My own Guernica
On the eve of Shabbat, small squads of soldiers emerged from the periphey of shattered homes, and moving shadow to shadow like creatures of the night, the teams converged on the church that sat at the highest point of the hilltop village. The officers gathered in the courtyard to receive final instructions before we set out on what would be our longest and most dangerous march, while the other hundred-or-so soldiers sat silently in two long lines on the edges of the cratered street outside the church. Leaning back on our enormous packs, we gazed out over the blue hills of Lebanon
rolling northward under a star filled sky.
The moon was so full and bright it seemed a giant spotlight shone down on us, and the white, shrapnel-scarred steeple was shrouded with a ghostly phosphorescence. All the homes around the church were in ruins, and in what was once the living room of one caved-in villa, the Virgin Mary's serene visage peered out from the rubble. Next to a toppled wall that had once enclosed the hilltop sanctuary, a D-9 bulldozer - a monstrous, steel plated engine of hell - sat seemingly suspended mid-rampage, its massive shovel poised over the rubble. The last three days a raging battleground for Muslim and Jew, the Christian village was now eerily silent beneath the thundering heavens.
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Previous blog entries:
Under the stretcher
Absorption under fire
Lone Soldier made Aliya in 2001 and joined the army after six months in Ulpan. He completed his tour of duty in 2004 and now serves in the reserves. The emails he wrote home detailing his experiences and his impressions are serialized in this blog. For security reasons this content could not be published while Lone Soldier was actually in military service.
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