There are borders everywhere. The sky above is, perhaps, the only place where there are none, no borders whatsoever. There may be clouds drifting across that create an illusion of borders between white fluff and blue sky; there might be layers of gases and pressures and atmosphere; but there aren’t any borders that humans created.

But people create borders all the time. There are visible ones, between inside and out or between general admittance and an employees-only area. There are borders that change all the time and seem, on the surface, to be so pointless really – like the borders between countries, or even more so, the borders between different cities. These are often invisible borders; they’re there, and crossing from one country to the other may require a passport, but if you walk on foot from one side of a barrier to the other, the land won’t have changed nor will the birds sing differently or the sun rise from a different direction.

The worst borders are the ones we put around ourselves, the way we separate ourselves from other people. We’re animals – we shouldn’t have a sense of privacy. But along with consciousness and individual thoughts and ideas, we’ve developed a love of loneliness and seclusion. Not physically, not necessarily. There are many people who can’t remain alone for long, but must surround themselves with other people, with noise and movement and a proof of life being lived. But there are still always borders – no one can know another mind perfectly; no one can fathom what someone else is feeling exactly; no one can remove the borders around themselves completely.

Bomb Country

Sirens pierce the air with their harsh sounds, sounding their half-melodic noise in the distance. First siren. Second, third. Mostly we ignore sirens, we just hear them and think, maybe for a split second, that something happened somewhere. Then we forget about it and get on with our lives. So it is most places, I believe. Sirens are so much a part of the background that we really don’t notice them much.

In Israel, it is often different. Sure, we ignore the first sound of those wailing tones. But when another and another join the first’s voice, we start to wonder. What has happened? Was there a bomb? Was there an attack somewhere? How many are dead this time? What political tangles will imerge now and how will the papers make it racist this time?

The Intifada has been over for quite a few years now, but still, we cannot forget the times when we would look at the front cover of the newspaper and count how many died last night and how many were wounded. All those deaths, for a squabble over some silly land. Israel, Holy Land indeed.