Two things in the last week gave me part of the answer to some questions I've been asking myself lately.
One, thanks to Josephus, was this extract from an article by Robert Pape who is the author of the forthcoming book, Dying to Win: Why Suicide Terrorists Do It.
"Researching my book, which covered all 462 suicide bombings around the globe, I had colleagues scour Lebanese sources to collect martyr videos, pictures and testimonials and biographies of the Hizbollah bombers. Of the 41, we identified the names, birth places and other personal data for 38. We were shocked to find that only eight were Islamic fundamentalists; 27 were from leftist political groups such as the Lebanese Communist Party and the Arab Socialist Union; three were Christians, including a female secondary school teacher with a college degree. All were born in Lebanon.
"What these suicide attackers - and their heirs today - shared was not a religious or political ideology but simply a commitment to resisting a foreign occupation."
(Pape, 'What we still don't understand about Hizbollah,' The Observer, August 6, 2006)
The second was an AFP picture accompanying this article, which I cannot find online, so let me describe it for you.
The picture was that of a man's hands sifting through the rubble. To one side is the downy head of a newborn baby, resting on the forearm of the mother, who is still buried beneath the post-bombing rubble. Take away the rubble and the picture would be beautiful. If only, you could take away all that rubble.
When I first saw that picture, I closed the newspaper, folded it and put it away on the shelf where the raddi is stored. It seemed urgent not to look at it, to forget it as quickly as possible.
Three days later, after reading that mail about Pape's research, I went back to look for that picture and cut it out.
Because, while it is important to forget some wrongs, it is imperative to remember the consequences.