Monday, August 13, 2007

Attack in Jerusalem - Cont'd

The family of the assailant in the Old City last week, who was shot after snatching a pistol from a guard, is claiming that the video film of the event, stitched together from a series of surveillance cameras, doesn't show what it shows. You can view the film here.

I must admit that I find the film confusing. But the experts say it is very clear. And, interestingly, no-one beyond the family itself is denying the official version. Sheikh Raad Salach and his movement have essentially been praising the attacker for his heroic act.

As an historian I know that decisions, actions and events are the result of earlier decisions, actions, and events. In this case, a married 29-year-old father with a pregnant wife committed an act of violence that was meant to cause bloodshed, and could plausibly have been expected to cause his own death. That Salach has been inciting violence is not new, and indeed he has already been indicted and is presently awaiting trial. The attacker may well have been listening. More interesting, however, because less obvious, is the ability of the family to arrange the facts in their own narrative, irrespective of what everybody else agrees upon, and irrespective of objective facts such as video films or forensic evidence. All of which begs the question if growing up in a family with this ability, contributed perhaps to the deadly decision?

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