Kenneth Horne’s radio show “Beyond Our Ken” (1958–64) featured a gardener called Arthur Fallowfield, played by Kenneth Williams. His response to any question was always, “The answer lies in the soil“.
I was reminded of Mr. Fallowfield while watching the current Israel Defense Force’s actions against the terrorists in Gaza. Israeli farmers have brought unfertile desert soil back to life, investing years of hard work to undo the damage done by previous occupiers who had no interest in the land.
On the other side of the border is Gaza.
Gaza is a self-governing Palestinian territory and has been described as a de facto independent state.
And what have the Gazans, under the iron-fisted rule of Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and Israel, done with their soil?
Muhammad Ali had the right idea — “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”
We certainly don’t see Hamas making much of their soil. They were left fully working greenhouses when Israeli settlers left the Gaza Strip. They were smashed to pieces by hysterical Gazan mobs. And from their leaders? Silence.
In the last few days Israel has had to deal with Palestinian soil – soil that has been used to build untold kilometers of tunnels to store weapons, to hide terrorists. There is even a new concept, an attack tunnel. This is their answer to all Israel’s attempts to reach an agreement that would benefit both sides.
In the past, many have tried to find an answer to seemingly intractable questions.
Let’s take a look.
Napoleon Bonaparte would not have been surprised by the “unacceptably slow” rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Europe where new cases are increasing.
“Doctors will have more lives to answer for in the next world than even we generals.”
The current popularity of the Me Too movement was predicted long ago by no less a figure than Sigmund Freud.
“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?‘
The legal troubles of one-time US President Donald Trump are nothing new.
“When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty.'”
Many great men have shown us how to answer a difficult question.
“It’s a very good question, very direct, and I’m not going to answer it.”
George H. W. Bush
“That is a good question for you to ask, not a wise question for me to answer.”
“Solutions are not the answer.”
Richard M. Nixon
“I am not bound to please thee with my answer.”
“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”
And, as President Joe Biden might have said to Prime Minister Netanyahu,
“Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?”
I eagerly await any answers to this blog.