Essay: 'The Attack' by Yasmina Khadra

The subject of being good and evil is developed through the behavior of different characters in the story. There are those who appear as good people because of their good attributes and actions. On the other hand, characters that are associated with bad traits are term as evil because they are harmful to the society. However, readers’ expectations might change when their expectations about certain characters become reverse. Those they thought would be bad turn out to be good and those they thought would be good surprise them with evil doings. For this reason, the paper will analytically examine some of the actions of the people that were regarded as evil but their actions might turn to be good and significant to the rest of people. The essay will also explore the characters that might appear as good by the reader, but in the end they are bad.
The major character in the novel ‘The Attack’ by Yasmina Khadra is Dr. Amin Jaafari, a successful surgeon that was respected by many other people. The next major character is Amin’s wife, Sihem Jaafari, who committed suicide by blowing herself up in a restaurant near their house. Amin reveals to the readers that the two have a good life with a beautiful house and a good relationship. They have an outstanding relationship with the Jewish, and also Amin had abandoned Muslim religion for quite a long time now. These two are a good example of

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integration between two different religions because they manage to fit into both by acting according to the others’ demands.
Amin was considered as evil by the Muslim religion because he had abandoned the traditions of the Muslim. The conflict between the Palestine and Israel existed because of differences that arise from different religious backgrounds. The differences created tension and hatred between both people from the two religions (Arabs and Jews in Israel by Sarah Panjwani). Amin argued that the conflict was senseless and said that he would give his support to the side that presents the ability to make him successful in his entire life. Amin can be regard as a good person in the realistic situation because he tries to shorten the gap between the two conflicting sides. Additionally, the Muslim religion accused Amin of neglecting the Muslim traditional way of life. ‘I don’t think I ever, not ever once, broke the rules I set for myself’, (Khadra 97).
The good action of Amin is show in his surgeon role where he said that he consider himself as a healer that must offer service to different people despite their differences. He argued that as a healer it was good to remain neutral so that he would save lives without mixing the element of prejudice. The novel also shows that Amin refuses to take side because he felt that it was more important to protect life rather than abusing his role by attending to the people from one side. ” the only battle I believe in, the only one that really deserves bleeding for, is the battle the surgeon fights, which consists in recreating life in the place where death has chosen to conduct its maneuvers’, (Khadra 234). The reader would reflect his good traits as a person who is good hearted and understanding because he is not blinded by the beliefs of his society. On the
contrary, the Muslims considered him as a bad person because he refused to listen and obey their rules.
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The majority of the Palestinians consider Amin as a traitor because he integrates with the Israel. They believe that Amin had lost his world, and his societal status was no more because no one would wish to recognize his existence. The Palestinians consider it as a strange move for Amin to cross border and blend to the Israel. Despite his good work and success in Israel, some of the Israeli people viewed Amin as a traitor after Sihem blew herself up causing many people including children to suffer. ‘My neighborhood receives me coldly’ (Khadra 35). They believe that Amin is also take part in the incident.
Sihem’s action of suicide bombing was happily accepted by the Muslim members because it targeted the Jewish community but was strongly hated by Amin. He cannot bring himself to try and understand Sihem’s action.”I just want to understand why the love of my life excluded me from hers, why the woman I was crazy about was more receptive to other men’s sermons than she was to my poems”, (Khadra 107). The suicide bombing attacked a restaurant that was near their house and injured many people including children, who are just happened to be there to celebrate a birthday party. The author showed that it was hard for Amin to believe that his wife was the terrorist. Amin expected his wife to return safely from visiting her grandmother in Kfar Kanna. The Palestinians considered Sihem as a hero because she had proved her loyalty to the Muslim society and that she would sacrifice anything to protect her religion. The Palestinians consider her as a hero and was admired by various believers in the Muslim society. In the literary world, what Sihem had done would be condemned because it caused a lot of sufferings to humanity. For this reason, the actions of Sihem are bad but considered as good by the Muslim

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community. Shin Bet keep on making Amin suffer by beating him repeatedly and also the Palestinians in the neighborhood also contributed in beating him. Amin went through many
hardship just so he can see the Imam and ask about his wife. But, he was questioned by the Imam about his inability to act like his wife, to committed suicide bombing to protect the Muslim religion. ‘Your wife chose her side’, (Khadra 213). They also consider Amin as an obstacle that would bring them bad luck and keep trying to persuade Amin to go back home. The actions of Shin Bet and the Imams were bad because they harass and beat up Amin but were considered as good because they just want to protect their people and their religion.
One of the Jewish patients showed disgrace to Amin by spitting on his face even though he was the one who was there to save his life. The action revealed that the hatred between the Jewish, and the Muslims had grown to a level that was beyond repair. The Jewish patient would rather die than being treated by a doctor from the rivalry society. In a normal situation, a patient is supposed to show respect to the doctor because his survival is dependent on the mercy of the doctor. However; the patient that spit on the doctor’s face did not see it strange because he just hates being treated by the Muslim doctor. The Jewish people did not see the action of the doctor being mistreated by his patient because he was from the Muslim community. It would be good if the patient would be condemned and even taken to a court of law for spitting to Dr. Amin. The actions of the patient were perceived as good, but they were evil in a normal situation.

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