Dance Lessons

“If you learn to dance with people, with life, then nothing wrong can happen to you.” — Hugues de Montalembert

I found this quotation on a Swan Lake Samba Girl‘s blog (by way of About Last Night). I am assuming that the Montalembert in question is the painter who was blinded during a mugging in New York, after which he travelled, wrote books, and became the subject of a doumentary titled Black Sun. (Read a recent interview here and a 2006 review here.)

It’s a nice quotation all by itself, but it dovetails nicely with my recent thoughts about what I believe to be the fundamental problem with our society today — a pervading attitude of individual entitlement and the rest of the world be damned. We’re all dancing alone.

On radio this morning I heard a story about a GOP Nanny contest to determine which republican politician has sinned most in terms of advocating for more government interference in our lifestyles, rather than less — less government intrusion being one of the basic principles of republican thought. Although I am not a republican (not sure that i am a democrat either, but that’s another topic) I am pro freedom and pro the right to make personal decisions for myself. HOWEVER I believe that the right must be moderated by consideration of others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a thought that not only has receded from our collective consciouness, it’s been replaced by “do unto others before they do you in, and get what you can while you’re at it.”

I’m not a history buff and I’ve never studied law, but I imagine that it is after people get hurt that laws come into being to protect the rest of us from harm. With merger-mania being rampant, big business trampling mom & pop endeavors, corporate greed (perhaps driven by the need to please a few investors) disenfranchising its workers and even its customers, someone has got to draw some lines somewhere. Just a we hope that our children will play nicely, and fair, with one another, at some point a parent has to step in and protect. I’d much prefer self-regulation, but today self-regulation in the grown-up world is interpreted to mean hire a passel of lawyers to find the loopholes.

There once was a time when community worked together, helped one another as a matter of course. Perhaps such activities were fostered and held together by clergy, and maybe that’s what is driving the Christian Right. I have a spiritual side, but I am not, by any stretch of the imagaination, what you would call “a religious person.” I think that organized religions are man-made by power-seekers who, like todays regime, use fear to govern. Yet I do feel for those who seek comfort.

We hear a lot of talk today about saving our environment, reducing emmissions and such. Last night I heard the automotive industry experts opine that there was no point in making cars run more efficiently because we morons would just drive more. The solution, they say, is to drive less. Okay, but now that the majority of workers can no longer afford to live anywhere near where they work, how are they supposed to traverse those 40, 50, 60+ miles to the job. Public transportation may be effective in New York, DC, Boston…but elsewhere….fuggedaboutit.

Some people would really like to help others in need but most either can’t or don’t know how. Some see problems as so big that they can’t conceive of how they, as individuals, could make much of a difference. Some are just one step ahead of the game and struggling to stay afloat themselves. That’s why we all watch Extreme Home Makeover — it makes us feel better to see that someone is getting some help. Of course I gues that’s why Survivor and such shows are also popular…we all want to believe that we can, well, survive.

But getting back to Montalembert’s quotation, I think we would all do well to learn to dance with people. And, to take it literally, I would suggest not just any dancing — I would prescribe folk dancing, square dancing, even line dancing, to foster a sense of community and sharing. Besides it’s fun.

More about “Coach”

I am thrilled to see comments about my tribute to Les Fernandez! In addition to a very touching note from Coach’s daughter, Lanette, I am also gratified to see responses from people who were pleased to read about such a man even though they did not know him. Several people have asked me to write more about him and to tell of how I came to know him. This is a request that I will honor, but not today. At one time Coach and I spoke about writing a book and I deeply regret that the time was never right for such an undertaking. I need to spend some time with my memories before I write more.

Meanwhile, however, Lanette wrote a very wonderful eulogy, and I told her via private email that it was not only moving but also beautifully crafted. I asked her if I could post it here for you to see and she said “yes.”

A Tribute to Dad
by Lanette Fernandez

We are gathering today not only to comfort each other during this difficult time, but to celebrate the life of a beautiful man and to ask God to invite him into his world.

The term “gentle giant” comes to mind when i speak of my dad, Coach. 6’ tall, and a shoe size to match, he made his mark in life quietly and unpretentiously yet, his strength and love for life and people roared like a jet breaking the sound barrier. He had the ability to speak to anyone, from all walks of life – rich or poor, educated or not, troubled or fortunate – and make them feel like he understood – like what they had to say or what they were feeling was the most important thing to him. He spent his life reaching out to anyone that needed a hand or a sounding board.

