Below follows a column I wrote in 2014 at the time of the Hamas intrusion into Israël, which I am repeating now in view of the recent anti-semitic resolution adopted by the UN Security Council which was orchestrated by the outgoing Obama Administration and enhanced by a most disturbing John Kerry speech. Though this latest UN Security Resolution does not deal with the Hamas terrorism, as it should have, it clearly shows how biased the UN has become when it deals with Israël. Instead, the Husain Obama/John Kerry duo slaps Israël on settlements in East Jerusalem which from millennia times was in Jewish hands and only became “Arab” in 1949 when Jordan’s King Husain’s superior army overpowered the small army of the just established state of Israël (1948). Jordan annexed it thereafter. Since then it has remained a contested area, which Israël “occupied” when it took it back in the 1967 six-day war. The UN Security Council condemned this in the famous Resolution 242 which required Israël to “withdraw from the territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
As a WW II kid who has seen his Jewish playmates in Holland hauled away by the Nazis never to return, this resolution and the US involvement was way over the top, extremely biased and against the American spirit, which was instrumental in assuring the Jews a State of their own in 1948: ISRAEL, in the lands where Jews had lived for thousands of years and long before Islam emerged in the year of 630 a.d.
“Let me tell you that ENCHANTÉ is for Israel, but has good ties with Arabs too. Let me also tell you that ENCHANTÉ has Palestinian and Islamic friends and that we sometimes agree to disagree but remain good friends. At a personal level, it works. At the political level, the Israeli-Arab conflict seems insoluble. (more…)
Franz Werfel, who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1890 and died in Beverly Hills in 1945, wrote a wonderful book in 1941, entitled The Song of Bernadette, telling the story of a young impoverished peasant girl who, in 1858, is attracted by the apparition of a beautiful lady at a cave at Lourdes in France while gathering wood with her two sisters. The book became a New York Times bestseller for a year and was turned into a movie in 1943, directed by Henry King, for which Jennifer Jones, acting as Bernadette, received an Oscar Award. The beautiful lady does not tell her name, only says she is the Immaculate Conception.
The Immaculate Conception (“free of sin”) of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and daughter of Joachim and Anna, is a dogma of the Catholic Church that developed over the centuries. It is not to be confused with the conception of her son, Jesus. This occurred after overshadowing of Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit and is celebrated by the “Annunciation” and “Incarnation of Jesus Christ” – on March 25, nine months before December 25. Mary’s immaculate conception appears in the Quran and Muslims also accept the virgin birth of Jesus. This has little to do with radical Islamic elements attacking Christian centers and displays this time of the year, which stems from their hatred of what Christianity represents as opposed to their literal interpretation of Quranic dictums. But the satanic way Christianity is attacked nowadays by fellow citizens in the US and elsewhere in Europe is no less demonic.
I saw the movie about Bernadette first at my Jesuit boarding school in the fifties and remember being moved by it. Lourdes has since been a pilgrims place where miracles took place to “prove” the veracity of Mary’s existence as a critical element of Christian belief. The movie starts with the statement: “For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.” It’s an appropriate summarization of the state of mind of believers and non-believers on this subject. Personally, I never felt comfortable with the doctrine that virginal conception was identified as “sin,” and that both Mary and her son had, therefore, to be conceived by supranatural means.
I was dismissed from a theology class when at the age of 17 I asked why it was considered “sin” if a man and a woman, even if “holy,” had sex in marriage to conceive children. But then, I was born from a very Protestant family and converted to Catholicism at 10, only because my mother told us to. Martin Luther departed from the Catholic doctrine by stating that Mary was conceived the natural human way (“in sin of sinful parents”), but he also said that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit who “purified [Mary] so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood.” Lutherans may adhere to this modified doctrine but, as I understand it, most Protestants do not. I considered it more a mythological concept, as the natural sexual relationship between man and woman remained taboo for so many centuries and a subject one did not “talk or write about.” It remained a matter of utmost hypocrisy until erotic literature exploded in the sixties.
