Is there anything sadder than death?

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.


Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

One would think that death is the worst that one could inflict upon another. It may seem that way at the time. How could anything be worse than losing a loved one, whether a relative or a friend or even someone we never met, at the hands of those who make themselves judge, jury, and executioner?
Now that the atrocities of the Taliban are back in the news, and we know that there’s not really such a thing as killing (murdering) individuals for a legitimate cause since they are not killing individuals but concepts that happen to be encased in the bodies of people, it behooves us to understand just what those concepts are and why they believe the way they do.
I am far from an expert on why fanatics do what they do, but the very word fanatic explains it all: “a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.” In other words, fanatic describes what a member of the Taliban was in the past, and how they seem to be acting in the present, no matter that their stated intentions would have indicated otherwise.
Sometimes there may be no rhyme or reason for what fanatics do, as long as they feel or believe it falls right in line with their
intention about dealing with their concepts. I’ve been wondering if politicians (the ones who make decisions on foreign policy and even war) ever give a thought to why any of our so-called enemies do what they do. How many of them really study or
investigate what it is that makes our “enemies” tick? Without knowing their thought processes or beliefs, it would be just about impossible to understand what they intend to do…and why, and maybe even when.
The more we know about those who oppose us, the better our interactions with them will be. You can be sure they are learning all they need and want to know about us (their adversary or their enemy).
It seems like now we’re going to be involved in some kind of a non-war war. The whole idea was to put an end to that incredibly long war (involvement) with Afghanistan that did not result in anything even closely resembling making a major change there, while it did keep things at bay — meaning it kept the Taliban from doing what they
recently did years sooner. This country has been involved in enough wars to know the difference between a war for a cause and a war “just because.”
Sometimes it isn’t the war; sometimes it’s the why. I’m not in a position to answer any of the questions I have about the whole
situation, but I intend to find out all I can. Years ago, I wrote several columns about al Qaeda after learning all I could about them, from the very words of their own leaders. It was quite enlightening. But also disheartening and upsetting.
The thing that bothers me most, as it likely bothers many in this country, is that the Taliban will murder without any regard or care for what they are doing and how their actions will cause ripples of pain and sorrow in the lives of their families. As Rolando wrote in his “My Point of View,” it touched my heart deeply. Those service members were doing the job they signed on for and doing it because it was their choice; they knew the job was very risky going in, yet they did it with the right attitudes in their hearts and minds. No words now can soften the families’ grief, yet knowing that all those service members did their job with pride and the willingness and desire to help those who were so in need of that help can surround the hearts of their family members with a soft invisible glow and a feeling of love that only those in their shoes can know. No one wants to be in their
shoes, as Rolando also made very clear, but those who are, have no time to take it in slowly. It is visited upon them all at once and they have to find the strength and the fortitude to accept what fate has sent into their lives. Prayers help, and many across this nation, including myself, will keep those family members in our prayers to give them the strength they need to get through this. I will strive to understand the Taliban and perhaps in so doing, will be able to explain their beliefs and mindset to others. That seems to be a necessary and useful thing to do, even if knowing will not make a bit of difference to some people. Yet education is so very important — not just for children, but for all of us as we go forward in life, learning not just the “whats,” but the “whys” as well.
People sometimes forget what their own religion teaches them about loving their neighbor. They forget who their neighbor is and make statements such as they “could never love them after what they did.”
Who said life was easy? Life can be exceedingly difficult sometimes, but no one goes through more suffering than Jesus could understand.
(Just because he was the Son of God doesn’t mean that he grew up with or even used the Son of God power at times when it would’ve helped to relieve his pain or sorrow. He lived totally as a human man who understood pain and sorrow. If Jesus then could even think of telling us to love our neighbor, he knew whereof he spoke. Loving does not mean liking, but it certainly could mean praying for the enemy (our neighbor) to see things differently in their own mind and understanding their religion in a way compatible with goodwill toward men (and women).
If prayers can work to soothe our sorrows and our pain, it can work to someday eventually turn the tide on the Taliban. If their goal is to someday be in heaven with Allah, do they really look forward to spending eternity with a violent God? Will that God of all really kick people out of heaven if they didn’t and don’t believe just as the Taliban believes they should?
I will dig into this and in the meantime, add them all (the Taliban) to my prayer bucket. They seem to need it the most, because their thinking, their behavior, and their beliefs are all messed up. While they can kill the human body, as they have, they cannot kill the souls or the spirits of those who chose to do the work of serving. And maybe in some little way, our prayers for the Taliban will someday keep them from spreading their wrath and their terror to others. May God hear our prayers.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at

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