Albert Russo
"Art is but a moment of happiness, it is like a lightning of bliss cleaving the never-ending horrors of our world."

A mere drop in the ocean

Questions and possible answers — you are free to give yours:

  • Why is it that Jews and Israelis occupy such a huge place in the world media, as there are only approximately 17 million Jews worldwide, including in Israel?  Why is Israel so prevalent, when it is such a tiny country?  Why aren’t Croatia, Holland, or Jamaica, for example, in the limelight too?  Maybe because Jews have, with India and China, the longest ongoing history, when the great ancient civilizations, like Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Arab Renaissance, have all but disappeared, leaving the people in their original territories wanting. Isn’t it strange, nay uncanny, that the Indians and the Chinese, admire and work closely with Israel in so many fields, especially in high-tech and in medicine? Isn’t it also very strange that these nations, along with others whose faith is Buddhism, Baha’i or animistic, are NOT anti-Semitic?  With a few exceptions like Italy, whose great Renaissance men led modern Europe, they are more humane towards the Jews and Israel than many of the later empires: Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, etc. which have never stopped being vehemently anti-Semitic?  This being said, there are millions of people in these same countries who appreciate the People of the Book, who gave them the first encyclopedia of Western civilization, the Torah, upon which the New Testament and the Kuran are based.
  • Why are so many people in contemporary Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, to name but a few, dislike Jews in general and Israelis in particular — let’s not forget that Israel is composed of about three-quarter Jews and minorities of many creeds, the Muslims being the largest one (20% of that population is, which, believe it, are ‘Palestinian’)?  Is it because the Europeans have accepted tens of millions of Muslim immigrants in their midst, who in their majority hate the Jews and the Israelis?  Again, I know quite a few Muslims, women, in particular, intellectuals, writers and kind ordinary folk, who do not share that hatred.  Emulating the European Islamists, some Christians, or folks of Christian origin — including converts, agnostics, or atheists — remember how the Church had instilled in them for over 2000 years hatred of the people of Yeshu — Jesus, who by the way, was a rabbi and followed all the precepts of Judaism, along with his parents and the apostles. The way Christianity had evolved was a perversion of Yeshua’s teachings.  You may be aware that Yeshu was an enlightened Jew and NOT a Christian.  His first followers, the Greeks, invented Christianity – see the word ‘Christos’.
  • Why is it that for more than 2,000 years, the Church has taught its followers that the Jews killed Jesus and that therefore they deserved to be ‘punished’ and ostracized?  Leading to tortures and killings, from before the Spanish Inquisition, to the Nazi Holocaust, with a revival today, in the 21st century.  Is it because the original texts of the Torah were wrongly interpreted and translated by those who were intent on creating a new sect that derived from Judaism, ‘killing’, by the same token, ‘the father’, as Freud would have said?  Having frequented a Catholic school for nine years, I remember with a certain unease how the priest used to present to us the myth of the deicide perpetrated by the ‘Chosen’ People, on Christ, blaming thus the whole Jewish population for Yeshu’s death — how can god possibly die if he was indeed a god?  is also a question to ponder — when it was the Romans who crucified him with the consent of the Sanhedrin. Isn’t it strange that the Romans seem to bear no responsibility for this act?  I repeat I’m an agnostic writer, yet reading the Bible as a piece of literature with its legends, its half-truths, its poetry, its psalms, its wisdom, its bloody wars, and its archeologically proven facts, fascinates me.  I have at home about 20 different Bibles, of various denominations, Jewish and Christian, in five languages. What strikes me when I compare some of its contents is the variation in meanings and definitions.  Don’t the Italians say: ‘traduttore, traditore’ — a translator is a traitor?  Being myself a trilingual writer, I know what this means. When the Torah in Hebrew speaks of a ‘maiden’, the Greeks have translated this to ‘Virgin’.  When an apostle claims that the Jews killed Jesus, what was he driving at?  The majority of the folk in the so-called Holy Land were Jews.  When a Frenchman murders another Frenchman, does one say the French are killers?  In Yeshu’s times there lived several Hebrew tribes, all under the Roman yoke.  Some Jews followed Yeshu’s precepts, others rejected them, the Sanhedrin — the religious authorities — among them.