Martin Luther – Credit: law2.umkc.edu
Whatever the doctrine, the birth of Christianity is what is relevant. The world has evolved and Christianity with it, but Christmas remains a central feature of our Western Civilization based on Judeo-Christian principles as expressed in the Ten Commandments. At the later stage in our life, we notice the differences of how we practiced our religion then and now. But the nativity scene is still a pivotal scene of the year. It tends to be overshadowed by the commercialized gifts craze, but in many families, it remains of paramount religious importance and so are the Christmas carols.
Those who minimize that importance or even combat it in the name of “free speech” are the quintessential scrooges and humbugs of the season. On the other hand, I noticed many more people wishing me a “Merry Christmas” this year, seemingly unfazed, which seems to emanate from a ubiquitous relief that a new wind is blowing from Washington D.C.
For this reason, The Song of Bernadette remains a movie befitting the holiness of this season. We should be thankful to Franz Werfel for having written his book, to Henry King for having made a wonderful picture of it, to Turner Classic Movies for showing it again these days, and to the Holy Mary for having brought Jesus Christ to the world, and nursed him to the man who founded our worldwide Christian community.
Merry Christmas to you all! This is Togetherness Time!
PS: A moving story ending at Christmas:
ENCHANTING THE SWAN: Grad students and musicians Paul and Fiona fall in love when they perform The Swan and agree to marry, but paternal evil blocks their love until The Swan chants their blessing at Christmas. A moving story of inspiring love and music you want to read.
I was 5 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. At that time Nazi Germany had already occupied whole continental Europe, including Holland, for a year and a half. I didn’t hear about Pearl Harbor until US soldiers liberated us in 1945 and told us about it. I didn’t envisage the horror of Pearl Harbor and the national significance of December 7 until I saw the pictures in musea when I arrived in the US in 1974. The vivid memories of seeing bombs exploding on Schiphol airport in May 1940 when I was 4 1/2 were the ones that had primarily occupied my mind.
At liberation, we also heard the awful stories of the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942, when Allied ships, including several American, British, Australian and Dutch warships (which were berthed at the Marine base at Surabaja in the Dutch Indies) fought a Japanese invasion under the command of Dutch Rear Admiral Karel Doorman. The Dutch Government in exile in London was one of the first to join the US after Pearl Harbor and declare war on Japan. Japan, short of natural resources, immediately set out to expand its realm in Asia by overpowering Singapore and Malaysia, and Borneo and Celebes of the Dutch Indies, to secure itself of abundant oil supplies. Next was the largest island, Java, of the Dutch Indies, which it approached from the island of Bali it had already occupied.
The allied fleet endeavored to stop the Japanese from invading Java, but the Japanese ships were much better armed with heavier cannons and super torpedos that had a reach of 25 miles. Its air force was superior. The more powerful Japanese fleet, which proved much better trained in sea battle at night, destroyed many of the allied ships. Two Dutch light cruisers, De Ruyter, Karel Doorman’s flagship, and the Java, were sunk and Karel Doorman perished with his ship. Several other Dutch warships sank, including the destroyers De Kortenaer and Witte de With. More than a 2300 sailors, including over 900 Dutch sailors, lost their lives.
Dutch Archive pictures
Thousands of Dutch families, who lived in the Dutch Indies, were imprisoned in Japanese concentration camps, where many were tortured and died. The Dutch never regained full control over the Dutch Indies, and the Japanese invasion meant the end of its colonial power. After the war, a bloody and cruel independence war erupted in the Dutch Indies, which ended in 1949 when Indonesia became independent. Thousands of Indonesians fled to Holland when the independence war started and were lodged with Dutch families to recover and find a new life. A father with three sons stayed with us.
Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Java Sea show some serious common lessons: In both cases, the enemy was much better prepared and armed. In Holland, this led to building a much stronger fleet after the war. Then, under cover of a powerful ally, the US, efforts to keep up a fierce military power slowed down, a pattern followed by many European countries. The lessons learned were soon forgotten.
Fast forward to 2016. While it is said that the American military is the best in the world, the political will to keep up its strength has repeatedly been undermined by several American administrations: Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama emphasized social programs over military strength. 9/11 constituted the second attack on American soil. More than 2400 sailors were killed at Pearl Harbor and close to 3000 people lost their lives during 9/11. The latter was a terrorist attack, but many say it could have been prevented had America been better prepared and kept its eyes open.
