The light at the end of the tunnel? The findings from a panel of Arab intellectuals on the state of the world's 280 million Arabs, in a Friedman's commentary (NYT). A Palestinian argument against suicide attacks, published June 19 in the Arabic language newspaper Al Quds and signed by 55 prominent Palestinian intellectuals and politicians. "Out of our national responsibility, and due to the gravity of the situation the Palestinian people is in, we, the undersigned, wish to hope that those behind the military actions aimed at [harming] citizens in Israel will reconsider [their acts] and cease pushing our youth to carry out these operations, because we do not see them as leading to any results except for increased hatred, enmity, and hostility between the two peoples, deepening the chasm between them, and destroying the possibility of both peoples living alongside each other in peace in two neighboring states."
In Israeli Hospital, Bomber Tells of Trying to Kill Israelis (NYT) In a conversation that lasted more than two hours, the bomber gave a rare glimpse into the blend of religion, desperation, low technology and cruelty that can produce suicide bombers. He said he was "pushed" to make his attack not by Israeli action or a terrorist group, but by "the love of martyrdom." He added: "I didn't want revenge for anything. I just wanted to be a martyr." "I know Israel," he said, recalling his six years as a peddler here. "I know that the individual Israeli citizen is innocent like us. Unfortunately, we are victims of our leaders, sitting on their chairs."
"Writer William Langewiesche, a pilot in his own right, explains why a jet packed with 217 passengers plunged 33,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean in the dead of night--and why it took so long for the U.S. and Egyptian governments to issue an explanation. Using black-box transcripts and radar records, Langewiesche meticulously reconstructs the last minutes of the so-called suicide flight. In a feat of storytelling, he reveals the nasty combination of politics and culture clashes that delayed the official investigation."
A family of six was found dead in a case of murder-suicide, authorities in Oregon said Friday. Bryant, the father, became estranged from several branches of his family, including his parents, three brothers and a sister. The other family members were Jehovah's Witnesses and the split appeared to involve differences over religious beliefs. In other news, An angry, mysterious preacher told Andrea Yates that she was evil, that her children were damned, and that only death could save her. Mr. Yates testified that the preacher had taught him and his wife that children are lost forever to God, and therefore damned to eternal hellfire, if they are not "saved" by the time they are 13 or 14. Are we regressing to the religions produced nightmares of the Middle Ages?
A Terrorist Profile Emerges That Confounds the Experts. The prototype for Muslim suicide bombers has been young, single, caught up in religious fervor and, often, desperate. They are usually promised financial security for their parents and told that they will be greeted by 70 black-eyed virgins in heaven. Though suicide is prohibited by Islamic law, some leaders have said there is an exception for soldiers in what they see as a holy war.