Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Golden Girl !!

"The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we do that ... we'll fight!!

I've been reading a biography of Golda Meir, Israel's first female Prime Minister. And frankly, I'm impressed. Golden Girl extraordinaire ...... Golda,  Girl extaordinaire!!!

She was elected Prime Minister of Israel on 17 March 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and as Foreign Minister. Israel's first and the world's third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir "the best man in the government"; she was often portrayed as the "strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people".

Whilst still at school she embraced Zionism & she gradually became more involved with the Zionist movement. Born in the USA, she discovered Zionism there, spoke at public meetings, embraced and hosted visitors from Palestine. She then made Ayliah .... & I Aspire to follow in her footsteps next year!!

In July 1938, Meir was the Jewish observer from Palestine at the Évian Conference, called by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to discuss the question of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Delegates from the 32 invited countries repeatedly expressed their sorrow for the plight of the European Jews but made excuses as to why their countries could not help by admitting the refugees. The only exception was the Dominican Republic, which pledged to accept 100,000 refugees on generous terms. Meir was disappointed at the outcome and remarked to the press, "There is only one thing I hope to see before I die and that is that my people should not need expressions of sympathy anymore."

At the end of World War II, she took part in the negotiations with the British that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel. In 1948, she became Israel's first ambassador to the Soviet Union. That position lasted seven months, and she returned to Israel in 1949 to become Minister of Labour. In 1956, she became Foreign Minister, and served in this capacity until her retirement in 1965. On 26 February 1969, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol died of a heart attack, at which time many members of the Knesset asked Meir to return to politics. She became prime minister of Israel with the Labour Party's support. Meir's greatest crisis came during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

This war Israel Won ... as All of her Wars! I like Golda Meir, she was true to her word, which was born of her Zionist convictions .... & this is one of my two favourite quotes of hers "To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don't be".

In the wake of the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Meir appealed to the world to "save our citizens and condemn the unspeakable criminal acts committed." Outraged at the perceived lack of global action, she ordered the Mossad to hunt down and assassinate the Black September and PFLP operatives who took part in the massacre.  Both stories are told in postings preceeding this one!

On 8 December 1978, Meir died of lymphatic cancer in Jerusalem at the age of 80. She was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on 12 December 1978.

And my other 'favourite' quote of hers ... "To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man" ... I kinda think she was!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Did Spielberg Massacre Munich??

I'm blogging this movie here today because this month sees the 39th Anniversary of the Munich Massacre & because I recently both watched & debated it's merits with someone ... not because I think the movie is great, I don't!!!  

This film had received such positive reviews and was nominated for five Academy Awards: ~ Best Picture, Best Director (Spielberg), Best Adapted Screenplay (Tony Kushner and Eric Roth), Best Film Editing (Michael Kahn) and Best Original Score (John Williams). Steven Spielberg directed & I have long considered him to be one of the finest movie makers of my time. Almost every film of his that I have seen spellbound … "Schindler's List", "The Colour Purple", “E.T” … okay so I was 4!

Why ‘Munich’??

Because in 1972 there was a Massive Massacre at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. Israeli coaches and athletes were kidnapped, held hostage & slain by ‘Black September’, a leftist guerrilla group supporting & headed by Palestinian terrorists.

This film is based on the book ‘Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team’ by Canadian journalist George Jonas, which in turn was based on the story of Yuval Aviv, who claims to have been a Mossad agent in the 1970’s. In the book, Aviv's story is told through the life of a protagonist called "Avner", Spielberg retains him in the movie, which shows how a squad of assassins, led by Avner, (Eric Bana), tracks down and assasinates a list of Black September members thought to be responsible for the Munich murders. So, it is a Dark tale … yet, quite captivating & I loved the ‘grainy’ camerawork & ‘painterly’ atmosphere. All bode well & I enthusiastically engaged the DVD … I was disappointed with the movie, though & here’s why!

If Steven Spielberg had made a fictional movie about the psychological disintegration of a revenge assassin, that would have been fine. Instead, he did just that, but decided to call this fiction "Munich" and root it in a real historical event: ~ that 1972 massacre by Palestinian terrorists of those 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. Once you've done that ~ evoked the killing of innocents who, but for Palestinian murderers, would today be Israeli heroes ~ you have an obligation to get the story right and not to use the victims as props for any political agenda, let alone for the political agenda of those who killed them.

