Sunrise from South Camp
Anxiously, I climb the ladder to the top of guard tower Bravo at the start my pre-dawn shift. With each of my steps the rungs play a musical tone that both belies and confirms the solidity of the tower made from quarter inch steel. As I enter through the narrow door of the walled platform I am put at ease by the familiar, worn and splintered wood-sheathing floor, mottled by years of coffee and cigarette stains. I thud over to the north side and aim my rifle toward the main gate, then pivot across the star filled horizon to the lights of North camp, four small suns staring back at me blankly from over the distant and dark hills. I’m looking for the enemy.
Below, there are only paper cups and plates, and plastic bags from Metro and Alfa market, from far away coastal towns, lost in the wilderness of the Sinai desert until caught in the snare of concertina wire surrounding camp, rattling angrily in protest against the bullying wind and the heat from the lights beneath my guard tower. Somewhere a military officer is issuing orders to police that trash after breakfast. With a sigh, I prop my rifle against a wall and turn on an old dual-band radio left behind by some charitable ghost—Rick Dees announces the weekly top forty. I turn toward the east and watch the sunrise from South camp.