amvans's Blog

Musings from a confirmed "Technical Difficulty"

Call of the “WeeWow”

Originally Posted by: Marie Vans on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 3:34am

Things have calmed down considerably around here now, but it is a tense calm and we are all expecting things to flare up again if the international force doesn’t move into Southern Lebanon quickly.

Fortunately, the pause in the shooting allowed us to get back into Haifa so we could renew our eldest daughter’s passport. They’ve changed the rules considerably since the last one (read since 9/11). Now you have to bring the child and a lot of extra paperwork. In addition, if the last passport was issued when the child was a baby, you have to bring in pictures to prove that the child standing in front of the person processing the paperwork is the same one as the baby in the picture. Which is amazing since you have to bring in all the same documents brought in when the first passport was issued. We originally had an appointment on Sunday, but I cancelled that when I realized that Sunday would be the worst day yet in terms of flying rockets. I was right and it was scary enough just staying put in our bathroom, let alone getting into a car and driving toward the areas where all the rockets were falling.

I say get back into Haifa because we did brave the rockets last week to take my 7 month old son to the consulate. We needed to get his American citizenship and passport. Right about the time we got out of town, we heard sirens wailing in all the towns around us. I kept scanning the sky and landscape for rockets…as if it would help to spot one before it landed. More likely I was bracing myself for the resulting heart-attack should I actually spot one. During the visit to the consulate, the sirens were activated twice. Both times, we had to stop what we were doing, grab the baby and run to a shelter which is not on the premises but two houses away. Obviously, we made it back in one piece.

I’m not much of a night-owl usually, but during this past month I have been staying up well past 1:00am (and still getting up at 5:00am) It’s very hot here this time of year so we must sleep with the windows open if we want any chance of breathing and to hear the sirens from the next town over. I realized that things get very quiet around midnight. The dominant form of noise around here is the automobile. During the day, you can’t even hear the birds sing because it is so loud. In general, Israel is very loud place and if you want to escape the noise, getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 is your best bet. But, with the war, people weren’t going out much and so most cars were off the road by midnight. The silence was eerie. It was possible to hear the sound of muffled explosions that I believe were at the border or maybe inside Lebanon.

But the strangest sound of all was the call of the “Weewow”. Weewow is Arabic for jackal. I have been here almost 8 years and I have never heard it before, although I’ve seen many as road-kill over the years. In the high-pitched mournful howling, I heard the tragedy of Lebanon, the loss of so many children, the destruction of the environment both here and in Lebanon, the senselessness of it all. I heard the question “Why?”. I heard the lamentations of all the living creatures whose lives have been destroyed or adversely affected. One lonely jackal, probably driven from her home in the Northern forests by the fires and noise of war, and looking for another weewow with which to grieve.

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