A new type of war was added to our human inclination to destroy each other. It took a long time to recognize that there is no real difference between “formal war” and “informal war”: both intend to destroy Western Civilization and its religious and philosophical democratic principles. The expansion of radical Islamic fascism signifies the same threat as German Nazism and Japanese Imperialism did, as do the threats of dictatorial regimes like Russia, China, and Iran.
Come 2017; the world is no better place. The Chinese military is spending trillions on military strength and expansion of its territory by building military islands in the China Sea, helped by the greed of the American market buying its goods and borrowing its money to cover its national debt. Russia invades the Crimea and controls eastern Ukraine, without a significant Western response. Iran undermines the Middle East through proxy wars and support of terrorism, causing tremendous civilian suffering in Syria.
The weeks after 9/11 with jets patrolling the skies aided by nearby refueling airplanes gave me that depressing feeling from WW II that we were at war again, and unfortunately we are. Osama’s escape from Afghanistan felt like Hitler’s escape from several coups against him. The indefatigable US Ops finally caught him, but when they did, the harm was already done: Sunni Radicalism had spread throughout the Middle East, Africa, and even the Far East.
I sat on the fence about the US invasion of Iraq. I could understand it from a defensive point of view: Sadam used similar bluff as Hitler did, he had invaded Kuwait beforehand, he built nuclear facilities and was working on replacements after the Israelis bombed the first one. He continually launched scuds at Israel and did use poisonous gas on the Kurds. Sadam smartly removed everything concerning weapons of mass destruction to where it came from and used the gullible self-destructing US and world media to accuse the US. Although the US invasion was badly implemented, after the surge things began to shape up in Iraq. At the World Bank, we noticed a slow but steady increase in a willingness to restore a badly retarded administration to modern normalcy. Despite internal religious strife, administrators became more responsive to stable government. Northern Iraq regained calm and even became prosperous again. When the reconstruction effort ended, I had good hopes that it might take off (see my blogs “Iraq: A Hands-on Effort to Rational Thought,” (9/13/2014); “Iraq: From Western Dream to Fragile State”; (8/23/2014), and “Don’t Cry For Me, Iraq.” (8/11/2014).
Credit: Fox News
The change in American policy under Obama destroyed all that with one swipe. Al-Zarkawi, the Sunni anti-Shiite leader from Jordan, had begun a fierce fight against the American occupation. Although US Ops were able to exterminate him, his force remained active underground. If invading Iraq may be considered a mistake, leaving it abruptly meant compounding that mistake. When the US military left Iraq, Sunny radicals quickly regrouped and despite their internal differences, created ISIS. The rest is history.
As a WWII kid, I hate war with a vengeance, but also know there will always be enemies as there will always be bullies in school. We have to be prepared to be strong enough to scare them off and defeat them. If we don’t, they’ll take us to the cleaners. Administrations like the Obama-ones open us up to being overpowered like Nazi Germany and Japan’s then Imperialism did to the Western World.
I am sleeping a bit better after the recent national elections. There is much hope things will change.
Credit: Canada Journal – News of the World
In my opinion, the political left of the US has done enormous damage to the fighting spirit and courage of this country. America may be divided (God knows why. Such a great place to live!) but as a foreign guest in the US, I pray they never come back to power. I don’t complain about placing competent generals to head security and military positions. Their decisiveness will keep me from lying awake at night about the future of my American kids and grandkids. We have to stay vigilant to protect our way of life and that of others that share it. Signs in Europe indicate that things are changing there as well.
And if you don’t like my saying these changes are good changes, that’s too bad. Let the other side of the American divide have a chance to show their resolve to make America better and “Great Again.”
To all those who flood my e-mail and FB pages with hateful cries about Donald Trump’s victory election, shed your tears somewhere else. Elections have consequences (a quote from his Excellency Barack Obama). Now, let’s give The Donald a chance to prove that his way is better than Obama’s (1% growth, 98 million out of the workforce, skyrocketing Obamacare premiums, energy blockages, depleted military, 20 trillion national debt, black and white divided, immigration and a foreign policy in shambles). Stop whining and get over it. Take it from a very happy foreigner guest of your Great USA. Feeling safer again… and a lot more hopeful.
