When I think about the wanton, cowardly attack at the Boston Marathon, and the courageous response I’ll be wondering about the moral path of my neighbour who stops at nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on her soil but seems reticent in giving Israel that same right. Where are the bold, courageous leaders with moral resolution? Where are the Patrick Moynihans of today, who steadfastly support democracies around the world against despotic, theocratic autocracies?
I originally wrote this on the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured in the bombings at the Boston Marathon April 15, 2013. Four years later, I stand by my observations.
Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau recollected a “seemingly quiet overnight shift suddenly turned into a war zone. Those two brothers were trying to kill my police officers and had plans to kill and injure more innocent people.” He spoke of the attempt to strike fear in the city but proudly announced, “We will not be intimidated.”
The Boston Marathon bombers had six bombs in their car and were on their way to New York City’s Times Square when they were stopped by police in a shootout in Watertown. No doubt when Americans remember those who were murdered and scarred in Boston there will be memories of 9/11. How could there not?
That was the moment when America became acquainted with the concept of vulnerability to terrorism at home. America continues to prepare for any future tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing, considered the largest terrorist attack on United States soil since September 11, 2001.
I remember the response to that bombing. The gathering of forces to find those responsible. No stone left unturned. No restraints placed on those chose charged with apprehending the terrorists. America was sending a message to those who would try to undermine this liberal democracy: Don’t! As Deveau said, “We will not be intimidated.”
When you remember, try to imagine the memories of the vulnerable elsewhere including the kidnapped girls of Nigeria, to be used as cooks and sex slaves and the Syrian refugees. And think about the citizens of Israel, your sister country in democracy, which unlike America with democracies on her borders and oceans away from the hotbed of terrorism, is surrounded by a sea of autocracies, theocracies, and despots who have declared their desire to annihilate Israel.
Think of the psychic wounds on the children of Sderot, considered the bomb shelter capital of the world; more than 8,600 rockets have hit the city since 2001. In January, in the midst of “peace talks” 60 rockets were fired into Israel. Bombs have exploded in Eilat, a tourist resort town on the Red Sea. There have been attacks in the Golan from Syria whose citizens are starving, but whose children lucky enough to reach the Golan are being treated in Israel.
Take time to remember the days before Israel built a separation between the Palestinian people and Israel, when bombers attacked the beaches, restaurants, buses, cafes, places where they were sure to cause maximum murder and injury of civilians: 1,178 persons killed; 8022 injured between September 29, 2000 and December 31 2009, the majority of attacks prior to 2004. Think what would you have done?
As a Canadian looking at my neighbour, I can understand the attitude of your leaders. You call yourselves the beacon of liberal democracy in the world. Yet, there’s a sense of hypocrisy in this, a double standard that is beneath you. Today, you condemn the only democracy in the Middle East for not doing enough in the name of peace: not giving enough: enough land, enough terrorists for the sole purpose of just talking about peace. Would America release Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in order to initiate peace talks? Or Kalid Sheikh Muhammed, the designer of the 9/11 attacks? It appears America has given tacit approval of the actions of Abbas, a man in the tenth year of his four year term. A man who has declared that Palestine will be free of Jews. What would American leaders say if Israel declared Muslims persona non grata?
And your leaders suggest Israel give up the right to be seen a priori as a Jewish state in order for negotiations to continue. What does that say to the Arab world? It says America supports states like Saudi Arabia (which denies its women human rights let alone civil rights), Jordan, Iran and Iraq as a priori Muslim states but won’t support Israel first and foremost as a Jewish state before any negotiations take place. Is this position taken in the hope of reducing terrorist attacks in America?
When I think about the wanton, cowardly attack at the Boston Marathon, and the courageous response I’ll be wondering about the moral path of my neighbour who stops at nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on her soil but seems reticent in giving Israel that same right. Where are the bold courageous leaders with moral resolution? Where are the Patrick Moynihans of today who steadfastly support democracies around the world against despotic, theocratic autocracies?
Aristotle wrote “memory is the scribe of the soul.” American terrorism is now a deeply embedded memory – a psychic wound written on her soul.
I fear America, a country once touched by greatness, is in danger of losing its heroic leadership. I fear the soul of America will be inscribed with memories that someday will bring shame to your children and grandchildren.(Written while Barack Obama was still President)
Originally posted Huffington Post 04/16/2014