"There's no such thing as a hero - only ordinary people asked extraordinary things in terrible circumstances - and delivering." (The Redundancy of Courage, Timothy Mo, 1991, p 407)
Palestinian-American Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a former associate professor of business at Washington's Howard University, showed no emotion as US District Judge Amy St Eve sentenced him to more than 11 years in prison and fined him $5,000 for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the funding of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas on June 25, 2003.
Before being sentenced Ashqar delivered a passionate, two-hour long statement describing the suffering of his people under Israeli occupation. He proclaimed that he'd rather go to prison than divulge the secrets of the resistance. "The only option was to become a traitor or collaborator and that is something I can't do and will never do as long as I live," he told the court. (Based on US man refusing to testify in Hamas funding case jailed for 11 years, Associated Press, Haaretz, 21/11/07)
Abed Rabbo, a 40-year old employee of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza's Jabaliya Refugee Camp, was at home on the morning of January 5 when he heard a knock on the door. After opening it, he found a Palestinian man and a group of Israeli terrorists, one of whom had his rifle jammed into the man's back. Abed Rabbo, like the man who'd knocked on his door before him, was then taken for use as a human shield by the Israeli terrorists.
Later in the day, a fierce firefight broke out between the terrorists and Palestinian resistance forces hiding in his neighbour's empty home. After it was over, the terrorists told Abed Rabbo that they had killed those inside, and ordered him to enter the house, remove their clothes and bring back their weapons. When he refused, he was simply told to 'obey orders' or else. He entered the house to find three men still very much alive. They told him to tell the Israeli terrorists they were still alive.
After firing missiles at the house, the terrorists sent Abed Rabbo back in. He found the building on fire, but the fighters still alive, despite one being wounded. They sent him back to the terrorists with the following message: 'If you are real men, come and face us yourselves'. Incensed, the terrorists called in an Apache helicopter which rocketed the house. Shooting continued until midnight when Abed Rabbo was sent in for the third time. He found two of the fighters buried under the rubble but still alive. The third was unhurt and armed. When he returned to the terrorists with the news, they would not at first believe him.
Early next morning, Abed Rabbo was sent in again. He found the men badly injured, but still alive. The terrorists taunted them over a megaphone, calling on them in vain to surrender. They even sent in a dog which was shot and killed by one of the fighters. Finally, a military bulldozer was employed to bring the house down on their heads. (Based on Gazans say Israeli troops forced them into battle zones, Don Nissenbaum, mcclatchydc.com, 2/2/09 & Gazans: IDF used us as 'human shields' during offensive, Amira Hass, Haaretz, 20/2/09)