Rejoicing Over a Child Murderer
The Shame of Lebanon
The release of prisoners of war long held unjustly should occasion celebration, even a bit of triumphalism, maybe even a national holiday. But Samir Kuntar was no prisoner of war. He was no liberator or freedom fighter or whatever else the eye of the beholder might fairly judge him. He was no hero by any possible stretch of the imagination. He captured a father and his daughter, murdered both, and was the reason the father's other daughter was also killed--smothered to death by her terrorized mother, who tried to keep her quiet as they hid in their apartment. Samir Kuntar was tried and convicted in a court of law. He was, he is, a murderer. In his name, hundreds of others were terrorized and killed.
Whatever the political calculations, a celebration is not what was called for with Kuntar's release. Hezbollah and the Lebanese government would have showed themselves infinitely more noble and maybe even just had they wrapped the occasion not in the jingoism of yellow-and-green flags and triumphalist speeches and rallies, but with the kind of modesty that acknowledges the misery and untold suffering for thousands that led to this moment, and the kind of modesty that opens the door to more humane, and dare we say peaceful, possibilities in the months and years ahead. That was not to be. As a native Lebanese, I'm embarrassed for my former country, and have never been so grateful for that word: former
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