The only true part of the story is the few minutes spent on the massacre. The rest is invention, as Spielberg delicately puts it in the opening credits, a Movie that is "inspired by real events” !!!   Inspired by real events? Rubbish. Inspired by Tony Kushner's belief that the founding of Israel was a "historical, moral, political calamity" for the Jewish people morelike!

It is an axiom of filmmaking that you can only care about a character you know. In "Munich," the Israeli athletes are both theatrical & historical extras, stick figures as in a Lowry painting. Spielberg dutifully gives us their names ~ Spielberg's List ~ and nothing more …. no history, no context, no relationships, nothing. They are there to die. Their sole purpose in this movie as in history. Unknowns.

The Palestinians who plan the massacre and are hunted down by Israel are given ~ with the concision of the gifted cinematic craftsman ~ texture, humanity, depth & history. The first Palestinian we meet is an erudite translator of poetry, giving a public reading, then acting kindly toward an Italian shopkeeper ~ before he is shot in cold blood by ‘Jews’.

Then there is the elderly PLO member who dotes on his 7 year old daughter before being blown to bits. Not one of these plotters is shown plotting Munich, or any other attrocity for that matter. They are shown in the full flower of their humanity, savagely extinguished by ‘Jews’. How does this make for a ‘historical’ re-enactment??

But, the most shocking Israeli brutality involves a Dutch prostitute ~ apolitical, beautiful, pathetic ~ shot to death, naked, of course, by now half-crazed Israelis settling private business. Settling up the Israeli way, I suppose!!

There are some moments in the movie where the 'assasins' humanity is shown, especially through the human promptings of 'Avner', the central character. But, they are not enough to redeem it's anti Israeli slant.

Even more egregious than the manipulation by character is the propaganda by dialogue. The Palestinian case is made forthrightly … The Jews stole our land and we're going to kill any Israeli we can to get it back. Those who are supposedly making the Israeli case say . . . the same thing!!

The hero's mother, the pitiless committed Zionist, says: "We needed the refuge. We seized it. Whatever it takes to secure it. "Then she ticks off members of their family lost in the Holocaust. Spielberg makes the Holocaust the engine of Zionism and its justification. Which, of course, is the Palestinian narrative, not the truth. Indeed, it is the classic narrative for anti-Zionists, like Adhmadinejhad, the president of Iran, who says that Israel should be wiped off the map. And why not? If Israel is nothing more than Europe's guilt trip for the Holocaust, then why should Muslims have to suffer a Jewish state in their midst?

This is soooo wrong. And for a Jew to perpetrate this????

It takes Hollywood to give flesh to the argument of a radical anti-Semitic Iranian. Jewish history did not begin with ‘Kristallnacht'. The first Zionist Congress occurred in 1897. The Jews fought for and received recognition for the right to establish a "Jewish national home in Palestine" from Britain in 1917 and from the League of Nations in 1922, two decades before the Holocaust.

And, the Jewish claim is far more ancient than that. If the Jews were just seeking a nice refuge, why did they choose the malarial swamps and barren sand dunes of 19th-century Palestine? Because Israel is their ancestral home, site of the first two Jewish commonwealths for a thousand years ~ long before Arabs, long before Islam, long before the Holocaust!!

The Roman destructions of 70BCE and 135 CE extinguished Jewish independence, but never the Jewish claim and vow to return home. The Jews' miraculous return 2,000 years later was tragic because others had settled in the land and presented a competing claim. Which is why Jews have for three generations offered to partition Israel, wrongly in my opinion, but we are nothing if not humane. The Arab response in every generation has been rejection, war and terrorism.

And Munich.

Munich, the massacre, had only modest success in launching the Palestinian cause with the blood of 11 Jews. "Munich," the movie, has now made that success much more complete 39 years later. No longer is it crude, grainy TV propaganda. "Munich" now enjoys high cinematic production values and the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg, no less, carrying the original terrorists' intended message to the world. This is hardly surprising, considering that "Munich's" , the movie’s, case for the moral bankruptcy of the Israeli cause ~ not just the campaign to assassinate Munich's planners but the entire enterprise of Israel itself ~ is so thorough that the movie concludes with the lead Mossad assassin, Avner, so seared by his experience, that he abandons Israel forever.

