Moshe’s Nanny Speaks

CNN is running an article in which Moshe Holtzberg’s nanny shares some of her story. She deserves many thanks. It is hard to read it without getting angry. Here is an excerpt:

The nanny says she came face to face with a gunman late Wednesday, the first night of the siege.

“I saw one man was shooting at me — he shot at me.”

She slammed a door and hid in a first-floor storage room and attempted to reach the rabbi and the others on the second floor.

Overnight, Samuel frantically tried to call for help as gunfire and grenade blasts shook the Chabad House.

Samuel says she emerged early the next afternoon, when she heard Moshe calling for her. She found the child crying as he stood between his parents, who she says appeared unconscious but still alive.

Based on the marks on Moshe’s back, she believes he was struck so hard by a gunman that he fell unconscious at some point as well.

“First thing is that a baby is very important for me and this baby is something very precious to me and that’s what made me just not think anything — just pick up the baby and run,” Samuel said.

“When I hear gunshot, it’s not one or 20. It’s like a hundred gunshots,” she added. “Even I’m a mother of two children so I just pick up the baby and run. Does anyone think of dying at the moment when there’s a small, precious baby?”

Were They Tortured In Mumbai

Solomonia has a story from the JTA that suggests that the Chabad victims may not have been tortured. One of the commenters links to a New York Times story and a blog post that contradict the JTA.

One could argue that the experience of gunmen storming in your home could be qualified as torture. As a parent it seems easy to imagine that the fear of what could happen to your child and spouse would be torture. It is not just the physical pain, but the mental anguish that accompanies it.

A couple of excerpts from the Times and the blog post.

Gruesome new evidence also emerged Thursday suggesting that some of the six people killed at the Jewish center in Mumbai had been treated savagely. Some of the bodies appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, the police said.


However, a report carried by The Times of India the following day, quoting an Israeli official who flew out to Mumbai, was more equivocal:
The forensic team arrived in Mumbai late Sunday aboard a chartered flight and were using DNA testing and dental records to identify bodies so mutilated they could “not be identified from their faces”.

“Many of the killed have been badly mutilated before or during the operation (to end the hostage crisis). The condition was bad before but it is worse now.
“It might have been because of torture, I cannot say, but when there is shooting and grenades being exploded by terrorists, people do get mutilated,” he said.

Daled Amos links to David Aaronovitch of The Times who says that it is unlikely that the terrorists had ever met a Jew.

Poverty is bad. You can see the reasons for warfare in Kashmir, for riots in Hyderabad and for Maoist uprisings in the deep rural areas of India. But why kill the rabbi? Why invade the small headquarters of a small outreach sect of a small religion, which far from being even a big symbol of anything, you would almost certainly need a detailed map and inside knowledge even to find?From what has been learnt from the one surviving attacker, the baby-faced and variously pre-named Mr Kasab, his group came largely from the rural southern Punjab in Pakistan. It is therefore unlikely that any of them had even encountered a Jew, or knew anyone else who had.

In the end many will develop their opinion/theories about why this took place. As for myself I can sum it up this way. I don’t think that any one race is superior to another. People are people and the death of the innocent is tragic no matter who they are.

But we can make a distinction based upon ideologies because some are morally inferior to others. In this case the reality is that only one group was specifically sought out, attacked and murdered in cold blood.

The question in my mind is what are we going to do about this. Today it might be Jews/Israelis who are the focal point of the hatred, but in the end the murderous spotlight is going to fall upon all who oppose the hatred espoused by the terrorists and their supporters.

Thanksgiving in Mumbai

The world is a strange place. I just finished playing in my yearly football game. For two hours I ran or should I say staggered my way through a muddy field. For two hours I pushed my ancient almost 40 year-old body against 18-20 year olds. And when it was all done we hugged each other goodbye and wished each other well.

Driving home I thought about the attacks in Mumbai. Two of my cousins were recent guests in the Chabad house. We emailed each other last night to confirm that they were back home in Israel. I thought about my friend David and his post about his recent trip to India in which he was a guest at the Chabad house.

I listened to the news in the car as they explained that this was a well coordinated and professional hit. I thought about how they intentionally attacked a place that they knew had Jews and Israelis. I listened to reports in which they said that the terrorists tried to identify American and British passport holders. An attack on the west.

While I sat there listening I felt very badly for the victims and was reminded that there are people who are willing to do terrible things to my family, my friends, myself and many others. They are willing to murder and maim without regard.

Look I can sit here and feed platitudes about why they might do this. I can wax on about it being a war of ideologies, but I am not going to. On this day I have no patience for that. Terrorists deserve to die. Or as I read earlier this week terrorists should just get dead.

A message needs to be sent. A clarion call that cannot be mistaken. Use violence to try and affect change and you receive a bullet in the head.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the solution to these problems is also going to include a diplomatic component. It has to. But sometimes diplomacy has to come after you have made it clear that a refusal to come to the table will not yield the results that you want. Terror cannot win.

So on this day I want to say that I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the health of my family and friends. I am grateful to those who serve to help preserve and protect those freedoms. I am grateful to live in a land whose limitations are set more by us and less by others. Sometimes circumstances favor you and sometimes they dont. But more often than not the real limits on your future are those that you set yourself.

Have a good Thanksgiving and may we all be safe.