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Real Religious Persecution




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Two Names on a Wall: Putting a Photo to a Name (Michael G. Vinassa)

Gary Fouse
fousesquawk


                         
                                                           Michael Gene Vinassa (1946-1966) Distinguished Service Cross
                                                           Photo 1959 at age 13



For the past several years now, I have celebrated Memorial Day by writing about and re-posting information about two of my high school buddies who died in the Vietnam war, Michael Vinassa and Dorian Houser. Now I have an update on one of them, (Michael).

A couple of weeks  ago, I was contacted by Janna Hoehn and Dana Kwist, two representatives of Wall of Faces, a project dedicated to locating and posting photos of each of the 58,000+ troops killed in Vietnam. This project is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Faces Never Forgotten Program. The VVMF Education Center, located between the Vietnam Memorial and Lincoln Monument in Washington DC, exhibits the photos.

For the overwhelming majority of these, photos are readily available, but for some, it has been harder. Such was especially the case with Mike. The good folks at Wall of Faces had read my online postings about Mike. and thus, reached out to me. Needless to say, while I didn't have any photos of Mike myself, I volunteered to help with my own contacts and former friends.

Just to give you an idea of how challenging the task was, Wall of Faces had gone through high school yearbooks, army post photos, newspaper articles, obits, all without success. I myself contacted Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills, where Mike is buried next to his mother. I spoke to two people there who were most helpful and cooperative, but Forest Lawn had no photos in their records. I reached out to those friends of ours who I still had contact with. I searched the websites of the three Army posts where Mike had trained before going to Vietnam. I enlisted the help of two retired DEA agents who are now private investigators, John Marcello and John Hudock of the Phoenix Investigative Group, one of whom (Marcello) is a Vietnam vet himself. They contributed their time pro bono and came up with some fascinating details about Mike's family. All the while, a team of about 5-6 Wall of Faces researchers were digging up details and leads and writing letters. We tried to track down Mike's fiancee and best friend, up to now without success.

Then, just last night, we hit paydirt.

One of our mutual high school friends, Kenny Easum, now living in Wisconsin, dug up a 60-year-old photo of Mike from his junior high school yearbook from 1959. There was Mike in the 7th grade, 13 years old. I passed the photo along, and needless to say, we were all ecstatic.

Here is a message I received this morning from Sue Rice of VVMF.

"To everyone involved with the finding of Michael Vinassa's photo,. I want to express my sincere appreciation.  Michael has been an exceptional hard find.  I will be taking his photo to our next annual 1-8 Jumping Mustang reunion in Anaheim.  Our 34th annual reunion will be held from Sep 5-8, at the Sheraton Park Hotel, opening ceremony with flag raising at 9 am sharp.
1855 South Harbor Blvd,
Anaheim CA 92802

If anyone lives in the area, I would loved to meet you and introduce you to the Host, Mike Price.

Please pass this info on to anyone you choose.

I will await the posting of Michael's photo on the VVMF wall of faces."

Best Regards,
Honor and Courage

Sue Rice
VVMF

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Needless to say, I would be honored to attend the above reunion. Unfortunately, it will coincide with my own army reunion coming up in Wyoming. If there is any way I can stop by on the way to the airport, I will try my hardest.

Here is how Mike earned the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation's highest award for battlefield bravery after the Congressional Medal of Honor.

It has been an honor to assist Wall of Faces in this effort to make a final tribute to Mike's memory. My thanks go out to all who assisted in this effort. Most of all, I want to thank the Wall of Faces team for all they do.


-Together We Served.com

Anti-Semitism Today and the Great Debate




Gary Fouse
fousesquawk
http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


This article first appeared in New English Review.


As a Gentile teacher who first became alarmed at campus anti-Semitism about 13 years ago on the University of California at Irvine, I have witnessed what I feel is a transition in that issue. Let me explain.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a hot button issue on American college campuses. The only logical explanation, in my view, is that the Palestinian movement, both in the Middle East and North America, has been very effective in convincing many uninformed and gullible students that Israel is guilty of massive human rights violations against the Palestinian people including apartheid and even genocide. This pro-Palestinian movement is well-organized and well-funded. In my view, more than any other factor, it has led to a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the US and Canada.

