(Claire Berlinski is the author of There is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, 2008, and Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too, 2007, as well as two novels.)
[ . . . ] I have been living in Istanbul for five years. It is my home. When the PKK [Kurdish separatist militia] attacks a Turkish man, woman or child, it attacks me – or it would have been just as happy to, had I been in the wrong place at the wrong time, because when you put a bomb in a wastebasket on a crowded street, you clearly don’t care who gets killed, just as long as someone does.
When I write about terrorist attacks on Jews, do I write about it because I’m a Jew? Apparently.
When I write about terrorist attacks on Muslims, do I write about it because I’m a Jew? That one’s a little trickier, isn’t it?
How about this as a hypothesis: I write about terrorist attacks because I hate terrorists. I write about them because the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children going about their daily lives – the deliberate effort to terrorize a civilian population – enrages me. I write about them because my heart is with the victims, whether they are Muslims or Jews. And I write about them because I know they’d like to see me dead – they say so in the clearest possible way every time they bomb a place I might have been. They don’t care who they kill. We were talking the other day to an Israeli Arab–a Muslim – who was injured in a terrorist attack on Tel Aviv. They don’t care. As long as someone dies in an impressive, horrifying way, they’re thrilled.
Israelis often ask me, “Why doesn’t the world understand what we’re going through? Why does it glamorize these terrorists, why does it minimize these murders?” Turks ask me the same question, all the time. And I have no answer for them. All I can say is that I do understand, and that the authors of these crimes – be they the PKK (which is not an Islamist organization at all, but a Maoist one), Hamas, Islamic Jihad – are enemies of humanity and enemies of me, personally. I have no room in my heart for people who kill children.