I so readily recall hearing young and old speak of my dad’s kindness throughout my entire childhood. I remember often sharing dinner or our home with a youth that was going through difficult times. Coach would meet some troubled youth, and after he removed whatever weapons they may be carrying, say, “ok now – how about you come home with me and we’ll talk over dinner?!!” Sometimes I was frightened by the people he brought home, and now when I think about it as an adult, rightfully so, but God watched over Coach and guided him to make the right decisions.

As kind as Coach was, he wasn’t a push over. He always set the bar high. He encouraged those in his presence to attain a higher standard and gave them the tools to experience success. So many people I have met throughout my life have spoken the words, “your dad saved me from a life of …” whatever their demise may have been.

The eternal optimist, he could find a “reason” to explain the most horrific behavior (except poor grades from his children – there was no reason for that!!). Coach always reserved judgement and repeatedly preached, and lived, a life of understanding, acceptance of differences, kindness and honesty. He had a magical way with people that was almost supernatural – unexplainable, as though God blessed him and only him with this uncanny sixth sense.

Fortunately for him, he married my mom who went along with his crazy ideas of saving everyone!! She would keep him grounded in reality when his desire to “fix” someone’s problem was just not reasonable or too dangerous. Her strength allowed him the freedom to fulfill his calling of helping others.

So as we say goodbye to Coach and thank god for blessing us with having known him, the best “thank you” we can give to Coach for enriching our lives is to continue his mission of understanding and kindness. Let’s make a conscious effort to reserve judgement, practice acts of kindness and patience. Hold the door for the next person; let that car into traffic even if you have the right of way. Offer someone in need a few moments of your time – even if you don’t know what to say or how to help. When there is a reasonable choice, act unselfishly. This is what Coach devoted his life to and there is no better tribute to a “teacher” than to let him know —

“I heard you, I watched you and I have learned from you”

Party Excuses and Sleep Deprivation

I don’t have time to spend trolling the Internet for sillies like this one, but my daily dose of news story ideas and resources (Al’s Morning Meeting: Story ideas that you can localize and enterprise) sometimes includes an amusement such as this online Holiday Party Excuse Generator created by a company called Enlighten.

Answer a few simple questions and in the time it takes to warble “fa la la la la”, you’ll have an excuse that will either endear or enrage a prospective host….

Al said: Always trying to be helpful, I want to get you out of attending the crummy parties that you want to avoid. Thanks, Al.

Of course, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to go to a party. Maybe you don’t like the host, or maybe you’re a Scrooge, or maybe, just maybe, you have so much work to do that you can’t take time out to play. It seems that time is the issue for lots of folks who want, or need, to pack more into a day, and they are using drugs to keep them going and to help them sleep. This is nothing new, but the drug choices are new…some still in the research phase. My friend, Phil, who remembers “the programmers anti-sleep potion of choice, Mountain Dew,” pointed me to “Get ready for 24-hour living,” an article at

Mind you, I am a self-confessed workaholic, and as it is my natural sleep cycle these days averages 6 hours a night. Would I be interested in a pill that would let me get 4 hours of good, refreshing sleep, and do me no bodily harm? Let’s forget for a moment that bodily harm part, because there are always three-dozen side effects, the worst of which won’t be discovered for 10-20 years. I might be tempted. But at this stage in my life I am pondering how I should be spending my time and questioning the endless hours spent at the computer. Having more time in the day is useless if it is not time well spent. And therein, as they say, lies the rub — how to define well spent. What’s your definition?

Music In Protest

Politics coupled with music is a subject that fascinates me. You may remember my Spoils of War posting back in August. What I did not mention in that post was the civilian use of music as a form of protest against war.

In 1971 Eric Bogle, wrote And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. “I wanted to write an antiwar song but didn’t want to denigrate the courage of the soldier,” Mr. Bogle recalled in a November 2005 interview for The New York Times. In that same article, Pete Seeger called it “one of the world’s greatest songs,” explaining “In a few lines of poetry he captured one of the great contradictions of the world: the heroism of people doing something, even knowing it was a crazy something. And he showed how the establishment has used music for thousands of years to support its way of thinking.”

