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Two ND students to screen 9/11 documentary

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Ask Scott Schaefer and Amanda Rothley what they did this summer, and they will not need to search their memory for something interesting.

That’s because they participated in a fellowship with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies that sent them to Israel for two weeks this August to learn about terrorism and its effects. While there, they underwent an intensive regimen of lectures and activities, including meeting an agent of the Israeli counterterrorism force and touring the naval base at Haifa.

Back on campus, Rothley and Schaefer have decided to organize a screening of the documentary “9/11” today as a commemoration of the terrorist attacks and a chance to raise awareness of terrorism and its effects. The screening will begin at 7 p.m., in 102 Debartolo Hall.

“9/11” is a film made by brothers Jules and Gédéon Naudet, who were originally documenting the life of a trainee NYFD firefighter. However, their purpose changed dramatically as airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center towers barely blocks away. “9/11” has been hailed as an extraordinary tale of heroism, heroic too in its own right, and was shown on CBS television last year.

Schaefer and Rothley applied for the fellowship after taking political science with Keir Lieber, who is a fellow of the FDD as well as of the Notre Dame Institute for International Peace Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. The FDD is a non-partisan, non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to educating Americans about the threats which terrorism poses to democratic societies. Among its board members are Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine, Newt Gingrich and Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. Approximately 50 students were selected from around the country to participate in the fellowship, which attempts to use Israel as a case study of how a democratic government can effectively fight terrorism.

“The program wasn’t intended to study the political crises and issues which surround the Middle East, particularly Israel and Palestine,” said Schaefer. “It was so that we, the participants, and those with whom we come in contact, may realize that terrorism in any form, in any place, is a terrible thing which must be stopped.”

Nevertheless, the program included lectures from the Turkish and Indian ambassadors to Israel.

The program primarily took place in Tel Aviv, and although the students were not injured, there were two suicide attacks in the city’s suburbs, and two days after they group departed from Israel, another suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus left 18 dead and over 100 wounded.