The Attack

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The Attack by Yasmina Khadra follows the story of Dr. Amin Jaafari, a successful Palestinian surgeon who resides in Israel. He lives with his beloved wife, Sihem, live alone in a beautiful house. Amin and Sihem live happily until an unimaginable event occurs, Sihem is killed in a suicide attack. The police discover that Sihem was not a victim, but the bomber. Amin desperately attempts to understand how his kind, loving wife could possibly carry out such an attack. He sets out on an incredible journey to investigate the secret life Sihem lived outside of their marriage. In the novel, The Attack, Yasmina Khadra illustrates the intense frustration that precedes suicide attacks and the intense physical and physiological results of terrorism.

This novel examines the frustration and anger that Sihem felt prior to ending her life for the sake of her cause. Sihem’s suicide attack, a central focus to the novel, is important because she gives us insight to her thoughts and feelings preceding the attack. In her final letter to her husband Amin she notes “what use is happiness when its not shared, Amin, my love? My joys faded away every time yours didn't follow. You wanted children. I wanted to deserve them. No child is completely safe if it has no country. Don't hate me. Sihem” (69). This letter explains the root of Sihem’s frustration “no child is completely safe if it has no country”. Sihem’s anger stems from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sihem feels trapped between the two warring sides and as a result, feels unsafe because of the continuos violence.

The commander that Amin meets when he is taken captive during his quest to discover more about his wife’s death also provides valuable details about what his feelings are about the ongoing conflict. The commander notes

we’re not Islamists, Dr. Jaafari, and we’re not fundamentalists either. We are only the children of a ravaged, despised people, fighting with whatever means we can to recover our...
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