Those who embrace violence, whether in the form of acts of terrorism or acts of war, are necrophiliacs. They worship death. They sacrifice life, including at times their own, for the heady intoxication that comes with becoming an angel of destruction. And in the wake of their fury and violence they not only leave grief, pain and suffering, but they perpetuate new cycles of revenge and murder like bad karma. These killers are presented to us in many forms. They come packaged as patriots and heroes, wearing rows of medals like David Petraeus or Stanley McChrystal, or they stumble onto the stage as bearded villains wearing suicide belts. But they are all killers. They all drink the same, dark elixir of death. They all partake of the same drug. They all take life in the name of high national or religious ideals. And they are all the scourge of the human race.
Zak Ebrahim, with whom I spoke in Philadelphia, knows intimately the old, sad tale of retribution, violence and revenge. His father is El Sayid Nosair, who, on Nov. 5, 1990, in New York City, assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane, the head of the Kach Party, labeled by the United States, Canada and the European Union as a terrorist organization. The party was outlawed by the Israeli government in 1988 for inciting racism.
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Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).