In this morning's top stories from the AP:
JERUSALEM - Israeli security guards have whisked French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert away during an airport departure ceremony. An Israeli police spokesman says a border policeman committed suicide at the Sarkozy farewell ceremony.
The emphasis is mine. The story continues to give news of the rest of the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The headline was "Guards whisk away Israeli, French leaders."
So an Israeli soldier --specifically a policeman who works at the border, perhaps at one of the many checkpoints that disrupt the daily lives of Palestinians-- was so upset, so desperate, so conscience-ridden perhaps, that he killed himself in public in front of a head of state, and there is nothing about him in the headline?
I'm glad President Sarkozy is safe, really I am, but this soldier's life is not one to ignore, nor is his gesture, which reminds me of other public suicides (note: this was not a suicide bomb) in the Vietnam and other eras.
We'll have to go to the Israeli newspapers for detail. (Note: there is plenty of diversity of opinion in the Israeli press. You'd never know this from what we hear in these parts.) Just a short report from Ha'aretz so far. The headline was "Border policeman dies from self-inflicted shot at Sarkozy farewell."
I hope someone from the media investigates the story behind the gesture.
And I grieve for the border policeman's family and loved ones, and pray for those who cross and guard borders daily.
Every day I think I won't blog and then something like this happens.
Updates later in the day:
-An anonymous poster raises questions about my speculations; fair enough. I still hope for the story behind the story, and the life behind the headline, and I still say "Lord, have mercy." But posting in haste is not a good idea, and I ought to know better. Anonymous, however, might do us the courtesy of identifying himself or herself.
-Padre (and proud abuelito) Mickey, also in the comments, says the latest is that the weapon firing may have been an accident.
-A bit later, The Guardian says an investigation is afoot to find out whether we are dealing with suicide or accidental firing. Either way, a tragedy in a torn land, and a dead man, one more, among the many.