Posted by Alyssa A. Lappen on 10/12/2006
It's a great privilege to know Brigitte Gabriel and consider her a friend. One cannot praise her enough.
For more than five years, Gabriel has sacrificed everything to bring the truth about Islamic jihad to the American public; and it is gratifying and most wonderful that her message at last is reaching the public--in this incredible book--and even through the mainstream press, which too long refused to detail the sufferings of jihad survivors.
Brigitte's is a phenomenal book--and given her awe-inspiring personal saga, it could hardly have been otherwise. She tells her own horrific experience as a south Lebanese Christian, whose family, village and friends suffered the direst of consequences during the Islamic invasion of their once peaceful nation. In addition to laying siege to south Lebanon and Beirut, the Islamic fanatics launched a cruel, decades-long attack on Lebanon's peaceful Christian majority, bombarding their homes with rocket fire, starving them out, and committing thousands upon thousands of atrocities.
By now, the international community has become well-acquainted with the 1982 massacre of 500 Palestinian Arabs in the Sabra and Shatila villages by Christian Phalangists.
But the international community does not know of the thousands upon thousands of Lebanese Christians murdered in equally--and often, far more horrific--atrocities. Brigitte Gabriel witnessed such attacks first hand--and survived. Women were raped and murdered before their husbands, forced to murder their own children, and often, dismembered. Pregnant mothers' stomachs were carved open. The people were starved out. and forced into bomb shelters for years on end. Brigitte grew up in a bomb shelter--and came out only during "lulls," risking death, to forage for edible grass and water.
The Israelis, she writes, saved her and her mother, who was severely injured during the Islamic attacks.
It is shameful that anyone attempts to disparage Gabriel, or claims that things were not so. I did not know Brigitte during the 1970s, of course. But my dear Lebanese friend, Chris Khattar, who succumbed to Hodgkin's in 1992, often spoke of his similar experiences in Beirut, where Christians too often discovered their loved ones, in dark allies, with their throats slit.
Beirut was had been the Paris of the Middle East, a jewel among Middle Eastern cities, a predominantly Christian center of culture, trade and international banking. But in 1993 it became the scene of a horrific terror attack that took the lives of 241 U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers deployed to maintain a fragile peace. And for decades before it became--and for decades after has remained--the victim of classical Islamic jihad.
What happened to Beirut and southern Lebanon--indeed, what happened to that once peaceful Christian-majority Middle Eastern enclave--should be one of the most compelling lessons in the education of American political leaders (on both sides of the aisle) on what can happen to a nation laid siege by Islam. American politicians of every stripe ignore this lesson at their peril.
Brigitte Gabriel is one of several key instructors. But she is hardly alone. Others include Prof. Habib C. Malik (Between Damascus and Jerusalem: Lebanon and Middle east Peace; The Challenge of Human Rights); Prof. Walid Phares (The War of Ideas, Future Jihad and Lebanese Christian Nationalism); Pakistani Christian Patrick Sookhdeo (A People Betrayed); Beit Sahur native Walid Shoebat (Why I Left Jihad) and Nazareth native Anis Shorrosh (Islam A Threat or a Challenge).
The fact is, anyone and everyone who hopes to save Western civilization--should put the lessons of these survivors of jihad at the top of their reading lists, and learn them by heart.
During World War II, one never heard U.S., British, Canadian or Australian leaders describe either their Nazi German or Japanese foes as following political creeds--different than our own--but acceptable all the same. Indeed, the Allies mounted very successful information campaigns to counter the Nazi and Kamikaze propaganda. Against Tokyo Rose and master liar Joseph Goebbels, Britain, America and their allies mass produced films and posters, induced Americans to invest in U.S. War Bonds--and did in every conceivable way evinced favorable publicity for the war effort.
But today, leaders totally ignorant of the highly political, and warlike precepts of Islam, insist on its good core intentions.
Meanwhile, the mainstream press has often done its level best to compromise security measures that protect hundreds of millions of civilians. Even former intelligence agents unaccountably work overtime these days to undermine American security. Apart from these willing, even intentional saboteurs--a big problem facing Western civilization is the false but widespread perception that it is impossible for us to fail.
Here's where the Brigitte Gabriels are so important: They present the Western world with stark alternatives--to either recognize, understand and defeat Islamic jihad, or allow it, to borrow from Nikita Khrushchev, to bury us.
--Alyssa A. Lappen
Posted by Jill Malter on 10/18/2006
Normally, I'm not all that fond of anecdotal nonfiction. But I think Brigitte Gabriel has done a fine job with this book.
I found it interesting to see Gabriel's reaction to how nicely she was treated in Israel when she went to Jerusalem to get help for her injured mother. I had several Lebanese friends as a child, and I what I heard about Israel back then was not very complimentary, so I know how it feels to actually go to Israel without expecting Israelis to be better than people in other nations. It can be a very pleasant surprise.
Gabriel makes the point that what happened to Lebanon in the past three decades could happen elsewhere. And that's a good reason for us to read what she says about what did happen there.
In this book, we learn plenty about the failure of many in the media to warn us about some of the dangers we all face from Islamic extremism. Gabriel also tells us about the risks of allowing terrorists and terrorist sympathizers to set up shop in one's nation. The intent to be tolerant towards the intolerant can backfire in such cases.
In addition, there is a chapter on the failure of academia to live up to its standards in providing scholarship about Islamic fanaticism. Many top notch American universities accept money from Saudi Wahhabis and have Middle East Studies departments that are dominated by those who substitute Islamist propaganda for scholarly work. While this concerns Gabriel primarily because it is just one more aspect of a war against our society, it concerns me for an additional reason: it weakens academic departments as well as the reputation of academia in general. At this rate, I think entire academic fields such as history may fall into disrepute. I agree with Gabriel that we should all take advantage of websites that keep track of what has been happening on our campuses. The lies we are exposed to are incredible, and Gabriel does us all a service by showing us how bad some of them are.
What does the author conclude? Well, she says that we need to improve in several areas to combat the attacks on our society by Islamic religious fanatics. That includes controlling our borders, reforming immigration and naturalization procedures, getting better intelligence on terrorist groups, developing alternative energy sources, and banning the teaching of hatred. I think all these ideas merit some thought.
I highly recommend this fascinating book.
Posted by Kat Bakhu on 9/8/2006
This is a really great book. As I read it, I became aware that what is wrong with so many Americans (including me) is we are so uninformed, so uneducated about other parts of the world. I had little understanding, for example, of what the Lebanon "civil war" was all about. This book brought me up to speed on that and taught me so much much more. Reading the events of some 30 years ago seems very much like a deja vu for today. It's all so familiar. What happened then is happening now in exact parallel. I did not know, for example, how Lebanon of the 70s was so similar culturally (and governmentally) to the US of today. And how we are making the same mistakes that led to Lebanon's descent from a pinnacle of culture to hellish chaos.
Gabriel's story is so illuminating, so educational, so human, so revealing, so insightful passionate caring. It provided me with a still deeper picture of the true face of radical Islam than almost anything else I've read on the subject. It should be mentioned that the book is well written indeed, gripping and movingly paced. My thanks to Gabriel for writing this book, and my hope that her efforts not be wasted. She really deserves to be listened to.