Know Your Enemy

This American Life has a great archive show from March 25th about people who got to know their enemies personally. In several of the stories the two antagonists found that they had a lot in common, admired each other, and even felt compassion for each other. Of particular interest to me is the conversation between the Defense Minister of Israel and a potential/would-be suicide bomber.

Arin Ahmed was a typical Palestinian young adult with a boyfriend and a circle of friends she hung out with. After her boyfried was killed by the IDF, she discussed the situation with her friends and they all vented their anger and desire for revenge. Without giving it too much thought, Arin volunteered to become a suicide bomber.

The next day she contacted a group and, to her surprise, she found herself strapped with explosives in a crowded shopping area six days later. After seeing young people her age, women with children, and other innocent by-standers, Arin decided that she could never go through with it. She returned home and was later picked up by the IDF.

Now she is 20, remains jailed in an Israeli prison, and has no hope for the future. Her conversation with the Israeli defense minister reveals their emotion, humanity, and their roles in a conflict that has caused so much pain.