There is another personal story buried in the rubble of yesterday’s Beirut explosion which caused widespread damage, the likes of which many Beirut residents have never seen or felt before. As I am writing this Blog, the latest news coming from the disaster site indicates that over 100 people have died with many more people buried under the rubble.
Reports from the blast site say that the explosion felt like a massive bomb had been detonated and at the same time the ground shook similar to a major earthquake. And this is where my personal connection comes in. Having mentioned previously that my last name Richter is the name of the Scale that measures earthquake strength I am going to be putting this subject aside for this Blog. Rather I want to discuss the Beirut explosion with regard to the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan that led to the Japanese surrender which ended World War II.
The Nagasaki And Beirut Explosions Lead To A Very Interesting Observation
It seems to me that when discussing the two Atomic Bombs dropped on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki, three days later, August 9, that Hiroshima would always get more attention and press coverage because that was the first time the US used an Atomic Bomb in actual warfare.
But I am going to totally skip over the Hiroshima blast and concentrate on the Nagasaki explosion. The reason is very simple, because the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb was dropped exactly 4 years to the day before I was born, August 9, 1949. And for those of you able to look up what Hebrew day that corresponded to in 1949, you will see that date fell on the Hebrew year of 5709, and the date was the 14th of Av. When the Beirut explosion took place, it was the 14th of Av on the Hebrew calendar.
Israeli Independence Day In 1948 And The Year 1949
I remember attending a ceremony marking Israel Independence Day when I was a young boy on the steps of Central Junior High School in St. Louis Park and walked away very disappointed. It was announced that all children born in the year 1948 would receive a prize, but for us not fortunate to have been born in 1948, as far as I can remember, we walked away empty handed.
But I always thought to myself that my fellow students and I also born in 1949 should have at least received something for making an effort to come. I am now more convinced than ever that I was correct because no sign of peace was achieved until 1949.
Only in 1949, did the Arabs wake up to the fact that trying to defeat Israel was an impossible mission and that led to the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to formally end the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line.
The United Nations established supervising and reporting agencies to monitor the established armistice lines. In addition, discussions related to the armistice enforcement, led to the signing of the separate Tripartite Declaration of 1950 between the United States, Britain, and France. In it, they pledged to take action within and outside the United Nations to prevent violations of the frontiers or armistice lines. It also outlined their commitment to peace and stability in the area, their opposition to the use or threat of force, and reiterated their opposition to the development of an arms race. These lines held until the 1967 Six-Day War.
Ralph Bunche And The Civil Rights Movement
Ralph Johnson Bunche would have celebrated his 116th birthday on; August 7, if he were alive today. He was an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Israel. He was the first African American to be so honored.
Bunche became the UN’s chief mediator for the 1949 Armistice Agreements; and this, no doubt, was a major reason for winning the Nobel Peace Prize soon after.
Bunche was an active and vocal supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and also in the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march in 1965, which contributed to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 and federal enforcement of voting rights.
Ralph Bunche, John Lewis, Martin Luther King
The Baltimore Sun in a recent article included a picture of Ralph Bunche, John Lewis and Martin Luther King with other civil rights giants locked arm-in-arm as they began the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights March.
The article was written as a tribute to the late John Lewis and can be viewed at the following link-
Hopefully The Beirut Explosion Signals The Beginning Of A Lasting Peace Process In The Middle East Just Like The Nagasaki A-Bomb Was The Second And Final Time It Was Used And Led To The Japanese Surrender And Eventual Peace Between The US And Japan.