2001-11-10 / Columnists

Sprayview Sticks & Stones

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

By Environmental Reporter Bernard Blum

My mother was a strong woman who loved her sons. My brother was actually saved by her through transfusion of blood (a new process at the time) due to an Rh Factor condition. As a medical stenographer, she knew the right doctors and the right place to go for the procedure. When dad died, she went back to her previous position and befriended many interns from foreign nations. Her boss was a pediatrician of Italian extraction. I eventually went to work for him as well in a pediatric research laboratory.

Though my mother was tolerant and bore no deep prejudices, problems arose when my brother married outside of our religion. Dad had experienced prejudice. My mother’s younger sister (my aunt and second mother) had been surrounded on the Lower East Side and frightened with anti-Semitic epithets before her older sister came to her rescue. That those who did it were Irish is interesting, given the makeup of Friends of Rockaway, which includes two Irish gentlemen. So, I was taught (and remain so by inclination) to get along with a diverse group of people.

Those two Irish gents are well known to followers of the Friends of Rockaway from the time that they were involved in the protest against Oceanview Associate’s plans to build a small city on Arverne’s coastal 307 acres.

I bring all of this up now because Rockaway has such a mix of networks that compete for political power and on land use issues, and some of those networks might like to know why I came to produce a set of dedications (Dubos Point, Duke Kahanamoku Way, Terrapin Point, Matthew Henson Park, Chaney-Schwerner-Goodman Promenade) to further racial and religious harmony. While there is an aspect of the multicultural, in reality, there is not!

The extreme of cultural relativism (values neutral) destroys morality because there are no set standards (either Biblical or secular) for right and wrong. Rationalization for headhunting or cannibalism – meant for academic treatise production – can become an acceptable practice in reality by a values neutral attitude. The dedications I have made, however, are related to standards and are all good models that are not predatory.

The World Trade Center Ground Zero destruction and tragedy has become a rebuke of relativism that denied the evil that Moslem fanatics entering this nation brought with them. These were not knives left at the ruler’s bedside to intimidate, nor daggers at the neck (ancient assassin approaches), but kamikaze killing machines that took many innocent lives.

That, with the loss of life has also come ecological problems with air, water and soil contamination, is a lesson to avoid the hatreds that can promote ecological problems locally and globally.

When the Romans destroyed the second temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD, the land was ploughed up and salted to destroy all local agriculture, as was the Roman practice. They also looted the treasury of the temple, killed millions of Jews and sold many others into slavery. The Roman Coliseum and other edifices of the empire were built from the proceeds of this loot, according to evidence put together by experts. It’s a recent hypothesis and makes sense if you are a moral relativist and hold no moral judgments whatsoever. According to some experts, Rabbi Jesus was a freedom fighter against the Romans and certainly did not like looting, even when done by Roman taxes. The Prophet holds similar views on looting.

Perhaps the resemblance of the WTC ruins to the Coliseum ruins is just one reminder of an unfortunate past and practices frowned upon by the Almighty. That the deity is in the driver’s seat while we mortals are at the controls should be kept in mind when we engage in activities with ecological impact. Some leaders scoff, scorn, put a spin on what is happening, call environmental activists "alarmists" and move on.

Deception on mosquito control and toxic dredge spoils dumping tied to development and Port Authority dealings, can have a heavenly impact that withdraw protection from Ground Zero and thus bring the ecological and economic impacts. Descendants of Esau, Jacob, Ishmael and others must get along for their mutual survival. It’s no laughing matter, but look at some of the nonsense such as bulldozing lots that need mowing only, but it makes some cry.

Does anybody agree or disagree? There is a mailbag that you can use to let me know.

A happy family in the bungalow colony (including a really chubby me) during the 1940’s.

A strong-willed mother and sons in a serious pose, Rockaway-bound in the early 1950’s.


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