Monday, April 02, 2007

Southern Israel

Last week we took a couple of days and drove down to the most Southern point in Israel, to the Red Sea in Eilat. As we drove south we drove alongside the border with Egypt, which is a small wire fence, about a metre or so high. It is kind of disconcerting to see the reality of imposed ideologies. By this I mean Egypt (and Jordan for that matter, Lebanon and Syria) all look exactly the same as Israel one side of the border to the other. All the plants and trees, ants and snails make no distinction- unaware they might cross from one country to the other everyday. But the way we perceive Egypt, as opposed to Israel, or Jordan or Syria, it is hard to imagine that they look very similar, that it is all just people going about their daily thing. The rivers run through them, the wind blows across them.

I suppose it makes me sad because in reality these borders seem to be uncrossable ( some really are- movement between Israel and Syria, Israel and Lebanon is basically impossible due to political constraints). But technically Jordan, Israel and Egypt are on moderately friendly terms. But we couldn't go to Egypt ( to Sinai were the beaches are better) because the Israeli government issued a warning against travelling to Sinai due to intelligence of terrorist attacks (against Israelis). Sitting on the beach in Eilat ( beautiful snorkelling) you could see Jordan- the city of Aqaba across the water.

Maybe it is because I am Australian, but borders kind of weird me out. And borders, on land that you can' t cross because someone said so, is especially weird. We went all the way ( it isn't far) to the border crossing with Egypt and looked longingly to the other side for a few moments before driving back to Eilat.

Now we are back in Tel Aviv- tomorrow we fly back the USA (together this time!).


Blogger Wamut said...

hey yeah, i never realised how weird it would be to cross a land border... i've been to lots of places, but have always flown or sailed over a sea to get there... i never thought about how arbitrary land borders would seem...

but i guess you get them in Australia too, but only unofficially through Aborginal 'lore' and 'myths'... (I say those words sarcastically... they're awful words!!)

12:07 pm  
Blogger bulanjdjan said...

I was thinking of the parallel with borders and 'prohibited' tracts of country in Aboriginal Australia too... (Where is Aboriginal Australia though?! Surely everywhere!)

1:00 pm  
Blogger Wamut said...

If Aboriginal Australia is everywhere then where is white Australia?

1:56 pm  
Blogger Sophie said...

A friend of mine, Samia, whose Aboriginal family is from NSW- said something that really stuck with me (actually many things!) but one of them was- 'the Aboriginal Australian people were colonised, but you (whitefellas) were colonised too, you also don't know your sense of identity, where you come from, what your role is here, how to relate to the country.' It is an interesting way of thinking about things.

6:36 am  

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