Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Wanna Be Jennifer Griffin

Today was the worst day so far in the Israel/Lebanon blow-up. In a check-up call with my mother, Katyusha rockets have hit near all relatives in the North of Israel. With the extra pressure put on the Gaza Strip as well and the constant threat of an attack on Tel Aviv, I sit and realize this is not a flare up that will die down anytime soon. And I worry. I only catch a few minutes of news when I get home this afternoon. Fox News airs a report by Jennifer Griffin. My grandma - who's been nonstop flipping between CNN and FOX - likes Jennifer Griffin and I do too. She's not as stuffy as Christiane Amanpour. She's like a female Anderson Cooper without all the attention. In a taped spot, the camera catches Griffin having a casual conversation with an Israeli official. She's obviously trying to get information. She's standing just a ways off of the Israel/Lebanon border. From where she stands, you can see a country in the background. A landscape spread out behind her. It reminds me of Arizona. Standing at the top of Thunderbird mountain and able to see how land is laid out. To see the world as it is around you. Here in the Midwest you can't see shit. Trees, hills, houses and WalMarts are all in the way. The Israeli official is speaking quickly and pointedly into a cell phone. Suddenly you hear noise in the background. Like the crumpling of a can or thunder. Griffin quickly points to the border, telling her cameraman to try and find the source of the thunder. It could be Israeli rockets or the Lebanese Kaytusha's. There's no fear in Griffin. Just a rush of adrenaline. Find the source, find the source. It could be headed straight for them but that's not the concern. She's not wearing a kevlar vest. There's faint smoke and Griffin continues w/ her crew and the Israeli official to sort through information. As I hit the power switch on the TV, getting ready for work...I think about my family. Images on TV don't really capture the mentality of Israelis. They live in war everyday. Air raid sirens are like flash floods over here. A quick jaunt to the bomb shelter and tell me when it's over. Even when speckled with black smoke, the land of Israel is as beautiful as ever. As I get in my car and head to work, the war rages on. It will rage on another day. People like Griffin will sleep in vans or makeshift shelters waiting for the dawn, or the next explosion. I want to be there. That's what I realize. I want to be out in the hills of Northern Israel, notebook in hand, kevlar vest at my feet. If a plane ticket was offered to me right now, getting into my car to drive to my safe little desk job, I would take it and pack the car. Head to the airport. So many families are looking to the Israeli skies in fear tonight. I realize that there is nowhere else I'd rather be right now.

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