Perspectives on the Iranian Peace Deal and Human Conflict

Working at home.

I don’t have time for this. But if I don’t capture it, it will be gone. And, I am taking the rest of the day for “Important but not urgent” tasks, including my course on The Essentials of iCloud, something I just must master.

After all, we all will be living in the cloud from now on. And, I get to “play” with my new SPC flat keyboard and wireless mouse to see how they work in the real world. And, sometime in the middle of the night, the Iranian Nuclear Deal got done! Blessed be the peacemakers.

I am listening to the President as I type this. On the way home at 11:00 a.m. I heard Diane Rheme interviewing Abraham Foxman, retiring head of the Jewish Defamation League where he has served for over 30 years.

As expected, he lamented the deal, the negotiating with a country whose leader still vowed to his own people this morning that Iran will eventually wipe Israel off of the face of the earth, and questioned what “teeth” are in the deal in the event of default. That’s his perspective.

Well, the President just said a violation will cause all sanctions to “snap back into place”. I hope that is true, because Iran really was hurt by those sanctions and won’t want them again. That’s his perspective.

But, then he surprised me. Mr. Foxman said, “I have to read it now. I will do so with an open mind. I want to be convinced. Whatever else today is, it is historic.”

I give him credit for keeping an open mind. He went on to point out that Israel is still the only country to have to fight to name its own capital. He made it clear that Israel will defend itself if that becomes necessary.

That’s just the beginning. His “personal story” told me much, so much that I took the long way home, south, then west, and then north.

He and his parents are/were Holocaust Survivors. But, with a twist. To survive, they split up.

They gave him, less than a year old, to a nanny, a devout catholic woman, “for a few days”. She kept him for four years. She collaborated with a priest to hide his identity, and baptized him as a Catholic.

His parents went into the Ghetto, from which his Mother somehow escaped. His father was taken away. He escaped from the train, into the dense woods. Talk about Darwinian traits for survival!

This is when the frailty of human nature became clear to me. After four years, they somehow reunited. They had kept track of the Nanny by sending things she had to sign for. She, the Nanny, said, “I saved him. He’s mine.”

And, get this. a protracted custody suit ensued! If any child should have been spared such a battle, he should have been. And if any adults should have been able to collaborate, they should have.

Not sure how they got little Abe back the first time, but she hired someone to kidnap him from them! Then they kidnapped him from her. And she tried to get them “outed” and arrested by reporting them to the Russians. That was, no doubt, more traumatic for five year old Abraham than going with the Nanny as an infant.

After the parents won the case, Abrahams’s parents  ceased all contact with the Nanny, and finally the mail came back with a note she had died.

He never got to thank her for saving him, or tell her he loved her. But, his parents were able to raise him, something 1.5 million children who did did not get. And, the Nanny lost him to loving parents, not the Nazi’s bullet.

That is two perspectives. Here is a third.

This one is a bit broader.

I am learning so much by the books I mention time to time. I am still working on “A Troublesome Inheritance… by Nicholas Wade, “Natures God…” by Matthew Stewart, and “Fields of Blood..” by Karen Armstrong.

But, I also learned that last night our NASA Probe orbited around the planet formerly known as Pluto, or is it a “dwarf planet” now? The U.S. is the only country to send a probe around the Sun and all 9 “known planets”.

Quite an accomplishment. It will take four hours plus for the data to get back to us. (Note: the data came back including a nice clear photo of the little guy. jbh)

Mankind is capable of peace deals and technological triumphs. but why so many difficulties? Here are some thoughts.

1. So,  somehow life forms, almost 4 billions years ago. It evolves. DNA comes into being. Life becomes more complex. Something called intelligence evolves. Finally, and we will never know when, but perhaps 250,000 years ago, probably earlier, a self-awareness develops in our biological ancestors.

2. Homo Erectus spreads out of Africa. Somewhere along the line, we begin burying our dead, and dusting the bodies in red ochre, and leaving jewelry and other valuables. Clearly,  we believe in a afterlife.

3. 35,000-40,000 years ago, we develop sophisticated cave art, at places like Lascaux and Chavet. Realistic, artistic, signs of motion, three dimensions, and a small  sculpture of a fecund female, headless, in Germany.

4. 10,000-15,000 years ago, we begin to settle down in the great river valleys of the world, virtually always where the land is large, laterally and longitudinally, because relatively narrow continents such as the America’s,  so  small a one as Australia, or a cold one like Antarctica, cannot support the diverse life forms that permit full domestication. And, we must have domestication!

From those civilizations, come the major religions. In fact, no culture develops without the myths and gods of religion.

The major religions are intertwined with kings and governments, culture,  and economics. And they have all of the  flaws of humankind, greed, violence, lust, envy, rage, and stupidity. Most religions try to promote and teach empathy. All but a few promote violence.

But, here is something I did not know. As of 1000 a.d., Jews were not hated in Europe or the Middle East. But somehow, as Europe developed, something happened.

The idea of chivalry, honor, combat, and war grew and consumed the Franks and began to dominate Christianity in place of Jesus’ love and peace. Strange since I think he was rather unambiguous on those subjects.

The Pope sought a crusade to recapture Jerusalem, which had been taken from the Jews by the Moslem. (Uh, oh, I sense a pattern here!)

By the second Crusade, the various groups of knights “evolved” to become very violent.

Hard to think of them as more violent that Genghis Khan, but Genghis and his people  eventually converted to Islam. Of course, he was the wrong kind of Islam, Shiite, so that led to more conflict, among the Moslems. On balance, it certainly seems the Sunni’s are the most violent branch of Islam.

According to Karen Armstrong, the crusaders would kill 100,000 at a time, men, women, and children, and even though the Jews were caught in the middle of Christianity and Islam, they were killed by both sides.

“Rumors” had it that they had handed over their synagogues to the Moslems to facilitate there spread. The Crusaders killed them all and said, “God will sort them out.”

As the economy changed from 1000-1300, Jews became marginalized. Laws were passed against their owning property, so they moved into money lending and finance. (Perhaps that’s when they got so “greedy and sneaky”,  as perceived by those who were jealous that those who were marginalized had carved out a space tor themselves. ? Prejudice is funny that way.)

Non-Jews who were being put out of work, and who didn’t like the changes into a more modern society, spread rumors of great conspiracies among the Jews. They became hated and persecuted as they had not been before.

It is ironic that Jews  were blamed for the changes even though they were victims of change.

As European technology allowed European countries to wage war and to colonize, something amazing happened.

The “laws of population” that Malthus identified, that increased productivity led to increased population that led back to poverty and starvation,  did not work any more.

The industrial age created a graph of productivity which now seems to point straight up to the sky. Darwin read Malthus and  factored that into his “theory” of Natural Selection.

What does that all  mean?

It means that our technology, which was boosted by our entering “The Age of Enlightenment”, “The Industrial Age”, and “The Age of Information” is growing exponentially!

But that means our energy needs, our population, our environment, and even our conflicts, now have  the highest stakes of all time.

If they grow too fast, they destroy the only world we have. We sure aren’t ready to colonize Pluto! Or anywhere outside of our “blue and white marble”.

Will be outgrow the world? Will we poison ourselves. Will we destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons.

Or will we simply fall apart as a culture,  in prejudice, hatred, the diffusion of knowledge to the lowest common denominator (The Internet Age), or some combination? Maybe we will just drown in porn, video games, and tattoos.

And, how is The Iranian Nuclear Deal going to turn out?

I will let you know as soon as I find out.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.