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Will They or Won’t They

September 2, 2013

Untitled #1 (a.k.a Vaka), Sigur Ros

 

I haven’t been able to take the tape off.

The tape I used to seal up the top empty slot of our small kitchen window, that is. The top glass blind has been missing since we moved in to this apartment nearly two years ago.

I sealed it up last Thursday evening after closing all our windows. Yuval was coming home late from a conference that day and in the morning he had advised I do so before going to sleep, “just in case”.

He was referring of course to the possibility of the U.S attacking Syria, and the chemical weapons Syria may use in retaliation. This has been a hot topic of conversation for the last few days everywhere, it seems.

Amidst all the talk about gas masks, we found out that the closest distribution center to us is in Haifa, about an hour and a half away. Since we wouldn’t be making it there in time before the weekend, we figured we should seal off all our windows at least.

At work, as they always do when a possible crisis is looming, they jokingly asked if I was taking off for Japan. “Please take me with you,” one of them had said, as usual.

The weekend passed without any attacks and the possibility is still looming. When we went to our favorite local Arab restaurant yesterday, we were surprised to see that the parking lot was nearly empty. This is usually an extremely popular restaurant (an Israeli security officer questioning me in the Paris airport even knew of it) and we are used to arriving in a lot packed with cars. But yesterday, one of our servers told us that most of the customers were local. Not many people were coming from afar in fear of something happening, in an area where Syria is so close.

Today at work my co-workers were also telling me that wherever they went during the weekend there were much less people than usual.

Since Thursday, we’ve opened our windows. We’ve even slept through the night with them wide open.

But the tape on the kitchen window? I still haven’t been able to peel that off.

Just in case.

I hope you’re staying safe, friends.

P.S. The song of the CD cover above is the first track on my favorite Sigur Ros album. Back when it came out and I was telling anyone that will listen how good it is, one of my friends asked me, “But have you seen the music video for one of the songs? It’s pretty fucked up.” The video features school children playing while wearing gas masks. Back then, I never thought a gas mask would be something I actually would have to consider acquiring in the future.

P.P.S. One strange thing in all of this is I haven’t heard a peep from my embassy. Usually I get a warning email from them before I even read the news, but this time around, not a word. It makes me want to think that there is no serious threat? Or is it just that they haven’t hit the “send” button yet, but have the email drafted and ready?

いまだにテープをはがすことができない。

テープとは、台所の小さな窓の一番上の部分を完全に覆うために使ったテープ。
ブラインド式のこの窓の一番上のブラインドは、
私たちが約2年前このアパートに引っ越して来て以来ずっとない状態だった。

先週木曜日の夜、アパートの窓を全部閉めた後、唯一開いているこの窓の部分にテープを張った。
ユバルはその日会議で帰りが遅くなる予定だったが、朝出て行く前に、
家の窓を全部閉め切ったほうがいいかも、と言ってたのだ。
「Just in case(念のために)。」

「Just in case(念のため)」とはもちろんアメリカがシリアへ攻撃するかしないか、
そして攻撃した場合シリアが化学兵器を利用した報復をする可能性があること。
この話題はここ数日どこへ行っても耳に入ってくる。

さんざんガスマスクのことも聞く中で、私たちに一番近い配給所は
車で約1時間半のハイファだとわかった。
全てが閉まってしまう週末の前にそこへ行くことはできないので、
せめて家の窓を閉め切ろうということになったのだ。

職場では、毎回戦争の可能性が出て来るたびに
「カオリ、日本へ避難するの?」と冗談で聞かれる。
今回もいつも通り「私も連れて行って」と誰かが付け加える。

週末は結局何もなく過ぎ、「攻撃するかしないか」の答えはまだわからない状態だ。
昨日は月1回は行くお気に入りのアラブ系レストランに行ったのだけれど、
到着したら駐車場がカラガラだったのでびっくりした。
このレストランは有名で(パリの空港で質問を受けたイスラエル人の警備員さえ知っていた)
普段土曜日は大変込み合っている。
でも昨日はウェイターによるとほとんどの客が地元の人達のようだった。
シリアに近いこの地域に、何か起こる可能性があるのにわざわざ遠くから来る人はいなかったようだ。

今日職場でも仕事仲間が週末どこへ行っても人が普段より少なかったことを話していた。

木曜日以来、私たちは窓を開けた。
そして開けっ放しのまま寝た夜もある。

でも台所の窓のテープは、まだはがしていない。

Just in case(念のために)。

追伸1:上のCDカバーはバンドSigur Rosによる私が一番好きなアルバムの一曲目。
アルバムがリリースされた当時、絶賛しまくっていたのだけれども、
ある友人が「でも一曲目のミュージックビデオ見た?結構びっくりするよ。」と聞いてきた。
このビデオ、子供達が学校の休み時間に外へ遊びに行くのだけれど、みなガスマスクをして遊ぶのだ。
美しい音楽に対して、結構不気味。
この当時、まさかいつか自分がガスマスクを実際手に入れる立場になるとは想像もつかなかった。

追伸2:この中、一つ不思議と思うことは、日本大使館からなんの連絡もないことだ。
普段は何かあると、ニュースで読む前に大使館からの警報メールで気付くぐらいなのに、
今回はまだ何も来ていない。だからまだ深刻ではないということなのだろうか。
それとも既にメールは作成されていて、「送信」を押すタイミングを計らっているだけなのだろうか。

Much love,
Kaori

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sammi permalink
    September 14, 2013 9:48 pm

    I have been thinking about you and worrying. Please stay safe and be careful. I am praying that this is all going to be over with and peace will rein. The optimist in me says it is not as bad as it seems, but I also know that I tend to believe in the best always happening and that everyone will be safe and secure. Keep blogging so that I know you are OK. And do go back to Japan if necessary, keeping you and Yuval safe! But I also love that you are going out and enjoying life as you can. I want the world to be peaceful, and the sky to always be blue. Know we are thinking of you with love. Hugs to you both! (Bring Yuval to the US so we can meet him!)
    Sammi

    • September 16, 2013 5:26 am

      Hi Sammi, Thank you for your concern and warm thoughts! We are OK. If it weren’t for the news we wouldn’t even know our neighboring country was in such a terrible situation. It is peaceful inside the kibbutz. I also really hope that it will all be over soon but quite honestly after living in Israel I am not as optimistic nor a peace believer as I used to be. But I still have to hope that things will improve, even if by small measures. I really wish both Yuval and I can visit! :)
      xo Kaori

  2. Sammi permalink
    September 19, 2013 1:56 pm

    We are working on getting our house ready to sell so we can move to something smaller, but closer to the beach. If you make it out to visit maybe we will be settled in a nice little place with a great view!
    I am glad to know you are as safe as possible there. I think the world might be getting crazier all the time, but I still have hope for more peace at some point. Perhaps the younger generations will figure this out! Or we need more women running the world? Mom’s would set it straight! ;)
    Keep safe and give hugs to all! Tell your family I said hello too!
    Love,
    Sammi

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