Where does this hero resettle? “In the only true home for the Jew of conscience, sensitivity and authenticity: Brooklyn." The abode of Liberal Jews, like Spielberg & others who ply their trade in Hollywood. How does this betrayal of true history benefit Israel or history??? Or Zionism?? It can only play into the hands of the ‘anti-semetic Zionists’ in these days of resurgent & rampant & rising anti-semitism. I believe that this film raises not just Jewish issues but societal issues. 

And, I’m not sorry I watched it .... I love movies. But, please if it is fact or intelligence you are looking for, then don’t waste your time with this movie.   Shame on you Spielberg!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Anniversary !!

"When I was a kid, my father used to say 'Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.'  Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They’ve now said that there were eleven hostages. Two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone!"
~  Jim McKay, ABC journalist covering the Olympic Games, Munich, Germany, September 1972.

September holds an array of 'Anniversaries' for me ..... Both my Parents (of  Blessed Memory) died in this month.  Their anniversaries fall on 18th & 22nd of September, respectively.  It has thus become a Month of Mourning for Me.  September 11th will be a day forever etched in my mind,  as I recall the searing Images impressed there by Islam.  And September also holds the seeds of yet another Massacre, in Munich, Germany on  5th/6th September, 1972.
The 1972 Olympics in Münich were the second occasion Germany hosted the event. The first time, in 1936, was deeply political, as Hitler and the Nazi party used the event for a stage-managed propaganda display of their supposedly 'Model' society. After the horrors of war, Germany was not initially allowed to compete in the Games, and when it did so it was eventually to be as a team split between the Westernised Federal Republic of Germany, and the Soviet-dominated German Democratic Republic of East Germany.

1972 was an opportunity for the Germans to erase from memory the 'Nazi' Games, and instead replace them with a Games held in a carefree spirit. Security was light, and spending was concentrated on having fun, reflected in an abstract 'happy' logo for the games.

That isn't to say that there were not security preparations. Famously, Dr. Georg Sieber prepared a set of worst-case scenarios for the Games, which included an eerily accurate prediction of exactly what transpired. One of his scenarios was of a highjacked plane being crashed into the stadium,  (echoes of another September morning here),  but it was scenario 21 ~ terrorists with sympathies for the Palestinian cause breaking into the Olympic Village and kidnapping members of the Israeli Olympic squad ~ that actually happened!

Although it was still a few years before rolling 24 hour news channels were developed, the fact that the attack happened at the Olympic Village meant there was plenty of media around.  The 1936 Games had been relayed on big screens within Berlin, and the 1948 Games had been the first shown live on TV.  Since then, media coverage had increased exponentially, with the 1964 Games from Tokyo being the first time live pictures were broadcast over the Pacific from Japan to the USA.

The 1972 hostage crisis unfolded live on television screens around the globe. The Münich Massacre was one of the first "made for television" terrorist atrocities designed to bring attention to the Palestinian cause. On several occasions during the crisis it seemed that the kidnappers were able to follow police preparations to tackle them by simply turing on their television sets.  Images of the murderers from the world's TV screens became one of the defining images of international terrorism.

Moshe Weinberg and Yossef Romano were murdered prior to the scene of the hostage crisis being shifted to a military airport at Fürstenfeldbruck. It was there that a totally inept failed rescue attempt ended up with the 9 remaining Israeli hostages being murdered.  

At first the Games continued during the crisis, but eventually they were halted for a few hours. When they were re-started, it was with a memorial service held in the Olympic Stadium, attended by many of the competing athletes.   Ten nations opposed to the existence of the State of Israel requested that their flags not be flown at half-mast during the ceremony. As disrespectful as this was to the spirit of Olympic competition, the IOC acquiesced and granted this request. The massacre of 11 Israeli athletes was not considered sufficiently serious to merit cancelling or postponing of the Olympics.   Truly, the world cares nothing for Jewish Blood!

  “Incredibly, they're going on with it,” Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time. “It's almost like having a dance at Dachau.” ...... WWII Death Camp, less than 10 miles away!

