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    Posted July 20, 2014 by
    Eshkol Region, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Israel-Gaza conflict

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    Look out my kitchen window, into my backyard. What do you see?


    A field of potted sunflowers which have passed their prime.


    Pots of multicolored geraniums, their flowers blooming, fading, dying, budding in a cycle of perpetual activity.


    A thriving Monstera deliciosa, behind which a fruit-laden passionflower plant has climbed up and overtaken a tree so long ago that I no longer remember what time of tree it is.

    Lush grass surrounds, and nestled behind the plants and trees I have described, and those I have not, you can see the houses of my backyard neighbors, for whom my backyard is their front. They see what I see….but from a different perspective.


    If you look very closely, you will also discern a neighbor putting something in the basket of her cart. After she returns inside, you might notice the cat checking out what she put in the basket, then meandering on its way, to the next neighbor’s porch.


    Look out my kitchen window, into my backyard. What do you hear?


    Birds chirping.


    A drone in the sky.


    Automatic gunfire.


    Larger gunfire of sorts (artillery or tanks that surround us and shoot over and past and into….)


    Ravens crowing, feeding their young.


    Heart-stopping, bone rattling sporadic bursts of fire.


    The body responds with uncomfortable fear - instincts scream out to take flight, to take cover. The head and heart breaking, knowing that the sounds it hears is leading to death, destruction, maiming, of whoever is on the receiving end of those noises - be they friend or foe; innocent or with murderous intentions, loved ones gone into the fray to protect she or he who looks out through my kitchen window, into my backyard.

    Mute the sound, and look around: you are in paradise.


    Close your eyes, turn on the sound: you are in a warzone.


    Eight Minutes and 43 Seconds in my Backyard, Kibbutz Nirim, Israel, July 20th, 2014 7 a.m., a little over a mile from the border with the Gaza Strip.

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