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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Making of a 'Martyr'

On Friday, the New York Sun had a write-up of a 2006 movie called "Making of a Martyr," which is being shown at the Brooklyn International Film Festival on Tuesday. (Hat Tip: Little Green Footballs via NY Nana). The movie was made by Brooke Goldstein, a 24-year old Cardozo (Yeshiva University) law student who spent the summer of 2004 wandering around Judea, Samaria and Gaza without a weapon meeting with terrorist leaders who recruit child suicide bombers:
Ms. Goldstein was inspired to do the project after reading a news story in 2004 about Hussam Abdu, a 16-year-old would-be suicide bomber who had a sudden change of heart and surrendered at an Israeli checkpoint. The image of the boy, with his hands above his head as frightened Israeli soldiers shouted orders, haunted her. She approached the problem like the aspiring lawyer she was.

"I was thinking, ‘You know, there's a legal argument here that no one is making, which is that the suicide bomber himself — 18 and under — is as much a victim as the Israeli civilians being killed,'" she said. "These kids are not doing this of their own accord."


The night before her first foray into the West Bank, she was terrified. "I called my sister and said, ‘You should know where I'll be in case I don't come back in 24 hours.' I thought of the lynching of those Israeli reservists. A million horrible things were going through my mind."

Her arrival didn't allay her fears. "There are gallows in Ramallah — they practice public hanging. There are pictures of dead children brandishing weapons — ‘martyr posters' — everywhere you look … with captions like ‘Our hero.'"

As the group walked through the town, they spoke to Palestinian Arab children in schools and on the street. "Our fixer was encouraging us to speak with the children. I think I'd always, deep down, had a hard time thinking the problem was really that bad. I thought maybe it was a lunatic fringe," she said.

In fact, the fanaticism was worse than she ever imagined. "The most shocking thing was reconciling the normal appearance of these kids and what was coming out of their mouths," she said. "I was holding these beautiful children in my lap, and my translator was translating words of hate."

The story was always the same. "No child ever said, ‘I don't want to be a martyr.' They talked about fame, paradise, virgins, and Ferris wheels [after death]. They were happy to tell me they hated Jews," she said.

The children were more fanatical than their parents. "When we interviewed Hussam's family for the film, his parents were distraught. They don't believe in this whole child suicide bomber concept," Ms. Goldstein said. "Then I interviewed his sister, who was like, ‘I'm so proud of my brother. Hamas says he's a hero.' At one point she had a loser, dwarf, mentally handicapped brother. Now she's the coolest girl in class, and very proud."

In addition to the children, Ms. Goldstein interviewed Mr. Zubeidah, commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin. At the time, the Israel Defense Forces had made five attempts to assassinate him. In person, Mr. Zubeidah was not the harsh figure she had expected. "It was like talking to any other kid, about 27 years old," she said. "He was smiling. My translator told me, ‘He's talking about killing Jews.'"

Ms. Goldstein didn't say she was Jewish, but she asked if she were on the streets of Tel Aviv, could she be murdered in a suicide attack? His response was chilling: "He said, ‘Indeed you could. Right here you are my friend. I'm protecting you. But when you are in Israeli territory, I'm no longer protecting you.'"
Blogger Noel Shepard asks a prescient question (Hat Tip: NY Nana):
How does all this fit into the media meme of terrorists mostly being unemployed men under the age of 25 who feel they have nothing to live for, and more to die for?
But let's just give them a state reichlet and they'll be satisfied and stop blowing people up.

For those of you with high speed internet connections who would like to see this movie (for free), you can download it by going here. You will need Internet Explorer 7.x, Windows Media Player 10.x (both of which I had already and I suspect most of you have as well) and something called AOL Video Hi-Q Delivery Manager, which I had to download. There are also system requirements - if you don't have Windows XP or Vista, you can't see it.

There's also a Wikipedia page on it here.

The movie is over 600 mb so be prepared for a long download.


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


Thanks for the hat tip. This beggars the question about the lack of outrage from any 'recognized' organization that champions children. In any religion, any non-arab country, the children come first, and countless parents, adults, etc., have given their own lives to save that of a child or children.

I think that Golda Meir zt"l said it best:“We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”

The outlook is indeed grim. Reading the articles, and trying to get through the entire movie? Mind numbing.


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