  • Why is it that when anything goes wrong anywhere, the Jewish people are targeted?  Are the Germans of today hated because their forebears have perpetrated twice during the 20th century the worst crimes in history?  Are the Russians being blamed because of Stalin’s mass murders?  Ditto for the Chinese and Mao Ze Dong?  Or the Japanese, who during WWII were as cruel as the Nazis with the Chinese and the other peoples of Asia they wished to conquer?  Is it jealousy, envy or some other motive which prods many Europeans — but not only they -, whether they are Christian or Muslim, to have such noxious feelings?  The USA has a different history of racism; those who have suffered the most were the Indians and the millions of African-Americans deported from the Black continent, as slaves. Other minorities were also discriminated against.  Nowadays there is a renewal of antisemitism, especially in institutions of higher learning and in universities across the country, where deans and professors, bribed by Arab potentates, encourage their students to ostracize their Jewish-American peers.  Or is it simply that those ‘damn’ Jews produced personalities who changed the course of Humanity, for better or for worse, men like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Karl Marx, Freud, Einstein, etc.?  Is it also jealousy when you know that 20% of the Nobel Prize winners are Jewish (there are quite a few Israelis among them), when Jews count for less than 1% of the world’s population? i.e., … a drop in the Ocean?
  • A last set of questions to you BDSers, who boycott and delegitimize Israel.  Why is it that, in the West and in Muslim dictatorships you spend so much of your idle time demonstrating against that country, all the while hurling insults at Jews, wishing them death and more gas chambers?  Week in and week out, you keep burning the Star of David flag and calling Israel an apartheid country?  The only democratic nation in the Middle East, where all religions have the right to exist side by side, and where, particularly in Haifa, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and the Baha’i live in remarkable harmony?  Haifa could indeed give a lesson of tolerance to the rest of the world.  Do you know the meaning of apartheid?  I do, I’ve lived in South Africa during that terrible regime, and one of my anti-apartheid books, ‘Devil’s Peak’, was banned there.  And those of you, South Africans, aren’t you ashamed to equate the Israeli society with the hated regime your parents and grand-parents were subjected to?  Isn’t it because your government is doused with petro-dollars coming from the Middle Eastern autocracies?  BDSers, it seems that you don’t have a clue of what life is like in Israel, or your mind is so ideologically twisted that you refuse to hear about it.
  • How is it that you never demonstrate, or so scarcely, against the mass killings of more than half a million people, mainly Muslims, in Syria, but also in Irak, Afghanistan, or against the monstrous Iranian regime and against that fanatic Erdogan who is turning Turkey, a beautiful secular country, into a fundamentalist potentate?  Where are the banners denouncing the Moroccan regime for its continued occupation and oppression of the Sarahouis?  Why don’t you demonstrate against Erdogan who will use any means to crush the Kurds — they are 30 million strong and are negated as a nation.  You are so vocal blaming Israel for occupying Palestinian territory — a very serious problem indeed, of which I have written about in previous essays. And no, I did NOT avoid to mention that thorn in the Israeli body politic, explaining also that every Palestinian leader has rejected Peace offered by Israel, with Olmert a few years back accepting that  East Jerusalem be their capital.  While the Hamas regime in Gaza and Mahmud Abbas, the leader of the PLO in the West Bank, continue to incite their people to murder Israelis and Jews all over the world, whilst they call terrorists martyrs and applaud their horrendous feats.
  • So, Israel retaliates in a disproportionate manner, you say.  Israel only attacks when attacked.  I suggest that you study your History, and try to think for yourself.  Unlike Mahmud Abbas who wrote a thesis denying the Holocaust and teaches the young Palestinians that Israel doesn’t exist, that the whole area of that ‘no man’s land’, belongs to the Arabs and to no one else.  Why are you comparing the incomparable?  Israeli democracy to the apartheid regime?  The Israelis to the Nazis, the West Bank, and Gaza, to concentration camps?  Have you been there?  I have, and while their population is NOT free, and that Israel is continuing to build colonies — I am totally AGAINST that kind of provocation — ask yourselves whether their corrupt leaders who pocket the hundreds of millions of dollars donated by the West and the Arab countries, money that should have been spent to improve the living conditions of their people, are not the main culprits?  More and more Palestinians are getting fed up with these thieves. Did you know how wealthy Mrs. Arafat, Yasser’s widow, is?  How come she has so many beautiful mansions outside of Palestine when her people remain so poor?  Where did the Arafats, the Abbas’ et al get their fortunes from?
