Story pick: On the trail of terrorists
Two years ago, I drove along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains until I lost cell phone service, pulled into a remote compound that smelled of burnt incense and waited to hear from a man called Master Charles.
Until the Mumbai terrorist attacks, I had not heard of the Synchronicity Foundation, one of a number of spiritual retreats about a half hour's drive from Charlottesville. But afterward, I would find myself there three times, taking in every quiet detail, trying to better understand the lives of two of the six American victims: Alan Scherr, a 58-year-old former University of Maryland professor, and his 13-year-old daughter, Naomi.
For most of the world, thoughts of that three-day siege come with the chaotic image of a burning five-star hotel. For me, it brings memories of a quiet, monk-filled compound where if someone walked far enough into the woods, they’d find wooden pews exposed to poplars, oaks and cedars.
That was the side of the story I knew best: the one of a family that left the Maryland suburbs in search of a more tranquil life only to meet a violent death.
Sunday and today, the part of the story I didn’t know well was filled in by an incredibly well-reported two-part piece by ProPublica that ran on the front pages of The Post. We are taken inside the chaos through details such as this, in which Sajid Mir, the “project manager” of the attacks, is talking to Norma Rabinovich, a hostage:
“Mir soothed the sobbing woman in accented but smooth English.
‘Save your energy for good days,’ Mir told her during the call intercepted by Indian intelligence. ‘If they contact right now, maybe you gonna, you know, celebrate your Sabbath with your family.’
The prisoner swap failed. Mir ordered the gunman to "get rid" of Rabinovich.”
Together, the stories do a great job laying out the web of characters behind the attacks and the global politics that may hinder justice for people like Kia Scherr, who lost her husband and daughter that day.
Posted by: zakgold | November 15, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse