United Nations holds global anti-terror symposium
NEW YORK - The United Nations General Assembly had never before heard such a speech. Arnold Roth, the Israeli father of a terrorist victim, told the forum the story of his 15-year-old daughter Malki, who was murdered by a suicide bomber in the attack on the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001.
Roth was one of 18 victims of terror from different countries who spoke at a symposium yesterday, which was hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters in New York. The full-day meeting included speeches not only victims but also by anti-terrorism experts and specialists who help victims.
In his opening remarks, Ban called for an open dialogue to share experiences and practices, and said the symposium would advance the UN's global strategy in the fight against terror. He said this would help "strengthen the international community's solidarity with victims and improve understanding of how the UN and member states could support them"; however, he offered no specific ideas.
Daniel Carmon, the deputy Israeli ambassador to the UN, revealed his own personal story to the other ambassadors, who were unaware of his tragedy. In 1992, Carmon lost his wife Eliora in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29; Carmon was also injured. He relayed how he was left alone to raise their five young children, aged 2 to 12.
Freed French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt gave the forum's keynote address: "Access to information is strategic," she said. "Too many totalitarian states hide the reality of victims of terrorism in their country in order not to be accountable for them to the world."
Betancourt was abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, during her 2002 presidential campaign. She was rescued two months ago, after six years of captivity in the jungle. Other speakers included survivors of the World Trade Center and London Underground attacks.