Sunday, October 17, 2004

Different Worlds, Different Values

Remarks of Brigitte Gabriel to be delivered at the Duke University Counter-Terrorism Speak-out
October 14, 2004
(via Naomi Ragen)

I'm proud and honored to stand here today as a Lebanese speaking for Israel--the only democracy in the Middle East. As someone who was raised in an Arabic country I want to give you a glimpse into the heart of the Arabic world.

I was raised in Lebanon, where I was taught that the Jews were evil, Israel was the devil, and the only time we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea.

When the Moslems and Palestinians declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975, they started massacring the Christians City after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter underground from age 10 to 17 without electricity eating grass to live and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.

It was Israel who came to help the Christians in Lebanon . My mother was wounded by a Moslems shell and was taken into an Israeli hospital for treatment. When we entered the emergency room I was shocked at what I saw. They were hundreds of people wounded, Moslems, Palestinians, Christian Lebanese and Israeli soldiers lying on the floor. The doctors treated everyone according to their injury. They treated my mother before they treated the Israeli soldier lying next to her. They didn't see religion they didn't see political affiliation, they saw people in need and they helped.

For the first time in my life I experienced a human quality that I know my culture would not have shown to their enemy. I experienced the values of the Israelis who were able to love their enemy in their most trying moments. I spent 22 days at that hospital, those days changed my life and the way I believe information, the way I listen to the radio or to television. I realized I was sold a fabricated lie by my government about the Jews and Israel that was so far from reality. I knew for fact that if I was a Jew standing in an Arab hospital I would be lynched and thrown over to the grounds as shouts of joy of "Allahu Akbar"-- "God is great"--would echo through the hospital and the surrounding streets.

I became friends with the families of the Israeli wounded soldiers. One such family member wasRina, whose only child was wounded in his eyes.

One day I was visiting with her and the Israeli army band came to play national songs to lift the spirits of the wounded soldiers. As they surrounded his bed playing a song about Jerusalem, Rina and I started crying. I felt out of place and started waking out of the room, and this mother holds my hand and pulls me back in without even looking at me. She holds me crying and says: "It is not your fault." We just stood there, crying, holding each other's hands.

What a contrast between her, a mother looking at her deformed 19 year old only child, and still able to love me the enemy, and between a Moslem mother who sends her son to blow himself up to smithereens just to kill a few Jews or Christians!

The difference between the Arabic world and Israel is a difference in values and character. It's barbarism versus civilization. It's democracy versus dictatorship. It's goodness versus evil.

Once upon a time there was a special place in the lowest depths of hell for anyone who would intentionally murder a child. Now, the intentional murder of Israeli children is legitimized as Palestinian "armed struggle." However, once such behavior is legitimized against Israel, it is legitimized every where in the world, constrained by nothing more than the subjective belief of people who would wrap themselves in dynamite and nails for the purpose of killing children in the name of god.

Because the Palestinians have been encouraged to believe that murdering innocent Israeli civilians is a legitimate tactic for advancing their cause, the whole world now suffers from a plague of terrorism, from Nairobi to New York , from Moscow to Madrid , from Bali to Beslan.

They blame suicide bombing on "desperation of occupation" Let me tell you the truth. The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against the Jewish state occurred ten weeks before Israel even became independent. On Sunday morning, February 22, 1948, in anticipation of Israel 's independence, a triple truck bomb was detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street in what was then the Jewish section of Jerusalem . Fifty-four people were killed and hundreds were wounded. Thus, it is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused not by the "desperation" or "occupation," but by the VERY THOUGHT of a Jewish state.

So many times in history in the last 100 years, citizens have stood by and done nothing allowing evil to prevail. As America stood up against and defeated communism, now it is time to stand up against the terror of religious bigotry and intolerance. It's time to all stand up and support and defend the state of Israel , which is the front line of the war against terrorism.

Thank you.

Joel adds: If you were to translate the songs played by the Israeli Army band mentioned above, or any songs played or sung in Israel at any time, you would not find A SINGLE ONE calling for death of Arabs, or of any enemy. Even in today's secular Israel, all the music, all the art, and the longing of all hearts, is about peace and love.

Check it out if you don't believe me. And ask yourself: Do I have the right understanding of this conflict?


Peter Leighton UK. said...

with repect to you, your family and your religion.
Please spend a little of your time to 'google' these names.
I was born and lived in Belfast until I was 23 so I know about religios conflict and double dealing politicians and the right to be who you are even though it may cost you your life.....but spend ten minutes.

IAIN HOOK An Israeli soldier shot and killed Iain, the head of a United Nations project, in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank last November.

TOM HURNDALL Israeli troops shot Tom in the head in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip on 11 April. Tom is in a coma from which doctors say he will not wake.

JAMES MILLER Israeli soldiers shot cameraman James dead in Rafah on Friday 2 May.

RACHEL CORRIE An Israeli bulldozer killed US activist Rachel on 16 March as she attempted to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes in Rafah.

The killings are part of the Israeli onslaught against international observers, activists and journalists in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Foreigners entering Gaza are now required to sign waivers absolving the army from responsibility if it shoots them.

Israel is targeting foreigners to silence witnesses to the barbarism it inflicts daily against Palestinians. Israel has now murdered 2405 (it's more now)Palestinians since the intifada began in September 2000.

There can be no peace for Israel or Palestine while the terrorist acts on BOTH sides continue.

with honest intention

Peter Leighton.

Joel said...

While Peter Leighton's comment does not directly address the issues raised in this post, I am glad to see a civilly expressed point of disagreement raised, and I commend Mr. Leighton for it.

I believe that an examination of the reports--even through Google--will show that the facts of each of the four cases that Mr. Leighton mentions are in considerable dispute. I don't think there is a foundation for accusing Israel of "targeting international observers"; to the contrary, the number of international observers, even those whose anti-Israel bias is well-established, who are permitted to go where they please and write what they please, says otherwise.

Whereas the "Palestinians" commit unspeakable acts of violence against anyone who criticizes them--ESPECIALLY if the violater is one of their own.

Israel is defending its life against a murderous people who are being used by the Arabs--their own relatives, who have refused them re-entry into the very places from which they came (Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq), in an attempt to push the Jews into the sea. Israel has taken great pains to avoid harm to civilians--unlike, say, Jordan, who in the famous "Black September" initiative indiscriminately killed thousands of Palestinians.