Beyond the Cusp

April 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Response Teams and Quiet Heroes

 

In the end there will be nothing to add as the Israeli teams have already arrived amongst the first teams to arrive and after most have left there will be Israelis seeking and finding the places most remote to give aid and comfort. The initial IDF coordinating team which also doubles as a relief center and as the coordination of even the most remote assets making every team is given whatever assistance they may require. An IDF spokesperson was quoted telling an Arutz Sheva reporter of their mission, “The purpose of the delegation is to examine the level of assistance needed in the area, an analysis of the surface area and scale of the disaster, and adjusting the State of Israel’s response via the IDF as needed. The disaster is complex and difficult in the present case, where there is extensive damage to life and property, and sending a team of this type is in accordance to protocol. The IDF will help on behalf of the State of Israel in any disaster around the world where it’s needed.”

 

United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom (MDA) have sent their initial delegations to Nepal late in the day Sunday. Quoting the leader of United Hatzalah commenting on the initial scope of the relief initially being provided by them and MDA, Eli Beer stated that the organizations “will set up a field clinic to grant medical assistance” at the scene and that they are additionally “ready to treat many victims for fractures, dehydration, and infection.”

 

All teams from around the world will be arriving to see devastation beyond imagination as the initial earthquake measured 7.6 with a one massive aftershock amongst the several others measured as a 6.9 making it a secondary earthquake to strike the region. The death toll has tragically vaulted past thirty-two-hundred people with more than 4,500 injured. Officials have already stated that this was the worst earthquake Nepal has suffered in eighty-one years. The way Israel will play their role in the dispensing aid and comfort to the citizens and any travelers who may need assistance is indicative of the truth one would find in Israel and Israelis as a rule. Amongst those visiting there are two-hundred Israelis that remain to be located, let’s hope they are safe and not found trapped or worse. Let’s pray the toll which remains to be assessed is mostly structural and property and that the toll in lives will be minimal as there have been enough who have paid the ultimate price. There remain numerous remote locations which have not been assessed but that is an area at which the Israeli teams have proven their worth repeatedly. Just as in the Philippines where they found one village and gave assistance much of which had little to do with the disaster but were more along the lines of initial aid as this remote village had never received any outside help previously, not from any disaster or aid from the government in schools or medical facilities. This was rectified before the Israelis finished their time with these people. Finding more remote places which need general assistance and not so much from damage caused by the earthquake prove to be the case this time as there has been sufficient suffering from nature’s fury.

 

The people of Nepal are about to be given a view of Israel and most Israelis which is quite far removed from the one represented by the media across the globe and even often in Israeli media such as Haaretz. It is sad that it is only during such emergencies that people get to see Israel in action caring and giving comfort to those in need and meeting them with a hand outstretched in friendship and warmth. There will be no coverage granted Israel and nothing that Israel will gain on all the places where such goodwill returned is so badly needed. There have been a few exceptions, one was a short story about the level and speed with which the Israeli aid center and hospital was already treating patients in Haiti even before some nation’s initial search teams had arrived. Another was also from Haiti and referred to a more personal story where George Exantus, a dancer, was given a specially designed prosthetic leg which permitted his dancing career to continue. We recently referred to this story but it deserves another reference to our initial coverage in the article titled, Why Doesn’t Israel Refute the Propaganda Against Her? The final coverage Israel received was by a reporter who was seeking any remote location where aid had not been provided and she had been directed to a village which had never received any aid, be it from disaster relief or simple government aid and when she arrived at the village there were the Israelis busily providing aid. Her story remained about the village the world had forgotten except she had a new twist to end her article as aid had beaten her to the village and was being provided by an Israeli team. Needless to point out, the reporters who came across these stories were surprised to see the Israelis giving so much of themselves and making these sacrifices cheerfully and glad they could help wherever they went. The real shame is that it takes a disaster to allow the world an opportunity to see the generous and giving side to Israel.

