Chance and One Author’s Exploration of Extremism and Corruption

A skeptic at heart, I’m not one to believe in providence or good luck but whenever I’m in Paris, the number of happy coincidences I experience seems improbably high. For example, last December, after visiting an exhibit of Honoré Daumier’s 19th-century farcical Parisian caricatures, I failed to find a book of his etchings in the museum’s store. The next day, however, wandering down a street miles away from the gallery, I came across a used bookseller on the sidewalk. Glancing at the titles, I noticed an old hardback, complete with illustrations, titled Daumier. Five euros and three minutes later, I had my treasured souvenir.

Ecrivain public by Daumier
The Public Scribe by Honoré Daumier, 1835

Later in the week, I headed to an exhibit on the first female Impressionist, Berthe Morisot. As I approached the lengthy ticket line outside the Musée Marmottan Monet I was kicking myself for failing to reserve an entry time. Before I could consider how long I was willing to wait, a woman walked up and asked if I’d like to buy her friend’s ticket. The friend had been unable to come and the woman was offering a lower price if I took it off her hands. My lack of planning had yielded a satisfying discount.

To save money on lodging, I rented a bedroom in a Parisian family’s apartment. My French-Tunisian hosts were celebrating a birthday and invited me to join them for dessert and tea one evening. The unexpected opportunity provided a chance to use my French in an engrossing conversation about their multicultural backgrounds. Seated around a modern sectional in their stylish salon, I noticed two stacks of books smartly displayed beneath the glass coffee table. On the top of one was Les verteuex, by Yasmina Khadra. I was delighted to profess that I was in the midst of reading L’attentat by the same author.


I’d come to Paris in part because my daughter Rita was enrolled for the Fall semester at Sciences Po, The Paris Institute of Political Studies. Rita is a Political Science and French major. So, it’s understandable that she’d long been interested in studying there, but neither of us was aware of the institution’s extensive reputation. Seven of France’s recent presidents are among its long list of exceptional alumni.

I’d previously only visited France in the spring and summer when the days are sunny and long. I wondered if I’d find Paris as delightful during the dark weeks bordering the winter solstice. Determining how to fit sweaters and heavier shoes into the carry-on suitcase that normally holds T-shirts and sandals proved challenging. The limited space forced me to carefully consider each item, including reading material.

l'Attentat par Yasmina Khadra

As I scanned my to-be-read shelf, L’attentat caught my eye. Last summer, a friend inherited several boxes of French books and invited me and others to take any titles that appealed. I recognized Yasmina Khadra’s name among the secondhand collection and L’attentat‘s back cover promised a terror-spun intrigue unfolding in Tel Aviv with Israeli and Arab characters. I brought the book home and promptly forgot I owned it. Now, looking for a lightweight paperback to tuck in my purse, the Middle Eastern thriller was the perfect choice—especially in light of recent Hamas atrocities and Israel’s brutal retaliation.

Mohammed Moulessehoul

I’d seen Yasmina Khadra’s name before and had mistakenly assumed the bestselling French-Algerian author was female. Born Mohammed Moulessehoul, Khadra grew up in a small village near Algeria’s border with Morocco. His father was an officer in the ALN, ‘Armée de libération national. During Algeria’s fight for independence in the 1950s and early 60s, the ALN acted as the armed branch of the FLN, an Algerian nationalist political party that became the sole legal political party of the Algerian state after emancipation from France in 1962.

In 1964, when Mohammed was only 9, his father sent him away to military school, where he remained until the age of 23, emerging as a sublieutenant in the Algerian army. Despite his regimented and sometimes harsh formation, the young officer had always dreamed of becoming a writer. Moulessehoul’s illiterate mother was her village’s griotte, an official storyteller tasked with preserving oral histories. Perhaps being forced to spend much of his young life far from her embrace fueled his desire to create his own historically based narratives. Writing also gave Khadra an intimate space in the midst of punishing dormitory life where he could examine his thoughts and experiences in privacy.

By the age of 18, he had written a book of short stories. But soldiers are expected to undertake more serious work and the book remained unpublished for the next 11 years. Finally, between 1984 and 1989, Mohammad Moulessehoul published three collections of short stories and three novels using his given name. In 1988, however, it became impossible for members of the military to publish their writing before it was reviewed by a military censorship board. So, the author began to publish under various pseudonyms.

Oran Province, Algeria, where Moulessehoul was stationed
Oran Province, Algeria, where Mohammad Moulessehoul was stationed in the 1990s.

