Today I met with a sniper. He is also a former assassin. This not my regular habit so it added a little excitement to an otherwise average Friday morning. His name is Tass. He used to be part of Fatah, and the personal driver for Yasser Arafat, a story he recounts in his fascinating book Once An Arafat Man. On the same day I read an article about the rise of Islamic terrorism in this country, I sit with a man who used to be a terrorist with the nickname Jazzar — “butcher”.
Tass was infatuated with Arafat, the charismatic leader of the PLO. He trained intensively to be an efficient killer under the direction of North Korean experts, and was eventually assigned the task of killing high value targets. He told me that on his first day in the training camp he was directed to pay attention to a large sign that read “Instructors Are Allowed to Kill 25 Percent of Recruits!” Trainees were motivated by regular encounters with live ammunition fired from AK-47 assault rifles. Slackers didn’t last long.
It’s a long story, but he ends up marrying a wonderful infidel woman and settling down in Kansas City. Over the next 15 years or so he goes from dishwasher in a French restaurant to managing a premier Westin property in LA, and back to Kansas, this time as the operator of that French restaurant and owner of a small cafe.
The next twenty years were even more fascinating as the came to Christ, saw his immediate family converted, moved away from the restaurant business, and ended up, well, just read the book. Suffice it to say you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll probably never look at the Israeli – Palestinian conflict the same way again.
I know this post is longer than my usual 200 word offering. Don’t pester me about it or I’ll call the butcher.