Sunday, July 04, 2004

She sometimes switched to fluent English and occasionally used a few words of Hebrew

An interview transcription between Benjamin Ben-Eliezer & Arin Ahmed (20 years old) conducted in Israel
-June 9, 2002


BE: Explain to me why you wanted to commit a suicide bombing in Israel. Was it for religious reasons?

AA: No. It was something personal. I was in distress. I was depressed.

BE: Why did you want to commit suicide?

AA: You killed my friend

BE: Was he a close friend of yours?

AA: Yes. We were friends for a year and a half.

BE: Did you live together?

AA: No, of course not. There is no such thing in our society. But we were friends. And he was killed.

BE: So what did you want to happen? Did you want to kill innocent Jews in order to avenge his death?

AA: I don't know what I wanted. I was very hurt and angry. I have friends from the university who are active in the Tazim (the armed wing of the Fatah--ed.). We get together a lot and go out together.

We were sitting one evening and they were talking about how they wanted to organize a reprisal against the military actions and everything that Israel had done to them in the last months...I sat and I listened.

I thought about Jad.

And all of a sudden I said to them, "You know what? I'm going to do a suicide bombing."

That was it. A moment earlier I hadn't thought anything like that. This was on a Friday. Afterward, I went home. I spoke to someone in the Tazim and told him that I wanted to do it.

BE: What happened then?

AA: I thought that they would take me to start preparing for it, that they would train me and teach me about weapons, something like that. I was sure it was a process that took several months. Then suddenly, four days later, some Tazim militants came and told me: "Congratulations. We've chosen you. You're going to do a suicide bombing."

Then some more senior people came. I was in shock. I never imagined it could happen so fast. But they didn't let me think about it too much. They pressured and persuaded me. They told me: "You'll gain a very special status among the women suicide bombers. You'll be a real heroine. It's for Jad's memory. You'll be united with him in heaven, you'll be in paradise with him."

They pushed me. They encouraged me. I did whatever they told me. They explained everything to Isaam (another bomber -- ed.) and me. This all happened very fast, and then we set out.

BE: Did your family know?

AA: No. I left on the day I wrote my farewell letter.

BE: And you didn't feel bad about what it would do to them?

AA: I was thinking only about my boyfriend.

BE: And what happened then? Why did you change your mind?

AA: I got out of the car. The place wasn't exactly like I'd seen on the map. I saw a lot of people, mothers with children. Teenage boys and girls. I remembered this Israeli girl my age whom I used to be in touch with. I suddenly understood what I was about to do and I said to myself, "How can I do such a thing?"

I changed my mind. Isaam also had second thoughts. But they managed to convince him to go ahead. I saw him go and blow himself up. I decided I wasn't going to do it. They were very angry at me. They yelled at me the whole way back and they also tried to send me to carry out another attack in Jerusalem but I'd already changed my mind and given up the whole idea. I stayed home until your forces came and arrested me.

BE: And now what?

AA: And now I'm here. It was a mistake. It's wrong to kill people and children. Something like that is forbidden. There's no way I would do it, and the truth is: I didn't do it!

BE: If you're released, what will you do?

AA: I'd leave this place immediately. I'd go to live in Jordan with my mother. I would draw a line across the past and never come back here. Yes, I faltered, but it was a momentary stumble. That's not me. I was swept up in this thing, but I came to my senses.

In Jordan, with my mother and sisters, I would continue studying. I'd get a degree at the university. I would get a degree at the university. I'd never go near anything like this again. I'd live my life normally.

BE: Alright. (signals guard) Good-bye.

AA: Please, Mr. Minister. Wait a minute! There's something else I want to tell you. I'm finished with this! I swear it! Please, let me out of here! I want to ask you to transfer me to my family in Jordan. What will become of me? I have no future. I don't want my whole life to be ruined because of this. I'm at the beginning of my life. I didn't do anything. Don't forget that. I didn't do it! I changed my mind. Please let me out.

BE: To each his fate.