Not all the athletes stayed however, and the Israeli team did not continue to compete in the Games. The entire Egyptian team withdrew as well. The destination the terrorists had asked to be flown to was Cairo, and the Egyptian team felt there would be bad feeling directed towards them.

"You give a party, and someone is killed at the party, you don't continue the party. I'm going home."  ~ Jos Hermens,  Athlete.

It didn't take long though,  for most the sportsmen and women of the Games to get their usual sense of priorities back.  Just 4 days after the 11 Israelis were murdered, all of the political dissent at the Games was focussed back on the Cold War & the fight for medals.  Why would anyone want a medal from such tainted games??   

A Palestinian guerrilla group, the Black September Organization claimed responsibility for the killing of the eleven Israeli's in Munich. The Fatah originated in 1957 and boasted an estimated membership of over 11,000 by the late 1980's. The United States Department of State's 1988 publication of Terrorist Group Profiles, describes the Fatah as the military arm of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  Fatah is an acronym spelled backwards representing Harakat al-Tahrir al Filistini. The phrase translates as Palestine Liberation Movement.  Former Fatah leader Yasir Arafat assumed leadership of the PLO in 1969.  The Fatah utilized the name Black September Organization from approximately 1971 to 1974. Some sources speculate that Arafat utilized the name to distance himself and the PLO from the actions of the BSO,  in a bid to hunt a certain respectability among the International community.   Many terrorist experts speculate that Arafat controlled Black September and utilized it as his primary military force.   

In September 1970, King Hussein's military forced the group out of Jordan and into Lebanon.  The expulsion of Fatah from Jordan and Egypt severely limited the group's ability to launch cross-border operations into Israel.  Thus, the Fatah resorted to increased terrorist activities as a means to attack Israel.  Black September conducted nine major terrorist attacks in 1971 and early 1972 prior to the Munich Olympic incident.  Dedicated to armed struggle, its goal has never changed .... unable to defeat Israel militarily, however, the Arab strategy is to demonize and delegitimize, creating yet another Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan.   In order to accomplish this, it concocted a narrative,  an identity and ethos to compete with Zionism and Jewish history,  Palestinianism!!

It is widely believed that a subsequent Lufthansa 'hijack' in West Germany, where the perpetrators called for the release of the surviving Münich terrorists was rather convenient for the German authorities.  They were able to swiftly hand the suspects over to Libya, and avoid the embarrassment of a trial which might expose their failure to prevent the kidnapping and the deaths of the Israelis.  In scenes that are lamentably,  still depressingly familiar today, those who had murdered unarmed civilians were treated as heroes of war upon their return to their Arab homelands.    It was followed up by a world-wide effort to legitimize the Terrorist Arafat which directly lead to the Oslo Accords, & to negotiations to carve up Eretz Israel in the guise of 'peace negotiations'.   Bassam Abu Sharif, a member of the PFLP at the time, said the motive for the operation in Munich was to attract publicity for the Palestinian cause and to win the release of Palestinian prisoners. It suceeded & Israel has been demonised.

Don't be Deluded .... those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it!!  This is an apt description of the present Israeli Government, as well as most of the terrorist appeasing governments of the world, involved even today in 'peace' talks with those who proclaim the perpetrators of  this murder in Munich as heroes & whose avowed goal is a Judenrein Middle East. The Massacre at Munich  was one of Islam's most gruesome displays of its signature contribution to civilization in the twentieth century. Its cold-blooded brutality is pure Islam,  as surely as it's murderous mayhem forever changed the New York skyline on another September day. 

Let us remember the 11 Israeli team members taken hostage and subsequently murdered in Munich ....
1) wrestling referee Yossef Gutfreund (inset), age 40;
2) wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg, 33;
3) weightlifter Yossef Romano, 31;
4) weightlifter David Berger, 28;
5) weightlifter Ze'ev Friedman, 28;
6) wrestler Eliezer Halfin, 24;
7) track coach Amitzur Shapira, 40;
8) shooting coach Kehat Shorr, 53;
9) wrestler Mark Slavin, 18;
10) fencing coach Andre Spitzer, 27;
& 11) weightlifting judge Yakov Springer, 51.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's "Arthur's Day"!!

Guinness, that is!!!   At least it is in Dublin, Ireland, my hometown!

