New Post Nov. 20: Let us all make a Happy Thanksgiving
Postnote from Dick, Nov 19, 2015: Today we were at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, for a magnificent performance of Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Symphony No. 6 in B minor Opus 74, Pathetique. In the November 2015 program notes (p. 18) was an Essay, “Thanksgiving” in French, by fellow French-Canadian friend Dan Chouinard. The essay seems especially apropos as the first week after the tragedy in Paris comes to an end. Read the essay here: Thanksgiving 2015001 (the program notes for todays concert are also included, as a bonus.)
Maybe Marco Rubio said it best yesterday (without intending to do so): He said that if there was a single terrorist among the 10,000 refugees, none should be allowed into our country. What about the 9999, Marco? What about the 9999 everywhere – the rest of us?
This is a time when people of good will must speak out. Don’t let the haters have the last word, of any nationality or belief. This is not a time to be silent.
Comment from Jeff Nov. 18: Recommend [this, from Dwight Eisenhower] … and its your time period,, I was born a few months after this speech. From Dick: My memory years, grades one through college, were of Harry S. Truman, and Dwight David Eisenhower, with a few months of John F. Kennedy…. Thanks, Jeff.
My thoughts about Paris on November 13 can be read here. I quoted my friend in Paris in the earlier post. This morning came news of the shootout with alleged perpetrators of 11-13 in St.-Denis, suburban Paris.
My friend lives about 25 miles from St.-Denis, not all that far away….
Last night on a news show came up a graphic of the United States, with 31 of the 50 states shaded: These were the states whose Governors, all but one Republican, are united in common cause, to keep Syrian refugees outside their borders, presumably to keep their citizens safe.
My own state, thankfully, is one of the “islands” whose Governor didn’t take the bait.
The 31 Governors are engaged in a stupid, collective, act. It is an orchestrated and outrageous extreme over-reaction, totally politically motivated. Of course, it will play well in certain sectors, which is the reason for doing it in the first place….
This mornings paper revealed that a grand total of about 2000 Syrians have come into the U.S. in recent years, most of them women with children; for Minnesota, there have been 9. The process of immigrating is rigorous. U.S. law does not allow Governors to decide who crosses their borders: we are a country after all; not a collection of fiefdoms. Actions like this increase the odds of future incidents, rather than decrease them.
European leaders have a far more difficult task to manage than we do, but for the most part are performing admirably and charitably. That’s how leaders should be.
Here at home:
Many of our own red-blooded patriotic Americans are far more armed and potentially dangerous than most any of those immigrants with sometimes funny names and languages.
Anyone can look at the data: we revere weapons. Killing people is as American as Apple Pie. Going to war is easy, armed to the teeth.
In my previous post, I suggest that the cynical opportunism of our leaders in response to 9-11-01 has aided and abetted the tragedies in Paris and other places. We have little “cover” on that score: Iraq wasn’t involved n 9-11, but early on became the target. It takes little scholarly research about what happened afterwards.
There have been other home-grown tragedies here in our own country. I recall specifically Oklahoma City April 19, 1995 which killed 168 people and wounded 680 others.
Back then I heard about it on the radio, initially, and initial reports suggested that a middle eastern appearing man was a person of interest.
Soon enough the actual perpetrators were in custody: two anti-government white American citizens, Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols, part of the underground in this vast country of ours.
Fast forward to 9-11-01 and the frantic days immediately following:
About two weeks after 9-11, I was in a laundromat, doing one of those “honey do” tasks: washing some heavy rugs. The TV channel did not interest me, so I looked at the magazines lying nearby.
A US News and World Report caught my eye (more interesting than Good Housekeeping), and I picked it up, and looking at the table of contents noticed something very odd: there was not a single mention of 9-11-01.
I looked at the cover, and the issue date was September 25, 2000 – a year earlier.
The magazine did have a very interesting and long article about our U.S. underworld of Neo-Nazis, part of our own home grown terrorists. Here is the entire magazine article, to get the entire context: Terrorism Report US News and World Report001
Personally, I believe the national and the international response to the current crisis in France is appropriate and necessary.
The world is a complex place, and there are true evil-doers out there (including amongst our own citizens).
Soon, Paris will be off the front pages – such news never lasts – to be replaced with the next tragedy of the day.
We’re a good country filled with good people, but you’d hardly know it by headline news each and every day.
Have a great Thanksgiving.
1. A couple of weeks ago, and again last night on national news, I heard a similar message: “those Syrian men [those refugees’] should stay at home and fight their own battles.” The suggestion is, it’s their mess, they should clean it up.
Oh, if it were only that easy. One of the correspondents with the complaint was a dear friend of ours who grew up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany. Her Dad, an engineer by trade, refused to join the Nazis. This was a dangerous act, and he was drafted into the German Army as a road engineer and ultimately died, they think, somewhere in Russia near the end of the war.
Once the Nazi threat was truly known, by the Germans themselves, it was dangerous to as much as complain to a friend, or even family, about the party. It was a death sentence. So it is for the people who live in places like Raqqa. Become a soldier against Daech and you and your family prospectively have the same fate.
2. Nov. 7, a friend sent me one of those “forwards” with the purported truth about Muslims. You can read it here, including a brief analysis. It first started whirring around the internet about 2009.
A couple of weeks earlier, I was asked to introduce a young Muslim woman, Mnar Muhawesh, at a meeting in Minneapolis. I met Mnar 15 minutes before I introduced her. There were about 35 of us in attendance, and she gave a powerful commentary which seems to fit well with this post. You can watch the video here. Of particular interest is her own life story growing up in the U.S., then several years in Palestine, then back to the U.S. after 9-11-01. There is a great deal of food for thought
3. October, 2015: President Jimmy Carter’s framework for working towards peace in Syria, here.