Yasmina Khadra

By the early 90s, Algeria was entering a brutal civil war. Now a special forces commander, Moulessehoul was stationed in Oran Province, fighting Islamic extremists. His novels began exposing the pervasiveness of government corruption as well as the fanatical revolutionaries who invoked Islam to justify their use of terrorism to overthrow those in power. Writing novels that revealed the sins and weaknesses of the power-hungry on both sides of the Algerian civil war, and remaining unobserved, must have been an incredibly stressful undertaking. Indeed, the author has lived through what he describes as three nervous breakdowns.

Yasmina Khadra
Yasmina Khadra

Moulessehoul eventually settled on the pseudonym of Yasmina Khadra. In addition to hiding Moulessehoul’s identity, the pen name satisfied another purpose. Those living in the conservative corners of the Arab-Muslim world would be unlikely to suspect a male author of adopting a female name. Moulessehoul had already won several literary awards and if his success continued, he expected that as Yasmina, he might help advance the Muslim woman’s struggle for emancipation.

I found his choice of name even more endearing when I learned he derived it from his wife who was born Yamina Khadra Amel. Here is an explanation in Moulessehoul’s words:

“Mon épouse m’a soutenu et m’a permis de surmonter toutes les épreuves qui ont jalonné ma vie. En portant ses prénoms comme des lauriers, c’est ma façon de lui rester redevable. Sans elle, j’aurais abandonné. C’est elle qui m’a donné le courage de transgresser les interdits. Lorsque je lui ai parlé de la censure militaire, elle s’est portée volontaire pour signer à ma place mes contrats d’édition et m’a dit cette phrase qui restera biblique pour moi : “Tu m’as donné ton nom pour la vie. Je te donne le mien pour la postérité.”

“My wife supported me and allowed me to overcome all of the ordeals that have marked my life. By wearing these names like laurels, this is my way of remaining in her debt. Without her, I would have given up. It is she who gave me the courage to violate that which is forbidden. When I talked to her about military censorship, she volunteered to sign my publishing contracts in my place and stated this phrase which for me remains biblical: “You gave me your name for life. I give you mine for posterity.”


L’attentat tells the story of a prominent Arab-Israeli surgeon, Doctor Amine Jaafari. After a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Jaafari works tirelessly to save the victims who are rushed to his hospital’s emergency room. His devastation upon learning that his wife, Sihem, is among the dead turns to vehement denial when authorities allege that it was she who blew herself up. After identifying Sihem’s body, however, Jaafari begins a quest to make sense of the impossible. How could he have so misread the thoughts of a woman that he’d spent years of his life with? How had she come to believe in the virtue of such a futile act of violence?

The trail to Sihem’s radicalization quickly leads to the West Bank where Jaafari and Sihem have many family connections. The successful couple has been living the good life in Tel Aviv. Jaafari is a shining example of what Palestinians can achieve even when raised in disadvantaged circumstances. Now, traversing the landscapes of his youth, Jaafari is forced to reexamine his most strongly held beliefs within the shadows of oppression, resentment, extremism, and hatred.

Map of Israel, setting for L'attentat
Map of Israel

As I read, it was easy to believe that Khadra had once dreamt of becoming a poet. While his prose is often concise and undisguised, the author’s soul-inspired artistry colors many passages. I had hoped Khadra’s novel would help me better understand the Israeli-Palestinian inability to formulate a peace agreement. Khadra seems able to walk a line that holds empathy for both sides of the conflict while simultaneously illustrating the senselessness of violence. I can’t say that L’attentat is a hopeful book but perhaps works like this one serve to bring people together by underscoring the humanity in all of us.

Favorite Passages

Beware of zealots

Growing up in Palestine, Dr. Jaafari was keenly aware of the “two camps” that dominate Israel. At a young age, he’d sensed the danger of allying oneself with either side and had chosen to focus on his studies rather than politics. His academic prowess, as well as his commitment to a life of service, had led to a secular existence. As an adult, he lived among Jews and felt constant pressure to counteract prevailing negative stereotypes about Arabs. Now trying to retrace Sihem’s footsteps, he finds himself re-examining the settings and important people of his youth. Chief among them is his father.

