Thursday, January 29, 2004
Do I understand?
The helplessness you couldn’t take
The choices that you couldn’t make
The voices that you couldn’t shake
The anger that you couldn’t break
The sleep from which you’ll never wake
And now I think I know:
The brothers you once knew are dead
The sounds that filled your heart with dread
The anguish swirling in your head
The things you never could have said
The path you chose and where it led
And now I think I see:
The lessons that you never taught
The pent up rage inside you taut
The ones you loved, the ones you fought
The freedom that you never bought
The violent havoc that you wrought
And so it must be said:
The anti Semite, anti Jew
No Passion of the Christ for you
Unbridled passion burnt in you
And everything you thought was true
Was torn apart just as was you
And if we look around:
The people who you didn’t save
Just what you took and never gave
The final straw that made you cave
The punishment you had to crave
The desperate cry you thought so brave
Glory, glory be:
Some honor you, and though it's true
Some would sooner honor kill you
The Virgin payoff all for you
Until you did what you had to do
To try and get your message through
And one day maybe we
Will understand just what you meant
The hope you lost and where it went
The lives you took and who you spent
The sorrow deep, the minds unbent
Can they forgive, can you repent?
They Build Walls, Don't They?
United Emirates of America
Ariel Bin Sharon
Jaradat became - literally - the poster girl for the theory that women are joining men in a traditional Arab quest for revenge. Her attack was mounted three months after Israeli troops shot dead her favourite brother and her cousin outside the family home. Moreover, the family says that the Israeli occupation authorities had repeatedly refused her application for a permit to allow her gravely ill father to obtain treatment in Haifa.
"Every action has a reaction," says her mother.
"Had Hanadi ever turned against them, until they came and killed her brother? They took away her dreams from her, and because of this she blew herself up."
Yet most of the 130-odd suicide bombers launched in the past three years are not known to have had direct revenge as a motive, so other factors must also come into play.
Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat had a road map, though we don't know much about it. A twenty-nine year-old lawyer on the verge of setting up her own practice, she left the Jenin office where she was interning and made her way to Haifa. Somewhere on her route (or perhaps before she left), she turned herself into a bomb. She arrived at lunchtime on the Jewish Sabbath at the entrance to Maxim's restaurant. It was a day, according to the Washington Post, "when the Israeli military had imposed its highest levels of closures on the West Bank." She "wore her thick black hair pulled back in a ponytail. Dark, wide-set eyes peered out from a striking, heart-shaped face. Her lips turned up at the corners, giving her the appearance of having a perpetual smile." She made her way past a single guard and into the dining room where Jewish families were eating lunch.
As a business, Maxim's itself was a decades-old partnership between Israeli Jews and Arabs. Whether Jaradat chose the restaurant because of that or by happenstance we don't know. We do know that she was, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "the older sister of Fadi Jaradat, an Islamic Jihad militant who was killed in June along with his cousin, Salah Jaradat, a senior figure in the military wing of the 'Jerusalem Brigades' organization," by Israeli Border Police.
It is unlikely that the assault on the alleged Islamic Jihad training camp north of Damascus will curb future terrorist attacks; quite the opposite, in fact. The Maxim restaurant atrocity will meanwhile convince ever more Israelis that a peace settlement is impossible. Between the two of them, Hanadi Jaradat, the Haifa bomber, and Mr Sharon, have in effect conspired to guarantee that there will be more victims and more violence, now perhaps increasingly acted out on a regional scale. That this escalatory cycle of attack and counter-attack is bitterly familiar does not make it any more acceptable or sane.
On both sides of a contentious fence being erected in the West Bank, the horror and uncertainty of raids, bombs and violence continues relentlessly in a perpetual cycle of revenge, avenge, defend, and attack. No one is immune. The violence takes its toll orphaning and killing children, depriving everyone of freedom, happiness and most of all, peace. More than ever, we need to understand the psychology. What desperation, anguish and confusion compels a beautiful, educated young women to blow herself up, taking out twenty one innocent diners with her? What horror have such eyes witnessed, what hope diminished, what possibility snuffed out? There will never be peace in the Middle East as long as we ignore the reality of what is happening, silence enlightening opinions, or refuse, point blank, to even try to understand. Failure to understand, much less observe, is no longer an option.
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