Here’s a story for you:
Last year when liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed, the New York Post editorial page used it to recall one of the late Ed Koch’s favorite anecdotes:
Back when he was first running for mayor, Ed Koch used to tell of the time he told some senior citizens about a judge he knew who’d been mugged.
The judge, said Koch, told a group that “this mugging will not influence any of my decisions from the bench” — whereupon a woman yelled, “Mug him again!”
While the Post was roundly criticized in some quarters for insensitivity, the lesson was apt. Those who can’t learn from their encounters with violent criminals lack credibility when they render judgment on dealing with related issues.
This anecdote came to mind when reading of the encounter of leftist Israeli filmmaker Yariv Horowitz–who was in Aubagne, France to pick up an award at a film festival for his film Rock the Casbah–had with a gang of Arab toughs. Though his movie is a cinematic attack on Israeli policies and a bouquet thrown in the direction of the Palestinians, the Arabs proved to be uninterested in his politics and instead subjected him to the same treatment they have accorded to many another Jew: he was badly beaten.
But like the judge in the Ed Koch story, Horowitz won’t let it influence him. When he regained consciousness, he refused to press charges against his attackers. Nor did he draw any conclusions about the intent of the mob that beat him up.
That immediately brought mind the story of Robert Fisk, whom you may fondly remember as the guy after whom the verb “to fisk” was named.
Here’s why (an article Fisk wrote about the time he was attacked by an Afghan mob):
They started by shaking hands. We said “Salaam aleikum” – peace be upon you – then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn’t see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn’t blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
Some people are NOT mugged by reality. They are merely mugged, and then they pile on—themselves: