Friday, August 11, 2006

11-Aug-06: Good and evil

In the midst of tragedy, violence, hatred, turbulence, death, a laconic report that most likely will never reach the mainstream media outside of Israel and Italy, and even if it does will pass without causing more than the barest ripple, has just caught our eye.

Here's the background. We wrote here last night that in the wave of extreme violence delivered to Israel's northern and southern borders, a stabbing took place in Jerusalem, part of the evolving third front courtesy of the terrorists in our midst. The victim, anonymous (in the news sense) for several hours while the family were presumably notified, turned out to be an Italian tourist. The news report said he was walking with friends in East Jerusalem near the walls of the Old City. He was 25, and the assailant escaped. He died after being stabbed. End of story.

But for the people directly involved, this is of course not the end of the story. It's only the beginning.

We now know much more, and for us, as Malki's parents, there is a connection which is hard for us to not notice or to be moved by.

Yediot reports that the victim of last night's stabbing has a name and had a life. He is Angelo Frammartino. He's 24 year, a peace activist from Monta Rotondo in Italy, who arrived in Israel at the start of August with an Italian organization, ARCI, "working to advance human rights in the world". He was due to leave for home in Italy today. His parents are away on vacation and his sister who was home alone when the terrible news came from Jerusalem says she doesn't know how they will cope.

Newspapers know to do things with lines like "he was a peace activist". We see peace activists snarling and screaming and holding signs like "kill the Israeli occupiers" all the time. Peace is a curse word in this part of the world; almost always a sword, almost never a shield. We've learned from bitter experience to avoid the people who introduce themselves as peace activists. We've met many of them, and peace is the last thing on their minds.

It's not much different with people who describe themselves as advancing human rights. The rest of us presumably push human rights backwards. But in this case, Angelo the peace activist had a specific involvement. He was here to organize summer camps for Palestinian children. Those are the human rights that make sense even when (perhaps especially when) the cannons are blazing and there is death in the air. Summer camps for children.

Our daughter Malki, whose murder five years ago we are in the midst of remembering (the civil anniversary was on Wednesday, the Hebrew calendar date is this coming Monday) spent the last week of her violently-abbreviated life as a volunteer counsellor at a summer camp for children with developmental delays and special needs. The camp takes place each summer in the north of Israel, and involves many hundreds of participants from all parts of the country. It's organized by Etgarim, an association with some lovely people running it. Malki and her friend Rachel traveled up north without being sure they would be accepted as volunteers. They were, in the end, and Malki came back from there smiling from ear to ear. She loved everything about it. She was murdered a few days afterwards, and we heard most of the stories we know about that camp from the other counsellors and the organizers.

Angelo, whose name like Malki's is connected with angels, came here to work with children, to help put smiles on their faces.

This does not interest the terrorists. This is why they are terrorists. The humanity of the victims is of zero importance to them. You see it in the way Hizbollah fires hundreds of deadly missiles a day into Israel - couldn't care less where they land, just as long as someone dies.

You see it in the way terrorist bombers walk into restaurants or onto buses. No interest in whether there are good people there, or bad people. The humanity of their victims is not on the agenda.

They deny their victims' humanity in the absolute, ultimate way a person can. By killing them without having any idea who they are. Without the slightest interest in their past or present, without any hesitation, with a total absence of humanity. The innocent victims of the terrorists are not caught up in the cross-fire. They are the objective.

Angelo, who wanted to make happy summer camps for Palestinian children, who understood the meaning of good deeds, is as dead as our child who wanted to make happy summer camps for children with special needs. The terrorists who are praised by demented religious leaders (Nasrallah is a religious leader) as martyrs, as members of a resistance, as peace activists, rejoice in these deaths.

This is why terrorists have no place in human society. Not because we hate them; we do not. But because no civilized human society can tolerate their existence without committing suicide.


Andre_Szara said...

“This is why terrorists have no place in human society. Not because we hate them; we do not. But because no civilized human society can tolerate their existence without committing suicide”.

Dear Mrs. Roth:

Your blog is precious to me and I have the greatest respect for you and your work.

But I must disagree with your conclusion (above) in this post. I do hate the terrorists. I believe that it is a mitzvah to hate them. Not to hate them would be as much of a defeat for moral clarity as if people did not love and respect your family for your work.

Shabbat Shalom

Devna said...

The terrorists are terrors of humanity!!

Anonymous said...

VEry sorry for your loss