Friday, December 29, 2006

The Breath Of The Beast


By Yaacov Ben Moshe:


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.


Go read the whole thing.