Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Processing Life's Lessons, and Growing Up......

As a young child I was a avid reader. I might even label myself a sort of teenage social activist. I wrote many letters. In a previous post, I wrote about some of the LETTERS, that I mailed.

But, one day in particuliar stings me as a teenager, and this one day I believe has helped make me the person I am.

Monday, June 8, 1981.


You see, it's just "Another Day in the Life" - as the Beatles would sing.

It wasn't.

I awoke that day to get ready for school. Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel on the TV, as I ate my oatmeal, and was drinking my morning juice.

Lead story on the NEWS:

"The Israelis have bombed a French-built nuclear plant near Iraq's capital, Baghdad, saying they believed it was designed to make nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.
It is the world's first air strike against a nuclear plant.

With remarkable precision, an undisclosed number of F-15 bombers and F-16 fighters destroyed the Osirak reactor 18 miles south of Baghdad, on the orders of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

The army command said all the Israeli planes returned safely.

The 70-megawatt uranium-powered reactor was near completion but had not been stocked with nuclear fuel so there was no danger of a leak, according to sources in the French atomic industry."

I was shocked. I was stunned.

Now, every day I would come home from school, and read our NJ paper called, "The Home News" -- I would sit at the top of the stairs, petting my dog -- and read about world events, local news, and sports. Paying special attention to the Mid-East reporting.

June 8, 1981.

A courageous day, or so I thought for Israel and the Jewish People.

Was I wrong?

THE ENTIRE WORLD CAME OUT IN DROVES TO CONDEMN ISRAEL. THE UNITED NATIONS. THE NEWSPAPERS. THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE WORLD.

I was confused.

Was Israel wrong? Was Prime Minister Begin, the man who reached out to Anwar Sadat only 4 years earlier in the wrong?

No. They were not.

But, the ENTIRE PLANET thought they were clearly WRONG.

The NY TIMES Editorial page was this...on June 9, 1981 - the very next day.

" “Israel’s sneak attack on a French-built nuclear reactor near Baghdad was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression,”

"Time magazine fretted that "Israel has vastly compounded the difficulties of procuring a peaceful settlement of the confrontation in the Middle East." The U.S. secretary of state called the raid "reckless." The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said it was "shocking" and approved a U.N. resolution demanding that Israel make "appropriate redress" to Iraq."


Was it short-sighted?

Can you imagine a world a few years later, if Saddam HAD BUILT Nuclear Weapons? Better yet, or if Israel DID NOT destroy the nuclear reactor in Iraq? Would our lives be a bit different?

Well, that's where my "contrarian view" of life comes into play. I think it started for me on June 9, 1981.

I never EVER, look at a basic situation anymore, and just play it straight. The bombing of Osirak, and processing this information as a teenager, taught me that important lesson.

Any important circumstance in life needs, MULTIPLE angles.

My multiple angle came from a VERY unlikely hero.

It was 1983. I was beginning my "foray" into a singer/songwriter named Bob Dylan. I was doing a DEEP DIVE, into Bob Dylan, and his magical lyrics.

He wrote a song called, "Neighborhood Bully." In this song, Israel - (according to Dylan), can be viewed as the "Neighborhood Bully" of the Mid-east.


Read this BETWEEN the lines, about Osirak, and Israel's neighbors.

"Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him,
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully."

"Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully."



Music helped me. Thanks to Mr. Dylan.

This made sense. Once again Music, and Bob Dylan explained something that no one else could communicate to me. Music touched my soul, AGAIN.

The Mid-East (Israel's neighbors) wait for the "Neighborhood Bully" (Israel) to fall asleep.

She won't.

Fast forward to 2006.

The Election's in Israel are over.

Iran is actively building nuclear weapons. They have already told the world of their intentions. Iran WILL seek to DESTROY the State of Israel. Make no mistake about their intentions.

I remember June of 1981, like yesterday. The feelings of bewilderment, confusion at what I was reading in the newspapers, watching on the evening news.....

No longer.

History is about to repeat itself in the Mid-East.

This time the stakes are higher.

When you wake up one morning, a similiar situation will be front and center, (IRAN) like June 1981 was for me.

Think much has changed?

We will see shortly.

I just hope Bob Dylan can reach out and touch a kid, the way his music explained it to me in 1983.

How will the "socially aware" teenager, process this information in 2006?

May Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel, have the strength and courage, of Menachen Begin.

"If I have a choice of being popular and dead, or unpopular and alive," Mr. Sharon told fellow cabinet members, "I choose being alive and unpopular."

Processing Life's Lessons -- one nuclear reactor bombing at a time.

2 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

To My Readers: (from andy)

I neglected one exception to the "world condemnation" against Israel.

My apologies to the "Wall Street Journal." Here is a piece of their Editorial page from June 9, 1981.

"There was at least one exception to the media's chorus of denunciation. Under the headline "Mourning the Bomb," The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial began: "An atom bomb for Iraq, we have learned in the past 24 hours, has become the latest great cause celebre of world opiniondom. Various governments, including our own, and a lot of pundits have been busily condemning Israel's raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor. Our own reaction is that it's nice to know that in Israel we have at least one nation left that still lives in the world of reality." The editorial added: "Of course Iraq was building a bomb," and "of course, given the Iraqi reputation for political nuttiness reaffirmed again in its starting a war with Iran, its atom bomb would also have been a danger to all its neighbors. We all ought to get together and send the Israelis a vote of thanks."

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True-up. I'm with you.

Unfortunately I think the outlook for the world right now is a bit bleak. an article this past weekend's New York Times slammed me with some reality on anti-Semitism in France. It wasn't actually that it was France, but illustrated the utter lack of any common ground of reality or fact from which to architect any proper solution.

Unfortunately security fences seem to be the best logic. Israel will never win politically and will have to "settle" for security. Now I fear, more than ever, that the US is as isolated as Israel, from a political perspective and from the perspective of focused hatred. Granted, Bush is primarily to blame, but on the other hand there is no contention point to recognize or resolve. Have the "insurgents" made a case for withdrawal for peace? Of course not, their killing just to kill.

The US invasion of Iraq was really a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Arab world. Even when Bush was making his case for invasion, I agreed on invasion but for different reasons and with a different outcome; take-out Sadam, install secular military and get out. Now the US in a quagmire that has no solution.

The bottom line is that the world is feed propaganda from all sides and everyone eats it up, whether French, Russian, Chinese or Mid-Western American. Now we have viewpoints and hatred based upon lies and we're all paying the price.

Oh, and another thing. I watched Charlie Rose interview Syria's al-Asad and finally just had to turn-off the TV. Asked to comment about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's (Iran) comments that the Holocaust never happened, this western education man, with a straight face, couldn't answer with the truth. He questioned the accuracy of 6 million and reiterated that there were more Russians killed on WWII. If we cannot get them to admit truths, how are we to manage diplomatically. Ironically I don't think Asad is actually in control of Syria any way. Perhaps we're not to concern ourselves with others think.

What's to be done?

11:38 AM  

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