Sunday, July 16, 2006

Surgical Precision

It's weird watching the news and seeing a country in which you had a pleasant holiday get blown to shit. It's strange thinking of Tyre, a quiet seaside town where a schoolgirl showed us how to bunk into the magnificent Roman ruins, where my beloved talked to a quiet café owner who had perfected his English in London; sixteen people were killed there when the Israeli air force bombed a civil defence centre. I also find myself thinking of the guy on the reception desk in the apartments we stayed in in Beirut, or the taxi driver who drove us back to Beirut from our trip to Beiteddine, showing us his blessed medal of Our Lady of Medjugorge and rabbiting at us in Arabic until he registered that we couldn't understand a word of what he was saying, or the guy who doubled up as both the head guy in Baalbek's wonderful Hotel Palmyra and tour guide to the cyclopean Roman remains there. A nice country, I hope there is some of it left for the next time I go there.

Obviously, there are many nice people in Haifa too, but I have never been there and don't feel the same connection to the place, though I hear it is one of the more pleasant spots in Israel.

1 comment:

rener said...

The little bit of Haifa I saw certainly was nice. From the air it looks very like Beirut, jutting out into the sea in a sort of right angle. Robert Fisk remarked on this similarity in "Pity The Nation" - a conversation he had with an IDF bomber suggested that they practised their manoeuvres over Haifa before going off to bomb Beirut.