About the Author
Albert Russo who has published worldwide over 85 books of poetry, fiction and essays (35) and photography (50), in both English and French, his two mother tongues, and sometimes in Italian, (Italian being his 'paternal' tongue) - he also speaks Spanish and German and still has notions of Swahili -, is the recipient of many awards,such as The New York Poetry Forum and Amelia (CA) Awards, The American Society of Writers Fiction Award, The British Diversity Short Story Award, The AZsacra International Poetry Award (Taj Mahal Review - US$ 500), the Books & Authors Award, several Writer’s Digest poetry and fiction Awards (winner and finalist), aquillrelle Awards, the Prix Colette and the Prix de la Liberté, among others. His work has been translated into about 15 languages in 25 countries, on the five continents. He has co-published Gaytude with Adam Donaldson Powell, which won Best Gay Book in the USA. Albert Russo’s major books are the AFRICAN QUATUOR (AQ), his memoir CALL ME CHAMELEON (CMC), his humorous ZAPINETTE Series (Zapy), GOSH ZAPINETTE, the first ever series of global Jewish humor, his books of stories and of poetry encompassing 40 years of writing, entitled: THE CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, vol. 1 -CWS1 (the stories and essays) and THE CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, vol. 2 (the poems) CWS2 + the two big books dedicated to his beloved mother Sarah Russo (SR) + about 50 books of photos. His definitive biography penned by the Norwegian African-American writer, poet and artist Adam Donaldson Powell, UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS OF ALBERT RUSSO was released by l’Aleph (November 2017), Wisehouse Publishing. A humanist with roots in Central, Southern Africa, and the Mediterranean, he has been acclaimed by James Baldwin, Edmund White, Martin Tucker, Douglas Parmee of Oxford University, Joseph Kessel, Pierre Emmanuel, both of the Académie Française, among many other literary authorities, as well as by his African peers, Chinua Achebe among them. Albert Russo was also a member of the 1996 jury for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature which often leads to the Nobel Prize of Literature. Latest Prize: Best 2013 Unicef Short Story award in defense of childhood worldwide, for Revenge by proxy / Vengeance par procuration.  His 50-odd books of photography have garnered awards in the USA, UK, Russia, France, etc. Some of his work has been exhibited in the Louvre Museum, at the Espace Pierre Cardin, both in Paris, in Times Square, New York, at the Museum of Photography in Lausanne, Switzerland, in Art Berlin, in Tokyo, in Moscow, etc. The former Mayor of the Big Apple, Mr Bloomberg, has lauded his two photo books on Paris and New York. Some of his novels and memoirs have also been filmed in English, with videos 90 and 100 minutes long. Latest award: I have just received the following award. "Dear Albert, It is with great pleasure to announce that you have been selected as a Book Excellence Award Finalist for the following book: 'GOSH ZAPINETTE! the first ever series of global humor’ (770 pages). There were hundreds of entries from around the world and 'GOSH ZAPINETTE! the first ever series of global humor' was selected for its high-quality writing, design and market appeal. Congratulations. The Book Excellence Award Committee.” The Book Excellence Awards Advantage. More than just an awards competition, the Book Excellence Awards provides authors and publishers with extended support and resources on topics such as publishing, marketing, writing, publicity and social media. The Book Excellence Awards is a smart investment on your publishing journey and the results and benefits will last a lifetime! Literary website: - "Art is but a moment of happiness, it is like a lightning of bliss cleaving the never-ending horrors of our world." Albert Russo “Inspiration is like delicious food that your taste buds remember, or a perfume you have long forgotten and whose whiff suddenly brushes your nostrils again, giving you pangs of nostalgia.” Albert Russo