SURVIVING A TERROR ATTACK
“On the 9th of March in 2002, I was injured in a terror attack here in Jerusalem. A suicide bomber entered the coffee shop where I was.
When you’re in the hospital for a very long time, a person can either fall down or get up. Falling down means you can enter into severe depression, or, you have the choice to continue with your life. Things happen for a reason to an individual. It’s a kind of a test, and I experienced what I experienced as my test. A strengthening of my own faith; perhaps it was that I needed to change directions in my life. I grew up a lot, not only in age but just how my own persona was designed.I am most grateful that I remained alive. I’m thankful for the second chance I had to live my life again. What I would say [to the attacker] is that these kinds of things don’t gain anything—if you want to gain something, the best way to do it is to talk face-to-face. Neighbors have to sit and talk to work things out. My message is that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re an Arab or a Jew or a Christian, you must respect the other—the other who is different from you. By respecting the one who is different, we will learn how to share life together. That’s the message I want to send out.”
Danny Tourjeman survived a terror attack in Jerusalem in 2002 when a suicide bomber entered the coffee shop where he was sitting. He still carries injuries to his body to this day. And, yet, I found him peaceful and focused. He even had a sweetness to his personality—not something I would have imagined in a victim of a terror. I was deeply moved by his message that we must even thank God for bad things and to work out what they mean in our lives.
This also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Thomas Merton:
“So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed— but hate these things in yourself, not in another.”
What I took from my interview with Danny Tourjeman is that in order to be a builder of peace, I must root out in myself every aspect of hate or intolerance I project onto others. And that I must “stand up” and do this even after setbacks and tragedies.