The last phone
call Izzedine al-Masri ever
made to his family was to tell them he was spending the night away from home.
Izzedine was thousands of miles away from the bright lights of
However the 48
hours taking place on those two scorching days in August 2001 would be no
make-believe and the bright lights of the Pizza Parlour where Izzedine was
heading on that morning would need no studio lights. The only special
effects would be the natural brightness of another beautiful sunny day in
was concerned. Owners of a
restaurant in Jenin, they were also a little puzzled, as their son had never
spent the night away from home before and he had not taken anything with him. He
told them he was visiting a friend that had just been released from prison.
Izzedine was in fact spending the night in the
Palestinian Authority town of
The next morning
Izzedine left the flat and joined up with a young woman. Ahlam Tmimi, was no
doubt as deserving as any
The couple left
Ramallah on the morning of August 9th 2001 by taxi and headed towards
the Kalandia checkpoint, which was one of the main
entry points into
Once through the
checkpoint Izzedine got back in the taxi and the pair
drove silently towards the center of
At 2 p.m. the couple parted at a busy junction, just outside the Sbarro pizza parlor. Her part was over. Ahlam had had but a few lines. These would later cede major retributions and a lifetime of imprisonment, to contemplate the enormity of the monstrous part she played in the mass murder that was now seconds away.
Izzedine would have stepped into the brightly lit restaurant. He may have looked round him. He would have seen smiling happy faces. Children and parents enjoying a cold drink, a pizza and half hours respite from the fierce summer heat. The air would have been abuzz with activity. Izzedine had his guitar flung over his shoulder. Choosing a spot in the center of the ground floor of this 2 story restaurant, he may have stood for the briefest of seconds and thought of the action he was about to take. One thing is for sure he would have felt no pity for his intended victims. He was far beyond any human emotion.
In one dreadful split second Izzedine detonated the contents of his guitar case. It contained between 5-10 kilograms of explosives. The effect of the blast was catastrophic and wreaked havoc among the diners. The bomb unleashed not only its explosives into a packed crowd, but intensified the damage ten fold as it sprayed its additional contents of nails, bolts and shrapnel. A cell phone of one of the victims was later found with a one inch nail embedded in it. The restaurant was gutted and nearby shop windows were blown out.
One of the
busiest junctions in
Ahlam was already way down the street when the ambulances started racing towards the junction. Many people had been killed instantly and many of those injured and in serious condition had been hit by the nails and shrapnel. Paramedics fought to save them. The eventual death toll was 15 and the number of injured was over 130. Hours later at 10 pm that evening ten of the bodies still lay unidentified at a forensic institute.
of the Dutch Embassy was sent to help identify a family of Dutch origins.
The Schijveschuurder family was in
These were not fictional events glorified from behind the lens of a camera. The families that lost their loved ones that day had not spent the day in makeup, joking and drinking cups of tea between endless shoots.
They were real people.
Izzedine’s brother would not have rehearsed his lines when he said "This is a unique operation for its quality and success... Palestinians everywhere can now hold up their heads."
In a world that is already weeping wasted buckets for Palestinians plighthood the last thing it needs is a movie that attempts to show the human side of suicide bombers. Still maybe one shouldn’t be surprised. Since the Palestinians invented themselves on the world stage a few decades ago their only cultural achievement has been the deplorable use of human sacrifice and the creation of a society that glorifies and revels in death.
A movie called
“Paradise Now” directed by Hany Abu-Assad is now being hailed around the world.
It follows 48 hours in the lives of two car mechanics from
A few days ago,
far away from the horrors of Sbarro Pizza parlour in
Maybe only in Hollywood is it possible to put a human face to mass murder and portray people that carry out these barbaric acts as having the same hopes and aspirations as their victims. Mass murder has no human side and whatever your hardships in life, or whatever you conceive them to be, there can never be any possible justification for going into a packed restaurant, or getting on a crowded bus, strapped with explosives, and murdering innocent people, many of them children. To award any film that seeks to show this in some sensitive, human light is a blatant insult to the dignity and sanctity of human life.
Arnold Roth and his family, who lost their 15 year old daughter Malka now have to live those 48 hours that Izzedine and Ahlam prepared to murder their much cherished daughter every minute, of every day for the rest of their lives "We're part of a circle which now consists of several thousand families who have lost a child or a parent or a spouse to an act of murder. And now I've learned that for the people who are touched by an act of terror in a personal way, it isn't an event which you work your way past, it actually keeps happening every minute and every day.”
Human suffering on this scale is not
something that needs glorifying on the big screen. The “red carpet” that welcomes the
Golden Globe nominees this year will be tinged with the blood of more than 1000+
dead Israelis that have been murdered by more than 150
Palestinian homicide attacks in
It was barely 48 hours after the bombing that Izzedine’s sister would give birth to a son. She named him after a man that had killed 15 innocent people. When asked what hopes she had for the child, she said she wanted him to be "like his uncle."