Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Promising Athlete

They told him the sacrifices were worth it. They promised him that if he would focus and attain his goals, the rewards would pay off in the long run. But he loved his partying, his wild lifestyle, his girls. To sacrifice all that just for a shot at the big time, at the big leagues? Even when he got there, made professional, he'd still have to stick to the strict training regime, every morning, up with the roosters, watching what he ate, giving the clubs and ladies a miss, but for what?

They told him that once he got to the big time he'd realize what is was all about. That competing in the world championships was worth something, that the joy he would feel then would be worth all the pain and sacrifice. It is better for him to get to sleep early now, keep off the alcohol and the drugs, don't let the women entice him. So he can focus on the goal, of making it, of building something, of doing something valuable for the future. Who even says he would make it?

But right now he can't see that, he doesn't appreciate that, in fact he doesn't want that. He wants to live life in the now, the here, with whatever excitement life can throw at him, living for the moment, the thrill and rush. He doesn't believe it is all worth it, the sacrifice for the future, he just can't see it.

Vehamaven Yavin Hamoshol Vehanimshal (only the wise will understand the parallel) .


Friday, February 10, 2006

A War on Intolerant Islam

Now that my emotions have calmed down somewhat, I might be able to express myself clearly, though again the chances of that are both slim and fat.

Firstly, I know that there are many millions of law-abiding, first amendment respecting, normal muslims out there, including a couple of fellow bloggers, for whom I have the utmost respect. But I am concerned, worried, disturbed, distressed. We are at a crossroads. Especially in the ticking time bomb for our European brothers acoss the pond.

Let's tell things as they are - the one thing in common between these protesters across the world is Islam. Most of them are indoctrinated to believe that someone who caricatures the Prophet Mohammed deserves punishment, even death.

I have no problem in peaceful protests, letters to the editor, all the tools of democratic society can be utilized against an offensive depiction of someone or something you believe to be holy. Please do. As a Jew, I know what it is like when people try and knock you down, trample on what you believe to be holy and sacred. You must fight it, denounce it as racist, abusive, intolerant etc.

But to respond with violence, to call for acts of violence against the perpretators, or any of the other despicable acts we have seen recently, that is beyond the pale. That is something the mdoern world cannot take, on such a scale. A fatwa against Salman Rushdie is unacceptable in today's world.

Liberal open societies work on the system "I may not like what you say but I will fight for your right to say it", i.e. if people want to publish or express their view, however racist, anti-semitic or disgusting I find it, they have the right to do so. As long as it doesn't incite violence. That is the beauty of open, modern societies. Long may it continue. We fought for it for a long time.

However, the attititude of much of the Islamic world is not like that. This is where liberal values and Islam's religious views clash, head to head, in a supreme battle for the world's future, to define what kind of societies will we live in. Will Europe in 2050 contain Londonistan, Central Europe one big Khilafah, our basic freedoms restricted or destroyed? The Middle East regress into a raging torrent of intolerance? The UN voting in a platform of worldwide sharia?

I know I am presenting a worst-case scenario, and there are millions and millions of peace-loving muslims who are also concerned. It is time for all of us to stand up and be counted, to state that we cannot allow this insiduous attitude to reign in our societies. Now is the time, before it is too late. Please.

A concerned and extremely disturbed TRK

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An Amona moan

Sorry for the delay, had to wait until I calmed down (which is why you won't see anything about rampaging Muslims and freedom of expression just yet!). A couple of words for the settler movement:

1. Policemen and soldiers are violent, they are trained to act brutally - anywhere in the world, but especially in a country where they frequently have to put down violent demonstrations.
2. If you are in a crowd that are throwing rocks and bricks at said bloodthirsty policemen, you are going to get hurt.
3. Like the Arabs, you have brainwashed your children to go fight for your land for you.
4. As in the past, you have run to settle the territories without checking to see if the people are with you, or in fact ignoring the fact that the people are against you.
5. Even more than in the past, the Israeli Jews have come to the realization that there will have to be some sort of territorial compromise of some sort, and creating NEW illegal settlements doesn't fit into that plan.
6. Couching your struggle in eschatological terms will turn more people away from your cause, and enable the media and others to demonize you even more easily.
7. On a more positive note, I admire your ideology, if only you would put as much effort into improving the lot of the everyday person, into educating the people that religion has a positive role to play in their lives then Israel would be a much better and safer place to live.


Monday, February 06, 2006

One moment in time

One thing struck me yesterday. When Hines Ward went up to collect his MVP award, the announcer said that from now on he will always be able to walk in the procession of former MVP's. That means that his place is cemented in history, his achievements permanently rewarded. Just for a couple of good catches.

It got me thinking about every positive act we do, every smile we pay someone, brightening up their day. Helping out our spouse, parents, boss. Sparing a word or a thought for G-d, acting on our beliefs, improving the world, assisting a little old lady cross the street, doing a favor for a friend.

These acts get encased in eternity. Forever engraved in the sands of time and enscribed in the divine history books, never to be taken away from us. We can always walk tall with our heads held up high, come what may. Proud of our achievements, the good deeds that carry us through. The difference we make, not just to the here and now but to infinity and beyond (thanks Buzz!).

So people, be proud of who you are and what you've done, for your accomplishments and good deeds - we all have them and they can never be deleted.