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Thursday, December 28, 2006

My First Encounter With The Beast

We always get a warning that is clear and unequivocal when evil is stalking us. It is up to us to notice. Warnings are all too easy to dismiss. It is a grave responsibility to pay heed to real warnings. It seems so much easier to convince yourself that the warning is not for you, or that the danger is remote and small.
When Hitler, for example, wrote Mein Kampf, in 1925. He left no doubt as to his intentions. The world dismissed the book as the ravings of a mad man. When he got his opportunity to reach power ten years later, much of the world was surprised that he actually did what he said he would. If they had believed him in the first place and acted on that knowledge with resolution and intelligence millions of lives could have been saved.
The good news is that all you have to do is pay attention, believe what you see and hear and have the strength not to deny it. Evil will almost always inform you of its presence and intentions. I was given a very personal warning twenty-five years ago by a particularly profound form of evil. That evil presence has grown and prospered in the world since then. It has grown and become powerful and menacing and yet, even today, in spite of incontrovertible evidence of its existence many people find it altogether too easy to deny.
Back in the early eighties my young family and I lived next door to an Iranian family. They were nice, friendly people. Hamid (not his real name) was a physician who was just starting out in his own practice. His wife, Haideh was also Iranian born. She was a mathematician. She taught at a local college. We moved in to brand new houses just months apart and shared the rigors of nurturing lawns where there had been only bulldozer tracks. We cooperated in the planting of trees and shrubs to define the empty expanses between our new homes. We borrowed tools from each other. Hamid and I played tennis often and even discussed the possibility of building a tennis court in the flat spot where our lots met. Our children played together and his son, Amir and my daughter Amy became very close friends. The two of them were barely more than toddlers when they first met but were soon talking about getting married the way little ones sometimes do when they find a close companion of the opposite sex.
The next summer, they went back to Iran to visit with their families. We were afraid for our friends. We knew the country was in turmoil. They were gone for several weeks. For much of the time my Amy’s days were occupied with day camp but she still missed her friend. They finally returned a week before school. The two seemed to pick up right where they had left off.
It was a sunny Sunday morning and Amy went out right after breakfast and met Amir in his backyard. We watched as they began to play and turned away to read the Sunday paper. We were surprised when Amy came back inside a short while later. She walked by us with her head down and started up the stairs to her room. We had expected to have to call her in for lunch so it was odd that she came back so early. I called after her and asked her what was wrong. She told me how little 5-year-old Amir had matter-of-factly informed my innocent 5-year-old daughter that because she is a Jew it is his duty to kill her.
I went right over to talk with my friend and neighbor. Hamid was deeply embarrassed. He hastened to explain that: “Over there, the radio and TV were full of that kind of thing - you simply couldn’t avoid it. He assumed that Amir had heard this kind of thing on the radio or TV because no one in his family believed such things. He was sure, he told me, that now that Amir was back here he would soon forget it. He assured me that he would talk with Amir and was sure that the boy didn’t even understand what he was saying.
I could see how distressed he was and told him that I understood and that I appreciated his concern. We looked at each other and shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder. I was sure that it would not change things between our families.
Remember that this was twenty years before September 11, 2001. It was a few years after the fall of the Shah so, before they had left, I had actually wondered if his kids were going to be exposed to anti-American rhetoric and how that would sit with them. It had never entered my mind though to expect the anti-Semitic to be the dominant theme. Back then many of us believed the myth of the benevolent caliphate and the benign toleration of “Dhimmis” under Muslim rule. After all, I mused, Iran was at war with Iraq. And Israel had recently bombed the Osirac reactor thereby preventing Iraq from developing nuclear weapons.
