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.
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.
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.....
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.