Trip to the dead sea
We'd arranged a bonding trip to the Dead Sea today, for Rasmia and Jamila to have a rare good time and, hopefully, trust us a little more. They are understandably very nervous of British people - as their lives have been destroyed by the Americans (and British). So we booked a minibus and a load of kids we picked up at the school video session.
But then at the last minute, Rasmia's brother decided they weren't allowed to come. So we spent the day getting sunburned alive with no discernable Crude benefit. Was good to float though. And was only about an hour from Tel Aviv, the nearest I've been to The Boy for a long time.
Shocked to find out that Kulood, aged 26, has never immersed her body in water. No swimming pool, no river, no hot springs, no bathtub. Just a shower or tap. Because she's a Muslim woman, obviously. And the 8-year-old girls had to paddle in their jeans and long sleeved shirts - in 42 degrees - while the boys swam
freely in swimming trunks. Needless to say this did not go down well with Lizzie and me. But then Kulood is exceptionally intelligent, and says she genuinely doesn't mind, so who are we to say it's wrong?
Had a great game of football on a cute springy Astroturf pitch, till the previously adorable boys turned into sulking brats - every time someone on their team didn't pass to them, they would immediately swap sides. Pretty confusing and intensely annoying when you give them the ball thinking they're on your team and
they hit it straight in the goal. Interestingly, the only footballers we all had in common were Ronaldinho, Totti, Ronaldo and Beckham
And the common songs were: La Bamba, Eminem's "Lose Yourself" and goddam Celine Dion again. Whipped ourselves into a cross-cultural frenzy in the minibus on the way home, with all sorts of clapping and singing our three songs over and over. (Turns out later that the mother of one of the girls was not at all impressed with this - even less so with us being friends with such a lowly person as Lashes the taxi driver).
Then, amidst the singing, I got a call from The Boy saying he's been put on stand-by for the Israeli Army. Bejesus!
The line was too bad and time too short to get into the intricacies. But now I know someone who is actually involved, things seem, if anything, even less clear-cut. He knows Israeli civilians who have been killed by the Hezbollah rockets.
Like I believe that revenge is always counterproductive and the only way to break the cycle of violence is to be big enough to step down. And then I imagine how I'd feel if my sister or friend was killed: REVENGE.