In the light of everything that has transpired since then, it now seems hopelessly na├»ve of me but in the dim light of that historical moment I was amazed that what had surfaced first from this child’s sojourn in his homeland was genocidal anti-Semitism. As I lay awake in bed that night I found I couldn’t get the event out of my mind. The idea that a child could have such an idea in his head was staggering by itself. What kind of madness had he been exposed too? What infernal clatter of hatred and fear was there in the streets and media over there that could make it possible for a five year old say such a thing?
I recalled the pictures from the nightly news reports on the recently ended hostage ordeal that always seemed to show dense, agitated crowds of shirt-sleeved young men with posters and bullhorns. For all that it was fascinating, the violent rhetoric and the frenetic seemed somehow so unconnected to me – motivated by such an alien animus that I had watched them with the detachment of one who had every confidence that it had nothing to do with him. Now, as I lay awake, I could see- it was very personal.
It was frightening, it was unfamiliar, it was hateful and I had no idea how big or how close it was.
Was the family back in Iran so very different from Hamid? What kind of people thought nothing of exposing a child to this? What, I wondered, could have been the state of mind of Hamid and his wife that they did not think to talk to their son about this stuff- to “deprogram” him on the way home. The more I thought about it the more it bothered me. I lay awake thinking picturing not the house next door and the people in it, but the sweating, rioting crowds back in Iran and all of their squawking radios and televisions. The morning before, I had thought that all I had to do was talk to my neighbor about this thing. Now I saw clearly that this was very big and very ugly- beyond reach of a friendly neighborhood talk. I got out of bed and looked out the window toward their house, bathed in pale moonlight. The calm fall night was filled with a new shadow- the specter of an evil that had once been faraway and theoretical and was suddenly present and breathing quietly in the dark recesses of this soft night. Just then, it felt close enough that I thought I could feel its hot, humid breath on the back of my neck.
In my innocent, pre-9/11 American way I remember wondering how close we might have actually come to tragedy. A little boy of five might have kept harboring that thought and without comprehending what he was really doing, hurt or even murdered my little girl. God forbid that he might have gotten access to a gun with that in his mind. What kind of horror might have been averted because he spoke instead of acting? I walked down the hall and looked into Amy’s room. Her soft brown curls shone in the moonlight and she stirred and sighed.
I wandered back to my bed and lay down. What kind of society, I wondered, puts ideas like this into the mind of a (rather charming) little boys like Amir? How was it, with even parents like my friends Hamid and Haideh the racket and stink of genocidal hatred could so easily stick to him and be carried so quietly and so deep into the heart of our safe little suburban neighborhood.
Now that the images of Iran I had found it easy to view and dismiss were personal and immediate, I could never again feel quite so secure that all the “Death to America” and “Kill the Jews” rhetoric was empty and rhetoric or that it didn’t pertain to me. If it is said and sanctioned, how far away is it really from execution?
Over the next few years, the war with between Iran and Iraq dragged on; reports were heard in the west of human wave assaults organized by the Islamic army of Iran. Boys as young as fourteen were roped together to prevent desertion and sent out unarmed to try to overwhelm Iraqi positions by shear weight of expendable numbers. Sometimes I would catch sight of Amir in the street and shake my head – grateful that he was here but filled with dread for all of us.
Hamid and his family moved away after a few years. Since then, there have been so many experiences and images that have reminded me of that night when I realized how close the beast is.
I have stood in one of the great central squares of Kiev where there stands a huge statue of the national hero Bogdan Chemielniki who, before Hitler, was history’s greatest slaughterer of Jews. A few miles away I visited the memorial at Babi Yar. To stand at that monument I had to walk there over the half-mile long mound that is the mass grave of more than one hundred thousand Jews.
I have also been to Israel and visited the sites of three of the most infamous suicide bombings. I watched the airplane on which the wife of a friend perished smash into the North Tower of The World Trade Center. Then, I watched the towers crumble. I have downloaded and viewed the video of the slaughter of Daniel Pearl, which is still available on the Internet. I recognized them all as footprints of the same beast. Having lived with its shadow for so long, I am often shocked when I meet people who don’t believe that it is real that it is stalking us even as you read this.
What will it take for you to understand that what they are saying and doing is personal and you need to do something about it?