 

There is another program run by the Israelis which treats a more personal and family tragedy just as serious and life-threatening as an earthquake, tsunami, or other crisis which was also covered in the article noted above. We stated in that article the following; “The program is called SACH which stands for “Save a Child’s Heart” and has two main visions for service. The first is to treat any child needful of heart surgery in Israel even arranging transport through a third country for the Arab children from nations who have such relations with Israel that the child and parents would be put to death should Israel be stamped as a destination on their Visa or Passport. The Israelis have treated numerous Palestinian children with this program as well and invest most of their efforts and charity in places where the children with heart defects or disease would have little if any possibility for survival. They bring the child, parents and even entire families in appropriate situation and provide free care and follow-up treatments giving the child a chance for a normal life. This program also assists in setting up children’s cardiac care centers in hospitals in countries where no such care exists and train physicians in the procedures used in treating cardiac problems and disease in children. All of this is done as charity under the Jewish concept of being a light unto the nations and setting an example of how man can act when doing his best free from hate or judgmentalism.” I guess it could be said that Israel has the daunting task of winning the hearts and minds of the world one individual in need at a time.

 

It remains a sad state of affairs that preconceived perceptions will even cloud some people’s minds that even when presented with such evidence their primary state of hate for Israel proves the stronger emotion as we have seen in too many instances. One that is etched into my memory was of an Arab woman from Gaza. Her husband had thrown acid on her face which caused acid burns. She was treated in an Israeli hospital and had been given a number of surgeries and was returning to the hospital for her supposed final visit. Her demeanor was well known to the crossing guards and something in her attitude this final visit sent alarms ringing in the guards’ minds, so they took her aside to check her for explosives. She was placed in a bombproof room and during the inspection she detonated the explosives which were estimated to have been a few pounds of explosives, sufficient to have destroyed the hospital clinic and killed every body inside. That was to be her repayment for the aid she had been provided and the sensitivity and what the clinic believed friendship they had forged over months of treatments. When the nurses and doctors were informed of what transpired at the crossing they were noticeably shaken and incredulous, some breaking into tears at the loss, the complete loss on so many levels. Lost friendship, lost trust, lost compassion, lost life of a person they had come to feel closeness with, but mostly lost innocence as this person they had let into their closest trust and had developed an emotional attachment and appeared to have had mutual exchanges of so much during the months of treatments and to find out she had intended to murder all of them just was too much shock and proved discomforting, but it is difficult to understand how such things can happen is beyond belief and incredulous, but also all too true and a portent of the danger faced in this often crazed world in which we all have to live and find our way through the emotional maze we often find ourselves lost within.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 4, 2014

News Roundup and Commentary in Bits and Bites

Some days offer either too many items of relative importance or simply lack any one item which offers sufficient angles for a complete article and the recent past has been a perfect example of both. The most pressing story is also the most sad as it combines the horrors of recalling past horrors with a similarly horrific series of events in the present. I am referring to the mass shooting at Fort Hood Texas where an emotionally scarred and unbalanced soldier presumably experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) went on a shooting spree where he murdered three innocents and injured reportedly as many as sixteen others with nine requiring extended hospital treatment before turning his weapon on himself almost immediately after armed enforcement personnel appeared on the scene. This event occurring as it did at Fort Hood brought back the sickening memories of the “work place violence” committed by Major Nidal Hasan. Despite the United States Military classification of Major Hasan’s murder spree, many commentators and others expressed their belief that that shooting should have been classified as a terrorist attack, especially when reports revealed that the Major had been shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered his victims. The one truth this horrific and senseless shooting spree will produce will be the inevitable references and comparisons between the two shootings which will hopefully not result in any excuses or insensitive statements minimizing the horrors and emotional tragedies attached to either incident.

 

Another crisis which is continuing on its rise in temperature and getting dangerously close to boiling over, emitting some loud and unignorable blasts this past week is the ever-present Korean peninsula’s low-grade war. It began in its usual fashion with the North Koreans informing their neighbors in South Korea that they planned on holding some military exercises. They cautioned the South Koreans to avoid approaching even the offshore maritime zones of North Korea. Once their war games began, predictably and unsurprisingly the North Koreans lobbed numerous shells and armed projectiles south of the demarcation lines between the two nations striking in South Korean waters. As has been the custom, the South Koreans responded with expressed indignation and stressed their displeasure with a few well-placed rounds into the North Korean maritime waters. The reason for alarm over what is not exactly a new occurrence is that the new, young, neophyte North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still very much an unknown quantity. It has definitely not served to lower the blood pressure or lessened tensions with the recent revelations that Kim Jong Un had carried out a purge which included his hanging family members. This along with other signals that the new North Korean leader may be quite unstable and unpredictable leading many to fear that he may not be easily predictable and thus an unknown quantity which presents a far more troubling situation than the already problematic relations between North Korean and the rest of the world, and especially for South Korea. Just add one more possible war-mongering megalomaniac onto the list of such players on the world stage. Where Kim Jong Un will not be as threatening a potential menace as Russian President Putin, known in our office as Vlad the Invader, or as dangerous as the slowly ever reaching tentacles from China slowly eating up all the disputed islands in the South China Sea and other area off their coasts and included in their newly declared enlarged maritime borders; these rising threats make one question, who will represent a viable opposition to these opportunistic hegemonic imperialists.

