The New York Post
August 29, 1999

                  By ANDREA PEYSER

                 THE instant Diana Berger heard about the bomb,
                 she knew her husband wasn't coming home.

                 The explosion shook lower Manhattan at
                 lunchtime, tearing a mortal hole through Fraunces

                 Strange. Diana's husband, Alejandro "Alex"
                 Berger, had not planned to go to Fraunces that

                 And yet, as she pulled the car out of the driveway
                 of their home in Cherry Hill, N.J., on the way to
                 meet Alex in the city, the moment the radio
                 mentioned a bomb, "I knew immediately," Diana

                 She was six months pregnant that January day in
                 1975, the day she became a widow at 27, her son
                 forever fatherless.

                 On that awful afternoon, Diana had never even
                 heard of the FALN. But the Puerto Rican terrorist
                 organization, which proudly claimed responsibility
                 for the blast that killed Alex, was to become
                 permanently entwined in Diana's life, every
                 moment she walks the earth.

                 Now, 24 years later, the FALN is again ripping
                 open Diana's psychic wounds.

                 In a decision whose timing stinks of political
                 pandering, President Clinton has offered clemency
                 to 16 jailed core members of the so-called Armed
                 Forces of National Liberation -or FALN - a
                 group that has unleashed a torrent of blood and
                 tears on the innocent. The clemency offer has
                 infuriated law-enforcement officials who have lost
                 their limbs and eyesight combating these

                 For Diana, the agony is particularly exquisite.

                 "They were in the midst of a business meeting,"
                 she says of her husband and his colleagues.

                 "They were supposed to have lunch at the
                 Morgan Guaranty Trust dining room. There was a
                 mixup in the reservations."

                 Diana Berger, now 52, is a shy, private woman,
                 not the sort to seek publicity. This interview was
                 painful not only to Diana, but to me - I
                 experienced no joy unearthing memories Diana
                 would rather not share with a stranger.

                 Yet speak she must. "The events of [last] week
                 have really opened enormous wounds. It's been a
                 horrible, horrible week for all of us.

                 "How dare they say these terrorists have been
                 punished enough? We've been punished each day,
                 and will be forever."

                 Diana met Alex, a graduate student originally from
                 Uruguay, at their synagogue in 1969. "He was just
                 a bright, funny, athletic, good-looking individual,"
                 she says. Six months later, they married.

                 After five years, Diana, a physical therapist,
                 became pregnant. Alex, who graduated fourth in
                 his class from the prestigious Wharton business
                 school, was employed as a financial analyst at
                 Rohm and Haas, and was working toward his
                 U.S. citizenship.

                 When the bomb struck on Jan. 24, it not only
                 canceled their dreams, it flung Diana into a role
                 she never expected to fulfill: She had to be strong
                 for everyone.

                 She describes as if in a dream the day she
                 identified the body of her husband, who died from
                 massive internal injuries.

                 "My father-in-law had a hard time believing it was
                 who it was. It was his face ..." she searches for
                 appropriate words.

                 "This is someone who always had a smile on his
                 face. The expression was ... different." Alex
                 Berger was 28.

                 When she gave birth to her son, Adrian, Diana's
                 brother accompanied her to the hospital.

                 The bomb killed four people immediately, and
                 wounded at least 50. Diana was told over the
                 years that no one was arrested for her husband's
                 murder; the jailed FALN members did not admit
                 to specific acts of violence.

                 Diana remarried in 1980, and had a daughter. Yet
                 Alex always remained a part of the family's life.

                 "All I have to do is look at my son," Diana says.

                 The years pass, life continues. This fall, Diana's
                 daughter begins college. Adrian is a chemical
                 engineer. Then came word of the FALN
                 clemency, and it was as if a bomb exploded all
                 over again. The FALN members remain jailed
                 today only because they have so far refused to
                 renounce violence.

                 Diana has spoken repeatedly to the White House.
                 All she received was arrogance.

                 "I said, 'This organization has claimed
                 responsibility for acts of violence.' He [a White
                 House representative] replied, "In this country, we
                 do not have guilt by association.'

                 "How insulting! What about conspiracy?

                 "If they were stealing money, driving cars, hiding
                 people, providing transportation, they have to be
                 held accountable. These are all proud members of
                 the organization."

                 Now Diana Berger Ettenson, this quiet lady, has
                 been flung into another role she never expected to
                 assume: political cynic.

                 It has not escaped her notice that Clinton's offer
                 of clemency might help his wife's Senate campaign
                 among Puerto Rican voters.

                 "There are just so many layers to this."

                 As tiring and painful and unpleasant as the process
                 can be, Diana will continue talking until someone
                 in authority chooses to listen.

                 Only when she's alone does she let her feelings

                 "I scream a lot," she confides.

                 "I never let anyone see what is bothering me. But I
                 feel so strongly about this."