Back explains life in Israel, Middle East with terrorism

By Abigail Keefe
February 13, 2003

Steph Mangold

Israeli citizens find themselves living lives defined by terrorism. This life was explained, last week, in a seminar by Rachael Tzvia Back, poet and scholar of Western Galilee, North Israel. Her words silenced a boardroom full of students and professors, Thursday, Feb. 6.

“We are victims of terrorism and its effects,” Back said. She went on to tell the room that many terrorist attacks in Israel, happen on Sunday morning. As a teacher of English literature, Back told Cabrini students she would never choose to teach her classes, on a Sunday, for fear of that reason.

“Your entire way of looking at human life changes when you’re living in constant terror,” Back said. “Our daily life choices are defined by that fear.”

Today’s news is tomorrow’s trash and today’s actions are tomorrow’s vague memory, according to Back. “So how do we make peace with a stone for a heart?,” Back posed, “I don’t know,” she answered in response to her own question.

There is a new type of terrorism Back addressed in her talk. As they speak of terrorism, today, in Israel, Israelis are most likely to think of it in the form of a suicide bomber.

When Cabrini students were asked what they thought a suicide bomber was, Senior Jose Jalanvoni, an English communications major , said, “It’s a corruption of dedication by Palestinians.” According to Back, Jose had hit the nail right on the head.

These bombers, waging a holy war, are called jihads. They are Palestinians who line up as a list of citizens to become suicide bombers. This is done, in part, because of a strong belief.

“These people want things to be run the way, they believe, is correct. It is that notion of corruption, in dedication or religious belief, which gives a note of promise to the individual bomber that, in turn, makes them believe they are martyrs.” Back said. “Their religious belief is that, because of these bombings, they will make it into paradise in the after life.”

She went on some more to explain that in Islam, it is forbidden to commit suicide and kill the innocent. But according to the Palestinian martyr, these suicide bombings have a purpose. Since Israel is set in a more secure situation as far as government stability, military power and living accommodations is concerned, Palestinians believe that they are getting back at Israel with these suicide bomb attacks.

“We don’t have F-16s, Apache helicopters and missiles,” said Abdelaziz Rantisi, a spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which claimed responsibility for more suicide bombings against any Israelis than any other Palestinian group according to the August 18, 2002 article in the Washington Post. “They are attacking us with weapons against which we can’t defend ourselves. And now we have a weapon they can’t defend themselves against… We believe this weapon creates kind of a balance. Because this weapon is like an F-16,” Rantisi said.

Since the bombers believe that they are sacrificing themselves courageously for all believers in their practice, and that they are putting their faith in God, these suicide bomber’s families are very proud of what the bomber does. The bombers are made out to be heroes and because of this celebrity status, the family then becomes famous because of the act that has been committed, according to Back.

When Back was asked what she thought Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, thought of these suicide bombings, she said, “Yasser Arafat speaks in two voices. He has condemned yet condoned the suicide bombing acts.”

The last question was asked by Dr. Antoinette

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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