Sunday, March 16, 2008

Zakhor - Remember

Yesterday, the Shabbat before Purim, we read Parshat Zakhor, the exhortation to remember the sneak attack that Amalek carried out in the desert and, when we finish conquering Eretz Yisrael, to erase Amalek from under heaven. The haftara from Sefer Shmuel tells how the prophet Shmuel conveyed God's message to King Saul that the time for that punic war had arrived. In language that grates on our modern ears, he is commanded to utterly destroy Amalek, "from man to woman, from infant to suckling, from ox to lamb, from camel to donkey." The words offend our sense of right and wrong, and they did the same to King Saul. He thought he knew better than God what was right and what was wrong, so he spared Agag, the king of Amalek, and his wife. They conceived a child that night, and the Amalekite evil that should have been stamped out once and for all survived. Centuries later Agag's descendant Haman hatched the plot whose frustration we will celebrate this Friday. The biological descendants of Amalek may be gone, but the evil they represented is still very much with us, as we saw last week. An Arab terrorist, a citizen of Israel living in Yerushalayim, carried out a sneak attack against students at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav and murdered eight talmidim in the beit midrash. Like their forebears, this Amalekite did not dare fight us like men, but instead murdered unarmed Yeshiva students. Holy sefarim were stained with their blood. Like so many times before, young parents cried at the funerals of their children.

Remember - This is an enemy that glorifies the murder of innocent people, that celebrated this outrage just as it celebrated the murders of 9/11. Remember - This is an enemy that teaches its children to idolize and emulate suicide bombers. Remember - This is an enemy (same enemy, same fight) that flies planes full of innocent people into buildings full of innocent people. An enemy that chops off people's heads in front of rolling TV cameras to make political points. There is no barbaric outrage, no atrocity, no inhumanity that is beneath those cowards. Remember what the rest of the world, even much of America, prefers to forget. The following is a column from the New York Post a bit less than a year after the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001:

by Eric Fettmann

August 29, 2002 --
THE first anniversary of Sept. 11 fast approaches, and the ceremonies have been set: intense, commercial-free TV coverage of what promises to be simple, dignified, yet extremely emotional proceedings at Ground Zero.
But there's something missing.
We'll see the pain and the grief. We'll see the loss of widows and widowers, of children who lost parents. We'll see the uniformed services commemorating their comrades' heroism and sacrifice. But what has happened to our anger? The acute rage, the white-hot fury that nearly all Americans felt in the immediate aftermath of the horrifying murders of 3,000 people seems to have dissipated. And, with it, the resolve that saw Americans united on the need to utterly demolish international terrorism. Which is one reason why, increasingly, the skeptics are seizing control of the debate over how America should respond: They're ridiculing President Bush's rhetoric about the "axis of evil" and raising fears that confronting international evil is not worth U.S. casualties. It's almost as if we want to put the shocking memories out of our minds - even as we obsess over our loss with the kind of forlorn grief that we normally reserve for dead celebrities. To that end, the networks have promised not to air the sickening footage of the planes hitting the Twin Towers. I understand the pain that such video may cause those who lost loved ones in the carnage, but America - and the world - need to be reminded, as forcefully as possible, just what happened that morning. We need to see the footage again and again. We need to recall, vividly and acutely, the horror and the heartsinking fear we all felt that day.
Even from the outset, some details seemed too bloodcurdling to discuss. The New York Times, for example, was widely - and wrongly - criticized for publishing a large photo showing several victims jumping from the blazing towers. Consider how appalling the situation must have been up there that scores of people willingly jumped hundreds of feet to certain death in order to escape the flames. It enrages me just to think about it - and it should enrage everyone.
And yet the late-night talk-show hosts long ago began working Osama bin Laden jokes into their monologues. The murderer of 9/11, with the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands, has become grist for the nightly joke mill. Even David Letterman, whose stunned and tentative demeanor on his first post-9/11 show captured the national mood like nothing else, sees no reason not to make jokes like this one the other night: "Osama bin Laden is back running al Qaeda. I guess this means their leader got back from vacation before our leader."
We've grown so obsessed with the monthly ceremonies and the size of the permanent memorial, as psychobabblers run around seeking "closure" for the survivors and the families, that we've forgotten just what bin Laden unleashed on this country.
Has our national attention span really become so short? I'm sorry, but I don't want to see mournful processions and bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" over and over. I want to see a rekindling of the unrestrained anger we once felt. I've seen conservatives rage for years about Bill and Hillary Clinton. I've seen liberals who still can't discuss the 2000 elections without uncontrolled fury. Why don't we still feel the same way about bin Laden?
I also want to see the same determination to vanquish the enemy that Americans displayed 60 years ago when 2,300 of our countrymen were murdered at Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 7, 1942 - the first anniversary of what was still angrily being called Japan's "sneak attack" - The Post's headline was: "Wrathful City Marks Pearl Harbor Day With Grim Resolve." The editorial page said, "The test of character of a man or a nation" is "how he pulls himself off the floor and slugs his way toward victory."
Can we honestly say that 9/11 has done the same thing for us? Yes, taking drastic action on the basis of unrestrained emotion can be dangerous. More often than not, it's necessary to step back a bit and gain some perspective.
But it's just as dangerous when the pendulum of emotion swings to the opposite extreme - and we forget what and why we are fighting.
Ad kan leshono.

Remember - and keep reminding our friends, neighbors, co-workers and countrymen who would rather forget. Remember - and support the political candidates who remember, and oppose those who would rather forget. Remember - and do what has to be done.
Erase those evil bastards from the face of the earth. Never mind collateral damage. Never mind the cost - diplomatic, economic and military. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. Erase them. It's either them or us.


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Anonymous Garnel Ironheart said...

Where's the anger? It's gone, a consequence of the liberal media's dumbing down of American society to the point where it has a 30 second attention span for anything.

Recall the biggest trends since the 9/11 "incident":

1) We must return to normal life and not act like anything's different. If we change who we are and what we do, the terrorists have won.

2) It wasn't people who destroyed the World Trade Centre. It was an ideology. You therefore can't hold people guilty for something an ideology did which means you can't find anyone to shoot without being told "that was wrong!"

3) A pre-existing post-liberal disdain of patriotism just got stronger. You're angry? You feel defensive because a collective nation-state was attacked? Well, isn't that primitive of you. Jingoism is so last century.

With all that, I'm surprise they still memorialize 9/11 down south.

Wed Mar 19, 02:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

American aren't angry at al-Qaeda? Prove it. Garnel is blowing up a straw man.

Fri Mar 21, 01:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Neandershort said...

I'm afraid Garnel is on the money. Look at the two Democrat candidates - Tweedledum and Tweedledee, both of whom have a grand strategy for dealing with terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere - cut and run. Look at the pit where the Twin Towers used to be; all we have there, six and one-half years later, is a big hole in the ground. On Sept. 12, 2001 there was general agreement that we had to stick it to our enemies by building the Towers as they were, only stronger and one floor higher. Then the weak-kneed politicians took over, did nothing, and brainwashed us into sitting still for nothing. Israelis would have built the Towers long ago - no debate, no palaver, no design contests, just build what was there. It's Munich 1938 all over again.

Visit Team Twin Towers

Fri Mar 21, 03:18:00 PM EDT  

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