The Woman in the Black Hijab

I wish I knew how to add pictures to a blog, but since I don’t and my son is at college and cannot do it for me, I am going to tickle your memory a little bit.

Do you remember the dancing woman in the black hijab? On 9/11, we saw pictures from the West Bank, of people dancing in the street, shooting off guns in that insane celebratory fashion they so love, children eating candy…and one woman, wearing a black hijab, missing a few teeth because the society in which she lives doesn’t offer much by way of dentistry. She shoved her face into the camera and whooped it up in that primitive and shrill style that is part of a women’s limited freedom of expression in her culture: she teased the roof of her mouth with her tongue, flicking it back and forth while keening loudly. This woman in the black hijab rejoiced in the slaughter of 3,000 American civilians and probably went home to make dinner wishing the number had been 300,000.

I remember seeing that woman. I watched her over and over – on 9/11, on 9/12 and for weeks afterward. And every time I saw her, I thought to myself, quite uncharacteristically: Give me five minutes alone with her. Just five minutes.

Lately, whenever I see John Kerry and John Edwards, I don’t see two well-dressed, smooth-talking lawyers with expensive haircuts and private jets. I don’t see them at all. When I look at Kerry or Edwards, what I see is that toothless woman in her black hijab, dancing and whooping and reveling in blood and fire and death, displaying her joy for the camera, for the entire world to see.

And when I see her, an icy fear grips me. Because I keep thinking…if these men are elected into office on November 2 – or on whatever date Election 2004 is finally decided after however many lawsuits and riots it takes to settle the question to the Democrats liking – if these two men are elected…we’re going to see this woman and her hijab again. And we won’t have to wait to be attacked to see her.

She’ll be dancing on the streets again, on November 3rd, or November 4th, rejoicing in the defeat of George W. Bush.

That’s right. Our enemies will dance if Georege W. Bush loses the presidency.

And if that’s not reason enough to make you pull the lever for him, then there may not be any talking to you.

On 9/11/01, we all “knew” we were going to be attacked again. We all instinctively felt that “another shoe is going to drop.” Many of us still watch planes in the sky and wonder if they will make it to their destination or suddenly veer off course. But we have not been attacked a second time. If in 2001 Bush had promised us we would not be attacked again within the next three years, we would have dismissed him as being “in denial”. But we have not been attacked a second time.

Since the attack, the woman in the black hijab hasn’t had much to dance about; she has not sung. She only dances and sings when we suffer, and that’s something America hasn’t had to do.

Perhaps President Bush had done his job too well. After a recession and a terror attack and two wars we find our economy in rip-roaring shape. Jobs up. Housing starts up. Restaurants full. Theaters full. Highways crammed with new cars. All of your kids have iPods, whether they need them or not. All of John Kerry’s supporters have his bumper stickers on their brand new Beemers. America is not suffering. Mostly.

Our military men and women are an astonishing volunteer force, doing tremendous work and making huge sacrifices for the rest of us, and their families bear the real burden of suffering, but they do it quietly and (for the most part) proudly, asking nothing more from the nation than its respect and gratitude. They suffer with such dignity that the woman in the black hijab does not dance. She wants to dance; she waits to sing. She tongues the inside of her mouth quietly as she schelps back and forth to the market and wonders when she will dance again, because it has been too long since she last caroused but dammit, America is not suffering enough right now to warrant it.

She loves to dance! Oh, she loves her song. But she can only move to the dirge, and she needs America to weep one in a minor key.

And that’s the problem, you know, for the woman in the black hijab and our confused former allies, and for much of the left. They don’t think America has suffered enough. Although we routinely bear the largest burdens, and take the greatest losses while securing the freedoms of others, France and Germany (and Michael Moore) and others, and the woman in the black hijab simply don’t think we’ve suffered enough.

Remember, as Kerry keeps reminding us, they loved us when we were suffering, back in those first weeks after 9/11. And we have “squandered” that love.

Yes, perhaps President Bush has done his job too well. He stood on a pile of rubble and lifted America from its knees, and cried with us, and then began the work of making sure he never had to watch his country suffer like that again, if he could help it.

But there are some who really liked it when we suffered. They think we should suffer some more. “This president,” say the Democrat ticket, “has squandered the goodwill of those nations who shared our pain on 9/11.”

Because they loved us when we were suffering.

And that woman in the black hijab, she loved herself, loved her people, loved her whole sad life, on the day America first suffered. She loved feeling like that, and she danced in our blood and sang a song of gladness for our misery. She danced, she danced. She sang, she sang! How she longs to dance and sing again!


I tremble. I tremble because John Kerry and John Edwards have no real plan to keep America from singing its dirge again. I tremble and wonder if they will even understand what it means should they win this election and turn on the news to see the woman in the black hijab, rejoicing once more, coming to dance for them and singing her wicked, and chilling song.

About Elizabeth Scalia

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