Today’s newspapers are full of Israel’s killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas and the tabloids are focussed on revenge attacks on British troops in Iraq.
Normally I feel anger at Israel’s inability to show moral rather than military strength and to behave no better than the terrorists it opposes, but I don’t this time. A refugee of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 and quadriplegic since his teens who could hardly breathe or speak, it’s easy to why Yassin felt so hateful – how that hate might drive one mad – and how that hate might define his interpretation of Islam and ultimately his belief that the destruction of Israel is a Muslim’s religious duty. It’s also easy to see how angry people radicalised by a lifetime of oppression might find a religion that provides outlet for their hate attractive. Fulfilling that role must have restored meaning to Yassin’s life, while the assassination has given him the martyrdom he craved so that, on his terms, his life could end well.