Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
The first suicide terrorist was Samson. In the book of Judges, chapters 13 – 16, the Jews were oppressed by the Palestinians - I mean Philistines. For 20 years, Samson resisted that oppression like a one-man Al Qaeda. He killed random Philistinian civilians, and burned their crops and their stored grain. Then, fearing their wrath, he hid out in a cave. But like the USA after 9/11, the Philistines massed their armies and demanded that the Jews turn over the terrorist. Unlike the Taliban, the Jews complied. They went to Samson's cave, since of course they knew where he was, and demanded his surrender. Samson agreed but then was seized by the spirit of G-d and killed another thousand Philistine husbands, fathers and sons. He was finally captured due only to his weakness for Philistine women.
Samson's suicide attack came at a huge party in honor of the Philistinian god of grain, Dagon. Maybe because Samson had destroyed so much grain, the revelers brought him in as part of the celebration. Leaning against a set of pillars that he knew would kill scores of innocent people, Samson's last prayer was that G-d would let him die along with his enemy. His prayer was answered and Samson, along with over three thousand people, more than died on 9/11, perished in a single act of violence.
We, just like the Islamists, celebrate our favorite martyr - suicide terrorist - Samson. He is the poster boy for manly strength. We name luggage, weightlifting competitions and hair restoration products after him. We name our largest sons, dogs and most powerful machines Samson. And of course, Hollywood made a blockbuster movie staring the most studly he-man star of his day, Victor "I have bigger boobs than Anna Nicole Smith" Mature.
We all admire strength, self-sacrifice and the triumph of the underdog. We all agree that some folks deserve a big bowl of whop-ass and we celebrate the men who dish it out. And we all remember that one nation's terrorist is another nation's media idol.
The Chicago City Council is considering renaming a one-block section of an inner city street for murdered Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The move is wildly controversial and the Chicago Police union is outraged that the city would honor a man who encouraged his followers to "Off the Pigs."
Remembering the Black Panthers, I understand why Palestinians voted for Hamas. First of all the headgear. The Panthers wore these tres cool berets just as Hamas leaders sport totally fashionable Islamic resistance baseball caps. But more importantly and even more fun, both the Panthers and Hamas behave like men. Like Palestinians on the West Bank, we on the west side of Chicago in the 1960's understood how violent and well-armed are our opponents, in our case the Chicago Police Department. Hardly a young man among us had not been harassed by cops for the sometimes capital offense of "driving while black." All of us who protested against segregation had been photographed by people we took to be cops and FBI agents out to intimidate us. But the Panthers behaved as if they were not afraid. They had their little shot guns and their little pistols. The Panthers were way into their second amendment rights. They were fools. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were ultimately gunned down in their sleep by the axis of evil government agencies. But for a hot minute there, the Black Panther Party - they stood up to the bad guys. They were not trying to get along with injustice but shove it out of the way. They did not ask for acceptance. They demanded respect.
They appealed to our idealism. The party platform quoted the declaration of independence. They were the strong right arm of our ideals. Betcha anything that's how Palestinians feel about Hamas. Like us about the Panthers they say, "Call 'em terrorists, call 'em whatever you want but you can't call them late for the revolution. They're here, they're on our side and standing up for us. And besides, they got great headgear.”
The city of Chicago is naming but a single block for the Black Panther martyr Fred Hampton. But when it's official I can't wait to drive on it... then turn around and drive back.. then turn around and drive back...