Shooting the laptop

She took it well — much better than I would have, to be perfectly honest.   Lily Sussman’s laptop was shot by Israeli security officials during an extended security inspection, while she was trying to enter Israel from Egypt, where she lives.  Her account is just below:

Lily Sussman's shot laptop - from her blog

“…Israeli security officers (most who looked around 18 years old) had completed around two hours of questioning and searching me. They had pressed every sock and scarf with a security device, ripped open soap and had me strip extra layers. They asked me tons of questions–where are you going?  Who do you know?  Do you have a boyfriend?  Is he Arab, Egyptian, Palestinian?  Why do you live in Egypt?  Why not Israel?  What do you know about the ‘conflict’ here?  What do you think?  They quized [sic – it should be “quizzed”] me on Judaism,which I know nothing about.

Then they asked me to wait. Since they had asked for friends and families phone numbers I assumed they might be calling to verify my answers to questions or confirm I really had extended family in Tel Aviv.  An announcement played over the sound system, interrupting my break in the sunshine. First in Hebrew, then Arabic, then in English. It was something along the lines of, ”’do not to be alarmed by gunshots because the Israeli security needs to blow up suspicious passanger luggage’.

I went inside to check on my bag. I had left it unattended, where they instructed. It was still there so I went back outside.

Moments later a man came outside and introduced himself as the manager on duty. And then, ‘I’m sorry but we had to blow up your laptop’.

What….all my client case notes and testimony, writing, pictures, music and applications.  Years of work.  NO!!!!  What?? Are you insane??  What were you thinking?  THAT’S ALL MY WORK!?

After much yelling, crying and frantic phone dialing (don’t be alarmed if I called you repeatedly this morning), he took me outside to see the wreckage. It turned out it hadn’t been quite blown up, but rather shot through with three bullets. We were able to extract the hard drive, seemingly unscaved [sic – it should read “unscathed”… but, after all, her laptop was shot, so let’s cut her some slack on the typos]. Thank goodness…

Security had never asked for my password…”

This account can be read in full here.

Lilly Sussman's laptop - three bullets through

Lilly Sussman's shot laptop - view from the other side

When she arrived in Jerusalem, Lily was relieved to discover that the hard drive was not damaged in this shooting, so she hopes to be able to recover her work.   She also is expecting to have her computer replaced by Israeli security (I am sceptical…)

Here is Lily herself — the photo taken from her blog “Izzayyik Lily” [meaning, in the Egyptian dialect of Arabic, “How are you Lily?”here:

Lily Sussman herself

On her blog, Lily describes herself this way: “A student of traveling, writing and observing, intent to understand the Middle East by living in Cairo for a span. An optimist who believes hostilities fade when people connect, communicate and learn about each other. An adventurer, happy in the midst of events with a pen, pad, camera, and always, background information”. [note: She didn’t mention her laptop…]

Thanks to Angry Arab for the tip from his blog here.

[UPDATE: Two Israeli news sites — Haaretz and YNet — have now picked up this story. Their articles are posted (Haaretz) here and (YNet) here.]

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