The more things change...

The story published in the newspaper "La Nacion" on March 4 was that of Ana Maria and Luis Czyzewski. They lost their 21 year old daughter Paola the day of the bombing. Ana Maria and Luis were the Auditors for AMIA and were conducting the Audit, with their daughter Paola, a Law student, lending them a hand. At some point they ordered "good" coffee from a nearby Cafe, and since because of security the store could not deliver it, Paola went to pick it up.

As Paola started down the stairs, the Czyzewski heard the bomb and Ana started screaming for her daughter. As they came out of the office into the common area, they saw that peopl were being evacuated, as the front of the building was collapsing. Ana shared in the article that she can still smell today the gunpowder, the blood, and the smell of death. Paola didn't make it.

In the beginning, their other two children protected them, and the two of them could simply not talk about that day. For Ana, something she still has to leave behind is the sense of guilt...she keeps asking herself why it was Paola and not herself the one going out for the coffee. A simple, every day task became a wound that could never heal. Today Paola would be 40 years old and after 19 years, one would expect that the Czyzewski found some measure of peace and relief from their memories. That is not so...for them, the attack and Paola's death was just yesterday.

This is the story of survivors of the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, but in many ways it is also the story of Holocaust survivors, and of Israelis who lost their loved ones in terrorist attacks or survive them themselves. As Luis said in the article: "The pain never goes away; you just learn to carry it through life like a backpack that you never put down"

I believe that this story, as those of Holocaust survivors and those of Israelis can teach us why every call for release of terrorists with blood on their hands elicit strong passionate reactions. It is not about politics. It is personal.

Maybe one day we'll be able to talk about Peace and what is needed to achieve it in a completely rational manner, but that day is probably not today, when so many people in both sides still carry their backpacks of pain and guilt...


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