Mon père me disait : « Celui qui te raconte qu’il existe symphonie plus grande que le souffle qui t’anime te ment. Il en veut à ce que tu as de plus beau : la chance de profiter de chaque instant de ta vie. Si tu pars du principe que ton pire ennemi est celui-là même qui tente de semer la haine dans ton cœur, tu auras connu la moitié du bonheur. Le reste, tu n’auras qu’à tendre la main pour le cueillir. Et rappelle-toi ceci : il n’y a rien, absolument rien au-dessus de ta vie… Et ta vie n’est pas au-dessus de celle des autres. »

My father used to say: “He who tells you there exists a symphony that is greater than the breath that stirs you is lying. He seeks to destroy your most beautiful possession: the chance to benefit from each instant of life. If you start from the assumption that your worst enemy is someone who tries to sow hatred in your heart, you will know half of what it means to be happy. As for the rest, you have only to hold out a hand of friendship to gather it. And remember this: there is nothing, absolutely nothing of higher importance than your life… And your life is not higher than that of others.”

Collateral damage

Jafaari suspects that his Sihem’s corruptors are located in Bethlehem. Accompanied by his friend and colleague, Kim, he drives to Jerusalem to establish a home base in Kim’s brother’s apartment. His perception of the City of God and its people is a confused mix of adoration and disdain.

J’ai beaucoup aimé Jérusalem, adolescent. J’éprouvais le même frisson aussi bien devant le Dôme du Rocher qu’au pied du mur des Lamentations et je ne pouvais demeurer insensible à la quiétude émanant de la basilique du Saint-Sépulcre. Je passais d’un quartier à l’autre comme d’une fable ashkénaze à un conte bédouin, avec un bonheur égal, et je n’avais pas besoin d’être un objecteur de conscience pour retirer ma confiance aux théories des armes et aux prêches viru-lents. Je n’avais qu’à lever les yeux sur les façades alentour pour m’opposer à tout ce qui pouvait égratigner leur immuable majesté. Aujourd’hui encore, partagée entre un orgasme d’odalisque et sa retenue de sainte, Jérusalem a soif d’ivresse et de soupirants et vit très mal le chahut de ses rejetons, espérant contre vents et marées qu’une éclaircie délivre les mentalités de leur obscur tourment. Tour à tour Olympe et ghetto, égérie et concubine, temple et arène, elle souffre de ne pouvoir inspirer les poètes sans que les passions dégénèrent et, la mort dans l’âme, s’écaille au gré des humeurs comme s’émiettent ses prières dans le blasphème des canons…

As an adolescent, I dearly loved Jerusalem. I felt the same thrill standing before the Dome of the Rock as I did at the foot of the Wailing Wall and I was incapable of remaining unmoved by the tranquillity emanating from the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. I would pass from one district to the next as if passing from an Ashkenazi fable to a Bedouin tale, with equal delight, and I didn’t need to be a conscientious objector to withdraw my trust in armament theories and virulent sermons. I had only to direct my gaze toward the facades surrounding me to oppose all that might scratch their immutable majesty. Still today, torn between a virgin’s orgasm and her holy restraint, Jerusalem thirsts for drunkenness and suitors while barely enduring the uproar from her offspring, hoping against hope for a respite that liberates minds from their dark torment. By turns Olympus and ghetto, muse and concubine, temple and arena, she suffers, unable to inspire poets without their passions degenerating and, with a heavy heart, she flakes away at the discretion of prevailing moods as her prayers crumble in the blasphemy of cannons…

The Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Photo by Edmund Gall c/o Wikimedia Commons.

Spiritualism vs. materialism

Once in Bethlehem, Jafaari suspects a radical imam of playing a part in Sihem’s conversion and eventual suicide mission. Initially spurned and later beaten by the imam’s disciples, the persistent Jafaari eventually obtains an interview with the religious leader. The imam insists that he and his followers have nothing to do with extremism and that he has never met Jafaari’s wife. Yet, he admires her sacrifice. He is the simple servant of a people who have been pillaged and denigrated and who are trying to fight against powerful oppressors using extraordinarily limited resources. He sees Jafaari as having betrayed his clan and delivers an impassioned sermon outlining the decades of injustices and deprivations that might lead someone to violent extremes. The imam concludes by positing that Sihem gave her life to awaken people like Jafaari from their sleep of denial, that she died for her husband’s redemption. Outraged, Jafaari responds:

— Tu parles d’une rédemption ! le tutoie-je à mon tour. C’est toi qui en as besoin… Tu oses me parler d’égoïsme, à moi dont on a ravi l’être que je chéris le plus au monde ?… Tu oses me soûler avec tes histoires de bravoure et de dignité lorsque tu restes dans ton coin en envoyant des femmes et des gamins au carbon ? Détrompe-toi : nous vivons bien sur la même planète mon frère, sauf que nous ne logeons pas à la même enseigne. Tu as choisi de tuer, j’ai choisi de sauver.

