Thursday, April 28, 2011

From Fiji Islands to Sinai to Jerusalem

Shalom dear reader. I hope you saw yesterday's post about the ANZAC [Australian and New Zealand Army Corps] Day commemoration because this is a continuation, on a more personal level.

Presenting Lance Corporal Etuate Kori, MFO Fijian Contingent.
I arrived at the Jerusalem War Cemetery an hour before the 10:00 ceremony was to start.
Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, the bugler you see here had found a corner outside the chapel, near the memorial wall, to play some "scales" and warm up his horn.
The printed program indicated he would be sounding The Last Post and The Rouse.
It would have been a great photo of his back but I chickened out when he suddenly stopped and turned. I continued my walk up and down the many rows of tombstones.
The nice outdoor commemoration service contained much but lasted less than an hour.
Then guests and soldiers and ambassadors walked over to a shadier place and chatted over refreshments.
Well, they chatted. Everyone was with their mates (Australian for friends or co-workers) and I suddenly was aware of my aloneness and my shyness.
OK, I had a sandwich, boreka, brownie, and coffee. Can't complain.
People were getting their picture taken with the Australian and New Zealander soldiers in their crisp uniforms, some pinned with many medals. Oh yeah, and with one man wearing a kilt.
Then for a minute the soldier from Fiji was standing alone. I asked if I could take his picture. Finally, a human being to talk to!
And so human "Eddie" was!
He was so full of gratitude and marveled that he could be here in Jerusalem!
He wanted to drive now to the city center with his MFO mates and purchase a Bible, as a souvenir of the Holy City.
He asked why I was at ANZAC Day and I said simply because I have three born-in-Australia grandchildren and have lived with them for extended times and love Australia.
Etuate is probably back now at his MFO base in the Sinai desert.
I thank him and his fellow peacekeepers. God bless and keep them safe and sound.
From the interesting (with photos and maps!) MFO website:

"The Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) is an independent international organization, headquartered in Rome, with peacekeeping responsibilities in the Sinai. The origins of the MFO lie in Annex I to the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel, in which the parties undertook to request the United Nations to provide a force and observers to supervise the implementation of the treaty. When it did not prove possible to obtain Security Council approval for the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, the parties negotiated a Protocol in 1981 establishing the MFO “as an alternative” to the envisioned UN force. "



Patsy said...

I enjoyed each post of ANZAC Day.
Thank you for facts I would not have know if not for your blog.

Birdman said...

I agree. You often find the neatest people 'out of the blue'.

Suzanne said...

Nice coverage Dina and great that you made friends with the guy.

VP said...

So I am not alone in buying bibles in Jerusalem! Eddie seems a nice guy, but I am not so sure MFO would be any better than UNEF...

J Bar said...

I was interested to read your story Dina. I think the way you connected with this lone soldier is great. :)

Kay said...

How very lovely that you were able to meet that nice Fijian, Eddie. I'll bet he had a great time in Jerusalem.