This is going to be a rather personal essay. Matthew has left after much destruction. Now Hurricane Hillary is brewing that could be much worse.
All my followers know by now that I am a World War II kid who was liberated by the US in 1945. Boy, were we impressed by those GIs, driving their tanks and trucks, and rolling up those hated Nazis. The fun we had when the sun broke out, and we could walk freely on the streets again.
Ever since then we looked up at the US. Oh yes, there was always criticism about overpowering Washington and the CIA. But we felt safe. In the US, people believed in freedom and Christianity. They had great universities, the envy of many students in Europe.
Then the great Eisenhower became president in 1953, just after Truman had completed the Korean war. I was in boarding school then. We still remember the stories about the “yellow danger” (China) and “the Russians are coming.” Would we have a World War III? Somehow, Truman had stopped McArthur from defeating aggressive North Korea, because the US did not want war with China, which supported North Korea. I think this was one of the biggest mistakes the US made at that time. Now North Korea has metastasized into a nuclear madman.
As off John Kennedy, the US has been slipping. We stood sort of on the wayside, still thinking the US was invincible, its people utter strong, its military overpowering, its science unmatched. But with the Bay of Pigs, we began to see the first fissures in the almighty US. All right, Kennedy stared down Kroutchev to remove his nuclear stockpile in communist Cuba, but the Pigs thing was not forgotten. Nonetheless, everybody remembers where they were when they heard when Kennedy was assassinated: I had just started my first job in Holland and when I visited a friend he came down the stairs to tell me the horrible news.
Then Johnson followed with his expensive Great Society and his losing battle of Vietnam, mainly because the US lost popular support due to a growing leftist anti-war movement, headed by Jane Fonda alias Hanoi Jane. Johnson knew he would not be reelected.
The era of Nixon finished in disgrace, again pushed to a large extent by that growing leftist movement. By then I had landed in the US for a job with the World Bank in Washington D.C. I remember talking to a foreign service friend at our regular dinners in town – we were both still bachelors – arguing about the pros and cons of Nixon’s Administration. We were both conservative guys, but I couldn’t support the destruction of justice. To me, that was one of the greatest assets of the US: law and order. I was mightily impressed with the Saturday Night Massacre when the Attorney General and his Deputy resigned when Nixon fired the Watergate Special Prosecutor. Somehow, the principles of justice were upheld, but it left a bitter aftertaste. Now we look at an even greater destruction of justice: Hillary’s private e-mail server in service of her pay-for-play at the State Department, thousands of e-mails destroyed that would prove her criminal intent. A White House, Department of Justice and the FBI all in sync to deny it, all led by the Democrat Party. Who was worse, Nixon or Hillary? And they want her to be President?
As a foreigner in the US with World War II still in the back of my mind, I wanted it to remain strong and principled. But something happened along the way. There was a tendency towards socialism that I had found one of the most dangerous fissures in European society. When Carter followed Ford with his fireside chats, I began to wonder. When I had to pay 14% interest on a mortgage, I wondered even more. Was this still my admired USA? Then Reagan came and proved the best President in a long time, bringing sanity back to economic management and military strength.
Unfortunately, things changed for the worse again when the Clintons appeared on TV.
My wife and I, both “resident aliens” and guests of the US, looked at that couple’s eyes. You know a lot about people when you look in their eyes. Those watery, slippery untrustworthy eyes of Bill and that false smile with those hard eyes of his wife, Hillary. Frankly, if that weird Perot had not messed up the reelection of the older Bush, that Bonny and Clyde couple would never have made it to the White House. But history wanted otherwise. You all know what happened then. The impeachment was no surprise to us. The stories about assaulted women being threatened by Hillary weren’ t either. The media played along in many ways. While Nixon resigned, Bill did not: the Senate prevented that, despite the Kenn Starr report. All Democrats voted “not guilty.” They always do when their own kin is endangered. Republicans throw their own kin under the bus as soon as somebody gets smeared by the left and its media.
