The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Thursday, June 8: I was awakened this morning at 4:45 a.m. by a ringing telephone. A call that early in the morning often brings bad news – sometimes news of a death. I braced myself. The call was indeed about a death, but the news wasn’t bad. The messenger was a producer for a television show requesting that I, half asleep, join her morning crew to discuss the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“He’s dead?” I replied. “Wow. That’s good news.”
By the time my wife arose, she found me grinning. I informed her of the reason for my excitement. She asked if I thought it was appropriate that I, as a Christian, celebrate someone’s death. She always hits me upside the head with these nagging, inconvenient questions of conscience.
I stammered out a response about how, given that Zarqawi was the world’s number one menace and terrorist mastermind – replacing Osama bin Laden, practically speaking, if not symbolically – and was responsible for the deaths of countless innocents and many of our troops, yes, I thought it was acceptable to be in good spirits.
Nonetheless, I judged it better to celebrate in a more subtle way. So I went back and privately reviewed some notes from January 2005, the month of a historic, profound election in Iraq. I found these items:
On January 23, Mr. Zarqawi said: “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” In his dark dispatch from the underworld, as Walid Phares characterized it, the terrorist ringleader added: “Oh, people of Iraq, where is your honor? Have you accepted oppression of the crusader harlots and the rejectionist pigs?”
Shortly thereafter, the Iraqi people showed Zarqawi what they thought of his advice by turning out in droves to express a very basic liberty: the right to vote for those who govern them.
In response, Zarqawi showed his “honor” for the Iraqi people by murdering them by the bushel. In all, according to the Associated Press, Zarqawi’s “men of God” killed 44 people in Iraq during the January 30 election, the victims of 38 separate attacks on polling stations.
Among the victims was a young man with Down Syndrome, who Zarqawi and his faithful friends suited up in a suicide bomber vest and sent out to do their dirty work at a Baghdad polling station. The incident might have reminded them of the moment they sawed off Nick Berg’s head with a dull blade.
Despite the violence, the Iraqi people persevered; they embraced democracy. I vividly recall a New York Timespiece that reported how maintenance workers swept up charred chunks of human flesh from around the feet of Iraqis who refused to leave their spots in line as they waited to cast ballots, and then fearlessly stained their fingers with ink that would mark them as targets for Zarqawi and his merry band of brothers.
As I continued to page through my notes, I found some other interesting remarks in this stroll down memory lane:
“It’s like a wedding,” said Mohammed Nuhair Rubaie, the director of a polling station in Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhood of Tunis. “I swear to God, it’s a wedding for all of Iraq.” Added Ali Fadel, the ecstatic mayor of Baghdad: “We will build a statue to Bush. He is the symbol of freedom.”
Yet, the man who challenged Bush a few months earlier in the presidential election in the United States was notably unimpressed.
“No one should try to overhype this election,” cautioned John Kerry.
His colleague, Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, responded by reiterating his call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which, in a case of rather questionable timing, he had first issued on January 27, four days after Zarqawi’s statement about the “evil principle of democracy” and three days before the Iraqi elections. Kennedy also stood by his other comments of January 27, in which he compared the war in Iraq to Vietnam.
All of this leads me to contemplate this thought today: What will be the reaction to Zarqawi’s death? In Iraq, the killer’s minions are memorializing their fallen hero by, fittingly, exploding people with car bombs. That’s exactly how Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would have wanted it. Indeed, when this man called democracy evil, he should have been looking in the mirror.
But what about the response of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and senior Democrats? I would hope that they will see this as a positive – even though, yes, acknowledging a positive might mean crediting a plus in the column of George W. Bush.
Unfortunately, I expect them, and the New York Times, to move the goalpost yet again, perhaps reminding us that Osama bin Laden remains at large. That would be sad. The fact is that this is a great day for anyone who cares about democracy and human rights.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.
What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.
The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.
Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.
Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion
Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony
Herbert Romerstein died last week after a long illness. With Herb’s passing, we lose not only a good guy but a vast reservoir of knowledge that is not replaceable.
Saddam Hussein grew up barefoot in a mud hut in the town of Takrit, north of Baghdad on the Tigris River. He never met his father. His mother, Subha Tulfah, was deeply disturbed, suicidal and homicidal. She repeatedly tried to kill the child in her womb. According to one, probably apocryphal, account, she jumped in front of a bus and screamed: “I am giving birth to the devil!” Some witnesses recalled the pregnant woman banging a door against her extended belly.
The incident might have reminded them of the moment they sawed off Nick Berg’s head with a dull blade.
The professor is too charitable to the “Bush-Lied-Kids-Died” crowd, whose line of reasoning is not so thoughtful.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/so-let-all-thine-enemies-perish/2006/06/14/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: