Monday, December 20, 2010

Checkpoint War Game

We were on our way back from Bethlehem after a very nice pre-Christmas party at our friend Renee's house late last night, and as we came to the checkpoint after Wadi el Nar, we slowed down and waited for one of the Israeli checkpoint soldiers to wave us through.

It was dark save for a light from the narrow guard tower windows. Nobody was out.

Remembering another recent checkpoint experience when we drove through at night without stopping because the checkpoint looked unmanned, and we were pulled over by four young boy soldiers with huge guns pointed at us, and scolded for our bad checkpoint behavior; we decided it would be better to wait for some kind of signal.

But no signal came.

Tarek is not the most patient person in the world, so after half a minute or so, he honked the horn.

Still no signal. Nobody.

So we drove over the metal stop claws that allow you to drive slowly forwards, but would slice your tires if you back up or try to drive through in the wrong direction.

Still nothing.

As we approached the little checkpoint booth, we saw a light radiating from something inside, and a young soldier boy sitting as if glued to the source of light, not taking his eyes from it even to look at us, the (supposedly) potential terrorists driving past.

"He's probably Facebooking," we said to each other and craned our heads backwards to see what it was that mesmerized him so as we drove past.

But he wasn't.

He was playing Counter Strike. A first-person shooter computer war game at a checkpoint in the occupied Palestinian territories.

What the hell?!

I don't want these Israeli soldiers here at all, but to know that they're sitting at the checkpoints playing computer games in which you play war, makes me feel even less secure.

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