In April 2002 a Silicon Valley weekly newspaper ran an article by Jeff Chang with the headline “Is Protest Music Dead?” Chang wrote

“When the United States goes to war, the musicians begin calling for peace. Opposing war hasn’t always been a popular position, but it has created some great music.” Then he listed songs from the Vietnam era, “songs like Edwin Starr’s War, Jimi Hendrix’s cover of All Along the Watchtower, Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain and Wars of Armageddon, Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam, Country Joe and the Fish’s Fixing to Die Rag, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising and Have You Ever Seen the Rain? and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On turned defiance into a raging, soaring, brave and melancholic gestures of community….When Bush Senior sent troops to Kuwait in 1991, rappers Ice Cube and Paris trained their verbal guns on the White House in I Wanna Kill Sam and Bush Killa…”

But, he wrote, the muzzle is now on.

“We’ve seen dozens of acts quietly bury their edgier songs. We’ve seen radio playlists rewritten so as not to “offend listeners.” And we’ve seen Republican officials and the entertainment industry – long divided over “traditional values” issues such as violent content and parental advisory stickering – bury the hatchet. White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove has been meeting regularly with entertainment industry officials to discuss how they can help the war on terrorism. The result? Not unlike the network news, there’s been what a media wonk might call a narrowing of content choice.”

Later in the article Chang writes

‘Message music is being pinched off by an increasingly monopolized media industry suddenly eager to please the White House. At least two of the nation’s largest radio networks – Clear Channel and Citadel Communications – removed songs from the air in the wake of the attacks. Songs like Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” were confined to MP3 sites and mix tapes. And while pressure to maintain “blacklists” has eased recently, the détente between Capitol Hill, New York and Hollywood – unseen since World War II – has tangible consequences.”

Two+ years later (8-15-04) Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot wrote an article titled “Rocking the Boat.” The sub-head was “As a contentious PRESIDENTIAL RACE revs up, musicians from every genre are jumping into the fray with politically charged albums, Web sites and concerts”

So, as Chang wrote, “musicians must do what they do, and the story is not yet over.”

Indeed the story is not over. I have a friend, Margo Guryan, who is a composer and songwriter, and an fabulous poet (sadly unpublished in that last arena). Do you remember Sunday Morning? That was one of her songs. Here’s an excerpt from Margo’s myspace page (you can also hear Sunday Morning from her myspace page.)

Margo Guryan is a rare discovery — a songwriter and arranger with amazing vocal talent who had a brief – but nonetheless significant – impact on pop music. During the highpoint of her career, her songs were recorded by some of pop music’s most important stars: Mama Cass, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, Astrud Gilberto, Julie London, Jackie DeShannon, Carmen McCrae, The Lennon Sisters, and Claudine Longet. In fact, there were two hit versions of the Margo Guryan-penned “Sunday Morning” released a year apart in the late 1960s — the first by Spanky And Our Gang, and the second by Oliver (who had previous success with “Good Morning Starshine” and “Jean”). Although she preferred writing songs that others could record and perform, in 1968 Margo recorded and released an album entitled “Take a Picture”. Although the success of this record back then was limited, it has since become a much sought-after collector’s item….

She seized 16 Words and put them to music, and then a wonderful video clip was made and posted on YouTube. Here are the sixteen words – do they sound familiar?

The British government has learned
That Sadam Hussein recently sold
significant quantities of uranium from Africa

And here’s what the myspace site says about 16 Words

“Despite misgivings about the accuracy of the 16 words embodied in this song (these words had been previously removed from a Bush speech given in Cincinnati, Ohio in October ’02), the words appeared in Bush’s State of the Union address ’03. The words were among a litany used to gain the support of Congress and the American people for an invasion of Iraq. Fury over Joseph Wilson’s July ’03 NY Times article debunking the truth of the president’s statement resulted in the “outing” of Wilson’s wife by high government officials. The ensuing investigation is ongoing.”

Now click her to see and hear 16 Words for yourself; the animation is great and it’s a wonderfully produced satirical work in protest of the war.

