Monday, December 22, 2008

Vietnam - 1969

“Have you seen the PHOTO from Vietnam where a police man, in civilian clothes, is shown in the very act of blowing out a man’s BRAINS?”

The man is kneeling and his face shows clear awareness of what is about to happen.

“Was the executioner even brought to trial?”

“There is a girl grown up in Canada who survived being on fire”.

“How did she catch fire?”

“This was not spontaneous combustion … the Air Force was throwing NAPALM …
the ground troops and tanks were spewing this fiery sticky petroleum product and the little girl was caught in the photographer’s lens – she was certainly under ten years of age – and the fall of Saigon was underway”.

“She was fleeing from the pain … her clothes had been burnt off her …”

JULY 1969

“Why are you in Vietnam?”

It was the question that I asked every American I could speak to ….

Friday, 16th May 2008

Before this Friday night I had never heard face to face a Vietnam War miracle story … and had not imagined that she would tell it “as it happened”. After all it was the first time we met!

“My father worked in the Capital city … it was not Ho Chi Minh City until the fall of Saigon”

“Father worked in an accountant’s capacity … when Saigon fell he started to feel threatened and he moved us; the family included my two other brothers and my mother and I”.

“How did you escape from Vietnam?”

“We paid in gold for a passage in a fishing boat”.
“There were about 180 passengers … we knew the great risks we were facing … the sea pirates had much larger ships and they were well armed। A lot of the refugee boats were boarded; the men were killed and thrown overboard. The women and girls were USED and then disposed of”. I forgot what she told me about the small children and babies.

She continued …

“One of the boats decided to fight back. They collected weapons. They tried to fight back … but the pirates brought in two much larger ships and they towered over the small refugee boat”.

“Then the pirate ships came together thus crushing and crunching up the small boat like you demolish a cockroach underfoot …”

“No one escaped …”

“Were there sharks in the Indo China Sea?”

“Yes” … she said quietly … sadly.

“Did you have to face these pirates?”

“It is a lucrative profession … to attack, abuse and rob defenseless persons …”

“We were lucky … or perhaps there was SOMEONE watching out over us. We were sponsored by Canadian churches. Many of our people were brought to New Liskeard.”

“You mentioned that you were in a refugee camp for three months … please tell me how you were selected by the Roman Catholic Church?”

“My father spoke fluent French … this was the reason the Catholic Church accepted us so quickly …”

“It was the year 1976 … we were placed in different villages near New Liskeard.”

“Did you retain your language?”

“Very little, really,” she said. “I cannot write it and there is no community where I work.”

“Where do you work?”

“At St. Joseph’s Sleep Lab in Toronto.”

I ask the names of some cardiologists and discover that two of them Dr. S. and Dr. R. who I knew in the 1970’s – 1990’s are still there!!!

“So your sleep patterns are not normal … did you sleep this night?” I asked her.


“A question about your family – would you tell me about them?”

“Yes, my brothers are doing well.”

“and your parents?”

“Mom and Dad moved south from New Liskeard to North Bay – half way closer than New Liskeard “

“Do you see them often?”

“They drive down once a month to visit me …”

“I should like to get your father’s story.” I said to her.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Young Jewish Girl - Rachel Corrie

The army bulldozer moved ever closer to her – this tiny wisp of a girl – perhaps a little older than Anne Frank was when she perished – yet – yet it just occurred to me that a life is like a fountain pen which is offered to each soul – the Buddha would have said ‘to each sentient’ soul. Sentient beings are those created with self-awareness and those also have FEELINGS -.

Man has had excess of a quality (often) termed as HUBRIS unless we are weak, ill, poor, male or female persons – helpless infants or handicapped – or elderly – we may not be aware of the pain and suffering of others.

But Rachel was young, vibrant, strong, extremely bright and beautiful. How was it possible that such a wisp of a young woman – if you are curious by now to know her exact age, feel free to Google her name and presto – BLINK - you have at your fingertips the immediate bio data which encapsulates Rachel Corrie’s brief life …….

This was the tipping point of her young life.

