44 seconds of silence, 6 million Jews, Cheltenham Township, Code of a Gentleman, Hiroshima, Iran mullahs, Israel, Nagasaki, Netanyahu, Never Again, Old Testament Prophet, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Simon and Garfunkel, stare, The Sounds of Silence, United Nations
Back on those hyper-rare occasions as a child when I was perceived by my Father to have, well, ‘erred’, I was ‘invited’ to join him in his den at the back of the house.
Well, okay, perhaps not so hyper-rare but, truly, rare occasions; enough to be memorable over five decades after his death.
With his glasses drooping almost absent-mindedly from his hand, wordlessly, he’d wave to me to sit on a antique, wooden platform-rocker. One knew trouble brewed. The usual needlepoint cushion of my Mother’s making had been… removed!
Dad would lean back in his chair and just look at me for what felt like… forever.
Have you ever seen a dog whose favorite bone has been lifted from his mouth? What happens?
The pooch always looks up, with something between near terror and non-recognition of “What have I done to deserve this?”
I always felt like that pooch, but, of course, yes, I knew, and damned well indeed what I’d done. So, did my Dad, who was simply allowing me to simmer and steep in my own guilt, fearing the worst.
Whatever my trespass, it was almost always a failure to live up to familial expectations, the simplest tenets of the ‘Code of A Gentleman‘ or something almost as Divine, or as my Dad saw such.
Only once since then, however, have I ever witnessed a howlingly silent rebuke of such powerful caliber as this:
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 45 Seconds of Silence symbolizes the world’s silence in the face of Iranian threats to annihilate Israel.
“Seventy years after the murder of 6 million Jews, Iran’s rulers promise to destroy my country, murder my people; and the response from this body — the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here — has been absolutely nothing,” Netanyahu told the assembled world leaders. “Utter silence. Deafening silence.”
And then the Israeli leader paused for 45 seconds to illustrate his point. He stared around the utterly dead-silent room.
“Perhaps you can now understand why Israel is not joining you in celebrating this [Iran nuclear] deal,” he continued. “If Iran’s rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you’d be less enthusiastic about the deal.”
Speaking about the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran, Netanyahu rebuked his listeners at the Assembly:
“Perhaps you’d be more reluctant to celebrate, if the deal threatened your neighborhood,” he said, pointing out that Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles are meant for the US and Europe.
Addressing Iran’s rulers, Netanyahu promised:
“Your plan to destroy Israel will fail. No force on earth will threaten Israel’s future. We will do whatever it takes to defend our state and our people.”
Like some Old Testament Prophet, this Israeli-born graduate of the American public schools system of Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania oftentimes lapsed into a refined but sometimes near-raw Philadelphia accent to decry evil and swear, as he should, to protect his Nation, one which, in so very many ways, is the most unique in all the world.
One hopes the naked light of truth will shine upon those of goodwill and, equally, upon those rather less blameless.
The reality this Prime Minister and his people face is the flash of an atomic light more powerful than anything seen since either Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945.
Were such to be seen, and assuming some rational souls still existed 60 years later on, would people, determinedly if gullibly, still be mumbling ‘Never again!’?
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools,” said I, “you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence”
Haaretz.com, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, and analysis from Israel and the Middle East. Haaretz.com provides extensive and in-depth coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including defense, diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the peace process, Israeli politics, Jerusalem affairs, international relations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli business world and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.550012
Simon & Garfunkel http://www.simonandgarfunkel.com/us/home
10th March 2014 was the 50th Anniversary of the release of ‘The Sounds of Silence’. Today their acclaim is universal but in 1964 Simon & Garfunkel’s debut LP Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. … only sold about 2,000 copies. A mix of Paul Simon originals, folk covers and traditional tunes, its highlight was a Simon composition recorded on March 10, 1964, “The Sounds of Silence.”
“…Simon and tenor Art Garfunkel honed the song in Greenwich Village coffeehouses before they recorded “The Sounds of Silence” with producer Tom Wilson. Backed by just two acoustic guitars and an upright bass, ‘The Sounds of Silence’ was drowned out by the wave of Beatlemania that swept America in 1964. Discouraged, the long-time friends split up. Simon moved to England and Garfunkel returned to college in New York.
In an interview with National Public Radio in the USA (‘NPR’), Simon explained the appeal of the song, retitled “The Sound of Silence” on later compilations. “The key to ‘The Sound Of Silence’ is the simplicity of the melody and the words, which are youthful alienation.”