22 comments:

isirota1965 said...

Welcome to the Blogosphere! I found your Blog through Solomonia, and will now visit it frequently!

Your first post is a fine and thoughtful one............

Darnell Clayton said...

Great post!

Looking forward to more in the future .

Ron Newman said...

So ... what happened next? Were Amy and Amir able to renew their friendship? Did Amir apologize to Amy? How did things go between you and Hamid after this incident?

F. Jack said...

Excellent post, well written. I look forward to reading your posts in the future.

Papa Ray said...

Hey there from West Texas,

Your post is well written, thought out and somewhat to the point.

But..

For whatever reason you have neglected to identify "The Beast".

Of course there are many groups, individuals, sects, tribes and maybe even off world aliens that hate jews or infidels.

Maybe you were afraid to say Muslims, KKK, some Americans, most [e]uropeans and many asians hate the Jews.

Or at least distrust them and want them taken down a few notches.

If your talking about those infected with the evil cult of Islam, you are welcome to come visit and talk to us Rednecks.

The link is in my profile.

Happy New Year, hoping that you and yours have a safe and prosperous new year.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Bill Faith said...

Breath of the Beast - a New Blog
Contributed by George Mellinger

Let Old War Dogs be among the first to welcome Breath of the Beast to the blogosphere. His first post was only yesteday.  True, one post does not a blog make, but Yaacov writes well ...... It clear that he is a friend, and he seems to be off to a promising start. Let's watch this guy and see what elsle he does. He may become someone significant. Mazel tov!

rgunter000 said...

Your thoughts and concerns near-perfectly coincide with what I have been trying to point out to people when the opportunity arises.
It IS extremely personal. Yet, we Americans remain so sublimely and beautifully detached...as if our detachment has some kind of socially or personally redeeming quality. In any case, thank you for your insight and your willingness to post it in a public fashion. I will send your blog to a friend. rgunter000@centurytel.net

Conn Conagher said...

Very moving and very well written. I look forward to reading your thoughts over the coming months.

L. Riofrio said...

Welcome to blogspot. I happened to also a Persian-born man named Hamid--educated, well-to-do, happily living in California. Once he casually muttered that Americans would "kill 100,000 Iraqis to save a nickel on a gallon of gas." That is exactly the line spoken by the terrorist bad-guy in the movie AIR FORCE ONE. Scary.

flagwaver said...

wow, that was an amazing story...

Thanks for sharing and hope to read more in the future.

Hope your family is well, am curious to know, how is your daughter today? What does she say about it all?
(I have a daughter that was born in 1982, so I emphasized with you very much).

Thanks again for ringing the bell of truth and warning America.

Have a Happy Health and Successful New Year to you and your family.

Denis said...

It's good to read an intelligent and thoughtful blog article like this. I'm a pro-Israel activist with a PhD in Persian Studies, and I understand very well the nature of the beast you evoke. Like your Iranian family, most Iranians I have ever known have been unfailingly civilized, cultured, kind people. Iranian culture is a delight: its remarkable poetry, its harmonious architecture, its haunting music. But the Islamic government has chosen a very different path, has indoctrinated the population with its hatred of Jews, America, Israel, the UK, the West in general, and their own largest religious minority, the Baha'is. Iran has become the greatest threat to world peace, and may be dragged deeper and deeper into the cesspool of infamy its religious hierarchy has created. There are so many good Iranians I can only weep at what they are doing to their children and young people, just as their Palestinians have done to theirs. It must be the greatest crime, next to genocide, to drive the goodness out of a people. Your concerns are real, and your thoughts on them seem very positive. I'll make a point of looking at your bnlog in future. (And, if you get a chance, take a look at mine, 'A Liberal Defence of Israel', also on Blogger.

W Squared said...

Great article. On my list of daily blogs to read.

Eric-Odessit said...

Yaacov,
Thank you for the good article. I will link to it on my blog at http://conservativlib.wordpress.com/
I can relate to everything you write. Whenever my 5-year old daughter has a friend of Arabic or Iranian descent, I have this nagging question in the back of my mind. So far no problem came up. I hope against hope that it stays that way. But I dread the day when this issue does come up.
Eric.

Karridine said...

Excellent!
You, Yaakov, can well imagine the love and dedication that must needs animate those who worship God through the Glory of God, sent in fulfillment of Judaic, Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim prophecies!

Baha'is often have to LIVE in the shadow and under the gaze of that racist, hateful Beast, even as it HANGS 12-year-olds for the horrific crime of "Holding Classes"

velvethammer said...