 

There were reports of some last ditch efforts to resuscitate the Israel Palestinian peace negotiations. Reportedly, Israeli Chief Negotiator Tzipi Livni and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat met with United States Mediator Martin Indyk in what was described as a very stormy session where the two required repeated separating by Mr. Indyk as they exchanged threats, curses and excessively abusive language in efforts to allow them to cool their jets and hopefully calm their animosity and belligerence. Eventually Mr. Indyk called an end to the session as everything he attempted proved ineffective and the atmosphere was proving beyond rescue making any hopes for any reconciliation being obviously impossible. In other developments, the Palestinians released updated requirements, actually conditional demands, upon the Israelis if any chance would exist for them to return and extend the negotiations. Their demands for a building freeze remained the same, an absolute freeze on all Israeli building within Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem including any areas the Palestinians define as rightfully belonging to their future nation while their previous demand that the Israelis release four hundred additional terrorist prisoners above the final twenty-six from the original one-hundred-four that were to be released as a condition for the Palestinians to even attend any negotiations was increased demanding the release of one thousand terrorist prisoner with the release terrorists Ahmed Saadat and Marwan Barghouti heading their lists. Finally, the Palestinians added one last threat that should the Israelis be perceived to have taken any undesired actions concerning the Palestinians that they would “pursue the Israelis in all international forums and make sure they were branded as war criminals.” At the end of everything that has occurred since Israel initially postponed the final release of twenty-six Terrorist prisoners, Israel finally announced that they were officially cancelling the final release reacting to the application to fifteen United Nations and world bodies and agencies by Palestinian Chairman Abbas carrying out his threat to seek world affirmation to establish the Palestinian state. One wonders how such might eventually be resolved as even with all these memberships the Palestinians will still lack some of the requirements of an actual nation under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States as stated in Article 1 which states, “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

 

The Earth has been shaking all over with Chile suffering aftershocks and what was potentially a second earthquake yesterday registering 7.6 on the Richter Scale following a larger earthquake the previous day which measured a destructive 8.2 on the Richter Scale. Further north, Panama was struck by an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale. In the past day there were reportedly sixty earthquakes considered notable, 2.5 or higher on the Richter Scale, by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) with the most significant being: 4.6 Richter Scale in Nobeoka, Japan; in ascending order, 4.5, 4.6 (x2), 4.7, 4.8 (x4), 4.9 (x6), 5.0, 5.1 (x4), 5.2 (x3), 5.5, 5.6 (x2), 5.8, 6.2, 6.5, 7.6 Richter Scale in Iquique, Chile; 4.9 Richter Scale in Putre, Chile; 5.3 Richter Scale in Lambasa, Fiji; 4.5 Richter Scale in Gura Teghii, Romania; 5.6 Richter Scale in Bengkulu, Indonesia; 5.0 Richter Scale at the Southwest Indian Ridge in the Indian Ocean; and 5.6 Richter Scale in Kamaishi, Japan. The news covered the two major earthquakes near Iquique, Chile while mentioning there had been numerous aftershocks while the figures above shows how absolutely horrified the people living in the area have been suffering almost constant earthquakes and aftershocks since the initial jolt reported earlier this week. The one thing writing commentary and reporting news daily does is give you a perspective on how fortunate most of our lives are when we compare them to the miseries or disasters which strike so many fellow earthlings each and every day. It has given those of us who have this perspective reason to thank G0d that our lives have been blessed with a steady diet of what could be classified as boredom but is actually blessed calm and persistent quiet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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