By Kathleen Durkan, she worked as a reporter for NBC News in Jerusalem from
1982 to 1985. Based in Seattle, she currently works for land-mine removal in
April 12, 2002
Imagine setting your alarm for 5 a.m. so you can get up and go to Safeway
before it gets crowded, because crowds are what attract the suicide bombers.
But first you have to calculate the odds: Would Larry’s be safer than Safeway?
What about QFC? Which one would “they” be more likely to choose? So you
pick a store, hustle your cart and kids down the aisle and hope for the best as
you cram everything in as fast as you can.
Or imagine this: You’re a lower-income couple from Kent. Your teenage son has
been acting a bit aloof and strange lately, but what else is new? He leaves
home one afternoon, telling you he’s heading for Southcenter Mall. Within
hours, the army arrives at your doorstep, tells you your son blew himself up for
Allah, and took a dozen innocents with him.
An hour later, your house is gone, bulldozed by the army in retribution. That
you might soon be able to buy another one from money doled out by the
sponsors of terrorism to the families of “martyrs” does not soothe you. You are
not terribly religious and neither was your son and you can wonder only, “Why
did this happen?”
This is what the so-called spiral of hate looks like. It is conceived in the minds
of a handful of men who inhabit the shadows, and while their shadow looms
large over the society, they are but a small part of it.
We can all rest easy here in Seattle, though, at least for now. Your local
Safeway, QFC and Larry’s are safe. When your kids are home from school for
spring break, you won’t have to hide them and yourselves indoors. They can go
to the mall and hang out at any time of day or night without fear.
And you and your significant other can seek a few hours’ respite from the kids
at the movies without being searched, and without searching the crowd for
someone who looks like they are ready to die and take you with them.
Forget about the politics of the Middle East for awhile, for it is obviously
Jerusalem and not Seattle we are discussing here. Think instead about the
reality that confronts ordinary Israelis and Palestinians on a daily basis now, all
because of the hatred of a few who lurk in the shadows.
All too often, commentators who attempt to understand this extraordinary
passion play that is the Middle East wind up writing apologia for the terrorists.
You know, the all too familiar, “They do it because… ”
They do it because Israel has occupied their land, because they have no
jobs, because the Palestinian Authority is corrupt and lines its own pockets,
because Islamic clerics who know better persuade them salvation awaits them.
And so on and so on.
Who would dare to offer excuses if this carnage were occurring on Queen Anne
Hill or in Ballard? Who did dare, outside of a hostile Arab press, when the
carnage occurred in New York City?
The frightening reality of the Middle East and terrorism now is this: These
murderous young men and their masters are not motivated by politics or even
the religion they hide behind. They want nothing that any politician or God can
give them. They got exactly what they wanted on Sept. 11, and they are
getting exactly what they want right now: a body count.
It doesn’t matter to them whether the bodies include fellow Arabs or
Muslims, or whether the carnage produces political gains for Palestinians.
For Western commentators, indeed any sane observer, to attempt to interpret
what terrorists want beyond terror is idiocy. They want terror, period.
That’s why they’re called terrorists.