Sunday, April 29, 2007

Guarding the Secrets: Palestinian Terrorism and a Father's Murder of His Too-American Daughter (Hardcover) by Ellen Harris

There is a proverb in my language (Kannada) which goes like 'we set a trap to catch a wild boar. But, we caught a tiger." The story in this book is quite similar. A house was bugged with electronic surveillance with a suspicion that dwellers of that house belonged to notorious ANO (Abu Nidal Organization). The electronic surveillance came to good use to provide non-human witness to a murder that took place. The culprits had concocted a nice story to make it look like an act of self defense and if not for the recordings from the surveillance gear, they would have gotten away.

Setting all that aside, this book also is a horrific story of a father who murders his daughter because his 'values' dictate that anyone violating the honor of the family do not deserve to live. The only way to preserve honor and recover from any damage done is by killing the person and this rooting out the cause behind all that.

Man here is an Palestinian immigrant living in Missouri with his family. One of the daughters who has been raised in the US grows up to be a typical teenager. When she rebels against rigid practices of the Palestinian man, he kills her in cold blood. His wife assists in the murder. Very difficult imagine for most people but honor killings are not uncommon in the middle east and in many societies. What do you do given a choice between entire family being castigated from the society and killing one of your own to remain in the society? Chances are being a social 'animal', many will go to any length to remain in so called civil society.

Very well researched book. The first 3/4 of the book which takes us through the initial years of the family which constantly travels between Brazil, Caribbean, Palestine and US, how they adapt to different surroundings, their lively hood, idiosyncrasies etc. is very captivating. The details of the murder are close to a horror movies. The legal process gets quite boring.

All in a nice read if you like such subjects.


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