Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Vision of Angels--A War Against Wars--Out July 3rd by Timothy Jay Smith Easily In My Top Ten for 2013!

"May War Rest in Peace"
"The chant grew until it echoed off the surrounding concrete buildings.
"Policement rushed the demonstrators, who fell back still changing.
"Peace NOW? Peace NOW? Peace NOW?
"A cop punched Mishe on the shoulder to hasten him into the back of the van, and he tripped, hitting his head on the edge of the metal bench. Blood ran into his eyes and down his cheek. Nina helped him up. "I'm okay," he said to her worried look.
"Fucking pigs," Dvir grumbled through his gag.
"Gershon rocked the van when he slumped on the bench. Peace NOW? Peace NOW? Peace NOW? The shouts grew louder.
"Eitan, the last to climb in said, "It's like a fucking police state."
"Now he gets it," Dvir joked through his gag.
Mari start weeping.
Roz said, "Don't be afraid, they can't hold us for long.
"I'm sad, not afraid."
"Shots rang out. They could hear panicked screams, and moments later burning clouds of tear gas drifted over the van...

..."The door slammed and the driver pulled into the street. The square retreated through the van's tiny back window. White smoke rose in the blue sky as frightened demonstrators fled in every direction.
"Roz inspected her glum companions. "Lift your eyes with hope," she said.
"Yeah, I feel real hopeful," said Eitan.
"Life your eyes with hope..." Roz tried again, that time with a lilt.
"Nina was the first to recognize The Song of Peace. "Not through the rifle sights," she said, reciting the next line.
"Roz sang the first verse alone...

Powerful     Compelling     Inspired     Inspiring     Dynamic     Eyeopener     Riveting     Revealing

A Vision of Angels     
By Timothy Jay Smith

This novel, which won the Paris Prize for Fiction is one of the most memorable books I will ever read... I cannot think of sufficient adjectives for it, but the above are a beginning...If you have not already seen my blog entry from Sunday, please consider my "prelude" to learning more about this fantastic novel...

Before this novel, the reality and proximity of the people living within the location above had not made a "big enough" impression on me. But when you read individual scenes in a new story, one of the main things you do is begin to know your characters. Smith has done that routinely. However, when you realize that each scene takes you into a family who is either Jewish, Muslim or Christian, it makes an additional factor in your learning curve--at least it did for me. In fact, I wondered whether the author did it for impact--you just must pay attention to this book!

Was I reading about a Jewish child, a Muslim soldier, a Jewish military leader, or was he both a Christian who was now living in a Muslim family environment through marriage trying to learn Muslim ways?

"The scene was all too familiar to David. Somalia,
Bosnia, Congo, Iraz, Afghanistan. He'd covered their
wars--wars all nourished by ancient carnage.
Unexpectedly war had become the story he was
destined to tell. Mogadishu had been his first story--
the shittiest assignment given to the cub reporter--
where he discovered the broken humanity that the
war had swept over. Children lost to their mothers.
Farmers lost to their land and families to their
livelihoods. The young men forced to fight and the
girls forced into prostitution. David had been telling
war stories ever since, not afraid to explore what
others were unwilling to find behind the front lines--
though he'd been there enough times too. Wars
only stopped when they became too personal and
David had decided to personalize each one. He
prowled hooker allegs, drug dens and black markets
using his reporter's camera to capture the images
that would wake up the world to each war's own
misery; not its carnage--that was ancient news--
but its toll on people taking detours to survive.
When it got back to headquarters that he had been
prowling Kabul at night masquerading as an
Afghani deaf mute, his editor ordered him home
and David balked. He had his own war to fight:
the war against wars, and he decided to cover the
one that had spawned so many others. The war
for the Holy Land. A war so old that it had lost
its human face. David had decided to give it one!
I loved the main character (if there was one), David Kessler, an American Journalist--but so much more...

He had decided to go freelance and was spending more time as a photographer, perhaps hoping to catch that vision of angels amid hatred, terror, killing...and people just trying to live...

Especially in Gaza, where there was barely any food...

Kessler did indeed  catch the angels--it was a picture of a soldier walking away after shooting a young boy, whose mother immediately ran to hold him--as well as another soldier and a Peace Now member who was reaching, trying to save the boy...

The picture made world-wide news...but...

The mother was not permitted to go to the hospital to be with her son...
The boy died without having his mother there...
The soldier and student carried him to the hospital, but could not stay, of course...
And a bomb had gone off in a bus, flames engulfing its unlucky passengers...

This is...living...in this forever-fighting zone...

