Friday, August 20, 2004

Literally with tears in my eyes I read this article in today's International Herald Tribune, which originally appeared in the New York Times.
It tells us about a 6-year old Palestinian boy named Mahdi, who was seriously wounded by a shrapnel-filled bomb set off by a Palestinian terrorist last week. The bomb killed the poor boy's grandfather, who happened to be the family's breadwinner, and wounded his grandmother. Now this victim of the region's absurd violence is being treated in an Israeli hospital, where - as I wrote earlier on this blog, based on my own experiences - Jews, Muslims and Christians, be they doctors or nurses, patients or visitors, coexist and cooperate on an equal basis.
Why tears in my eyes? First of all, the picture that accompanies the article shows a little scared and scarred boy linked to different tubes and sensors, which reminded me of our daughter when she had to undergo ( first as a 1 1/2, then as a 5-year old ) minor surgery, and she looked so little and frail, and me and my wife were so helpless. In addition, I realized that the 'intended' victims of that bomb were our two children, my wife and myself, as well as as many other - preferably Jewish - Israelis, since the bomb was destined to be detonated in Haifa, not at an Israeli security checkpoint near Jerusalem.
Do we need any more proof of the absurdity and randomness of the violence that haunts Jews, Arabs and others here? What do the terrorists say to this poor boy and his parents? Is he the victim of an accident, whereas my daughter would have been a legitimate target for the Palestinian resistance against the occupation? Mahdi's father is right ( although as a matter of course he blames Israeli violence for it all, which is not surprising: "Open criticism of Palestinian militants is not considered wise." ) when he says: "Everyone is paying the price of this conflict."

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