Tag Archives: Brussels

When Emotion overpowers Self- preservation

 

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I have a confession to make.   Last night I needed a drink. Not because of anything to do with my job or family or personal relationships, but for an entirely different reason.  Last night I needed a drink because I found it impossible to come to terms with the atrocities other human beings have become capable of performing.

I ride a bike.  Much of it on sidewalks.  I get extra cautious near driveways, partially for my own safety but even  more out of concern that someone will walk out and I might hit them and injure them.  I am as careful as I can possibly be because the thought of even bumping someone with my bike is unacceptable to me.  So when I hear on the news that a deranged Islamic terrorists mows down over 80 men, women and children out of what he has somehow concluded is a righteous cause, I can’t wrap my head around it.  I know that most if not all of the people reading this feel the same way as I do, but last night for me, at least personally it reached a bit of a boiling point.

I try desperately to get some sense of what can make someone do something so unspeakable, and all I can come up with is the following conclusion.  They fear nothing. They do not fear consequences, they do not fear death, and they certainly do not fear God. They may justify it by claiming they are performing an act that is needed to restore God’s honor, but in every scripture in every religion, God is patient, merciful and loving. Yes the innocent suffer, but the theological and philosophical question of why does not translate into some sort of perverse divine endorsement of murder.

To be opposed to the taking of any life under any circumstances, even punishment, is a more rational philosophy than to believe one is doing God’s will in murdering the innocent.  These terrorists, brainwashed by their ideology and empowered by the desperation of their lives, are doing nothing short of playing God.  This is Ayatollah Khomeini’s great Muslim revolution.  This is not all Muslims by any means, but this is a result of millions of people allowing the idea of a religious revolution to propagate. Thank Iran for this, thank the PLO and Yasser Arafat, for these are the people and places where modern day terrorism was born.  If these people that are committing these horrific acts saw different consequences it would eventually stop. But as of now they are taught that they are helping the growth of Islam and that not only will they not be punished, they will be rewarded in the afterlife.  Rather than thinking they will burn in hell and destroy the world, they believe they will save the world and be heroes in the afterlife.

Desensitization is often what makes us get through the day.  How many people still think of Istanbul, Brussels or Orlando or San Bernadino, not to mention the constant onslaught on the population of Israel over the years.  We all think of these things and of course we think of 9/11 as the mother of all terrorist attacks, until the one that takes more lives than the 3,000 taken back in 2001.  But even when we think about it we move on with our lives, enjoy our days whenever possible, eat, drink, laugh and love and smile.  No one is wrong for doing so.  It’s self-preservation.  But last night I reached the point when I could not smile, when m emotion overpowered my self-preservation, because I could not understand how a human being could reach such depth of anger and hatred that they could kill with no conscience.  In some ways maybe I am lucky to still feel enough to reach that point, but there is no celebrating that fact.  I would prefer to never test it at all.

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By not calling out Islamic Extremism, President Obama is actually hurting innocent Muslims

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I have friends from all walks of life.  I don’t pick friends based on race, color, religion or lifestyle.  I pick my friends based on common interests and how they are as human beings.  That’s assuming they even want to be my friend.  I’ve always maintained, and when you look around you’ll see it to be generally true, that the person who is not a racist or bigot is more comfortable criticizing someone regardless of what they are.  To put it in more basic terms, it’s never shocking to find out that a white man who never says anything bad about black people is actually a racist.  I’m not saying criticizing someone of a specific race is a prerequisite to treating people equally, but I am saying that overcompensation in one direction is often a red flag that something is not right about someone’s thinking.

When you speak of the President of the United States, the general rules of behavior don’t apply.  Therefore when President Obama shows his consistent discomfort and reluctance to call out  Islamic extremists by name, he may not be revealing a bigotry towards Muslims, but he is doing exactly what he claims he does not want to do, and that is marginalize the Muslim population.   No matter how often the President refuses to say the constant barrage of terror is being committed by Muslim extremists, the facts are the facts and the whole world knows it to be true.  Paris, Brussels, Lahore, San Bernadino, various cities all over Israel, are all places where there are examples of recent acts of terror all committed by Muslim extremists.  There, I said it. Muslim extremists. But I did not say all Muslims are terrorists did I?  If anything, by calling the terrorists Muslims Extremists I am separating them from the rest of the Muslim population.  To prove my point, I could easily forward this piece to the likes of M. Zuhdi Jasser, a great Muslim American, without being concerned that I would offend him. Why? Because I am comfortable in making the distinction between him and the terrorists that happen to be the same religion as he and many more millions of Muslims who are not terrorists. When a President leaves a philosophical vacuum he leaves the door open for the less intelligent and thoughtful to make very broad, bigoted, and very often dangerous generalizations.  To be blunt, it is better to make the statement ‘all Muslim are not terrorists, but most terrorists these days are Muslim’, than it is to pretend none of the terrorists are Muslim.