So, just a brief fun posting so you can 'Do' Dublin with me today, nach ea????  Thought I'd throw in the "cupla focal as gaeilge",  or the couple of words in my Mother tongue!

The watering hole in the Video is abosolutely appropriate ..... it is 'The Palace' Bar (fit for a Princess, don't you know???)  which is located in Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.  And, the fact that it is in 'Temple' Bar makes it doubly appropriate, nach ea???

Anyways,  please raise a glass with me today, whatever your beverage ......... SLAINTE!!!! (Good Health!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sweet Words .....

Audrey in Sabrina, 1954

This is not one of my usual blogs, filled with analyses of any sort.  Rather, it is an excerpt from a longer *something* someone sent to me ...... Sweet words of encouragement on Yom Kippur.  A hard day, a day dedicated to Ha'Shem, a day of fasting & introspection ..... both of which I am quite excellent at, actually!  Nevertheless,  a tough day to be a Jew, especially tough for me this year as it is the anniversary of my Dad's death.   Not for nothing have I been called the Queen of Affliction!!!

Anyways, It touched me & I thought I would share .....

" A few words to help you with Yom Kippur ..... which I know will not be easy for you"

"My mother didn't snack, but when she had a dessert, it had to be sweet.   ...  She loved a scoop of vanilla ice cream with maple syrup dribbled over it. After her afternoon nap, which she had learned to take because of the early calls and long hours of film production, she would often have a piece of chocolate - one piece! She said that chocolate chased away the blues.

Here is another secret: my mother really wasn't so thin. She used to refer to herself as “fake thin.” Her upper body, especially her thoracic cage, was thinner than average, thus her thin waist. The early whooping-cough incident, combined with malnutrition during the war, led to asthma in her youth, and she had somewhat weak lungs throughout her life. She smoked, like most dancers and just about everybody else at the time, and was told throughout her life that she might be in the early stages of emphysema. 


Her ballet training also played an important role in the development of her physique. Although her upper body was slight, her arms and her legs were athletic and she was well proportioned overall.   So if you want to be in good shape, it's pretty simple: Grow up during the war, suffer famine in your early life, exercise every day, and later in life eat reasonable amounts of everything and feel good about it." 

 ~ Audrey Hepburn,  An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers by Sean Hepburn Ferrer. ~ 


And, I'll add a quote .... "Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me. "  ~ Audrey Hepburn.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today is Yom Kippur .......

General Moshe Dayan & Ariel Sharon, Yom Kippur War, 1973.

 It is a day of Atonement & Affliction.  One affliction Israel did not expect happened on Yom Kippur, 1973.   The Yom Kippur War began with a joint surprise attack by our Arab enemy on Yom Kippur, probably the holiest day in Judaism, when Egypt and Syria crossed ceasefire lines to enter Israel in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. The war began with a massive and... successful Egyptian attack across the heavily-fortified Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. In the north, the Syrians attacked the Golan Heights at the same time and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered defenders, but their momentum waned.

Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter offensive, driving deep into Syria itself. And so, we turned the situation right around, the Egyptians went back on the offensive, but were decisively defeated ~ the IDF then counterattacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting. Israel encircled elements of Egypt's Third Army after an agreed United Nations ceasefire resolution, which we correctly ignored!


Victory for Israel meant between 2,520 and 2,800 killed in action. An additional 7,250 soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured. Approximately 400 Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled. The Israeli Air Force lost 102 aircraft & two helicopters were also shot down. But Victory is Victory!!!!


Defeat in this war further humiliated the Arab world .... let's remember this,  & how our Arab enemy issued the "three no's", resolving that there would be "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel". They haven't changed their minds, just their strategy.   Why have we changed ours??  Let's remember our forthrightness under Ha'Shem & our astounding victory in battle this Yom Kippur & may it lead to a decisive change in our Strategy in our present 'peace' negotiations.  Appeasment Never Works!!!!


What lessons are still to be learned from a war Israel fought 37 years ago today?


The current wave of anti-Israel demonization in Europe and elsewhere was prefigured then, in the months after the Yom Kippur War. The Arab oil boycott turned Israel into a pariah ~  fewer countries had diplomatic relations with the Jewish state than with the PLO, which didn’t even pretend to seek anything but Israel’s destruction. The UN General Assembly gave a standing ovation to Yasser Arafat, who wore a pistol to the session and preached the destruction of a UN member state, the Jewish State of Israel.  


