February 10th, 2007

plane

Elie Wiesel's narrow escape

It got short shrift in comparison to the passing of Anna Nicole Smith, but 78-year-old Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was attacked in a San Francisco hotel.

According to police, the suspect accosted Wiesel in the hotel elevator at around 6:30 p.m., saying he wanted to interview him. Wiesel said he would do the interview in the lobby. That’s when the attacker pulled him out of the elevator, police reported. . . .Police reported that the suspect tried to force Wiesel into one of the rooms, but ran away when Wiesel started yelling.


As the article notes, a subsequent posting to an anti-Zionist web site described the attack in detail from the attacker's point of view. The posting claimed that the intent of the assault was to force Wiesel to confess that the Holocaust didn't happen and that his writings on the subject were entirely made up. I have a feeling that the ultimate intent was probably more than that, and if the attacker hadn't decided to run when Wiesel yelled for help, Elie Wiesel could easily be badly hurt or dead right now.

There are a lot of things I could say about this news story. Wiesel is incredibly lucky. The guy ran. A lot of the time, they don't. If he hadn't, Wiesel, who's in good health but whose fighting days are long past, would have been in serious trouble. A gun probably wouldn't meet Wiesel's personal needs, because he travels internationally and spends lots of time in Europe, and I'm sure he makes a comfortable living, but don't know if his finances could accommodate a full-time bodyguard. But he was very, very, fortunate here. Haing S. Ngor, after all, survived Cambodia's Killing Fields only to be murdered by muggers in his Los Angeles driveway. As a Jew who's deeply concerned with the rise in anti-Jewish extremism, seeing Wiesel have so close a brush with fate gives me chills, and a sense of foreboding.
bruce and diana

MUSIC: Josh White, "One Meatball"

Short shameful confession: I think "One Meatball" is an *incredibly* sexy piece of music.

You can't go back in time, but if I could, I'd be sorely tempted to go back to 1945 just so I could catch Josh White in a little blues club somewhere. Or even catch a late-night showing of THE CRIMSON CANARY, the b-picture the linked (alas, non-embeddable) performance is from. I should probably never, ever, talk a dancer into performing to it, because if done right it could possibly cause me to spontaneously combust. LIKE JOSH WHITE'S HEAD. (Actually, he's got a lit cigarette behind his right ear. Which is just magnificently cool.)