Spoils of War

Perhaps taking my cue from the jazz world, riffing off one another’s postings I take note of Mr. Rifftides latest post re our “conversation” about music being used as a weapon or punishment, a dispatch wherein he has included words penned by the esteemed Gene Lees. While Gene’s words were prompted by a prior Rifftides post in which Kenny Drew held forth on the subject of rap music (here), they are nonetheless right on target vis a vis my query.

You may remember that a few days ago I asked anyone who knew of any such stories to please share them with me. I made that request because for some time now I’ve been percolating an idea for a book about the myriad ways in which the America uses music to further policy objectives. My book proposal is making the rounds; here’s an excerpt:

While it is true that technological advances have made it no longer necessary to use musical instruments to command and control the troops in battle, music still has many wartime uses. Sometimes the employment of music seems heart-warming, such as when it serves to soothe and help heal the wounded, or even inspire perseverance in the face of adversity. Uplifting stories of entertaining troops on the front lines have always been fodder for fictional movies and factual newsreels. Troop morale is crucial, and while the world might think Bob Hope and the USO handled it all by themselves, the truth is that there are places that Bob could not go – places where the danger was too great, the need even greater….

Marching bands always stir up patriotic feelings; everybody loves a parade…. Music is used in ceremonial events, presidential funerals, state dinners, and official events galore. In towns large and small, all across the country, military buglers play taps, and military bands of all types and sizes march in parades to pay tribute to homecoming soldiers and honor those left behind.

But music can be applied and exploited for purposes that may be depressing, distressing, or to some, even despicable. One who finds beauty in music will likely be appalled to hear a young American soldier fighting in Iraq describe how he and his buddies patch rock music into the headphones in their tank in order to pump themselves up for the fight. While employing music to whip soldiers into a fighting frenzy may seldom be discussed, it is not uncommon. Nor is it unusual to use music as a weapon. As seen in the capture of Manuel Noriega and the Siege of the Church of Nativity in Israel, music has been an effective tool for soldiers in PsyOps (Psychological Operations)….

A friend, now retired from the US Air Force, once told me that music money is “miniscule in terms of the overall defense budget, but the payback is so huge, you can’t even begin to calculate how important it is.” Hmmmm….

Up To The Challenge

Hats off and many thanks to Mr. Rifftides. I asked for the whole story about punishing high-school kids by making them listen to Sinatra records and Mr. R has delivered, posting it here on his blog.

At the end he wonders whether Sinatra might have known about this and what he might have said or felt. I know one or two folks who knew Ol’ Blue Eyes fairly well so I am going to ask. (Had this been a few years ago I might have persuaded Joe Williams to call Frank directly and ask him for me.) I probably won’t get much of a respose, but we’ll see. One never knows, do one?

Supposed News That’s Not Fit To Print (or Air)

I have been waiting to hear someone in the media say this:

The reappearance of the JonBenet Ramsey story on the media radar made my heart sink.

Thank you, Joe Carroll (San Francisco Chronicle). Every night my husband and I talk back to the news readers on telelvision…often we yell at the politicians and pundits too. Lately, we just shake our heads at all the JonBenet coverage. I guess the media must believe that a little soft porn in the guise of “breaking news” will raise the ratings. That alone is a shame. Add to that the fact that there are no real facts and certainly no real news in this current flurry of re-hash and you have the making of another journalism travesty. Here’s a graf from Carroll’s column:

Even before the story about the guy who didn’t kill JonBenet Ramsey broke, I had been thinking about people trusting the media, or rather not trusting the media. Of course, sensible people don’t trust politicians either, or large corporations, or advertising — one feature of modern life is how untrustworthy everything is. No wonder we’re crazy; we have no idea what the truth is, and we need at least an approximation of the truth in order to make intelligent decisions.

But how does anyone know to trust anyone else?

Read the whole column here

Music, War, Human Nature…

In response to my mention of the Army’s PsyOps division having used music as a weapon, Mr.Rifftides sent this message:

I remember that a few years ago there was quite a ruckus about the high school principal who punished his misbehaving inner-city students by making them listen to Frank Sinatra recordings. It may have been Chicago. If I turn up details, I’ll let you know.

I hope he does turn up the details; thats a story I’d like to hear.

In yesterday’s The New York Times there was an article (Harmony Across a Divide) by Alan Riding.