Kessler had chosen to have his own war against wars and he was staying in the Holy Land area to do it! He was right there "clicking" when that perfect example had occurred. A mother now with empty arms, her child being carried by strangers after another strange had shot him...

But others also were nearby that day the bomb exploded. The young student who had tried to reach the boy--who was a member of Peace Now--was also the son of Major Jakov Levy...

And it was the order of Major Levy that, in its own way, led to everything that happened after that, including the death of his daughter and his son in jail... Would he had made the same decisions if he had known?

And did he know that his Muslim counterpart thought of him, praying, placing a candle in the window, even though the peace vigil had not happened...

Of course, the bomb had been placed by a young man, so I took the time to read a little about those 72 virgins that are always promised... Even after I read a little, I still didn't get it...LOL...but it did remind me of something that was discussed in this book...
"Where are the boys?"
"Sharif's asleep and Papa's giving Azziz a history lesson in the kitchen." Nadia applied ointment to his wound.
"A history lesson?"
"Azziz's teacher told his class that Muslims, Jews and Christians all believe in the same God because all three religions were founded by Ibrahim." Nadia finished taping a square patch of gauze to his foot.
"He's very confused."
"And your father is explaining it to him? That should really confuse him..."
"Issa slipped on a pair of thongs and limped after his wife, entering the kitchen as Azzedine was saying, "... the grandfather of all of the prophets."
"The boy jumped up and threw his arms around his father's waist. "Baba?" he cried.
"Issa patted his back while sniffing the air. It smells good in here...
"...Baba?..."Uh huh?"
"Today at school my teacher said that Muslims and Jews and Christians all believe in the same god, and grandfather says it's true. Is that true, Baba?
"In a way. Muslims, Jews and Christians all believe in one God."
"Then why not make only one religion?"
"You didn't explain that?" Issa queried the old man.
"I saved it for you."
"Issa considered his answer. "That's complicated. I suppose the best way to explain it is that we hear Him say different things."
"He doesn't say the same thing to everybody?"
"He does, but He uses different messengers, and different people interpret the messages differently..."
"My teacher says we're related to the Jews," Azziz persisted.
"It's true. We're very distant cousins.
"Don't confuse the boy," Azzedine said, "or he'll start believing that we're Jewish."
"Are we?" Azziz asked, intrigued.
"No, we are not Jewish," Nadia said. "Now eat your supper."
"The boy ate half-heartedly while pondering another question. "If we are all cousins, and we all believe in the same god, then why does it matter if you are a Christian and grandfather is a Muslim."
"It doesn't matter," replied Azzedine while directing his gaze at Izza. "The important thing is to respect Allah's--or God's--will..."
"By each invoking the other's word for God, they had begun to bridge the divide between them, and fell silent..."

Now you who routinely read me know that I'm not going to let that pass...LOL So my question to my readers is simply? What if God said different things to different messengers in order to see if we were able to act with reason and accept the differences, while working together for the good of all mankind? 
If so, all the wars have proven that we can't! How do you explain to the children living in our world that the grownups they are supposed to learn from cannot even effectively communicate with each other?
 There is so much in this drama--so many people who are affected by the actions of those in power to make decisions. For instance, Jakov Levy had agreed to give passes for a local farmer so that he could take his tomatoes to market exactly when ready. Because of the bomb, Levy reneged and the farmer lost his entire crop--while at the same time, giving all of the tomatoes to those in Gaza who had no food. But for that farmer, he committed suicide since he'd lost everything.

But that farmer, before he died, agreed to a plan to help smuggle a bomb through, ready for the next attack that was to happen...

Each action, each decision made, led to another... And Kessler, wanting to fight a war against wars, got caught right in the middle!

It was the countdown of days until Easter--Maundy Thursday...Good Friday...Easter... and...also Passover...

"Peace Now" had tried to have a peace vigil...The government denied it...Jailed the students... and the inevitable began

"Lift your eyes with hope
Not through the rifle sights
Sing a song for love
And not for wars..."

I challenge you - Read this Book... Not for me, but for our children...


Timothy Smith Lived in Jerusalem for two and a half years during the roll-out of the post-Oslo peace process, assisting Palestinian businesses regain market access.

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through war zones and Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.
If life were a sport, Tim’s life would qualify as an extreme one, yet he’s managed most of it by working with people in personal, even intimate, settings. His professional life took him from the White House corridors to America’s harshest neighborhoods, from palace dinners to slum pickings, and these experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of his work.
Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he’s won top honors for his screenplays, stageplays and novels in numerous prestigious competitions; among them, contests sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He won the 2008 Paris Prize for Fiction and his first stageplay, which went on to a successful NYC production, won the very prestigious Stanley Drama Award.

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