By Monday next week, all Americans should have filed their Federal Income Tax Forms. When all is said and done, 54.3 % of American’s will have paid into the Federal Tax system and 45.7 % of American’s will “break even” or receive tax credits back from Uncle Sam (2015 Stats from Tax Policy Center Data).
As an entrepreneur at heart, tax day has always been relevant to me, but it changed the course of my life in 2009, the tax day following the bail outs in the Fall of 2008. More about that another time.
How many of you remember April 15, 1986? This was another tax day, which impacted my life in a huge way!
April 15, 1986, the day President Ronald Reagan bombed Tripoli, Libya in retaliation for the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin, Germany and ties to Muammar Gaddafi. The strike was known as Operation El Dorado Canyon. It is reported that Gaddafi’s recently adopted daughter Hanna was killed in the attack.
I vividly remember where I was when I heard the news. I’d like to tell you that story.
During this season of life, due to my father’s diplomatic work, I had the privilege of attending College du Leman, an international school in a suburb of Geneva, Switzerland. At the time I was a 17-year old Junior.
There are countless stories I could tell of my time living in a boarding school which was close to 50 % students from the Middle East. My graduating glass of around 90 had at least 35 nationalities represented and the combined high school of less than 500 had some 90 nationalities represented. Being a Caucasian male, I truly lived the life of a minority and thrived in that environment, for two years.
The morning of the Tripoli bombing, I was eating breakfast with the same group I ate with three meals a day. Sitting on my right was my good friend Salah. Sitting on my left was my good friend Ibrahim. Both of them were Libyans. Both of whom learned about the bombing at breakfast. Both of whom had parents in Tripoli at the time of the bombing. This was before civilian use of internet. Phone lines were down. Casualties were unknown.
I remember like yesterday telling both of my friends that I was praying for the safety of their family. I distinctly remember both of them being shaken but appreciative. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say this was a stressful day; however, my relationships with Salah and Ibrahim, and my other friends from the Middle East always remained about our commonality – not our nation’s ideological and political differences.
How many of you remember the retaliation which Libya engaged in?
Libya responded by firing two Scud missiles at a United States Coast Guard station on the Italian island of Lampedusa which passed over the island, landing in the Mediterranean sea. I also learned about this immediately at breakfast, because while Salah and Ibrahim never raised their voices to me, ever – there was an Italian student that sat across from me named Angela. She came to breakfast late that morning. When she came in, she began swearing at me being a damn American, stating America should learn to get out of the rest of the world’s business. You see – her parents happened to live in the southern-most part of Italy. Not on the Island of Lampedusa, but she was none the less angry that Libya had retaliated by sending Scud Missiles to Italy! I made it through that challenging day, and graduated with each of these individuals – all of whom are still friends, and we follow each other on Social Media today.
One more story about my time living at this boarding school. One time, mid-year 1986, I was assigned to a room with Two Saudi Arabians, who were cousins, and an Iranian. When I walked in my new room, they had a poster on the wall, which I will never forget!
The Poster was of our President, Ronald Reagan. On the top of the poster it had the words “WAR MONGER” and it had a ballistic missile going in one ear, and out the other!
Needless to say, I strategically decided that my first conversation with them would not be the fact that I was in Switzerland because my father was one of the arms negotiators representing that man on the poster, negotiating with the Soviet Union!
I asked Suzanne for a few more than 500 words this week, because I know future articles are going to discuss the worldview conflict we have with Islam.
There are those who will conjure up images and feelings of racism and prejudice in an effort to promote tolerance, which is the worldview of secular humanism.
Personally, in an era where the majority of American’s don’t have a solid foundation of history, this is a great tactic, because it leads to dealing in emotions rather than fact. Today, that is how many public policy decisions are made, emotion – not fact.
In the future, as I address the issue of Radical Islamic Terrorism, or synonyms which describe it, I will refer back to this article, and I may tell additional stories along the way, of my friends – good people – many of whom I believe are stuck in an ideology, much like the former U.S.S.R., desiring strong leadership in the west, to help them loosen the deathly grip of Shariah Law they are entangled in.
In closing, just like I rarely spoke with my friends about the work my father was doing, I learned on Graduation day in 1987, 16 months after the bombing of Tripoli, that Salah did the same thing! On Graduation day, Salah’s father came up to me and thanked me for being such a good friend to his son, and gave me a present, a watch, which had the image of Muammar Gaddafi on it! It turned out Salah’s father was a General in Gaddafi’s army!
We have challenging times ahead, in my humble opinion. Dealing with these challenges will require level heads, who can speak truth, without name-calling or stirring up emotions which are unhelpful. We must educate ourselves in history and worldview in order to be successful.
I hope you have a blessed week!