Today is the 5th of Iyar, Israel’s Independence Day. A lot of folks over the past sixty-one years have predicted that the Jewish state would not succeed, but again it has beaten the odds. If you want proof that God is still involved with the modern world, there it is. Consider the quote I have from Mark Twain about the subject, on my smart quotes page. More than a hundred years ago, Twain considered it a miracle that Jews still existed, when so many other nations just disappeared, once they were uprooted from their homelands. Has anyone heard from the Hittites or the Carthaginians lately? Since then the Jews have come back to the land and have been restored as a nation; that’s an even greater miracle, considering how long they’ve been away. Anyway, to refresh your memory, here is what Twain said:
“The Jews constitute but one percent of the human race . . . Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people . . . He has made a marvelous flight in this world, in all the ages; and he has done it with his hands tied behind him . . . The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dreamstuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was . . . All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (from The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, Charles Neider, editor, New York, Doubleday, 1963, pg. 249, quoted by Benjamin Netanyahu in A Place Among the Nations, New York, Bantam, 1993, pg. 400)
In case you haven’t seen a paper, turned on the TV or radio, or looked at a news website, today’s headlines are about the swine flu. So far Mexico has been hit the hardest, with more than a hundred dead, and today the first death was confirmed within US borders. Yesterday I also heard about the first case in Florida, a tourist at Walt Disney World. Some are already calling this a pandemic, so let me tell everyone reading this: It’s too early to panic. For a start, we don’t yet have any cases in the state where I live (Kentucky). What’s more, so far this year the regular flu has killed more people, and it only gets attention when the local clinics and drug stores offer flu shots.
Well, it looks like one group of Americans are safe from the swine flu: The Nation of Islam. According to a blog named Weasel Zippers, NOI leaders have ordered Black Muslims not to catch the disease:
Saying it must strictly adhere to the rule that no pig shall pass their lips–or enter their bloodstream–Nation of Islam leaders today told members they should not contract the swine flu.
The NOI prohibits members from eating pork because it considers the pig to be an ‘unclean’ animal. It holds the same feeling toward the swine flu.
“The pig is a nasty foul beast and no man should eat of it,”said Minister Bartholomew 298X, NOI chief of health and wellness for Mosque #458. “Nor shall he allow it to infect his white blood cells or his red blood cells or take residence in the holy places of his bowels.”
According to the blogger, “Bartholomew 298X” really is the cleric’s name. To read the rest of what he said, click on the link below:
Meanwhile, quite a few folks besides the Nation of Islam are upset with the name “swine flu.” To get rid of the non-kosher connotation, the Israelis wanted to call it the “Mexican flu,” until the Mexican ambassador objected. Our own Department of Homeland Security doesn’t want an epidemic to hurt sales of pork products, so they proposed the “H1N1 virus.” But I think the most politically correct name for the disease may turn out to be one promoted by talk show host Neal Boortz — “Montezuma’s final solution.”
I don’t remember the Russians making a fuss when a flu strain was named after them, thirty years ago. Guess that means people are a lot more thin-skinned than they used to be.