Thursday, April 12, 2012

Come a Judgment Day

Jew-Hatred from Palestinians
Norma Zager has sent an essay that at first glance appears to be a negative self-examination of where her journey has taken her so far. I assure you this essay stretches way beyond negative self-examination. Zager includes herself however it also turns to focus on the nations of the world to self-examination. This is a very poignant essay on the trials and tribulation of Anti-Semitism that stretches to downright Jew-hatred. Zager culminates with the wise lyrics of One Tin Soldier of which I am adding a video of at the end of Zager’s essay. If you are a Baby Boomer the song will be a walk down memory lane of some old memories of your youth you may have forgotten.

JRH 4/12/12

Come a Judgment Day
I am a Giant Failure

By Norma Zager
Sent: 4/11/2012 8:49 PM

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything…” Albert Einstein

If nothing else, a column is a self-serving homage to man’s need to vent, cry and beat his chest not in private, but for the entire world to witness.

In that spirit I confess my wrongdoings and dissatisfaction in the most frantic and self-absorbed terms.

It isn’t the first time I have been accused of playing the role of a drama queen, and I daresay probably not the last, but as it is my right, I shall moan and bemoan my failures in the harshest of terms.

Perhaps others will identify with my rant, and a rash of chest beatings will infect the entire area. One can only hope.

Most people who know me believe I have done some gutsy things in my life. Taken some big risks and overcame obstacles to accomplish personal goals.

Some I did achieve, others not so much.

Yet in truth, every day of my life I fail.

Every day I am reminded of my own failures, my lack of accomplishments.

How and why you might ask. Why do you call yourself a failure? Isn’t that a bit harsh?

Isn’t it counterproductive to say such negative things about oneself? Doesn’t The Secret teach us to say only nice and uplifting things about our lives? Well, maybe The Secret doesn’t share my disappointments. Therefore I feel the need to take other, more desperate, action to heal the wounds of failure.

And if it ultimately gets you to move forward and do the right things, I say kudos to self-deprecation.

That is why I must insist on focusing on my ultimate goals each day and not lose sight of the fact I have not achieved what I set out to do with my life.

And what might that be one queries (sic)?

And why should anyone care?

Because my failures are yours as well, that’s why.

Perhaps these failures can be better understood by stating a few undeniable facts of life I dug up along the way.

Almost 50,000 children died on this planet today. I have failed to save even one.

Two billion dollars of United States taxpayer money went to the United Nations this year to do evil on earth. I failed to prevent them from receiving even one nickel of these ill-gotten gains. Money that could be building American schools and feeding America’s hungry men, women and children. Money that is used instead to destroy the State of Israel.

Iran moved forward with its nuclear arsenal today. I could not stop it from getting one step closer to annihilating the Jewish people and ultimately the western world.

Hate crimes, mainly directed against Jews, doubled last year in Swedish cities like Malmo with police recording 79 incidents and admitting that far more probably went unreported. The future looks so bleak that by one estimate, around 30 Jewish families have already left for Stockholm, England or Israel, and more are preparing to go.

Anti-Jewish hate crime has risen by one third in Greater Manchester, England, and the region for the first time is suffering more attacks than London.

Gunmen from a radical Muslim sect attacked a town hall on Friday in rural northeast Nigeria, killing at least 20 people who had gathered for a meeting of a Christian ethnic group in Mubi in Adamawa State.

In Bakool and Lower Shabelle, the most severely affected regions of Somalia, acute malnutrition due to poor diets or inadequate food is now exceeding 50%, and Unicef is recording at least six per 10,000 children dying daily. Reporting is not helping by the way, although I give them credit for at least trying to help.

When one does the math, this could translate into more than 12 children dying every hour should the situation worsen. Three other regions in the south will also see a famine.

Numbers on high school completion show that the percentage of California high school students who graduate is falling, even as the same percentage is increasing nationwide.

As of December 23, 2011, 15,138 United States soldiers have been wounded in action in Afghanistan

Tent cities have sprung up in and around at least 55 American cities, and one of the largest tented camps in Florida houses around 300 people. Others have sprung up in New Jersey and Portland.  An estimated 5,000 people live in the dozens of camps that sprung up across America.

I don’t have enough pages to list all the atrocities in the world today. Nor do I have enough words to voice my disappointment at our generation. One that fought and marched for peace.

I cannot say how I decry the failure of myself and others to achieve the lofty goals set by a starry-eyed band of believers and over-achievers. Young people that once cared about the world, children, peace and human suffering.

Where have we gone and how did we fail so miserably to promote these values and spread them across the planet?

So I will not be redundant. I will let two songwriters speak my grief and remind us all of the futility of human behavior.

As we backbite, hurt others’ feelings and engage in spiteful or reprehensible behavior, let’s stop and think about the pettiness of our arguments, our foibles and our intentions.

Kudos to Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter who wrote it so eloquently in One Tin Soldier:

Now the valley cried with anger,
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
“Peace on Earth” was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

I am sick of failure. Shouldn’t I be doing better than this? Let tomorrow bring a commitment to loftier goals from a generation that espoused peace and brotherhood.  Then, perhaps soon, I will be able to quote Bob Dylan’s lyrics instead, “and the times they are a-changin’.”

Uploaded by deafsubtitles
Jun 16, 2009

"One Tin Soldier" is a 60s era anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. The Canadian pop group Original Caste first recorded the song in 1969. The track briefly reached limited popularity locally and reached Number 34 on the American pop charts in early 1970.

"One Tin Soldier" tells the abstract story of a hidden treasure and two neighboring peoples, the Mountain People and the Valley People. The Valley People are aware of a treasure on the mountain, buried under a stone; they send a message to the Mountain People demanding those riches. When told they can share the treasure, the Valley People instead decided to take it all by force. After killing all the Mountain People, the victors move the stone and find nothing more than a simple message: "Peace on Earth." Ironically, the valley people destroyed the treasure in pursuit of it.

The Billy Jack connection:

Jinx Dawson of the band Coven sang the song at a 1971 session with the film's orchestra as part of the soundtrack for the Warner Brothers movie Billy Jack. Jinx asked that her band, Coven, be listed on the recording and film, not her name as a solo artist. This Warner release, titled as "One Tin Soldier: The Legend of Billy Jack," reached #17 on Billboard's Hot 100 in fall 1971, only to be pulled from the charts as it was moving up by the Billy Jack film producers due to legal squabbles over the rights to the recording. The full Coven band then reluctantly re-recorded the song for their MGM album. Thus the MGM album containing a second version of this song displayed their whited-out faces on the cover, contrived again by the film's producer Tom Laughlin. The recording then hit the charts again in both 1973 and 1974 near the end of the Vietnam War and the release of the film The Trial of Billy Jack. The Coven recording was named Number One All Time Requested Song in 1971 and 1973 by the American Radio Broadcasters Association. A slightly different version recorded by Guy Chandler (titled "One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)") charted in summer 1973 (Wikipedia).
The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover and Israelis often ignore.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

Zager and Bussel can be heard on live radio in conversation on the program “Conversations Eye to Eye between Norma and Ari.”

© “Postcards from America — Postcards from Israel,” April 2012
First Published Apr 5, 2012

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