In Europe, where the situation is so grievous that Jews are leaving by the tens of thousands, Israel is more an issue to the native Europeans. In contrast, the wave of recent Muslim immigrants, migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, need no Palestinian issue to stoke their centuries-old hatred of Jews. Not all Muslims, of course, but it is undeniable that hatred of Jews (and Christians) is deeply embedded in Islamic history and teaching.

Over that past decade, as I have written about anti-Semitism, I have said that the focal point for the resurgence in anti-Semitism in America is on our university campuses for the reason I mentioned above. Now, however, I see it metastasizing into the population at large removed from academia. The universities refused (and still refuse) to confront it, and now it has spread.

If there is anything positive to come out of that, it is that now the problem cannot be denied just because the universities hide their heads in the sand. How hard it has been for myself and other people concerned about the problem to convince the outside community that there was a problem on our campuses. Even mainstream national Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, the various chapters of the Jewish Federation, and Hillel shielded the universities from scrutiny because (in the case of the latter two) they were too embedded and dependent upon the universities and because they did not want to see a drop off in Jewish attendance at their respective schools. "Jewish life is thriving," they said even while Jewish students were going to school in an atmosphere of intimidation by the pro-Palestinian bullies in the Muslim Student Associations and Students for Justice in Palestine. Now the public at large knows the problem exists nation-wide. But now, it is not just on our campuses.

Most notably, the recent attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California have captured the attention of the nation. Now the public is talking about it. President Trump is talking about it. That is a positive development that comes from two massive tragedies and a troubling resurgence in Jew hatred.

The great question  now before us is who is responsible? Already this has stirred debate, and well it should.

The two men who attacked the aforementioned synagogues  were white nationalists (but hardly Trump supporters). Those attacks in particular have put the spotlight on white nationalism, and I will be the first to admit that we have a problem in the US with this rise, which is due to many factors outside the scope of this writing. Suffice to say that we must condemn groups like the KKK, neo-Nazis, and the Aryan Brotherhood and call them out for their hatreds whether they be against Jews, blacks, Hispanics, or whatever.

But the question is-the point of the great debate- is whether they are the biggest purveyors of Jew hatred today. Without in any way trying to protect these groups-I condemn them- my belief is still that most Jew hatred in the world and in the US today is being stirred from Islamic quarters. I would rather use the word Islamic rather than Muslim here because I don't accuse all Muslims of being Jew haters. I do repeat, however, that Jew hatred has a long history within Islam and is part of Islamic teaching in the Koran and the hadith.

It is so much easier and convenient to put all of the blame for anti-Semitism today on white nationalists in North America and Europe than to talk about Islamic anti-Semitism and acts or speech against Jews by Muslims. After all, the politically correct crowd does not want to call out a so-called protected group like Muslims for criticism.

I personally witnessed this up close and personal shortly after the beginning of the Trump administration when the Bat Yahm synagogue in Newport Beach hosted an inter-faith event in 2017 dedicated to the idea that Trump supporters and other white nationalists were the main cause of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I attended and watched speaker after speaker, Jew, Christian, and Muslim bemoan the white nationalist hatred being perpetrated by Trump supporters. The then Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Irvine, Thomas Parham, spoke and lambasted not only Trump, who "didn't have the moral decency of a cockroach", but called then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions a "racist" from Alabama". Not one word was devoted to the problem of Islamic anti-Semitism. Some of us tried to get it in, but we were rebuffed. They would not even address the issue of anti-Semitism at UC Irvine, whose campus was located just blocks away from the synagogue.

The UC Irvine issue leads to another important point. The pro-Palestinian crowd, which includes people like CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), US Representatives. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and others will tell us that their opposition to Israel is simply anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish. Bull. To be anti-Zionist means that you want the Jewish state of Israel destroyed and replaced by an entity called Palestine, "from the river to the sea", which consists of a Muslim majority state where Jews remain at their own risk.

So now that anti-Semitism is on the front burner, we must debate the question of who is primarily responsible. If we just pass it off to white nationalists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis, we are not fully addressing the problem. History tells us that anti-Semitism comes from many quarters and that its nature changes from time to time given what the perceived grievances against Jews are. This is the state of anti-Semitism today as I see it. We are going to have to fight hard to prevent a mostly false narrative of anti-Semitism from controlling the discourse. I am gratified, at least, that anti-Semitism is now in the open and being discussed. Honesty demands that we identity the perpetrators no matter who they are.