Ce qui est l’ennemi pour toi, pour moi est un patient. Je ne suis ni égoïste ni indifférent et j’ai autant d’amour-propre que n’importe qui. Je veux seulement vivre ma part d’existence sans être obligé de puiser dans celle des autres. Je ne crois pas aux prophéties qui privilégient le supplice au détriment du bon sens.

Je suis venu au monde nu, je le quitterai nu; ce que je possède ne m’appartient pas. Pas plus que la vie des autres. Tout le malheur des hommes vient de ce malentendu : ce que Dieu te prête, tu dois savoir le rendre. Aucune chose, sur terre, ne t’appartient vraiment. Ni la patrie dont tu parles ni la tombe qui te fera poussière parmi la poussière.

“You speak of redemption!” I replied in return. “It’s you who are in need of it… You dare talk to me of selfishness, me for whom the world has ravished the being I cherished most?… You dare sicken me with your stories of bravery and honor while you rest in your corner sending women and children to do your dirty work? Don’t kid yourself: yes we live on the same planet my brother, yet we don’t march beneath the same banner. You chose to kill, I chose to save.

He who is the enemy for you, for me, is a patient. I am neither selfish nor indifferent and I have as much self-esteem as anyone. I only wish to live out my allotment of reality without feeling obliged to siphon off that which has been allotted to others. I don’t believe in prophecies that favor torment to the detriment of common sense.

I came naked into this world, naked I’ll leave it; that which I own does not belong to me. No more so than the lives of others. All of man’s misfortune comes from this misunderstanding: that which God gives you, you must know how to give back. Nothing on this earth truly belongs to you. Not the homeland of which you speak nor the grave that will turn you into dust amongst the dust.”

A devasted haven

Jafaari’s discoveries do little to assuage his loss. Resurrecting his former existence is an impossibility, in part because people will forever see him first and foremost as the Arab husband of a terrorist who killed innocent Israelis. He decides to return to his roots, taking refuge at his grandfather’s homestead. Surrounded by family, he hopes to heal, but the journey home leads him across a devastated landscape, populated by a downtrodden people that he no longer recognizes.

J’étais à mille lieues de soupçonner que l’état de décomposition était aussi avancé, que les espérances étaient si mal loties. Je n’ignorais rien des animosités qui détérioraient les mentalités d’un côté comme de l’autre, de l’entêtement qu’affichaient les belligérants à refuser de s’entendre et à n’écouter que leur rancœur assassine; mais voir l’insoutenable de mes propres yeux me traumatise. À Tel-Aviv, j’étais sur une autre planète. Mes œillères me cachaient l’essentiel du drame qui ronge mon pays; les honneurs que l’on me faisait occultaient la teneur véritable des horreurs en passe de transformer la terre bénie de Dieu en un inextricable dépotoir où les valeurs fondatrices de l’Humain croupissent, les tripes à l’air, où les encens sentent mauvais comme les promesses que l’on résilie, où le fantôme des prophètes se voile la face à chaque prière qui se perd dans le cliquetis des culasses et les cris de sommation.

I was worlds away from suspecting that the state of decay was so advanced, that hopes were so low. I was fully aware of the animosities that wore on people’s minds from one side or the other, of the stubbornness displayed by the warring sides that refused to hear each other and listened only to their opponent’s murderous rancor; but to see the unbearable with my own eyes was traumatizing. In Tel Aviv, I was on another planet. My blinders kept hidden the essence of the drama eating away at my country; the honors bestowed upon me concealed the true substance of the horrors that were on the cusp of transforming the blessed land of God into an inextricable dumping ground where the foundational values of mankind rot away, guts exposed, where incense smells like broken promises, where the ghost of prophets hides from every prayer that is lost in the clatter of gun breeches and the cries of warning.

A Literary Life of Service

The Attack, by Yasmina Khadra

Khadra’s book does not offer solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Perhaps, however, there is value in creating stories that objectively seek to unveil the perspectives of each side of this seemingly unresolvable and deadly dispute. Minimally, works such as l’Attentat, especially when originating from an Arab author, might help both sides recognize the futility of violence. To reach a wider audience, the book has been translated into 50 languages, made into a film (available on Amazon Prime), and a graphic novel.

