Remarks of Brigitte Gabriel, delivered
at the Duke University CounterTerrorism Speak-Out
I'm proud and honoured to stand here today, as a Lebanese speaking for
Israel , the only democracy in the Middle East . As someone who was
raised in an Arabic country, I want to give you a glimpse into the heart
of the Arabic world.
I was raised in Lebanon , where I was
taught that the Jews were evil, Israel was the devil, and the only time
we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and
drive them into the sea.
When the Moslems and Palestinians
declared Jihad on the Christians in 1975, they started massacring the
Christians, city after city. I ended up living in a bomb shelter
underground from age 10 to 17, without electricity, eating grass to
live, and crawling under sniper bullets to a spring to get water.
It was Israel who came to help the
Christians in Lebanon . My mother was wounded by a Moslem's shell, and
was taken into an Israeli hospital for treatment. When we entered the
emergency room, I was shocked at what I saw.
There were hundreds of people wounded, Moslems, Palestinians,
Christians, Lebanese, and Israeli soldiers lying on the floor. The
doctors treated everyone according to their injury. They treated my
mother before they treated the Israeli soldier lying next to her. They
didn't see religion, they didn't see political affiliation, they saw
people in need and they helped.
For the first time in my life I
experienced a human quality that I know my culture would not have shown
to their enemy. I experienced the values of the Israelis, who were able
to love their enemy in their most trying moments. I spent 22 days at
that hospital. Those days changed my life and the way I believe
information, the way I listen to the radio or to television. I realized
I was sold a fabricated lie by my government, about the Jews and Israel
, that was so far from reality. I knew for fact that, if I was a Jew
standing in an Arab hospital, I would be lynched and thrown over to the
grounds, as shouts of joy of Allah Akbar, God is great, would echo
through the hospital and the surrounding streets.
I became friends with the families of
the Israeli wounded soldiers: one in particular Rina, her only child was
wounded in his eyes.
One day I was visiting with her, and
the Israeli army band came to play national songs to lift the spirits of
the wounded soldiers. As they surrounded his bed playing a song about
Jerusalem , Rina and I started crying. I felt out of place and started
waking out of the room, and this mother holds my hand and pulls me back
in without even looking at me. She holds me crying and says: "it is not
your fault". We just stood there crying, holding each other's hands.
What a contrast between her, a mother
looking at her deformed 19 year old only child, and still able to love
me the enemy, and between a Moslem mother who sends her son to blow
himself up to smithereens just to kill a few Jews or Christians.
The difference between the Arabic
world and Israel is a difference in values and character. It's barbarism
verses civilization. It's democracy verses dictatorship. It's goodness
Once upon a time, there was a special
place in the lowest depths of hell for anyone who would intentionally
murder a child. Now, the intentional murder of Israeli children is
legitimized as Palestinian "armed struggle".
However, once such behaviour is
legitimized against Israel, it is legitimized every where in the world,
constrained by nothing more than the subjective belief of people who
would wrap themselves in dynamite and nails for the purpose of killing
children in the name of god.
*Because the Palestinians have been
encouraged to believe that murdering innocent Israeli civilians is a
legitimate tactic for advancing their cause, the whole world now suffers
from a plague of terrorism, from Nairobi to New York , from Moscow to
Madrid , from Bali to Beslan.
They blame suicide bombing on "desperation of occupation". Let me tell
you the truth. The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against
the Jewish state occurred ten weeks before Israel even became
On Sunday morning, February 22, 1948 ,
in anticipation of Israel 's independence, a triple truck bomb was
detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street , in what was then the
Jewish section of Jerusalem . Fifty-four people were killed, and
hundreds were wounded. Thus, it is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused
not by the "desperation" of "occupation", but by the VERY THOUGHT of a
So many times in history in the last
100 years, citizens have stood by and done nothing, allowing evil to
prevail. As America stood up against and defeated communism, now it is
time to stand up against the terror of religious bigotry and
intolerance. It's time to all stand up, and support and defend the state
of Israel , which is the front line of the war against terrorism.