Welcome Yaacov Ben Moshe!
Excellent story! Thank you for sharing. So profoundly moving, it gave me goose bumps.

I will be linking to your blog, it is well woth sharing.

We all have to continue speaking out!
Our voices must be raised out against the "beast"!

*Thanks Bill for leading the way here.

velvethammer said...

Oops. [blush] I meant..thanks Rurik for leading the way. See my above comment.

He tipped off readers over at Old War Dogs. ;)

jevica said...

found you through "Rubber Duck Crusader" at Townhall.

You have a great blog here, I also have a blog at Townhall, but nothing like this.

My blog is http://jevica2003.townhall.com

I intend to come back as it will take time to read your very good poets.

And I agree with you on the beast.

GM Roper said...

I've found a new friend and what a joy it is to read your posts.

curious said...

The followers of Islam absolutely mean their hate filled rhetoric. A lot of people in the West suffer from the myth of the "moderate" Muslim. I am convinced that there is no such thing. I will tell you why I think this.

On 9/11 I was in a state of shock. I watched it live on TV. I was wondering around a large book store asking strangers "what's happening?".

For several days after 9/11 I called every Muslim person I knew and asked them "please explain this to me". EVERY single one of them exressed sympathy with the motivations of the terrorists. NOT ONE of them repudiated the act. I was totally outraged. I told each of them that they were no longer my friend and I have not spoken to any of them since.

I do not believe that there is such a thing as a "moderate" Muslim. If you are a Muslim either you accept the teachings of the Koran which insist on a global Islamic world at the point of a sword, or you don't accept it in which case you are a heretic and an apostate and subject to the death penalty (according to Islamic law).

Anonymous said...

Wish there were more honest bloggers around like you. I search the net on a monthly basis, googling these specific words "Saudi is the Beast" (a phrase given me in a dream supposedly delivered by the 'voice' of God) for verification and information on a dream I had during 1994. A dream that reflects everything you write about, but more specifically that identifies Saudia Arabia, being the heart of Islam, and a Saudi as THE biblical end-time beast (666).

You have said re sensing the Beast: "The third step is to recognize it when it is present. Above all we must learn to listen. Listen to what it says- it will tell you everything it plans to do. Listen for its movements in the thicket of news and political maneuverings. Listen for its hot breath behind you when you least expect it. I have felt the hot breath of this beast on the back of my neck, have you?" - All of this I have seen in a dream (including the 'hot breath' on the back of my neck' and with the 'sword of islam' aimed at my back); besides this, everything else that has happened to date has been of no surprise to me.

You would do well to read up on Simon Altaf a self-published author (due to controversial material/content), ex-Sunni Muslim turned christian who wrote the book "Islam: Peace or Beast". Another controversial author is Walid Shoebat, ex-Palestinian terrorist, ex-muslim who writes around the same stuff as my dream and mirrors your own thoughts, except ours include the christian element. Simon and Walid promote Israel's legitimacy and are always receiving death threats from radical-muslims as a result of their love for the Jews and having turned their backs on Islam. It is believed that most ex-muslims who read the book of revelations, specifically ch 13, can identify Islam as being the Beast.

Furthermore, in this day and age, not one autonomous democratic nation-state can be found; each have lost their strength, and are coerced to adopt UN mandates and their 'rights'-based laws. While these laws are promoted and encouraged, it makes for a lush breeding ground for anarchists who don't give a damn, notably, and notoriously - radical-Islamists. Is it not ironic, that the two most prominent States (Britain/USA) that helped to found The League of Nations/UN are the main two perpetrators warring against its own rules that they have come to realise are absolutely useless if its not complied by all.

The UN is eager to give out rights but does not understand that with rights, comes responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

And speaking of the U.N., once again the Beast tells the world everything it plans to do in that forum...

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/09/ahmadinejads_overlooked_messag.html

Anonymous said...

good post .... the beast is islam

and so is the pox.

welcome to a terrible world if we donot do something.... we have to kill them all... there is no other way ....if there is let me know . ...thank you

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