22 August 2009

True Clemency

I am weary of sorrow, weary of outrage, weariest of trying to understand the unreasonable and unreasoning. And so, instead of commenting on the “release on compassionate grounds” of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, and on the hero’s welcome accorded to him upon his return to Libya, I ask you to consider instead one of the people he killed. If justice were possible, it is David Dornstein we would be celebrating with a ticker-tape parade in New York today, while Megrahi, a failed terrorist, suffered and died in silent anonymity.

And which of David’s accomplishments would we celebrate? How to choose among so many? He would be 46 now, a father, a writer, perhaps a rabbi, perhaps an actor. Everything seemed almost within his reach, when he was taken from a life he inhabited with such energy, such curiosity, and such charm. Who knows what he might have achieved? It might have been enough, had he been able to conquer the demons that troubled him.

But I’d march in any parade, on any pretext — hell, I might even dance with Megrahi — just for the chance to see David again.

1 comment:

latebloomingmom said...

I think about David every few months it seems, even though I didn't know him for long. His brother's book is a project at Warner Bros. and I was the story analyst on it for a week or so, and asked to be taken off: too painful, and too hard to see a real person you know being turned into a Hollywood screenplay character you don't. David was always very sweet, kind, and low-key to me, which was amazing considering he could be so intense and in-people's-faces. I just wish he'd had the chance to be here all these years. I don't know what to make of this release, but somehow it doesn't make any more or less sense than what happened to David. I'm glad his brother has made some peace with it all, at least working through some demons in the book.