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No Martyr for his country--No Hero, either.

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Message E. T. SIMON
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See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .
It is an interesting thing. A Dictionary is. It tells us the different meanings people give to a word. It can also help us to discern facts from truth, or who is being honest about any situation and who is not, or who is playing with our sympathies and who is not. Take the word, "Martyr", for instance.

1. One who chooses to die rather than renounce religious principles.
2. One who suffers much or makes great sacrifices in order to
advance a belief, cause, or principle.
3.One who endures great suffering.
4. One who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse

1.a. Alarm and agitation caused by the expectation of danger.

2. A man noted for courageous acts or nobility of purpose, esp. one who
has risked or sacrificed his life.
Webster's II New Riverside University Edition

Just before Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and Israel responded with military Might to the kidnappings of their soldiers by pulverizing Lebanon, just before Bush uttered more BUSHISMOS about not asking for a ceasefire in the Middle East unless a "durable cease fire" can be obtained, and just before Condoleezza Rice continued her CANTINFLISMOS about a ceasefire that holds, or about unmitigated bloodshed being the "birth pangs" of a New Middle East, a friend of mine and her family, along with her six year old son, were visiting Israel.

There was an air of heightened alert in the air. Their tour was heavily guarded by military or paramilitary men with machine guns, she says. Their tourist group was rushed into the tourist areas and rushed back into their buses at maddening speeds, and under the protection of those machine guns. There was no time to linger on or mill around.

Her six year old, terrified by the presence of men with their machine guns kept asking his mom if, "something bad" was going to happen to them, to which my friend kept saying, no. Nothing bad is going to happen, that is why these men with all these machine guns are here-they are here to keep anything bad from happening to us.

(Reality is not to be hid-it can be obscured. It can never be hid.) Despite her reassurances, her son sensed an air of danger and abnormality which he expressed in fear, "is something bad going to happen to us?"

My friend's answers bought her son's silence. He did not ask about the men with the machine guns anymore, nor did he ask whether anything bad was going to happen-he either trusted his mother, or he just fell into a silence of his own and locked whatever fear he might have felt, deep inside his puzzled mind. His need to cling to her might be an indication of what his true feelings were.

One wonders what sort of dialogue went on inside his head, in his soul, between he-and-he.

She, his mother, herself, was fearful of breaking her little boy's innocence by telling him that bad things can happen when men need to make weapons their security measure, or when weapons need to be the only means of "communicating" differences between people, or of establishing boundaries between them. She was too afraid to tell him that she too was fearful, and that along with everyone else in those tour buses, she too hoped nothing bad would happen to them, even when those bullets were there to prevent bad things from coming their way.

She was just afraid ... to tear asunder her little boy's innocence.

Violence, she knew too well is never to be taken for safety-just as she knew too well that violence only begets more violence.

My friend left Israel to return to the United States ahead of her son who, despite the expectation of danger, stayed on for an extra week of vacationing with the rest of her family.

They had the good fortune to be back in this country about a day or two before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah and Israel began to dole out bad things out to Lebanon.

It is on this sense of alarm and agitation caused by the expectation of fear that my mind focuses on at this point.

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