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Biography - F.A. Baron
Freedom to be Greedy
Farewell & Welcome
DA Response to Grenada
And, We were Misled
Local vs Privy Council
Thank You Dame Eugenia
Big Bad John
Travels and Travails
Trade Gap - USA & DA
In Case You Missed It
".. Your Love to Town"
Mad Men not to be trusted
Politics of Lies & Deception
Wide, Deep Transparency
Petrocaribe $ Bird Island
Nations Shall War No more
My Feeling of Insecurity
China, Admiration & Envy
Capitalism: Wounded ...
© Gordon Moreau
NATIONS OF THE WORLD SHALL WAR NO MORE
August, 2006 - An aging Cuban revolutionary reportedly identified a problem: the American people the last time round, did not elect a president who can read and write. Meanwhile, Secretary of State, CONDI RICE, diagnosed "birth pangs" of a new Middle East. The Syrian Ambassador to London noted the latter comment with interest: 230-year-old United States and say, 60-year-old Israel were planning to give birth to nations that were over 6,000 years old. King Abdullah of Jordan was also not impressed, if current events in Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq were a manifestation of that new Middle East.
It might all have been funny if Israelis and many times more Lebanese were not being killed even as I write. I am shocked that anyone who has been honoured with the responsibility to make peace, will argue to postpone a cease-fire among the combatants. I am unsure whether I am still in the midst of a nightmare or a joke that is too massively fatal.
In early childhood I was acquainted with "Israel". It must have been the Israel of the Bible. My father, ordinary man and Catholic, casually sang:
"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!"
Later came glimpses of the Bible: Israelites in bondage in Egypt; God of Israel asking Moses to lead them to freedom, but simultaneously hardening the heart of Pharaoh to ensure he keeps them in slavery. Even if it made no sense, in those days you were discouraged from thinking for yourself. You should have faith and not query divine conduct even when it seemed so senselessly human.
Fearful of appearing to offend religious sensitivities, not least my own, I never confessed that I thought the Good Book often monotonous: God of Israel, his jealousy and anger, wars and awful wielding of naked power, Israelite prophets and kings, ragamuffins, vagabonds and Satan. If the God of Israel dominated, then what about the rest of us? If we were mentioned at all, could it have been an after thought?
In the New Testament came a man called Jesus Christ - King of the Jews - who came to save all and sundry. I am told that to this day the Jews are NOT Christian.
There was a book at primary school which included an excerpt from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", also called "The Jew of Venice". Shylock was not a likeable portrait. But I understand justice. At secondary school, I was able to read more of the original story. And bad-egg that Shylock was I gave him credit for his side of the story (Act 3, Scene 1):
"He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies, and what's his reason? - I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute."
It is a powerful argument but it lacks one major principle of Christian teaching: "Mercy and Forgiveness" which is the essence of Portia's equally powerful offering. (Act 4, Scene 1).
Perhaps in those (play-acting) days Shylock lived in an environment where many Christians preached what was not necessarily practised just as there are many such people today.
This is what makes NELSON MANDELLA such a phenomenon. He institutionalized truth and forgiveness in post-apartheid South Africa, even as environment and instinct should point him in the opposite direction; to revenge.
The Jew of Venice insisted on the law and his bond. And even counsel for the defense seemed to have conceded:
"And you must cut this flesh from off his breast. The law allows it, and the court awards it."
Until the same bond, and the same law, and what was implied therein, forced Shylock to face the unintended and intended consequences of his proposed action. By the way, not all art portrays the Jews in a negative, malevolent mould. I most appreciated ELIZABETH TAYLOR, not verily because her name is what it was, but for her role as Jewess Rebecca in MGM/UA Home Video "IVANHOE". I also loved her father Isaac the Jew portrayed by FELIX AYLMER. I am not aware of anyone who disliked those two characters.
In a recent interview Mr. BILL CLINTON said that the United States must win more friends and make less enemies in the war on terror. In the same spirit would I urge Israelis: for thousands of years if people have critiqued your character flaws, it may not be enough to accuse them of anti-semitism. I do not believe the woman who said "The whole army is out of step except my son."
Sometime in the process of my growing up Jews remained Jews but Israelites changed to Israelis. I read secrets and stories of the war (WW II) and an account that Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews because he was once mistaken for a Jew!!!
The excessive use of force, the destruction of Lebanon and the loss of too many innocent lives angered an otherwise calm and rational man whose name I withhold. Perhaps Hitler knew something the rest of the world did not know, he said.
It struck me at once that this was loose talk of which I will not partake. Hitler talked of a superior race which certainly did not include black people. But the incident underscores how the abuse of military power, and television images of innocent people dying, aggravate good people. Some would say moderate people.
WALTER CRONKITE remembered how he reported from Moscow at the beginning of the Cold War. American journalists feared that at any time one or more of their number could be awakened from sleep and taken to prison on spurious charges of spying. So they went to see the U. S. ambassador in Moscow.
