Rabbi Haim Cassorla Views March 15 2004

On Monday afternoon, March 15th 2004ce an attrocity of immense magnitude was perpetrated. The world's press, innured to death on a grand scale, and murder on a grand scale and embezzlement on a grand scale took little notice of the event. The world's press was still rocking form the deaths of over two hundred Spaniards and the subsequent hijacking of the Spanish election by al qeda.

The press thought that an abberant man in California who killed his wives and children and his grandchildren whom he had fathered was a newsworthy event. The press likes to dwell on a single person who does something spectacularly out of the realm of acceptability. Two people who do one wierd act can make the headlines for a while. Serial murderers are the wheat for the mills of the daily news teams, scouring the world for the extraordinary, and especially to meet our habit of consumption of the obscene, the extraordinarilly evil.

The press and the reading/listening/watching public that consumes the press' output all thrive on the modern morality play of good versus evil, but only in small doses of evil. We have learned that there is another side to every fight and every argument and every story. We no longer remember that the existence of another point of view does not give any legitimacy to the "other side." If you were to drive down the "wrong" side of the street, you could argue till you are blue in the face, your argument has no legitimacy. You will be ticketed.

In this WORLD WAR, there is a "Right Side" and a "Wrong Side." As surely as there was a "Right Side" in the conflict we now refer to as WWII. Despite this, the world's press, in general, tends to believe that there is reason to see the "other side." We can yell from the rooftops that this is not a culture war and that this is not a "religious war," but that doesn't change the truth. As a matter of fact, it tends to disarm us against the enemy who is waging a religious war against us. I will not argue that all Muslims are fighting the rest of the world. I will assure you, though, that all Muslims who are fighting this war view it as a Religious War. If we choose to believe that this is not a Religious War, we are "bringing a knife to a gunfight."

If you got this far, you are probably wondering what it was that set me off. What attrocity is it that happened on Monday that I am asserting you didn't hear about? Monday afternoon a 12 year old child was arrested at a border crossing into Israel from "the territories." The child who had been employed regularly as a day laborer, carrying wheelbarrows of material through the crossing. This time the boy was carrying three backpacks. The soldier who stopped him for inspection at the crossing found eight kilograms of high explosive (17.6 Lbs.) in one of the backpacks, and a cellular telephone which was wired to the charge and set to detonate when the phone rang. Luckily for all, the device failed to detonate.

What made this special was that the little boy didn't know that he was going to be the next Shakeed in a long line of Shaheedeen. He was not told that if the mission succeeded, he would become a "martyr" and be listed as a "suicide bomber" in the official reports of the incident. This child was told that if he carried this extra package, he would receive a special large monetary bonus when he delivered it. After his interrogation in Israel Defense Forces custody, the boy revealed that he had absolutely no idea about what was in the backpack.

A part of the problem is that the so-called "Palestinian Authority" (which, repeatedly claims that it is incapable of enforcing its authority), runs the media, radio and television, and the schools in the Palestinian areas. These schools, radio and television programs spew hatred and teach songs with lyrics like "I will strap explosives to my body and kill as many of the Jewish pigs as I can," and "I will bring glory to my family and to my people by dieing as a Shaheed." There is no "glory" in Palestinian culture associated with building a new nation or building infrastructure. The only path to glory offered to the children of the Palestinian community is death as a Shaheed to join the long list of Shaheedeen.

The world press doesn't know how to deal with evil incarnate on such a scale. We wouldn't know how to read a story which told us of a society so wrong that they teach a cult of suicide and death to their most precious posession -- by our way of viewing things. The world press won't do this work. I urge you to tell everyone about this attorcity, and its perpetrators.

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Rabbi Haim Cassorla

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