Posted on January 13, 2006

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I’m back in Canada and already I have begun developing the customary knot of stress in my lower neck. I have a group presentation, a court appearance, an exam and a driving test in the coming few days. But on the plus side, the weather is pretty sweet, and a certain indescribably sweet someone met me at the airport with Godiva chocolates…
At Kuwait airport, I was browsing through the Debenhams (their notion of “sale” appears to differ greatly from my own) when I ran into Ahmed..the garrulous cornrowed one from the trip TO Kuwait. In some discomfort I introduced him to my parents. He was remarkably at ease despite language issues and my dad subjecting him to an interrogation the Gestapo wouldn’t have been ashamed of.
I was pretty sad to leave…for the first time in over a dozen departures from Kuwait I got all teary. I had to root through my long-disused coat pocket for a tissue. The immigration officer, instead of leering, made kind remarks and pleasant small talk.
When I got onto the plane, I passed Ahmed sitting down next to a rumples half asleep guy. Before his ass hit the seat he was chatting up a storm. The guy next to him looked really trapped.
On the flight from Athens to Toronto I found myself seated next to yet another of the Most Unpreferred Category. However, a cursory inquiry revealed this one to be, despite appearances, an Israeli. Good times. He showed absolutely no aversion to controversial topics, and in fact stepped in with both feet, opening with a remark about how Egypt was dangerous to the likes of him. 8 hours later…
No, it went really well. I honestly appreciate a guy who embraces realism and makes no bullshit about international norms and human rights and all that. Ultimately, the dude was right; wars happen, and people keep things they win, and sometimes people have to die for stuff like that. Nobody thinks it’s right, but at the same time no state has ever been motivated by anything else but power. So I suppose everyone just has to deal and stop trying to justify their acts as being noble or even legal.
Although he also seemed to think that Israel’s successes were because God was on their side. I had not previously considered God as a player in the international arena, but I suppose He must be if only in the respect that people often do crazy shit in His Name.
I also spent a large portion of the flight deliberating on whether to declare the chocolate milk in my suitcase or not. Faced with rhyming signs in the customs area (Be Aware and Declare!) and numerous references to prosecution I did declare it. Instead of mentioning that, the immigration officer at Pearson preferred instead to debate with me over gifts and lack thereof. I swear I didn’t get a single thing in Kuwait!

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