Investigative journalist and author
November 2, 2023
What death is to one, is the beginning of eternal life to another. That attitude is a powerful weapon in times of war.
On All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day it applies even more: nothing but good things are said about the dead. Gossip circuits also have rules. The dead cannot defend themselves against evil speaking, so you don’t do it.
It also makes no sense, because you can’t kill them anymore. Unless you are a Gazan of Hamas faith. In that case, you make a propaganda film of your deceased compatriots among the war ruins, or you attend a multiple funeral and play death as the ultimate wildcard of a military tactic. “Smell the scent of musk,” is heard in videos on social media. ‘Praise be to Allah, this is not the smell of a corpse, but the smell of Paradise.’ The bodies are sniffed while laughing broadly. Rubbles of bombed buildings are sung about as if they were flower gardens.
According to Islamic tradition, the blood of a martyr smells of musk. Those who lost their lives in God’s cause await the VIP lounge in the afterlife. Consequently, there is hardly anything secular about this war, Islam fanatics and terrorists propagate.
French Islam specialist Olivier Roy has long warned about the obsession with the death of violent Islamic extremism. He calls it unprecedented how terrorists deliberately pursue their own deaths. So the superlative degree of death does exist.
Despite its high-tech weapons, Israel will never be done with Hamas’ ultra-weapon: death and thus eternity.
What death is to one, is the beginning of eternal life to another. That attitude is a powerful weapon in times of war. Whoever thinks they will live forever always wins. Despite its high-tech weapons, Israel will never be done with Hamas’ ultra-weapon: death and thus eternity.
In the meantime, ordinary Gazans cannot cope with their grief. Children who are left behind as orphans will probably find a nest in the ‘social’ branch of Hamas. There is someone there who cares about them. At the same time, their grief is used as a grinding stone for retaliation and destruction. The future reward of some children? A win-win: death to the enemy and eternal life for oneself.
And then there are the parents who lose their offspring. They wander mournfully through the rubble and hospital wards. You can deal with sadness, but not the death of a child. Their grieving process is sometimes almost accompanied by a desire to die. According to Islam, dead children turn into birds of paradise. Fluttering at the gates of heaven, they will welcome their parents on the day of judgment, until Allah admits them to paradise. The loss is the opening act of something beautiful. That means hope.
You’re never done with hope either. The Israeli state can never compete with the entanglement of death and hope. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruthless retaliation makes what is absurd even more absurd. If death has a superlative, Israel’s military intervention makes hell even more hellish.
Some, on the other hand, seek beauty. They experience heaven on earth, like the German-Israeli Shani Louk, who was present at the Nova music festival. The young woman radiated a zest for life until Hamas militants kidnapped her to the Gaza Strip. Chilling images of her unconscious body in a pickup truck, surrounded and spat at by Hamas terrorists, went viral. You could only hope that she died instantly.