IT was an immensely appealing experiment, both in its idealism and in its simplicity: Let young Israeli and Arab musicians play together in an orchestra to show that communication and cooperation were possible between peoples who had long fought each other.

Conceived by Argentine-born Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, the project began in 1999 as an annual event, and despite even the more recent outbreaks of violence, the orchestra is still performing.

Still, with the orchestra touring 13 cities in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey, Mr. Barenboim believes that this latest crisis merely underlines the venture’s importance.

“From the beginning it took a lot of courage to participate in this project, but all the more so this year, while this war is going on, and the friends and relatives of some are being hurt by the friends and relatives of others.” Mr. Barenboim said in an interview the day after starting the tour with the first classical concert ever in Seville’s historic bullring. “In that sense this is a very small reply to the terrible horrors of war.”

I have begun to collect similar stories of music used in service of diplomacy and/or as a humanizing force. Colonel Gabriel once told me a story of taking a German town by force in 1944 as an infantryman, and returning years later as Commander of the US Air Force Band, capturing that same town with music. In 1944 he left with their flag, and later they gave him their key. Another story is that of the joint concert performed by our National Symphony and the Iraq National Symphony, described by The Lehrer Newshour as “an attempt at literal harmony out of the confusion and sometimes violent aftermath of the Iraq war.”

If anyone knows of any such stories, please share them with me.

I’ve Got Mail: Another Perspective

As you know, I’ve been embroiled in the online discussions with my classmates about the wars, and more specifically about human nature and whether we are wired to be violent, an inherency tempered only by our intellect and consciousness (and/or perhaps conscience). It was with that in mind that I posted the quote from Carl Jung (see yesterday’s post just below). Bill Crow writes in response:

Re your posted quote from Jung: He must have been talking about himself. I personally have come to consciousness many times with joy and pleasure, as when I first heard Louis Armstrong’s recording of West End Blues, when I first heard Duke Ellington’s recording of Creole Love Call, when I first heard Lester Young’s recording of I Got Rhythm, and when I first heard Charlie Parker’s recording of Ko Ko. Such moments of revelation have carried me happily through a life in music, without pain.
(The pain came later on, in my fingers, from struggling to transfer the consciousness of the music onto my instrument.)

Thanks, Bill, for providing a ballast, accentuating the positive, and reminding us of the power of music. I’m don’t know which specific renditions you have in mind (these guys having recorded these songs more than once) but I hope the above links to sound clips will give DDW readers a little sample.

Did you all know that the Army’s PsyOps division has used music as a weapon? I’ve been meaning to research the details, but I remember something about driving Noriega out of hiding by bombarding him with heavy metal music. No joke. I wonder what would happen if we were to fill the air in warring territories with great music. Now there’s a secret weapon I could support. Hmmm…

Kill Or Be Killed

If you saw my post about the murder of Eyal and about my elementary school reunion then you know that I have friends (male and female fraternal twins) living in Israel. These are close friends, people for whom I feel love and about whom I worry more each passing day of this “conflict.” This is all very foreign to me — no pun intended. For starters, we have not maintained consistent communications throughout the years: I have never met her children, and while I have met and like very much his wife and sons, I can’t claim to really know them. Truth is, I don’t really know the twins at all as adults, having not had any deep or lengthy sustained interactions over time. Our bond is one that was forged in our youth, and therein lies its strength, perhaps a little like that of siblings who grow up and go their very separate ways.

The class reunion is ongoing online, and the latest communications have been about the war; I’ve been reading them avidly, but silently. I have yet to speak. Much of the “discussion” has been about pacifism vs. violence. Does violence only beget more violence? Is killing always wrong? Was it wrong to kill Nazis? Is it wrong to protect oneself and one’s family? Right or wrong, the reality on the ground seems to be “kill or be killed.”

Personally, morally, I am probably a pacifist. I don’t “believe” anyone ought to take a life. I don’t believe in capital punishment either. But if attacked, would I fight back? I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that my reaction would be chemically induced — either I would freeze (and perhaps be killed) or I would fight (and perhaps be killed). Whichever choice, and whatever the outcome, I truly doubt that my reaction in-the-moment would be based on moral or intellectual grounds.

