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The Apology: Letters From a Terrorist

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Ambika Ssss

on 19 May 2015

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Transcript of The Apology: Letters From a Terrorist

The Apology: Letters From a Terrorist
By Laura Blumenfeld

Point of View
First person: She uses real events in her life as sources to help achieve her purpose to the audience. Sources such as letters and first-hand dialogue are used to make her more credible
Because the author didn't reveal her identity originally to the gunman and his family, she was able to get an objective view of them and they were able to provide her with information that was unbiased towards her
Different perspective towards terrorism because she was directly affected by it and wanted to know the facts instead of using her own biased views that the world portrays terrorism as.
Question 1
What is the effect of the juxtaposition of the suspenseful with the mundane in the first paragraph?
About the Author
Was based off of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has origins from around 1947 to present times
Many terrorist attacks from this time were due to trying to gain attention or make a statement
A lot of the conflict originated from differences in religion (Muslim and Jewish) and from that stemmed cultural differences
Uses the story
Especially towards the end when she reveals that she is the daughter of the man who was shot, gives a unique perspective on the situation
The different perspective also provides real answers to the questions asked and gives clear reasoning
Makes the piece very believable and non biased
High Diction:
Through the use of different languages and words such as "reconciliation" and "effusively"
Political jargon used to describe the situation better
" Palestine Liberation Organization" and "pro-Syria breakaway faction"
Conflict Explained
New York Times Bestseller
Washington Post for 20 yrs
Middle East Correspondent
Very knowledgeable and credible about the issues in the Middle East
Senior Policy Advisor on Israeli- Palestinian Negotiations
Scholar in Residence at Georgetown University
Has lectured on counter-terrorism, military ethics and is a frequent speaker at well known colleges such as Johns Hopkins
Do you think the letters were sincere?
Do you believe her not telling the family her true origins was a good choice?
Overall, do you think terrorists are people with extremist ideologies based on their religion, culture, or economic/political situation?
Something to think about...
Question 4
Question 6
Question 12
To distinguish the humanly aspects of both groups and find the true intentions of their actions while trying to make her father human in their eyes as well
She didn't tell the family her origins just so she could achieve this purpose and find out the real causes of the shooting of her father
Conversational sentence structure due to the amount of dialogue present in the piece
"'Come in...'" and "'Would you like some orange soda?'"
Short and long sentences which provides a varied structure to the piece
Emphasis in the correct places with short sentences and explanations with the longer sentences
Rhetorical Devices
: "The gunman wasn't home [...] 'That's him,' the woman said, pointing over her grand children's heads to the gunman's photograph. 'He tried to kill someone,' she said in an easy voice."
Refers to him as "the gunman" and gives an emotionless account of events that dehumanizes the shooter.
As the story progresses and she makes contact with the man and we start to see him as an actual person when Blumenfeld refers to him by name: Omar.
The placement of these two different viewpoints almost makes the reader feel guilty for viewing the man this way.
may not have gone about it the right way , but he was just trying to stand up for his beliefs

The style and tone of Omar Khatib's first letter is very formal and sophisticated. He uses high levels of diction such as "incarnate" and "liberate" in order to convey his feelings and purpose in order to achieve this formal tone.
Instead of directly answering the questions Blumenfeld asked, regarding his hobbies and feelings, Omar refrains from answering on a personal level and instead explains his political standpoint rather than actually explaining his actual feelings.
His letter was "more like a manifesto than like an exchange between two people" as his tone was formal and he didn't try to connect to Blumenfeld on a personal level with his feelings. I agree with Blumenfeld as his letter served more as a statement and declaration of his political views rather than something used in conversation.
This connects to Bluemfeld's purpose in this essay as Blumenfeld wants the world to view conflicts as military objectives but as people. Omar's letter did not contain material that could connect to the author on a personal, more "human" level, and only talks about politics. The author wants to show the audience that we need to look at the people as human beings and not rigid figures and that we must try to view them on a personal level rather than objectively.
The author's purpose, "I had resolved to find a way to make my father human in the gunman's eyes", was thoroughly achieved in this essay. Blumenfeld demonstrates to the audience of her capacity to physically go to Jerusalem and find her father's shooter and his family to show the shooter the horrible act he committed.
Blumenfeld shares the letters she received from Omar, the shooter, which exposes the mindset of the man without the knowledge that the author was the daughter of the man he shot. As the letters progress, it is conveyed how Omar is opening up more to the author and sharing his more personal stories, making him more "human".
Blumenfeld successfully achieves her purpose as she stimulated the letter that Omar wrote to her father. The letter was very sincere and contained many of Omar's personal feelings, showing that Omar viewed David Blumenfeld as a human rather than a military target. It was very different compared to the letter he first wrote to Blumenfeld, portraying to the audience of how Omar has progressed to a "terrorist shooter" to a human being, demonstrating the great extent that Blumenfeld succeedeed in her purpose of portraying all people as just humans.
Compares "The gunman was not at home" with ordinary details like "orange soda," "slippers," etc. to make Omar seem like a real human who has lived an actual life like any other human being.
Blumenfeld portrays a powerful message that war is more than just guns and bombs-- it is a battle between real people with real reasons to fight.
"I would like you to know I've prayed a lot for you [...] I would first like to express to you my deep pain and sorrow for what I caused you."

Shows Omar in a more positive yet remorseful light
The reader feels for Omar in this moment as they realize he's not a bad man after all, just a man who has made mistakes.

How valid is this quote? Is it always applicable or does it depend on the situation?
Blumenfeld wants society to not view people as military objectives or a way to get attention but as actual human beings
Okrent's opinion goes against Omar's.This is because Okrent says that political violence committed against civilians is terrorism. The belief he says is opposite of Omar's because Omar believes that he is a revolutionary and is fighting for freedom. He basically believes that his act of violence against a civilian is ok and necessary in the fight. His views are muddled by his beliefs and is the reason why terrorism is bad. While Okrent says that if it were against the miltary, which is a source of the government, would be a better option in fighting for a belief or for freedom. This isn't what Omar believes in so it goes against it as well
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