Tel-Aviv – Damascus Express

by Chen Asulin & Nadav Kugen
Scene I
A group of Israeli backpackers are looking for a tourist shop in a Tel Aviv street to buy equipment for their trip. They enter the shop, together with a group of young Arabs. The two groups almost immediately start talking about their studies, and some of them – those from both groups who have served in the army – about their short service.

Scene II
The group goes to the train station together. All the backpackers are looking at the large electronic boards, trying to find the platform they should be waiting on.

Failing to find it, they turn to one of the attendants for an answer. In the commotion of the train station, their question and the attendant's reply are inaudible, though the attendant’s gestures communicate that he is asking the backpackers to sit and wait for an announcement regarding their train’s departing platform.

The backpackers sit down to wait.

Around the station a short beep is sounded from loudspeakers, followed by the announcement: "To board the train to Turkey, please wait on Platform two. The train will stop in Damascus for a few hours."

The backpackers move to the platform and board the train. As they sit on the train, one of the Jewish backpackers comments: "I hope that the stop in Damascus will be a long one. I promised my mother a few spices from the market."

Scene III
The train departs from the station. Above the rear window, there is a sign reading "Tel Aviv – Damascus Express".


* Chen Asulin and Nadav Kugen, from Kibbutz Shfayim, are both 16 years old This article was written for the "Imagine 2018" essay competition (, and is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) in collaboration with One Voice ( It can be accessed at

Source: One Voice "Imagine 2018" essay competition and Common Ground News, 4 September 2008,
Copyright permission is granted for publication.
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