I plan to read more by Khadra. There is no shortage of titles to choose from. The author’s Wikipedia page lists 39 works and a slew of literary prizes. Much of Khadra’s writing focuses on Islamic extremism but he seems to be able to get inside the heads of people who support the unsupportable without turning them into monsters. In an interview with Spanish media outlet Atalayar, Khadra describes one of his objectives as follows:

J’essaye d’apporter un soupçon d’éclairage sur ce qui nous échappe afin de mieux reconsidérer nos a-priori et rendre possible l’éveil aux vraies questions au lieu de chercher des boucs émissaires et des souffre-douleur comme on le constate dans certains pays où les amalgames et les stigmatisations favorisent le réveil de la bête immonde qui sommeille en chacun de nous.

I try to shed light on what [often] escapes us in order to better reconsider our assumptions and make possible an opening to real issues instead of looking for scapegoats and whipping boys as we see in some countries where amalgamations and stigmatizations encourage the awakening of the foul beast that lies dormant in each of us.”

We are in this Together

While in Paris last December, not every coincidence I encountered was a happy one. One evening, as I flipped through channels, every news broadcast carried the same story. A German tourist had been stabbed to death by a Muslim extremist who also attacked two people with a hammer. The murder took place at a postcard-perfect location, blocks away from the Eiffel Tower near the Pont de Bir Hakeim. Three evenings earlier, I’d lingered at the same intersection trying to capture the new-to-me corner of Paris with my cellphone.

Within 30 minutes of the stabbing, two police officers (one female) armed only with tasers, managed to apprehend the assailant, Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab. He’d fled on foot to the other side of the Seine and threatened to set off a belt of explosives as the officers approached. Thankfully, there was no such device hidden under his coat. During his arrest, Rajabpour-Miyandoab cited the recent bombings in Palestine as an example of the endless bloodshed perpetrated against Muslims, a final straw that had motivated his desperate actions. Deep within his susceptible mind, he had convinced himself that France was complicit.

Born in a suburb of Paris to Iranian parents, Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab was known to authorities. In 2016, he’d been imprisoned after threatening to carry out an attack at La Défense, one of Europe’s largest financial centers. Sentenced to serve 5 years and undergo psychiatric treatment, Rajabpour-Miyandoab was released after 4 years. Two days after the lethal assault, panels made up of political pundits, judicial authorities, psychologists, and terrorism experts deliberated on who was to blame. What part of French society had failed to prevent one of its citizens from going off the deep end: schools, social workers, doctors, social media sites… ?

The so-called experts filled the airwaves for the next few days, pointing fingers, waving hands, shrugging shoulders, and shaking heads. Perhaps some of the after-the-fact analysis will prove fruitful. I doubt I’ll ever know. One week after the attack, the story was gone. In my opinion, more time should be spent getting to know the human lives behind the headlines. Only when we recognize a part of ourselves in our adversaries, can we begin to let go of myths and prejudices. Armed with a sliver of humility and thread of mutual understanding, we are better positioned to alleviate each other’s grievances. Books like Khadra’s take us further down that road.


L’attentat is part of a trilogy by Khadra that considers the obstinant and troubling divides between Orient and Occident. Les Hirondelles de Kaboul, tells the story of an Afghan couple living under Taliban rule and Les Sirènes de Bagdad recounts a young Iraqi’s distress after witnessing the consequences of errors committed by American troops.

About Carol A. Seidl

Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.


  1. Great article, Carol!

  2. As always, Carol, a true Francophile, combines her personal experiences with in-depth literary analysis, which makes this blog a high-class source of information and views, that provide much room for reflection.

  3. Serendipitous coincidences indeed. Perhaps the gods are telling you to keep visiting France and maintain your interest in it?

    Moulessehoul’s choice of a female nom de guerre makes an interesting contrast with the many women writers in the West who adopted male (or sex-ambiguous) pen-names in hopes of being taken more seriously. He was undoubtedly right that people in a conservative Muslim society would not consider the possibility of a man adopting a female name. The tribute to his wife is a nice touch as well.

    It’s interesting how often words with similar meanings get used as names in different cultures. Yasmina Khadra means Jasmine Green, which would be a plausible name in English.

    L’Attentat seems to be rich in wise words, particularly those attributed to Dr Jaafari’s father. How much self-deception and pointless cruelty and suffering are spawned from the concepts of group hatred and of a higher power beyond the self! And how often those two concepts are so tightly bound together within the mind!