War is not waged by a people, it is declared by a handful of men maneuvering for more power and money. I don’t believe that people are born knowing how to hate or kill — they are taught, or perhaps a more appropriate word is manipulated. You can’t teach an intelligent person that 2+2=5 because they know better, but you can convince them that it is to their benefit to embrace that erroneous conclusion. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Global warming doesn’t exist? Or you can use religion, faith in the unseen, belief in the glorious hereafter, to give credence to that which cannot be proven. Religion is an especially effective weapon used on people who have nothing — nothing to live for, nothing to hope for, except perhaps the glories in the next life, and perhaps the notion that they are providing for their families. Did you know that the families of suicide bombers are well-provided for financially? Isn’t it interesting that none of the terrorist “leaders” or their family members have themselves been suicide bombers?

“Leader” is an interesting word. Heads of state may once have been leaders, representatives of the people. Now they are abusers and oppressors. Most of you will readily agree, looking at some of the foreign lands and rulers. But I think it has become the truth everywhere, even here in the good ol’ USA. No one in American government is looking out for my best interests, or yours either. Many of the laws we had that were intended to protect us, the people, are now overlooked, ignored, repealed… What happened to anti-trust, the Sherman Act? Every day the consolidation of wealth and power increases, as does the divide between the haves and the have-nots. Look at all the people grasping at straws, praying for a miracle, living vicariously. How else would you describe the popularity of the lottery or reality/contest tv shows? A handful of people control the media, and that has a direct impact on both entertainment and information…or should I say mis-information. [A friend and fellow blogger talks often about the value of blogdom and the empowerment of people to have a voice via the Internet. I agree, but how can one know who or what to believe? That’s a discussion for another day.]

Have my thoughts strayed too far from the Arab-Israeli conflict? I don’t think that World War III (that’s what we’re now in) has much of anything to do with Arab-Israeli disputes over territory. “We were here first” and “they attacked us first” — sounds to me like children’s arguments; who hit whom first, who instigated what, and when, is now long beside the point, if it was ever really the point. These are “reasons” used to manipulate people, to incite hatred, to make them fight seemingly for themselves but really for the benefit of the powers that be.

Getting back to my friends — our online discussion began when one member asked us to read and comment on a speech by Haim Harari that though given in 2004, could have well been uttered just yesterday.

“The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and of the incitement but, they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.”

My first reaction was to wonder ‘why they are afraid?’ Is there not power in numbers? Naive, I know. My second, more considered reaction is that what Harari said about the Moslems is true of all of us. We, too, are silent accomplices. From where do you think these warring factions are getting their weapons? Hasn’t our economy, and the Republican Party, always benefited from war? So why do we stay silent? Some might say *that* doesn’t have anything to do with us. Okay, so why do we remain silent while our government runs roughshod over the poor, the elderly, and now even the middle class? My husband says that one day average Americans will take the streets and revolt. I’m not so sure we have it in us. What will it take to make us take a stand?

Harari points out that suicide bombings, horrific though they are, have quantitatively less impact, cause fewer deaths, than say car accidents or earthquakes. It’s effectiveness as a weapon lies not in the body count, but in the economic impact of the aftermath, destroying a country’s tourism, airlines in bankruptcy… The World Trade Center took a lot of lives, but the greater cost was in the aftermath, the disruption of a major business center and the escalation of people’s fear and how that alters people’s behavior, particularly economically, in the long run.

There is so much that we simply cannot understand having not had the horrific experiences ourselves (9/11 not withstanding), but as several have opined, that is all too soon to change. Maybe then we, too, will take a stand.

If after reading this you are wondering which side I am on, do I support Israel’s actions, do I feel bad for the Palestinians….the answer is that I am on the side of the people, the average people in all countries, the people who should band together, live together and share the planet, and not allow a handful of power-hungry elite to divide us and conquer.

In the words of Nelson Mandela: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

But again I have strayed back to the intellectual and moral approach. Harari said “The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment.” I can see the sad truth of this statement. Hospitals and places of worship, civilians and especially children, are being used as shields. The rules of engagement have been abandoned…by both sides. A decision has been made to fight fire with fire, and I cannot stand in judgment of those on the front lines or in the cross-fire. But there will be a price to pay, for as Ghandi once said, “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”