When the President says the terrorists do not represent Islam, he may be making what he perceives as an ideologically positive statement, but the truth is that the IS in ISIS or ISIL still stands for Islamic State, and the followers of the terrorist organization identify themselves as Muslims.  To not distinguish members of ISIS from decent Muslims does not make that go away.  If anything it helps create the reaction some people will have when they read this, which will be to say, “there are no good Muslims”.

Yes Mr. President, there are many people who feel and speak that way.  Why?  Partially because they are extremists or radicals themselves, partially because some are just racist, but very importantly and not to a small part because of the vacuum created by your reluctance to call it by name.   If you look around the world, specifically the western world, other than the Pope, no one individual can impact people’s thinking with words more than the President of the United States of America.  By avoiding the terms Islamic extremism or Muslim terrorists, this President may just be doing the exact opposite of what he claims he wants to be doing, and the anger and hatred it may cause may do all of us more harm than good.

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Time for the UN and the rest of the world to step up and call murder by its real name

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As the world heard the news of what happened in Brussels, Belgium, people were once again overwhelmed with feelings of horror, sadness and anger.  There is no question that most people are in agreement is that the death and destruction is an increasing reality that needs to be stopped.  Where the big problem starts, or should I say continues, is in the series of solutions proposed by the experts and politicians.  It seems everyone has an answer and solution.  However, in reality no one really knows exactly what to do.  That in itself may be the crux of why we are losing this war against terror.  To sum it up in one word, the biggest obstacle to preventing a global catastrophe is something ISIS and other terror organizations are not only counting on but causing.  That word is confusion.

Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican, Hawk or Dove, most if not all politicians in the civilized world want the terror to stop.  Yet the philosophies and approaches differ tremendously.  Everyone thinks their solution is the correct one. Certainly most give the impression that they do.  But does anyone really have the answer?  Do we need to consider the possibility that in some ways it is just too late to stop this tidal wave of terror engulfing the world.  Some say Europe is already lost. The events of the past few days certainly lends credence to that argument.  Some in America, traditionally those on the left, believe a softer, kinder, less involved approach is the answer.  We don’t know for sure that this approach is the incorrect one, but should it fail, and considering the enemy we are facing a very strong argument could be made that it would, are we willing to accept the bleak future that would follow and be prepared to fight for our way of life and ultimately our lives?   Do we plan a strategy that does nothing other than postpone the inevitable or do we swallow the bitterest of pills and viciously and totally wipe out the enemy without concern for collateral damage?

The multitude of questions with even more answers is the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the growing number of terrorist organizations across the world.  Earlier this week on CNN I listened to Michael Weiss, author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, as he explained how the terror organization’s specialty is not so much actual combat as it is manipulation and use of social media and its overall strategy in cleverly choosing what targets to hit and how to achieve the greatest bang for their buck.  It would be my personal assertion that other than totally destroying their command centers, nothing would damage ISIS more than a concerted and coordinated worldwide effort against them. Kind of makes you think the best leaders can’t only be the strongest, but must be the wisest as well.

In order to defeat terror, we much first recognize where it exists.  This sounds like it should be easy, but in reality it’s not only become the most difficult thing for the world to agree upon, it is turning into the foundation of the growing crisis.  With the United Nations taking sides against Israel in their fight against terrorists from all sides, American and European leaders willing to accept a deal with Iran, a nation that cultivates and exports terrorism, and a tolerance of hate worldwide, the chances of defeating this growing cancer are diminishing.   It’s not impossible, but without a unified army, be it a military or diplomatic one, we are destined to lose.  If ever the American public had the fate of the world in its hands it would be right now, for the next President of the United States may turn out to be one of, if not the most important person in solving this growing global crisis.

