At­tack on child­hood

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Dear Edi­tor: In 1979 I turned 10, but more im­por­tant than that, it was also the year my child­hood ended. Amer­ica had been through many cul­tural chal­lenges but 1979 was a piv­otal moment that changed the world.

There ap­peared an im­age on tele­vi­sion that year of a U.S. Ma­rine beaten, bloody, and blind­folded be­ing led from our em­bassy in Tehran.

I knew I would never for­get that im­age. I won­dered why that Ma­rine didn’t fight to the death, surely Sgt. Stryker would have.

I kept ask­ing the grownups around me: “What did we do to them?” “How could they do this to us?” “What were we go­ing to do about them?” Amer­ica had not gone to war with Iran, so at­tack­ing our em­bassy and tak­ing Amer­i­cans hostage was a clear act of war...or so I thought. They could NOT be al­lowed to get away with this. Drop in the 82nd Air­borne and the 101st Air As­sault; send in a di­vi­sion of Marines, over­whelm them with su­pe­rior num­bers and weapons, they were af­ter all ONLY stu­dents.

But that was not Pres­i­dent Carter’s re­sponse, and so we lost the ini­tia­tive, the win­dow where we could have won the day. In­stead we waited and tried diplo­macy that was di­rected to­ward thugs and bul­lies. When we DID act, our “res­cue” failed... mak­ing us look not only weak but also im­po­tent and id­i­otic, I mean who knew we couldn’t fly planes and he­li­copters in a sand storm?

Af­ter 444 days, the ter­ror­ists did re­lease the Amer­i­can hostages, but on Their terms, so they could em­bar­rass Pres­i­dent Carter. In the minds of the ter­ror­ists, they had de­feated the United States, whom they came to re­fer to as the “Great Satan.”

I didn’t un­der­stand why they hated us, why they hated me.

It was years later when I learned about the an­cient con­flict be­tween Isaac and Ish­mael that be­gan the Arab-Jewish con­flict. I also learned about the plight of the Pales­tinian peo­ple, a peo­ple that no brother Arab coun­try wanted to take in for any long pe­riod of time.

So the Arabs picked up an of­fense for some­thing that wasn’t done to them and chose to hate and pun­ish a coun­try that had done no of­fense against them.

It was also in 1979 that I learned my very first Ara­bic word: The word was “Ji­had.” Brian Par­sons


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