Zionism is the Jews’ final strategy for acceptance, ending their status as a ghost people haunting the nations, as Zionist thinker Leo Pinsker put it. Yet not only had Zionism failed to win Jews acceptance, Zionism itself has become the pretext for the latest assault on Jewish legitimacy.  Why does every attempt to create a normal Jewish relationship with the world seem to fail?  Because we are seeking to please International opinion into accepting the Jewish State of Israel on Equal terms.  I don't think they will ever do this.  

If anything, the crisis that began with the Yom Kippur War has only deepened.  The question of Israel’s permanence as a Jewish entity has become even more urgent in recent years.  No Western society lives in greater intimacy with death than Israel  & the need to find answers & adopt winning political strategies is an ever more urgent one.  In fact it is an existential one.  Reflecting on the Yom Kippur war of 1973 this day may be the next phase of Israeli response to Yom Kippur, 1973.

"in military terms Israel would recognize its achievement in the war as having few historic parallels. Reeling from a surprise attack on two fronts with the bulk of its army still unmobilized, and confronted by staggering new battlefield realities, Israel's situation was one that could readily bring strong nations to their knees. Yet, within days, it had regained its footing and in less than two weeks it was threatening both enemy capitals, an achievement having few historical parallels. Israel faced not just the Egyptian and Syrian armies but much of the Arab world, and did so with the arm it had most relied on, the air force, tied behind its back. As a military feat, the IDF’s performance in the Yom Kippur War dwarfed that in the Six Day War. Victory emerged from motivation that came from the deepest layers of the nation’s being and from basic military skills that compensated for the grave errors of leadership" ~ Abraham Rabinovich, 'The Yom Kippur War' p. 498.

Today .... I will Remember!!!!!

In today's Obamanation there is a danger that Remberance of the Horror visited on our World that day will be buried (Pun intented!).  Those who are Remembered do not Die!!

I was 18 & in University in the UK on September 11th,  2001. It was Tuesday & I had begun the day by trying to complete my reading of 'The Guardian' from the previous Sunday. I read an article praising the Burqua & looking at the position of women in the Islamic world. It was an apologist position, positively in favour of Burqua wearing. I was considering this article when I got a cellphone call telling me that a plane had hit the WTC in NYC. My first thoughts were that it must be a private plane lost, then my friend suggested it looked bigger than that. It was 1.15 GMT or 9.15 am in New York.

I abandoned prep plans for my next lecture & headed to the Student lounge to see the news on tv. I arrived just in time to see the second plane strike the South Tower. I immediately understood.

I remember the tower burning; the second tower struck. I remember the horrific vision, surreal, of men and women leaping and falling to their deaths from the burning towers. The only choice left to them, how to die. I remember the scream of sirens, and the screams of onlookers. I remember the resolute faces of rescue workers. I remember the burning towers falling.

I remember three firemen raising the American flag ~ the flag of freedom ~ on a pile of smoking rubble. I remember the celebrations in the streets of Gaza (before Arafat threatened death to any who dared broadcast such images). And the Palestinians were hardly alone in rejoicing at the death and destruction wrought by the murdering terrorist jihadi that day. It happened throughout the Islamic world.

Today, we should all remember the innocent victims of September 11, 2001. We should remember the rescuers who gave their lives, and those who now suffer illness because they were there, trying to help. We should remember the heroes on Flight 93 who fought back, armed only with courage in the face of death. And we should remember every member of the armed forces, our defenders, who have given life and limb and the minutes and days of their lives, to protect us.

Since that terrible day, I have struggled to understand. The lives lost that day, and since then in my defence, the suffering of the injured and wounded, the grief of those who lost loved ones, demanded no less.

I have learned much, and I have begun to understand.

I spoke to a friend last evening, we sort of touched on this. There is a book (one of a series) by the infamous historian Eric Hobsbawm, defining the long 19th Century, which came to a close with the declaration of WWI in 1918. And another, the short twentieth one. That came to an end at 9.15am on September 11th, 2001.

The world did not change on September 11, 2001. Our view of the world changed. At least mine did!