So assuming my assertion that everyone wants it to stop is accurate, the question remains, what do we do to actually achieve this Utopian goal.  It would be nice if for starters a zero tolerance for murder was recognized globally.  There will be instances when even the people we see as enemies may be able to claim self-defense, but why is it so difficult for people to agree that stabbings, mowing people down with cars, blowing up airplanes, setting off bombs in subways and airports are all examples of unquestionable murder.  Why did it take the world till just recently to say that ISIS was guilty of genocide when they have clearly been killing Christians indiscriminately for years.  If we are to defeat terror, it must start with a total agreement from every party involved in the fight that murder is unacceptable, period.  If Arab nations are not willing to recognize that Palestinians that stab Israelis are terrorists, than these nations will not be welcomed into the coalition.  Murder is murder.  If terrorists blow up cars in Baghdad killing dozens or blow up a Russian plane killing hundreds, or burn people alive in Nigeria, why is it more acceptable than a bomb in a European airport or subway?  I understand the poignancy and psychological impact of the Brussels and Paris attacks, but until murder is seen as murder, and the outcry and disgust is just as great when it happens in less chic places, nothing will truly be fixed.

So as a writer, and a person who would love to make a difference, I propose this challenge to the United Nations.  If ever there was a time to step up and truly matter in the world, if ever there was an opportunity to put all the corruption and inadequacies of this failing organization in the rear mirror, the time is now.  Let us learn from history. A precursor to the beginning of World War II was the collapse of an inept League of Nations.  In an era in which a different form of fascism is once again on the rise, the United Nations has an opportunity to wipe away its years of ineptitude on the world stage by truly uniting nations against evil.  But to do this they need to do a few things first.  Keep money from terror groups, even if it means temporarily holding back funds from people who may need it, make resolutions that clearly define and condemn any murder associated with terror groups or political extremism, and stop the biased attacks against Israel.  If the United Nations does this, they might actually stay in tact, make a difference, and help the world in the way in which they were originally designed to do. If not, they will likely fall apart, dissolve, and if history is to tragically repeat itself, be the lead into a full blown World War III.

If this all seems kind of grim it’s because the realities we face are extremely harsh. There is no longer room for misplaced tolerance.  The world needs to find a way to unite against evil and do so very quickly, otherwise all we will do is continue in a downward spiral towards death and destruction.  There is no more room for the kill them with kindness approach.  We are dealing with people who will merely laugh at us before they destroy us, and that means that as citizens we need to hold our leaders accountable and do so now.

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Are These the Actions of an Evil Regime?

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Israel, the Apartheid State.  The government that is persecuting Palestinians.  The regime committing genocide against the people of Palestine.   Really?  Does this sound like a country that would be taking care of the wife of the leader of the Palestinian authority?  Well that is exactly what happened this past weekend as the wife of Mahmoud Abbas had leg surgery in a hospital near Tel-Aviv.  But did the fair-minded speak out about this?  Did they ever stop to consider what would have happened if three Palestinian students had been kidnapped and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife would need surgery in most Arab nations?  Or even closer to home in the West Bank or Gaza?  As three Yeshiva students remain missing, likely kidnapped by Hamas or another similar terrorist organization, the Israeli government welcomed in and allowed the wife of Abbas to be cared for.  Does this strike you as the behavior of a state motivated to wipe the Palestinians off the planet.  Does it look like a government lacking in ethical human rights behavior?

We all know the answer.  Roger Waters knows the answer.  Emma Thompson knows the answer.  Alice Walker knows the answer.  But these phonies, Anti-Semites masquerading as humanitarians would never utter the words of truth that are so evident from the events taking place.   The worldwide movements to discredit Zionists, a smokescreen for decreasingly less subtle attacks on Jews, would never declare the truth about Israel, that it is a true democracy with true freedom and the highest level of human rights.  To do that would result in elevating the status of Jews worldwide, which in reality is why it is not done.  If you doubt this to be true just look at what it is happening in France on a regular basis to people because they are Jews, not because they are Zionists. And look at the recent murders in Brussels and wake up to the truth.  And that truth is that there are people who want to wipe the Jewish people from the planet, regardless of where they live.

We all say Never Again to something that on some very frightening levels has begun to happen again.  Did we ever know what we would do to stop it if it did?  Maybe not.  But it starts by seeing the reality of the situation and not closing our eyes, pretending it is not there and hoping it will go away.  That never worked and never will.