The US became more and more divided. The media became more and more partisan. We did not understand that. We used to watch CBS with Walter Cronkite. Then Dan Rather came on, and we felt an immediate bias to the left. When he faltered with his blank screen, we turned to ABC. We liked David Brinkley and Peter Jennings. But then Peter Jennings started his leftist tunes. We switched to Tom Brokaw at NBC, but he also seemed absorbed by the leftist body snatchers. What was happening to the Great USA? What did these so-called “liberals” want? Why undermine what was once a great nation? We could not figure it.
Abroad on missions, I had no other access to US news but CNN. Soon, those guys were no better. Everything had a leftist tweet. They called it the Clinton News Network. I watched TV 5 in France instead.
Then George Bush came after the chad election with Al Gore who had invented the Internet. 9/11, the dot.com drama, the Iraq invasion and then Katrina. I had never seen so much biased media reporting in my life in one presidency. What the hell was happening? We watched Fox News, at least you got some fair and balanced information, although it always seems that the guys or gals “on the left” are paid to be on the left, and the ones on the right just the same. It’s a boring game. When Juan Williams comes on, I mute. We’re no longer watching Miss Megan Kelly’s show. We find her pedantic, condescending, and arrogant. Her first primary debate with Bret Beyer was a disgrace.
And then we got the Obama phenomenon. Again, my wife and I sat in front of the TV, watching this Senator guy talking everybody under the table. He said to Reid he had this “little gift.” The pied piper, we said. We have nothing against “black.” We are a mixed-race couple, me a Caucasian European, she of East-Indian descent. But he had been a collaborator with Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers, both socialist statist and communist uprooters, sat in the pew with that freaking Reverend Jeremiah Wright with his chickens are coming home to roost, and wanted to fundamentally change America. Even our kids voted for the guy. What for? Because McCain was a fuddy-duddy. Now they regret that vote. You vote for a platform, and its incoming administration, not for a celebrity smile.
California gurls – Getty Images
We found Obama dangerous and could not understand these Obama girls and all these other people falling for him. Eight years of no economic progress, utmost partisan corruption in government, a broken national health system, the Fast and Fury weapons smuggle leading to the death of an immigration officer, a suicidal immigration policy, and a dismal racial divide. A reckless failed foreign policy that weakened the US tremendously and has put the world at risk. And so forth. You call that a “legacy?”
Nowadays, we are just shaking our heads. So many people seem to support Hurricane Hillary after all her obvious misdeeds for which anyone else would have been bigly incarcerated. Outsider Trump is vilified because of lewd remarks he made a decade ago when in the entertainment world and not even a “politician,” while he enunciates exactly the policies that the US needs to get back on its feet. But the only thing that the stupid media wants to talk about is sex (sex sells) while the ship is burning, and the major issues of immigration, security, economic revival and racial harmony are not even raised. Even his party jumps ship. What has happened to this once great USA?
It is no longer the land of the brave but has become the land of the knaves. Millionaire football players don’t want to stand for the National Anthem anymore. Bleu lives don’t matter. Catholics need to get rid of their medieval religious structure. Hey, what about those radical Islamists and their horrific horrible medieval killings?
Hurricane Hillary would destroy whatever is left of this great USA if you let her make landfall. You won’t recognize it anymore once she has passed. It’s too bad we don’t have a vote. Not that it would matter much. The ignoramuses of this country prefer to live in national decline and misery, as long as they get their goodies. Meanwhile, Bonny and Clyde would rent out the Lincoln Bedroom again. In competition with the Trump hotel around the corner on Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump builds things. Obama-Clinton do not build anything. Only profit from public service and taxpayer money and get rich with it. And that’s the view of a foreigner guest of the maligned USA.
You know for whom we would vote. We hope you would vote for the US revival ticket. Don’t think it’s in the bag for Hurricane Hillary, as the media want you to believe. There is that silent majority that never gets polled. They have been awakened.
Enchanting The Swan: http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o. Grad students and musicians Paul and Fiona fall in love when they perform The Swan and agree to marry, but paternal evil blocks their love. Will they play the Swan again?
Some Women I Have Known: http://amzn.to/1QIL94B. Piano John confuses playing sheet music with playing between the sheets. Will his anchors in life, Lady D and Audrey Hepburn, save him from self-destruction?
A Naughty Romance: http://amzn.to/2epkuTj. A piano affair leads to a surprising twist.