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Al-Zarqawi's Death is No Cause for Rejoicing
Published on Friday, June 9, 2006 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Minnesota)
Al-Zarqawi's Death is No Cause for Rejoicing
by Michael Berg
 

CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien spoke Thursday with Michael Berg, whose son, Nicholas Berg, was beheaded two years ago in Iraq, likely at the hands of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This is adapted from their conversation.

Q Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It's nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I'm curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.

A Well, my reaction is I'm sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that. I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will reignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do not ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can't end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence.

Q I have to say, sir, I'm surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.

A Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.

Q No, no. And we have spoken before, and I'm well aware of that. But at some point, one would think, is there a moment when you say, 'I'm glad he's dead, the man who killed my son'?

A No. How can a human being be glad that another human being is dead?

Q You know, you talked about the fact that he's become a political figure. Are you concerned that he becomes a martyr and a hero and, in fact, invigorates the insurgency in Iraq?

A Of course. When Nick was killed, I felt that I had nothing left to lose. I'm a pacifist, so I wasn't going out murdering people. But I am -- was not a risk-taking person, and yet now I've done things that have endangered me tremendously. ...

Now, take someone who in 1991, who maybe had their family killed by an American bomb, their support system whisked away from them, someone who, instead of being 59, as I was when Nick died, was 5 years old or 10 years old. And then if I were that person, might I not learn how to fly a plane into a building or strap a bag of bombs to my back?

That's what is happening every time we kill an Iraqi, every time we kill anyone, we are creating a large number of people who are going to want vengeance. And, you know, when are we ever going to learn that that doesn't work?

©2006 Star Tribune

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