Remember, remember the fifth of November

November 12, 2012 by Michael Kuttner
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Growing up as a child in New Zealand over 60 years ago I vividly remember the mounting excitement as November drew near and the time for fireworks loomed…writes Michael Kuttner.

Michael Kuttner

Money in those post war years was not as plentiful as today and therefore “a penny for the guy” was seen and heard on every street corner as youngsters scrounged together enough pennies to enable them to purchase a reasonable quantity of bangers & possibly rockets for the big day. The variety of fireworks was limited but despite the economic difficulties we still managed to accumulate a relatively decent number of them, carefully hoarded for the actual night’s activities. Wasting them even a day before was not on our agenda given our limited financial resources. The only uncertainty was the weather and as we lived in Wellington one could never guarantee a windless evening or a clear sky free from rain. Without a doubt the highlights of Guy Fawkes Day were the sky rockets which seemed to arch into the air from a multitude of launching pads and either fizzle at a low altitude or explode with much noise accompanied by stars and flashes. It was always possible to anticipate the sky rockets because they gave off a high pitched screeching noise as they ascended. Sometimes they were deliberately aimed on a lower trajectory in which case they exploded in scrub or bushes which depending on the climatic conditions caught fire. The bottom line however was that we all had a fantastic family night outdoors and despite the hazards of bonfires and gunpowder none of us felt threatened or nervous.

The fifth of November came and went here in Israel with the sound of rockets heard, especially for those living in the south of the country adjacent to Gaza. There could not however be a bigger difference between the innocent fireworks of my youth and the lethal, deadly rockets which the terrorists are firing towards our civilian population today. In the last week alone, over 80 rockets have been directed towards schools, houses, places of worship, kindergartens and hospitals. These missiles are not intended to entertain families but are designed to cause death and destruction. Thousands of these weapons have been acquired and stored in Gaza with one stated aim in mind, namely to cause as much mayhem as possible. Those in charge of Gaza have openly stated that their aim is the elimination of the Jewish State, the same objective as their patron, Iran.

When I talk of casualties I do not mean only those civilians killed or injured, many of them for the rest of their lives. I have in mind children and their parents who are severely traumatised as a result of the daily barrages directed towards them. These traumas include having panic attacks every time the air raid siren sounds which occurs regularly day and night; being unable to sleep because of the fear of not hearing the alarm and reaching the shelters in time and not getting enough sleep owing to the continual attacks; disruption of school and work patterns leading to an inability to concentrate and relax when school or work resumes; health problems brought on by the continual stress and hypersensitivity to any noise. I have been told by clinical psychologists that a car backfiring and even slamming of doors can cause acute symptoms amongst those exposed to this situation. Other side effects of this daily assault on normal activities include children not wanting to sleep alone and a morbid fear of even leaving the house in case the rockets should catch them while outdoors. Children are thus deprived of playing with their friends in the fresh air or even venturing to school once classes resume. Not all houses have adequate protection and although many schools are reinforced there are still many situations where adults and children alike can only lie on the ground with their hands over their heads and pray that the incoming rockets land elsewhere.

The almost daily barrage of rockets against communities in Southern Israel, garner very little publicity in the world media. The UN Security Council and its associated bodies remain mute, blind and deaf to this terror. However all this changes as soon as Israel takes steps to protect its civilian population. The terror groups in Gaza have purposely embedded their weapons, munitions and bases amidst the civilian population, knowing full well that it guarantees plenty of photo opportunities when retaliation arrives. Right on cue, politicians and journalists alike can be certain to condemn both the perpetrators and the victims. Israel is always accused of using disproportionate force. The question that needs to be asked is what country in the world would suffer in silence and allow these terror attacks to continue without any sort of meaningful response? The answer of course is that no Government would do this. Israel, it seems is expected to be the sole exception and given the prevailing double standards it is obvious that there is no choice other than to root out this evil which threatens democratic societies.

Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the foiling of a plot to destroy Parliamentary Democracy.

Rockets from Gaza and other such terror entities symbolise a determination to destroy any vestige of free democracy and Jews in their ancient homeland. Christians and moderate Muslims are likewise targets and therefore this Fifth of November is an appropriate time to remember what it is really all about.

Editor’s note: The Fifth of November marks the anniversary of Guy Fawkes who was caught with explosives on November 5, 1605 in the basement of the English House of Lords which he and his cronies planned to blow up. Their would be act of terrorism was an attempt to restore a Catholic monarchy in England.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and works for The Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem.    

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