and probably after me.
I hope your people and my people could once live side by side, if not as friends, but not as enemies nevertheless.
I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling.
I fear no fate. For you are my fate, my sweet.
I want no world. For beautiful you are my world, my true.
And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows. Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.
By E.E. Cummings
Greetings from the future – a letter for the boy I used to be
“Remember you promised yourself to never lie to protect yourself? Sorry to disappoint you, but it happened. Remember you were afraid that you’d not have a real good kiss with someone you really love until you go to the army? Well, sorry – it didn’t happen yet. Hold in your heart everything that exciting you now – the first love, the first disappointment, because this rush will never come back again. Oh, and another thing – the girl who were laughing at you when you asked her on a date in high school? She’s super ugly today. And she got so fat.”
Birthday is always a good time to stop and think (not that I wasn’t doing that for the last 7 months). This year, on my 25th birthday, I decided to write to myself, 10 years back. Not in a kitschy way, like in a cheap Hollywood movie, but really to whom I was in the past – a high school boy that shed a tear out of every slightly emotional moment, to see in what way he, which means – me, changed.
“I’m sorry I’m doing that to you, young me, but I’m going to let you down in this letter. A large part of what you think about yourself is about to change. For instance, the awful things you’ve experienced as a little kid and you thought you resolved? Guess what – you were not even close. Remember you promised yourself to never lie to protect yourself? Sorry to disappoint you, but it happened. Remember you were afraid that you’d not have a real good kiss with someone you really love until you go to the army? Well, sorry – it didn’t happen yet. Hold deep in your heart everything that excite you now – the first love, the first disappointment, because this rush will never come back again.
Anyways, now everything looks so depressing. You try to hide yourself from every watching eye. To be as little seen as you can. You’re sure everybody’s looking at you, talking badly about you, like you’re naked in their eyes. You know you have a bit more of an EQ, and maybe even a bit more of an IQ and intelligence and you’re surrounded by bunch of idiots. Yes, your class is a bunch of idiots. You think now that they have charisma, they look good, they can speak and argue, things that you don’t have – but you know what? You’re the only one of them studying in a university. And you know what more? You study medicine like you always dreamt to. 98% of them are married with at least one kid. 2 of them got divorced. Oh, part of them lives on unemployment payments, the rest work in supermarkets for their living and can't even stay at one working place for a whole year.
I can update you that finishing high school was as exciting as it was a relief, and joining a combat unit in the army was a real mission (even though there were moments of frustration, anger and fear). Medicine school is exactly what you thought it would be. Oh and remember you always thought you suck in any language? Well, now you’re a polyglot. And people appreciate it when you speak to them in their language.
Don Quixote, grow up!
If once you had some clear targets – it’s going to change a bit. You know that drive you have to concur the world? Well, about that bad news too. All the black and white colors are going to be recolored many times in so many shades of grey, like you swore will never happen to you. There is a possibility you’ll think you became a defeated person, when his values are faced to reality – he needs to settle.
The one-dimension way of looking on your life now will disappear and give the thrown to the multiple-dimensioned life you live now as an adult. Values, at least the way you look at them now – out. Reality – in. Big time. You might change that now actually, it’s really unnecessary and quite frankly, a bit embarrassing in retrospect.
More bad news (promise there will be good ones next): you are going to work a lot, get underpaid, and all for money. Yeh, that perverse thing that you cannot understand how people can slave themselves to, and not to ideals and self-fulfillments? You’re about to slave yourself to it yourself. You will understand you don’t have another choice. You still have some parts craving for self-fulfillment, but I can tell you that in one job you just wait till the day is over and on the other one – you compromise more then you thought you would before. Oh, and you know how you get so motioned by the new CD of your favorite band “Ha’Yehudim”? They suck. So much.
And aside to all the bummer things I’m writing you, there is some good news: Anna (pseudonym – you’re still a nice guy), the girl that laughed at you when you asked her out? She became so ugly. And she got so fat. And you are so much successful then her boyfriend now. And that thing with the acne? It disappeared almost completely. And the sexuality issues you thought that will disappear? They’re not. No, you’re not curious/over-sexual/bisexual – you are gay. And why is it a good thing? Because now you can admit it. To everyone. Even to mom and dad, and they took it very well. And you got a beautiful dog, her name it Lola. She’s amazing. You can stop taking those English language privet lessons you hate so much. Your problem with English will resolve once day by itself. It’s a matter of matureness. You became vegan, you do Yoga and Tai Chi. And lots of sports. You still hate basketball though. Oh, remember the last time you bought shirts size Medium? I can’t. But few months before your 25th birthday, you start to loss so much weight, and now from XXL (and sometimes XXXL) you buy Medium. You’re wearing Moran’s cloths now. And you look good. Very good actually. Since you lost weight guys and girls started to notice you and you have many chances to hook up. Problem is that you have some feelings for a guy, and you cannot do anything before you forget him. Remember how you always dream about spooning with someone you love and care about? You did it, with that guy you love. It was the best feeling in the world and you actually, like in a fairytale, wanted it to last forever. Oh, you are about to tattoo yourself in November 2012. Oh one more thing – you are about to try to end your misery after high school. Don’t do that. It doesn’t worth the hospital admission. Plus, your life will become so so so much better. Believe me. And on your 18th birthday, you will go through a major car accident, you’ll destroy dad’s car. But don’t worry, you’ll be just fine in the end. And the thyroid thing always bothered you? It will become worst.
But that’s good, because it will make you stop, think, get help, and have the powers to write this letter. Love yourself, your life is good. Your future is even better.
A 25 years old you".