Elster's World

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Forget and Forgive - Even After the World Came Crashing Down

When Charles Barkley was still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, he was once being heckled by a fan during a game. After enough verbal torment, Sir Charles hocked up something nasty from deep within his game-worn lungs and spit at the heckler.

Unfortunately for the Round Mound of Rebound, he missed his target and hit an (I think) 8 year old girl instead. Of course, Barkley was villified in the press. He followed up this wonderful act of human behavior later in his career by throwing a guy who was bothering him through a plate glass window outside a restaurant.

But Sir Charles is a funny guy. He makes people laugh. By many accounts he is a pretty good guy, too. In fact, I doubt many people even remember the spitting incident or the throwing incident. When they think of Barkley, they think of the funny dude who co-hosts the NBA on TNT with Chuck and Ernie.

Why do I mention this? Because for the last two nights, the wife and I have been watching an absolutely fascinating show on the Discovery Channel (History Channel??) about the events leading up to September 11, 2001, the event itself, and the post-September 11 fallout.

And I'll be honest with you. As I sat there reliving the horror of that day - the planes hitting, seeing the towers go down in a hail of crumpled metal and smoke, the confusion on the streets, the confusion on the news - I thought to myself: You forgot.

People are all about moving on. Forgive and Forget. An Italian buddy of mine at work once told me that it was time to let my anti-Germany feelings go. I responded to him - Wait 'till someone kills over 6,000,000 of your people and see how easily you let it go. I will never forget.

Sometimes you need to forget about what is politically correct and focus on what's right. Why do we hate radical Islam? Why did the United States bring war to the borders of Afghanastan? Because of Sepetember 11 - Because Osama Bin Laden and theTaliban killed almost 3,000 people in the fiery crashes of four planes, 2 tall towers, and the E-ring of the Pentagon.

And no, I'm not going to debate with you whether or not the United States "deserved" it. Can 3,000 innocent lives lost ever be deserved? This wasn't "collateral damage", the sad consequences of a planned out military strike, this was pre-meditated murder.

So the next time you settle into you comfy leather recliner, flick on TNT and watch Sir Charles mugging for the camera remember this: It might be ok to forgive a fool for spitting on a girl but it is never ok to forget and forgive evil.

Evil lurks around us waiting for us to forget. Waiting for us to let our guard down again. Evil waits until we have "moved on". Then evil strikes again. And again.

And then, fools that we are, we ask ourselves why....


  • I agree with your main point, but the Barkley aspect is a reach. Most of us have done stupid things in our lives. If accidentally hitting a girl with one's spit and getting into a bar fight are the worst things Barkley ever does, and he recognizes that he acted wrongly, then we can forgive and forget, in contrast to the Nazis and the terrorists.

    Incidentally, a (non-Jewish) friend of mine also told me, when I explained that I would not buy a German car, that it was about time I learned to be forgiving. The reality is that most non-Jews do not have that much sensitivity when it comes to the Holocaust.

    BTW, Dwight Gooden is back in trouble - was pulled over for a DWI and drove away when the cop asked him to step out and take a test.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:41 PM  

  • Not trying to compare. Barkley just put the thought in my head.

    By Blogger Elster, at 3:02 PM  

  • I think forgetting to some degree is, lulei demistafina, critical. By forgetting I mean NOT having it in the forefront of your thoughts. You always have to remember--but that's what Tisha B'av is for.

    If the ppl who went through the Holocaust can "go on" with their lives (and not all were able to), I think we all can.

    By Blogger ClooJew, at 3:43 PM  

  • As a general rule CJ, I agree with you. But I think that sometimes we forget too much. I am not saying we should clutch to the past like a man lost at sea grabs a wooden plank. rather, it should always remain a part of us.

    By Blogger Elster, at 3:55 PM  

  • An important column on the importance of not forgiving and forgetting - by Frimet Roth, whose daughter Malki was murdered in the Sbarro bombing.


    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 4:08 PM  

  • I disagree with you. Who are we to judge other people and their actions? What gives us the right to refuse to forgive someone who committed acts of evil? WE CANNOT BLAME a muslim child, who was taught all his life to hate and kill the jews, when he gros up to become a suicide bomber. IT IS NOT HIS FAULT. As much as people possess 'free will,' only a TINY fraction of the world truly possesses the strength of character to resist the pressures of his society, family, religious organization... I am not saying that blowing up buildings or shooting innocent children is moral, or "right," however, I do not think that any of us have the right to refuse to forgive these unfortunate souls who have come to act in such a heineous manner. Only G-d has this right, and I feel that we all must take a step back, and stop being so self-righteous.

    By Blogger Confused, at 4:06 AM  

  • Well 2 points:

    1. I posted this once elsewhere - I do not hate the child bomber indoctronated since a tender age as much as I hate the SOCIETY that indoctronated him. You think Osama Bin Laden doesn't understand the heinous actions of his crimes? Why, then, does he send other to give up their lives for the cause while he hides in India? Why does he not strap a bonb to his own chest and go to his heavanly reward? Could it be because he knows that he and the other leaders are spouting lies?

    2. It is not self-rightcheous to hate evil and evil doers. To use that as an excuse is to simply look the other way instead of standing up.

    Thanks for reading.

    By Blogger Elster, at 9:36 AM  

  • Thanx for responding, and for reading my own posts! I don't know why it gets me so excited when people comment on what I write, but it does. Anyways... 1st off, I'm not sure i agree that people like Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein believe deep down that they are wrong, and that the reason they send others to do their "dirty work" is because when they are honest with themselves they see that their views are twisted. It may seem like that is the case, however, i think that it is very possible that these leaders truly believe in their cause, and that they feel that what they are sending others to do is, 100%, right. But I guess we'll never know for sure what goes on in the minds of these people, because for us to relate to them an their mindset is almost impossible.
    K and 2nd, i think maybe self-righteous was the wrong term to use; what I meant was that we should, by all means, be disturbed when these terrible things happen, and we should even cry our eyes out for those who have been lost, if we feel the compulsion to do so, however, we do not have the right to hate evil-doers, or even evil itself. To hate someone, or something, else, is to say that you are better than him, or it; and while the thought that you might be a "worse person" than some Chamas leader is indeed disturbing, it is nevertheless a possibility. Maybe he has reached his potential, and you haven't. And while the case may very well be that we are all "better people" than any of those who commit acts of hate and murder, that is not for us to decide, because we are never be aware of the full picture. It is for this reason, that we have no right to judge. We can fight back, and stand up for what we believe in, however, we cannot blame/hate others for the things they decide to do.

    By Blogger Confused, at 4:47 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Confused, at 4:47 PM  

  • Sorry Confused, that doesn't fly. I Am better than anyone who murders innocent people. It doesn't matter if I close to reaching my own potential or not. I may not be better than most, I will be the first to admit that, but I know that, at the end of the day, anyone who kills innocents whether in the name of a "cause" or not is lower on the totem pole than i am.

    Evil people do evil things. The End.

    By Blogger Elster, at 4:55 PM  

  • oooooook. i guess we just hold diferent views and opinions. thats aright. ttyl!

    By Blogger Confused, at 5:58 PM  

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