In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 1, 2005 / 21 Adar II, 5765

A culture of life vs. a culture of death

By Diana West

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What do Robert and Mary Schindler, Mansour al-Banna, Hanim Surucu and Kofi Annan have in common? Absolutely nothing. Really. By chance, though, they have all passed through, or, in the case of the Schindlers, remained, in the spotlight of the news in recent days because of their relationships with their children.

The Schindlers, of course, are the parents of Terri Schiavo. They famously and fruitlessly labored to restore their 41-year-old daughter's right to life after her husband-cum-guardian discovered her right to death in the shadows and penumbras of his memory — seven years after her brain-damaging accident.

Mansour al-Banna is the Jordanian father of Raed al-Banna, who has been identified as the perpetrator of the most lethal terrorist bombing in Iraq. On Feb. 28, the 32-year-old al-Banna is believed to have killed 132 people, injuring 120, outside a health clinic in Hilla, 60 miles south of Bagdhad. According to the Middle East Research Institute's analysis (on www.memri.org), the killer's bereaved family celebrated with a party — a 'wedding of the martyr' to symbolize the son's wedding in paradise with 72 virgins — that, not incidentally, has ignited a diplomatic crisis with Iraq.

Hanim Surucu is the Turkish-born mother of the late Hatun Surucu, who, on the night of Feb. 7, is believed to have become the sixth victim of a so-called "honor killing" in Berlin in as many months.

German police have charged the 23-year-old Hatun's three brothers in her slaying. The mother, "wearing an ankle-length green-and-blue print dress and matching hijab," told the Los Angeles Times, "My sons didn't do this. They went to work and then were taken away in handcuffs."

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is the father of Kojo Annan, who is at the reeking center of the oil-for-fraud scandal at the United Nations. Annan pére doesn't really belong in this parental lineup since his son is facing not death, but disgrace. But Kofi's parental plan of attack is striking. As a London Telegraph headline put it, "Annan will sacrifice son to save himself." So much for Annan family values. Of course, no matter how big a zero Kojo might be, Kofi isn't going to enhance his own reputation by trashing his son's. But it's the thought that counts.

Kofi and Kojo aside, do these wholly disparate stories of parent life and child death tell us anything? Again, these people have nothing to do with one another except for the fact that none of these adult children died a natural death. Terri was starved to death at her husband's behest by the state; Raed was a family-feted suicide-bomber; and Hatun was murdered, allegedly by her brothers, to restore "honor" to her family. In other words, some considerable measure of family approval sanctioned all these deaths. Their lives were determined to be worse than their deaths.

Somehow, this combined experience put me in mind of something I recall from an earlier year in the "war on terror." I can't recall if it was in an Osama rant, a Zarqawi lament, or whether it was just the rhetoric of some frothing jihadi on the Internet. But I do remember taking pride in the blunt, cross-cultural attempt at a put-down: "You love life the way we love death," it went.

You bet. Or so I thought. Maybe, after what Terry Schiavo, even in her profoundly diminished state, has revealed about her fellow citizens, it would have been more accurate for that jihadi to have accused us of loving quality of life, a conditional state of being that is none too categorical. And much less so than I thought back when "mercy death" conjured up the release of a comatose, machine-dependent, painwracked mortal to his maker — not the starvation of a brain-damaged lady who needed just three liquid squares to make it through the day.

You love some life, the jihadi might have said, the way we love some death — for what is paradise without 72 virgins? A bad dream, to say the least, but hardly worth the trouble of infidel-murder and self-detonation. It is a paradox, surely, that the "martyr's" afterlife in paradise is defined by fleshy rewards — a brothel everlasting — while, in theory and in faith, a Western "culture of life" on earth makes no physical promise. But a culture of the quality of life may be something else again. It only loves some life better than death. Which makes me wonder if it can ward off a jihadi.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Diana West Archives

© 2005, Diana West