July 11, 2002

Face to Face

Ha'aretz has a very surrealistic story [via Kottke] on Arin Ahmed, a 20 year old communications and computer programming student at Bethlehem University, who as a suicide bomber refused to carry out her mission and was eventually arrested by the Israeli Defence Forces.

In the rather longish story, Arin is interviewed by the Israel Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in the prison and the whole conversation is rather disturbing. On one side is a man who refuses to let his humane side cloud the cold judgement that his official responsibilities forces on him and on the other is a 20 year old girl who has virtually destroyed her life without actually going through the bombing.

Somewhere in between you can clearly see the cycle where no one is willing to forgive and there is just more and more pain in store.

A few quotes from the articles that just clung on to my mind as I went through it. Especially the last quote, the answer to which holds the solution to the problems that plague the region:

• He listens, but doesn't say anything. She sighs. "What will become of me? I have no future. I don't want my whole life to be ruined because of this. I'm at the beginning of life. I didn't do anything. Don't forget that. I didn't do it. I changed my mind. Please, let me out."

• "To each his fate," Ben-Eliezer says, and then he leaves the room.

• "To be honest, I felt sorry for her. I admit it. I thought she was pitiable. I found it hard to fathom how a girl like her, an educated young woman with her whole future ahead of her could have ended up in such a situation, ready to commit such an inhuman act."