Dear pilot of the Israeli army,
We’ve never met; my name is Andrea, I am an elementary school teacher, and I live in Italy. Here on my side of the Mediterranean, we watch what happens on the other side as if we were looking out of a window. We watch, we comment, we’re horrified, some despair and cry, some laugh. But you are there, you are the ones acting it out.
I try to imagine your life. I don’t know if you live in the barracks or your own home, with your family. But surely you have a bed where you rest, a room where you take off your uniform, get comfortable, and throw yourself onto a cot, with a book or a comic to read. Or maybe your phone is enough for you, as it is for many of us, to browse, but above all to communicate, maybe with your girlfriend or your mom. Love is important.
But you don’t bother to watch the news; you’ve had enough, you already know everything. You’re sick of news, bombs, and death. You want to turn a new leaf.
You probably took a nice shower before or after to get rid of some sweat; you don’t have dust on you, but it gets sweaty in the aircraft cabin. A good shower takes care of everything.
You’ll fall asleep soon; you’re tired. Maybe you leave your phone on, or the comic falls from your hands. It’s a good thing you don’t smoke; you’d risk setting the room on fire. But smoking is bad for you; you’re a strong and healthy man.
You don’t have to set an alarm; others wake you up.
At night, you don’t dream – no, you just don’t remember anything when you wake up. Who knows what you dream, nice dreams? Nightmares? Let’s forget about dreams.
In the morning, you get up, wash your face and hands well, shave, squeeze that blackhead that’s ugly, dress quickly, and you’re hungry. You’ll brush your teeth later.
You’re at the flagpole at eight o’clock sharp; you shout what you have to shout. From here on, it’s like you’re on autopilot. You exchange some banter with the mechanics; your favorite one is here today. You climb the ladder they prepared for you, put your small bag in the overhead compartment, put on your helmet, fasten your seatbelt, turn on the computer, see where they’re sending you today, the travel times, and how long until takeoff. Everything’s fine. You send a last message to your love before turning off the phone.
You look outside; it’s a gray day, but spring is coming soon, and you feel like going to the beach. After all, you’re a bit tired of this war, but oh well…
5 minutes to take off. You’re thinking. By tomorrow, you have to pay the registration fee for that course you want to take; you have to call your aunt tonight; it’s her birthday, and she’ll feel bad if you don’t. You press the engine start button. The cabin has already closed; you make a sign with your hand and wave to the mechanics on the ground. The engine needs to warm up a bit. Only then do you start moving slowly on the runway. You see your colleague taking off, then there’s another behind on the runway, then it’s your turn. You guys are on time this morning.
You move slowly on the runway. You have to move slowly; after all, you have a load of bombs, no joking around. You know, the plane is heavier at takeoff than during landing.
In front of the runway, the engine revs up, and the noise is loud, but you’re used to it, you like this moment, you feel all the power of the vehicle you command. You’re strong. Here we go… Maximum speed, takeoff. You turn immediately, of course, they could have made the runway face Gaza directly, oh well. Big curve.
Now there are 15 minutes of flight. You look at your land. The roads, the highways, the traffic, the houses, the gardens, the clean tree-lined avenues. Some control towers, some soldier trucks. The arid land alternates with what you have managed to irrigate, and it’s wonderful, you are great at this.
In the distance, the smoke of the bombs dropped recently by your colleagues. Soon it’ll be your turn.
What goes through your mind? I imagine…
“Why don’t they all just drop dead at once! Why don’t they leave? Why are they waiting there for our bombs? Too bad for them, they asked for it.
But aren’t they ashamed to stay there with their children? Do they use them as human shields? Oh well, I don’t care; I do what I have to do; let our leaders deal with it.
Soon it’ll be my turn, it’s all lined up.
Here’s where I have to go; it already looks all destroyed; there’s probably still someone hidden under the rubble. We’ll have to flush them out. Whoever makes the decisions must figured this was ok. Release!
“WOAHHH!!!” I shout; I always feel like doing it in moments like these. It relieves the tension. There, done.
Off we go, let’s go high, I wouldn’t want them to have a missile to bother us.
Time to come back.
I’m thirsty; my throat always dries up. I want a can of orange soda; hopefully they restocked the vending machine; they ran out yesterday; I have coins in my pocket.”
But what if one day, instead, YOU DECIDED… that’s enough?
Exclude ID: 1796274
Exclude ID: 1796274