The driver of the Israeli bulldozer was probably not very conscious of the risk that Rachel was taking.

“Greater love has no man, than he/she who lays down his/her life for another …….”

One doesn’t have to be a Christian to know the words of that young Rabbi Isa iba Mary (son of Mary) ---- Jesus son of Mary --- to know what those Biblical words mean.

“Deeds speak!” Words are easy.

“Who was the first Christian?”

Not Christ …

No … not Jesus Christ … if he existed there is no archaeological scientific evidence of it – but then why do the Christians and Muslims – among so many others love the ‘son of man” – as he chose to call himself.

“Master”, some said to Jesus, “thou art good….”

“Do not say this…” he corrected the person “Call HIM ALONE as good…” referring to one: the unseen one, the one referred to in the FIRST COMMANDMENT “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD, YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR – YOUR FELLOW MAN – AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF”.

So Rachel Corrie, the young passionate wisp of a girl – daily stood between the encroaching bulldozer and the Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip. One fine day Rachel Corrie was dispatched into the soil – her blood mingling with the debris of the Arab home that she had tried to shield from demolition.

LAST WEEK some terrorists created carnage and mayhem in the city of MUMBAI. I can not label these gunmen as belonging to any group of sentient thinking and feeling beings.

Rachel Corrie was an example of a deeply humane, thinking and feeling person. She never had to say that she was a Jew or a Christian.

For all we know – the ROBOKILLERS of MUMBAI had not a moment of self doubt – let alone any qualms about the evil act of killing hundreds of innocent men, women and children.

This is not an apologia for Islam, a word which literally means ‘peace’ – peace of mind, soul, peaceful acts – submission to a noble code of conduct.

None of these killers could have read a single word of the Quran – be merciful, be compassionate – “if you kill a single person it is as if you have destroyed an entire world – a universe….”

Speechless – my pen runs out of ink – my heart is dry of its blood – the teachers of Islam – LAUDED BY AND IN Quran Moses, i.e. the Lawgiver, Jesus, the Messiah, Muhammad, the Spirit of Truth would be as appalled at the MUMBAI massacre of Wednesday 26 November, 2008 as they would have been by the bulldozer which crushed the life out of innocents like Anne Frank and Rachel Corrie.

All of us – who pride ourselves as being human beings – all of us – each and every one who is not ground down into the misery of poverty and suffering that inflicts this little speck in our little milky way galaxy – each one of us is an equal member of one extended family – Chief Seattle, surely a wise man is reported to have said :LEARN TO SEE YOURSELF IN OTHERS – what harm can you do?”

If the bulldozer driver had read or heard these lines and paused before he took out the Arab house – if the Nazi who snuffed out the life of young Anne Frank had known of the wise advice of Chief Seattle –

“IF” –

“IF” –

“IF” !


The word of wisdom is the lost property of the BELIEVER.


Whatever good action you will perform – be it an ATOM’S weight of good – YOU WILL SEE THE RESULT ---


And what is the upward path?

It is the choice of feeding the hungry –

slaking the thirst of the thirsty –

aiding the helpless –

offering hope to the hopeless –

guiding the ones lost in the darkness of ignorance.

“FATHER” – beseeches Jesus – “Forgive them (forgive my tormentors) –

They are ignorant and unaware of what they are DOING: -

“You cannot live without forgiving others

-daily you must forgive each other –“

-even a hundred times each day – said Muhammad.

Surely Rachel Corrie had no hate in her heart. As the American peace activist stood by the house she was so innocent and so idealistic that she could not conceive that the bulldozer driver would ignore her presence.

“When we choose to ignore others – we may be sentencing them to death”. We trample on their human right to live.

At Nuremberg the defense of the Nazi Commanders was “I was just following orders –“

“I was just following orders”.

“What a cop out!”

The Mumbai murderers were also doing just that. They did not read MARTIN BUBER.

“They did not even understand their own Quran -----“

MUMBAI MASSACRE - November 26, 2008

RACHEL CORRIE - March 16, 2003 – age 23

ANNE FRANK - Early March 1945 – age 15