He knows he can’t hesitate.
He sits amidst a pile of rubble, mostly debris from decrepit,
antiquated buildings that line an abandoned street. No point in bombing them.
They could fall to pieces themselves.
He’s dug himself through a section at the top of the pile so
that his Galatz sniper rifle can point out the other side.
He wears a bandana over his face. One sneeze and the pile falls
and, just like that, he’s compromised. The billowing dust brought in by a
desert wind makes it difficult for him to survive.
His is on a mission without many details. He’s to position
himself near a mosque that contains a safe house in the occupied zone. He’s
taking out a terrorist whose name he doesn’t know. As a muezzin sounds the call
to afternoon prayer he’s to shoot the terrorist through a wall as the man
kneels towards Mecca.
He knows not whether he’ll be facing him, or whether his back
will be turned. School never taught him which direction Mecca was in.
It doesn’t matter that the sniper can’t physically see the room
— his scope is a mega high-tech one mounted at the side of the Galatz.
Its heat-seeking technology can map the bloodflow of a man’s body.
When he hits his target, it’s assumed that the rest of them
will flee the building with guns blazing. The army is prepared for that. A
platoon surrounds the mosque at every entrance, waiting to unleash a hail of
bullets against anyone trying to escape.
The scope makes his job a lot easier. On one hand, he can see
through the wall into the “musalla,” or prayer room, completely unnoticed. On
the other hand, he doesn’t really “see” his targets – they’re merely
syntagmas of their greater wholes. In this light, the radiated greens of the
scope, they mean nothing more to him than the goombas or flying ducks of his
He needs to see them this way. They’re animals, terrorists,
born of a land they never owned. They were born serfs, and now they want to
eradicate the people who were divinely-appointed to hold this land. To imagine
these vassals as anything more than dogs would make him hesitate and compromise
He steadies the rifle as the voice of his drill sergeant plays
back in his head. A rigid, forceful man, his job was to strip away every trace
of humanity from soldiers’ targets. They were dogs; jackals; desert rats
combing your home for unearned bits of food. Very simply, they were Others
— everything the army was not.