I went on a trip with my class today to the Lebanese border in the South. It was a one and a half hour ride and when we got there the UNIFIL public relations team debriefed us, after the debriefing there was a Q&A session:
L: So as I saw when I came in you have women in UNIFIL
Amit: Yes UNIFIL prides itself on having a healthy mix of genders and nationalities.
L: So the obvious question now is, have you ever had a UNIFIL beauty pageant?
Carl: Our troops have undergone years of rigorous exercise!
Moira: They are all accomplished in the martial arts, and know how to kill a person in seven different ways.
L: right but...
A: They took Peace Keeping training for two years! Most of them have Masters programs and graduated with distinction!
L: and by that you mean ...
A: *sighs in desperation* no we have not had a beauty pageant
L: What! never! (disappointedly turns off camera) That's ridiculous!
C: No never
L: But seriously the Italians have the hottest women on the base right? Am I right Kumar? Come on I can tell you've thought about it.
To be fair the Italians do have great 'armor'
A: It's Amit actually
M: I don't think
L: Awww come on Jefferson, you can humour me
A: (shifts in seat and looks to his colleagues on either side)
L: I know you sneak a peek into the lockers every once in a while... come oooon!
A: oh alright, yes I guess if I had to choose I would say the Nepalese are the most attractive.
(I would later discover that the Nepalese battalion consisted entirely of small fair shaped boys)
L: Oh Johnson! you sly dog you! *winks overtly*
A: My name is Amit!
M and C: (offended looks) Sir I think that/
A: oh shut it Moria, you havn't had an orgasm since Bosnia! (Carl stifles a laugh)
At this point the Q&A devolved into a multinational brawl and peacekeeping forces were brought in to diffuse the tensions.
But seriously here is a quick summary of what they told us:
They said that they were confident in the absence of illegal weapons south of the Litani river, that they were documenting all violations, including the daily Israeli overflights, and sending them to the Security Council. They explained that the Blue Line is based on a 1923 map drawn between the French and British in order to demarcate their separate mandates between Palestine and Lebanon, that this is the border we are still using today, and which Israel has withdrawn beyond. Israel has set up a parameter fence which is south of the Blue Line (which is not a border but a UN made line) The Israeli fence is at times 300 meters away from the Blue Line, and this causes some confusion such as the like that appeared in the media a few months ago about the UN demarcation outposts, and when shepherds cross the blue line inadvertently from both sides.
When asked about the impending war in Lebanon the team laughed and said that it's just speculation. Considering that UNIFIL has contact between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the IDF, I guess they only have half of the story. One important commitment by the UN is that if a war does happen they won't be leaving, I feel safer already.
If any UNIFIL forces chance upon this I'm just kidding, I know many people have died in UNIFIL and I am grateful for your efforts.
Today I also learned that there are some things you can only learn as you grow older. It's impossible for me to go back and teach my young self some of my life lessons which I learnt, one of which I acquired today, that sucks. As I stood on the ridge with a fence and a trench separating me from Palestine, I got the weirdest feelings. I mean here we were standing a few meters away talking about technical cooperation and positive attitudes as if things could ever work out. Reality brings a rude shock to the past months of reading and study into the conflict, I mean at the end of the day lives move on. I looked into the town in the valley across feeling a mixture of yearning to cross as I felt entrapped behind the fence, and a sense that there too I belong, that the barriers are arbitrary distinctions set up by colonial old White men with awesome moustaches, that so many have bled on the land I was standing on. I really wish I could describe it more accurately but it was a mix of yearning and guilt and confusion all at once, like it was a foreign country but still similar. I wish I could say I gained clarity but all that happened on top of that hill made things more complex. That wasn't my life lesson though, I got those same feelings when I was looking at shemale porn, no, what I learned was that even professors have emotions and that sometimes their awkward high-school alienation shows through and though they may be experts in one field, they are not authorities in all fields, and this took me all of my years to learn. Anyway, if I can leave any message after all of this assuming you even continued reading this far it would be that at all borders are evil and our states are all fake.