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

Hatred: The most vicious of epidemics

No matter what your color or your degree of instruction, you carry that terrible disease called HATRED, and that hatred goes so far back in history that you are not even aware of the fact that you carry it, for it has become second nature, quasi part of your DNA.  For, even if you are no longer a believer, your parents and your forebears have been so brainwashed by fundamentalism that you harbor that disease, sometimes even against your own will.

“Why do you hate them?” I’ve asked an otherwise pleasant Greek Orthodox girl. “It’s because they’re a bad lot, they’re just so vile,” she answered.  And the usual string of clichés unfurled.

I have heard this kind of response so many times uttered, mainly by people of Christian origin and by Muslims, but rarely by folk of other faiths, residing in such vast countries as India, China, and in many black African nations.

Generalizations are tricky and often misleading, for the majority of human beings are good-hearted, whether they are needy, illiterate or educated, whether they know something about Jews and Israel or not.  There are also self-hating Jews, who, tired of being attacked just because they are Jewish join the naysayers.

If there is an exception in hatred it is that of the Jews which has been lasting for maybe 5000 years or more. It wanes and comes back in cycles like an epidemic.

My purpose here is not to convince anyone, but I shall state certain facts and pose a few questions, some of them may appear naive or even preposterous – but isn’t that particular strain of hatred PREPOSTEROUS and UNJUSTIFIABLE? – which might incite some people to think with a little more reason and a pinch of tolerance, and not just with the blind passion that pushes them to believe that their opinion, based on prejudice and superstition, is the only ‘truth’ there is.

Isn’t it strange that the Torah, the First Covenant which the Jews wrote, stands as the basis of the Christian Covenant – the so-called New Testament – as well as of the Kuran?  And that it set the first Moral Tenets of Western Civilization?  And stranger still that both the Christians and the Muslims used this very same text, twisting it in places, to oppress the descendants of their authors for more than two millennia, leading to the Holocaust?

Isn’t it strange that I, having spent 9 years in a Catholic school, was never told that Jesus was a Jew and so were his parents and his apostles?  What did the Church wish to hide from the populace for so long, while they kept harassing, torturing, and slaughtering the people of the Bible, the very same people Yeshua / Jesus originated from?  Is it jealousy, envy, power, self-hatred, or the combination of these?

How strange it is that the History of the West was influenced by men as formidable as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Karl Marx, Freud, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Einstein, just to name the most famous? They were all rebels of a kind, leading revolutions that changed the face of the world.  Maybe that too is cause for hatred.

About the Jews being shylocks, did you know that the great majority of the millions of people whom Hitler had murdered in Auschwitz and in the other extermination camps were very poor – ‘Pauvre comme Job’ say the French? Then too, if they were shylocks, why did a good many of them become communists? Because they turned their coats? If so, do only Jews turn their coats?

About the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, why is it that the Five Arab nations, some of them as ‘artificial’ as Israel – which is no bigger than the US state of Maine -, wanted to eliminate the Jewish entity in the region after the United Nations voted for the Holy Land to be split between the Arab population that had lived there for centuries and the Jewish homeland that existed well before Islam was born?

Isn’t it strange that those very same Arab nations which never showed any compassion toward the so-called Palestinians invited them to leave their abode, promising them that after the Jews would be thrown into the sea, they would recuperate their homes and occupy the land of their enemies?  In the ferocious battle that followed the proclamation of the new Jewish State in 1948, to the bafflement and horror of the five Arab armies, the six hundred thousand Jews miraculously won the war, and by fighting nail and tooth, they also expelled tens of thousands of the original inhabitants.  Isn’t that what may be called ‘Survival of the desperate’?  Does this remind you of the story of David and Goliath?

Why is it that the people who distort history, revisionists of all stripe, claim that Israel is an apartheid country, when there are 1.8 million Arab Israelis – 20% of the population – who, for all the gold of the world, would never wish to inhabit a future Palestine or any Arab country, for that matter?  Where do all these people come from?  From the moon, or are they just a figment of one’s imagination?

Why is it that each time Israel wanted to make peace, the Palestinian leaders, from Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas, have always rejected it?  Did you know that the former Prime Minister Olmert offered more than 92% of the land of Palestine, including East Jerusalem as its capital to Arafat? Why is it that those leaders are fuming with rage now that the US President has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

Isn’t it strange that the Muslim world, whose two most sacred cities, Mecca and Medina – Al Quds being only the third one – is blind to the fact that Jerusalem is cited more than 700 times in the Torah, while the Kuran never mentions it?  Do the Jews really have no connection to that holy city or to Israel, for that matter, as Unesco – monopolized by 57 Muslim countries, as are the United Nations? – has recently decreed? Don’t you think that there are many intelligent and knowledgable historians around the world who know that this is a blatant lie?

How possible is it to make peace with a Palestinian president whose Ph.D. thesis was about the denial of the Holocaust?  When in Palestinian schools, the young are taught to hate and kill every Jew, claiming that there is no country called Israel, that the whole region from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river belongs to them and to no one else?

Why is it that the United Nations singles out Israel, casting its opprobrium on it, every single week, as if the only democracy in the Middle East were the least moral nation in the world, when in Muslim dictatorships hundreds of thousands of people are being slaughtered and where the Sunni and the Shia destroy each other’s mosques, schools, and hospitals? Who, ask yourself, has the worst record in human rights? Isn’t it strange for such a maligned country, that only Israel In that region respects and protects its minorities, when the Yazidi, the Kurds, and the Christians are being either chased away from their homes or eliminated, when they were the original peoples of that region, as the Copts and the Berbers were in North Africa, the latter being constantly attacked by the Muslim majority, whose ancestors had conquered then colonized them centuries ago?

Is it possible to make peace when the Israeli government allows so many Jewish colonies to settle in the West Bank?  I don’t think so.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a new Gandhi and a new Mandela came to the rescue of two peoples deserving to live next to each other in harmony?  They say that the Holy Land is a land of miracles.  Let’s hope to see at least one take place, much sooner than later.

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