As a teenager, Jamaleldine subscribed to the same knee-jerk anti-Americanism as the rest of his friends, protesting America's involvement in the first Iraq War. But after 9/11, the bombings in Bali and the Madrid train bombings, he decided it was time to step up.
The events of Sep. 11, 2001 happened far away from his home, and yet they were very close to his life. Zuhaira, who grew up in the New York borough of Brooklyn, was working as a flight attendant on the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.Read the whole thing.
At the time, Jamaleldine didn't feel the sense of outrage and personal assault that he would later experience. Like the rest of the world, Jamaleldine was horrified by the terrorist attacks and felt shock as he watched the images of the collapsing Twin Towers. But he managed to keep 9/11 separate from his own life -- a life of selling cars, waiting tables and helping to support a family.
But then terror struck again in April 2002, in Djerba, Tunisia. And in October of the same year, bombs ripped apart tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali. Attacks in Casablanca, Riyadh and Istanbul followed in 2003. And then, says Jamaleldine, came March 11, 2004, when 10 bombs blew up commuter trains in Madrid. In elections three days later, on March 14, the Spanish government was voted out of office, as if voters had allowed terror to control their decisions. That, at least, was the way Jamaleldine perceived it. "After all," he says, "it was Spain, not Togo or some other small country." That was the day his life took a new, dramatic turn.
He seems calm and extremely convincing when he tells his story. It's obvious that he means it when he says: "We can't let these people ruin our lives." More than just believing it, Jamaleldine made it his mission, a mission he never doubted then and still believes in today. He no longer wanted, as he says, "to be one of those people who make big speeches at their local bar, telling everyone what they would do if they were in charge, and then go home and turn on the TV." He wanted to stop being a spectator.
Jamaleldine turns 32 this April. When he was born, terrorism was synonymous with Carlos the Jackal, Palestinians hijacking airliners, Italy's Red Brigades and Germany's RAF. In the long run, these terrorists were defeated. In Jamaleldine's view, those terrorists were beaten because people were willing to stand up to them -- to act rather than just talk. "How can I say to my sons, stand up for something, fight for what you think is right, if I don't do anything myself?" he asks.
Via Ed Morrissey.