By William Markiewicz
(In answer to a letter on this month's Communication Page)
No, it isn't so, look at the unraveling the spool of past and present history. We don't know how Gypsies became a people without country and concept of self-defence. We know, though, about the Jews. In antiquity the Jews were the brave among the brave. They took the rash step of rising up against Rome, World Empire. They believed that God would give them victory as in the time of the Macabees when they successfully rebelled against the Helenized Syrians. But Rome was not Antiochia. In spite of outstanding sacrifices, the Jews were smashed and expelled from their land. Then they faced a tragic choice -- total extinction or survive with bowed heads. Perhaps they could have run away from ghetto slavery to some solitudes in the mountains and forests. Perhaps they were not organized enough to take this decision. But, for whatever reasons, they chose to stay among the local communities. As we know now, it wasn't the best choice just as defenseless wandering was not the best choice for the Gypsies.
Presently we witness the birth of "neo-Jews:" Serbs in the Balkans, Pashtuns in Afghanistan. The Serbs, as we know, had a deserved reputation of brave among the brave. The Turks, the Nazis respected them as such. Recently they fell under a more terrifying power than the Turks and Nazis. Nato bombs accompanied by the corrosive power of the public manipulators attacked their body and soul. We saw the results in the Belgrade realtor who wanted to shake hands with the bomber who made space for him to build his new real estate complex. We see it in those former fighters who became traitors testifying against Milosevic to the point of ridiculing themselves, like Babic. The problem is that while the adults suffer the children growing up in this poisonous atmosphere will take it for granted. They will become accustomed to insults. Sometimes they'll join their accusers, doubting their parents, or will just be ready to bow.
Now about the Pashtuns. They've been legendary warriors since antiquity. The Serbs didn't provoke their fate while the Pashtuns, still living in prehistory and not knowing better, joined the Taliban against the greatest empire on the planet. In consequence exterminating bombs, inferior only to nuclear bombs, fell on their villages. It's like a meteor falling on dinosaurs. Flourishing villages are now ruined and inhabited by cripples. As they are an isolated people we don't know what will be the impact on their soul. Could they remain the same proud Pashtuns? No way! More likely they will become like the Jews and the Gypsies. We may expect the same for the Iraqis after the offensive. *)
For the Serbs and Pashtuns and perhaps Iraqis, a lesson to remember: No matter how wounded and defeated you are, for the sake of your children, keep your soul strong. Also, when you are lucky enough to recover some of your strength don't abuse it to provoke future revenge. Don't become "Sharon-ites."
*) One "peacemaker," a Brit, I'm sorry I don't remember his name nor on which TV program he appeared, declared: "They're afraid of us even more then they hate us." He looked like a self-satisfied SS-man. (I try to avoid adding points to already published text but this image is too a propos to let it pass. WM)