Rabbi Abraham Cooper Headshot

The Scourge of Suicide Terror: When will we ever learn?

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Today it was Iraq. A series of suicide car bombers killed at least 127 people and wounded 448 in Baghdad.

Survivor Ahmed Jabbar, told the Associated Press: "What crime have we committed? Children and women were buried under debris."

Rescue workers at the scene have been climbing through twisted steel bars and crushed concrete, and dozens of vehicles were burned, AP reported. Another survivor told Reuters: "We were stuck in a heavy traffic jam when a powerful blast took place. A car exploded. A large number of people were wounded and killed."

BBC even provided a list of Iraq's worst terror attacks:

DEADLIEST ATTACKS SINCE 2003
# Aug 2007: More than 500 killed in attacks on villages near Sinjar
# Nov 2006: 202 killed in multiple blasts in Baghdad
# Apr 2007: 191 killed in car bombings in Baghdad
# Mar 2004: 171 killed in bombings in Baghdad and Karbala
# Oct 2009: 155 killed in twin truck bomb attacks in Baghdad
# Mar 2007: 152 killed in truck bombing in Talafar

I am sure that a similar list of targeted marketplaces, mosques and schools in Pakistan is in the offing:

Beyond the scorecard coverage and template denunciations from the State Department and the Foreign Office, what can be done?

At least two things:

It's been over five years since the Simon Wiesenthal Center launched an international effort to have all suicide bombings declared crimes against humanity; no matter what the cause or target. We met with the late Pope John Paul II, then Turkish Foreign Minister Gul, diplomats and NGOs from Indonesia to Canada urging that survivors and families of victims be empowered with the power of International Law to bring anyone-- including non-state players-- who plan, fund and promote suicide terror before the bar of justice.

We didn't get very far back then when the majority of headlines involving suicide bombings were from Bali, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. But the time has long past since suicide terror spawned primarily, Muslim on Muslim carnage-- at weddings in Amman to religious shrines and Mosques from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan.

The time has come for the 56-state Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to take up this initiative at the United Nations to demand legal action against the food chain of terrorism before future suicide terrorists are able to activate WMDs at a football match or Eid celebration.

As for the rest of us, lead by the media, we need to keep the human face of the victims --not just the body count--on the front pages of newspapers and at the top of humanity's agenda.

Two weeks ago, I helped convene a 9-Faith Memorial event in Mumbai, on the first anniversary of India's 9/11. All of the speakers, including two Muslim leaders spoke eloquently. But the most powerful moment came when a survivor of the onslaught on the Taj Hotel, Rajita, spoke and read a poem that she penned to those who planned and carried out the attack on November 26, 2008.

"If I Only Met Thee"
You must have
been a cute baby
had a favorite toy
chased little chicken with glee
I was just like that too,
Though I never met thee
You must have
had a best friend
made paper boats in the rains
loved the fluffed up hot puri *(fried pancakes)
I was just like that too,
Though I never met thee
You must have
loved the warm cuddles of your mother
had joyful rides on the rickety merry go round
cracked fresh winter mungphali **(ground nuts)
I was just like that too,
Though I never met thee
Then, when did our lives change?
How different our paths became
I turned to spirituality to heal minds
You picked up the gun against mankind?
At our cores we were still the same
Though I never met thee
That night we came face to face
I thought it would be nice to meet thee
I ran fast, only away from you
Coz you had come to kill me
Later I read, that you died instead
While I live on to a greater destiny
My faith was more powerful than your weapon
When you came to kill me
You taught the world that violence never wins
No one should be, where you have ever been
I am sure your heart knew you were wrong
Then why did you come to kill me?
Your hatred has made my love stronger
I will work more for peace and harmony
You would have been a different person too
If only I had met thee!

To win the war against terrorism we will also have to win the war for the minds and hearts of terror's potential recruits. We should enlist the Rajitas of the world and provide platforms for their unbowed humanity and message of hope that only she and other survivors of terrorism can deliver.