If this were to happen, the ambassador advised, you should behave like good soldiers, give your name and number, etc… "And what would you do?" asked Cronkite. "We would ask to see you; we would complain a lot", responded the ambassador. "That's all?" Cronkite wanted to know. The ambassador looked him straight in the eyes and said: "Do you seriously expect the United States to go to war over one jailed correspondent?"
Because there were two mutually terrified super-powers, nobody went to war over two correspondents, or two spies or two soldiers…or two of anything. They discussed the matter and arranged an exchange, often quietly.
Because there is one superpower left some forget "how to win friends and influence people". A group abducts two Israeli soldiers. So Lebanon is bombed ruthlessly and disproportionately. A thousand and more innocent folks are reportedly killed. The response has little to do with freedom or with right, and everything to do with might. Clearly, Lebanon as a country cannot defend itself.
You crush people, and leave them with nothing; and that too can have major ramifications. KRIS KRISTOFFERSON sang it as good as any in "ME AND BOBBY MCGEE":
"Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose….
Nothing ain't worth nothing, but its free."
They are some of the deepest words I have learned from an American or any other artiste. One morning I awoke to ELTON JOHN. It was about the artificial barrier that then divided Germany. On the east or communist side he sees Nikita, less than free, "Counting ten tin-soldiers in a row".
I continued what was normal for me most mornings: I put on the television set. I saw Israeli forces with heavy military equipment crashing into a Palestinian prison, lining up many prisoners in their jockey shorts with intent to arrest one man whom Israel said was about to be released.
There is a bully propensity about such methods. Civilization itself would cease if at each societal level one unit would devastate another knowing the latter cannot defend itself. I got no pleasure watching Palestinians in their jockey shorts, hands over head. I believe the humiliation can only breed ill-will.
In respect the current crisis I asked who/what is HEZBOLLAH? I learned long ago that there are three sides to a story: my side, your side; and the truth. On line I discovered that even a recent story from the Israeli standpoint does not delay on it but admits that Hezbollah was created as an organization to resist Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. (JTA ….Global News Service of the Jewish People, July 13, 2006).
I also sought information on U. N. Resolution 1559, much flaunted by Israel as the demand to disarm Hezbollah. A couple of authors say that that resolution did not carry the force of law. And even if it did, moderate people are asking: what about the many U. N. resolutions on Israel which Israel had defied with impunity?
I counted sixty-five (65) U. N. Security Council resolutions between 1953 and 1992. Those do not include another twenty-eight (28) resolutions passed but vetoed by the United States in defense of Israeli actions.
(Sources quoted: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Washington D. C.)
I understand that the collection of resolutions criticizing Israel is unmatched by the record of any other nation. This is true as I understand it. Anyone with a different truth is solicited and his version will be appreciated.
The U. S. ambassador to the United Nations recently asked how can one negotiate with terrorists. The answer is simple: when such negotiation becomes appropriate the British have produced the most prominent precedence and example.
My first "experience" of terrorism had nothing to do with "radical Muslims." I first heard about the IRA planting bombs in London and elsewhere killing or maiming innocent people unfortunate enough to be around at that time. In the Republic of Ireland and in the United Kingdom, the IRA was a proscribed organization. Membership in it was a crime punishable by five (5) years imprisonment.
SINN FEIN was the "political arm" and IRA the paramilitary arm of the Irish Republican Movement. Even when people like GERRY ADAMS won their seats by election they chose to absent themselves from Parliamentary politics.
Eventually, senior members of Sinn Fein some of whom may have sat on the IRA council, as well as IRA members not known to have been involved in "illegal activities", were given immunity from prosecution in order for progress to be made in the peace process.
The British Government persistently negotiated with the terrorists, with active, professional help of the United States politicians and diplomats. The IRA laid down their arms, and more recently surrendered their weapons.
For St. Partick's Day, March 2006, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was a guest at President Bush's White House. Later, Adams was scheduled to fly to Buffalo, New York to make a speech. He was delayed and thoroughly screened at Dulles Airport, Washington, for a couple hours. Why?
Homeland Security still had Gerry Adams on a terror watch list even if he was just welcomed at the White House. Let us pardon the bureaucratic confusion, but what the hell you mean you cannot negotiate with terrorists?
Sinn Fein eventually moved into mainstream politics. HAMAS has already moved into the mainstream of electoral politics and commands a majority in Parliament. Why not negotiate with the military arm of Hamas to lay down their arms as was done with the IRA?
Hezbollah has already embraced electoral politics. They are already represented in Lebanon's Parliament. Why not negotiate with the military arm of Hezbollah as was done with the IRA?
Hamas, Hezbollah, Sinn Fein - all those "terrorist organizations" had something in common - each had a political arm and a military arm.
I dedicate as follows to peace-loving peoples all over the world:
Earlier I mentioned Moscow and the Cold War. It was very much on when I became a humble staff member of the United Nations in 1985. A massive, sinewy sculpture captured my attention as I entered the U.N. compound on the very first day.
The great warrior on the concrete platform was using a huge hammer to slam his sword into a plow share. It was a gift from Russia to the U. N; and on that same sculpture, Russia quoted the Bible:
"and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:4)