    I also admired Jaafari’s response to the hypocritical and blood-soaked spiritual pieties of the imam. It is always noteworthy that these spiritual leaders who incite and command violence, who claim such firm belief that you’d think they would be eager to martyr themselves for Allâh, are never on the front lines themselves (bin Laden did not participate in the 9/11 hijackings in person and ride an airliner into holy oblivion). They always exploit the hot-blooded and naïve young as cannon fodder. To kill and main is easy, to heal and save is hard work. The hope is for the world to produce enough Jaafaris to keep ahead of the pointless damage regularly inflicted by the imams.

    It is a bit curious that Khadra chose to write about the Israeli-Islamist conflict rather than about the far bloodier conflict in his own country. Perhaps the latter topic simply cut too close to home, or would have gotten him in too much hot water with the censors, pen-name or not. Or perhaps he covered it in a later work.

    Great to see you posting again.

    • Thanks for reading Infidel. Interesting comparison with women authors who chose male pen names–in their case they were trying to increase their visibility, in Khadra’s case he was trying to hide.

      Many of Khadra’s earlier works take place in Algeria. He has an entire series featuring an Algerian police detective that deals with all sorts of bad actors, from arms and drug traffickers, to religious fanatics, to corrupt officials. And as you correctly speculated, some of these books were initially banned in Algeria. I think all are available now.

      He started writing stories set in other countries, in part, because he felt that western accounts of life in war-torn areas of the Middle East often lacked a perspective that he felt he, as a Muslim, was in a better position to provide. Maybe “better” isn’t the right word, but minimally he felt his writing offered a perspective that was missing from western literature.

  4. Congrats on Daumier. There are plenty of old editions on good old paper. You made a bargain.
    And congrats on Marmottan too. Morisot is a great painter.
    I hadn’t heard of that author you mention. Kamel Daoud is one I read regularly. He has an editorial in Le Point.
    The main difficulty in all this is hatred. Until it’s eliminated, we’ll have the same events over and over and again. (And now Moscow… That sounds “très louche”…)
    Stay safe…
    Bon Dimanche

    • Nice to hear from you Brieuc. Yes, I’ve been a fan of Daumier’s for a while so I was thrilled to see an exhibit about his caricatures at La Maison de Balzac. This was my first trip to the Marmottan and the southwest corner of Paris for that matter.

      I’ve read one book by Kamel Daoud, “Mersault, contre-enquete”. Do you know it?

      • I’ve heard of it. I understand it is a “counterpoint” to “L’étranger”. He writes a weekly column in Le Point. I love the way he writes, his command of French is superb. And his vision of the world is impeccable. He’s a brave man.
        As for Marmottan, it is a “small”, out-of-the-way, delightful museum…

  5. I was wondering but I just found your post in my mail.

  6. Great read! Welcome back after a blogging break, eh? Those happy coincidences – Carl Jung wrote about those. Synchronicity and all that.

    “more time should be spent getting to know the human lives behind the headlines” – True words right there, too. You might like the You’re Wrong About podcast. It sets out to do just that, removing urban myths around moral panics and pop culture figures.

    • Thanks. My first draft of this post started by saying that I’m not one to believe in serendipity but I decided serendipity is simply a name given to happy coincidences, not really a belief. I have, however, encountered a fair number of people who read more significance into serendipitous events than I would. I’m not sure where Carl Jung stood on the matter. Do you?

      That podcast sounds like an excellent one. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Welcome back, Carol!

    This is such a rich post; I appreciate your sharing both your small-but-satisfying “serendipitious” experiences and the much larger ones. Khadra’s work seems so timely and important as we helplessly watch events in the Middle East. I’m very glad you selected those passages, which carry some degree of hope that there are ways to overcome the corrosive enmities that lead to death and destruction–repeatedly. I know there are Israelis and Arabs who want to live together in peace, if only…

    • Thanks Annie. I suspect that the majority of Israelis and Arabs either want peace or could be convinced to accept a peace agreement if the powers-that-be would get out of the way. Thanks for reading.

  8. Loved your coincidences and your literary review. I see what you read on GoodReads and was wondering where you put your reactions. Maybe copy some of this into GoodReads?

    • You’re right, I should at least refer to this post from the L’attentat page on Goodreads. I often don’t take time to comment on what I’ve read, even when I have strong opinions. But, I’m happy to hear you notice some of the things I post over there. That inspires me to do more.

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