Fuming against fumes

Several days ago as I approached the building I reside in, I heard the sound of a lawnmower. “The gardener is here,” I thought. As I got closer I smelled the cut grass, a pleasant aroma to me. But after a few breaths I was assaulted by the gas fumes from the leaf blower. To me this was the perfect example of the price society pays for making life more convenient. It might offend some readers if I say that when I see some runners on a busy thoroughfare inhaling the fumes of heavy traffic I am “fuming.” Think about trying to stay physically fit while jogging on a busy thoroughfare and inhaling fumes. I will spare you more examples, but by now I hope you got the message.

At MEMRI.ORG I recently saw the transcript of an interview with Khaled Al-Zaafrani, founder of the Egyptian Justice and Progress Party, that aired on HAFEZ-TV May 12, 2013. He blames the Jews for the First World War, the Second World War, and claims that Jews cannot live without instigating conflicts. This is poison in the air. It appears on television nearly a year after a democratic revolution that we called the “Arab Spring,” and is fed to masses who are not used to seeking out neutral sources of information. And it makes me fume.

Recent events have moved me from fuming to screaming. In Nigeria, a school was attacked by militants, a dormitory set afire with gasoline, and 29 children and a teacher trying to escape were either incinerated or shot to death. And their only sin was that their parents sought for them a Western education.

The children, the children! How can we forget the faces of the children in the refugee camps in Jordan, fleeing from their homes in Syria, torn apart from their families. I am speechless in the face of my helplessness, my inability to do anything about this. All this is done “for the benefit of the people” by a corrupt government, supported by world powers in the UN Security Council who cannot seem to unite to prevent a petty tyrant from causing such unspeakable misery.

The late Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the US House of Representatives, once said “We must remember that the veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are like guardians and we can never rest.”


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