It was as if a monstrous kaleidoscope had been turned, and an entirely different vision of the world was presented to us. In this horrific vision, we were suddenly surrounded by enemies unknown, their evil motives and goals beyond our comprehension. But they had been there all along, and they were not hiding. We simply did not see them for the evil they are or the threat they represent. I had thought just an hour before how the burqua evened the 'playing field' for the unpretty girls!!!

How niaeve was I????

We must learn to comprehend the evil motives and goals behind 9/11, and the evil men who advance them. I use the word evil advisedly, for evil exists just as surely as does goodness. These men are truly evil; failing to recognize their essential wickedness, if we do that, we too will suffer the evil fate they plan for us.

These men believe in Global Jihad and the establishment of a Worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law. In this evil vision, we are all of us, slaves. According to the tenets of their beliefs, we have but three options. We must convert to Islam, or we must accept second-class citizenship, pay a tax for the privilege, and submit to their rule and their law. Or we must die. There are no other alternatives.

This war upon the rest of humanity, this jihad, did not begin on September 11, 2001. It began centuries ago. It began even before the Crusades. It is a fundamental tenet of Islam that all the societies of so-called infidels should made subject to the Caliphate, by any means. And while some would have us believe that only a small minority of Muslims supports this jihad, the silence of so many Muslims in the face of this evil belies such claims.

The Qu'ran itself proclaims that silence is assent. In fact, it is a tenet of Islam that no duty of truth or fairness is due to infidels, and deceit in the service of jihad is no sin. Therefore even the words of the apologists for Islam, those who deny the inherent evil, are untrustworthy. Their protestations of innocence and benevolence cannot be taken at face value. We must judge them by their actions alone, and be not deceived.

Despite the violence and criminal attacks of the terrorist jihadi, and our necessary resort to violence in our own defence, the real war against the terrorist jihadi and their fellow travelers will be fought in the hearts and minds of men and women around the world. Given the choice between freedom and dignity, and slavery to the evil Mullahs, there is no doubt that the vast majority of the world's people will choose freedom. It is our task to promote and preserve this choice. To do so we must stand fast in the face of the wickedness and duplicity of our enemies; we must destroy them wherever they hide. We must support and protect the weak, and give them the chance to taste freedom and democracy, so that they too can understand the choice before them. If we have the will to do so, we will prevail. If we do not, we will die, and our children will live in subjugation.

I do not hate Muslims, or Islam. I have on occasion been accused of this. ..... I simply recognize the threat that blind obedience to an ancient and evil ideology, so rife with hatred and intolerance, poses to our way of life, and to the hopes for freedom and dignity of all the world's people. I recognize the hypocrisy and duplicity of those Muslims who give lip service to peace and tolerance before Western audiences, with a wink and a nod to the evildoers in their midst. I have pity and contempt for those Muslims who may believe in peace and tolerance, but who cower in silent fear of retribution, rather than speak out while their religion is smeared and stained with the blood of the innocent. I reserve my respect for Muslims like Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of al Arabiya, & Nonie Derwish, who have risked life by calling out the murderous terrorist jihadi for what they are, condemning the apologists and silent assenters, and calling upon their righteous Muslim brothers and sisters to join with them. They didn't!!

In some ways, I will forever feel unworthy of the sacrifices that others have made to preserve and protect me & my way of life. Do we not have a duty to do what we can, lest their sacrifices be in vain? I have become proud to live as an American, although my passport is still 'Irish'. Europe is once again appeasing the malevolent aggressor.

It is a privilege to be a member of the finest and greatest society that has ever graced this planet. America has faults, many faults, but she believes that all men are created equal; she believse in liberty and justice for all. America, as other free lands, sometimes falls short of these ideals, but we have to appreciate that America has established them to a degree previously unknown.

Freedom & Free Speech & so called Democracy cannot allow itself to be intimidated and reduced by threat of violence. These concepts so need to be fought for aggressively if they are to survive, not just passively supported. If we do not assume this mantle & rise to the challange, we may just find ourselves staring a pre-Enlightenment, very Dark Age, Islamic society squarely in the face.

We must never forget, we must never surrender. It is the only fitting tribute we can give to those who have sacrificed so much.

“In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
~ William Blake ~ “The Tyger” (1794)