Osama bin Laden is Caught
THE TERRORIST Osama bin
Laden, alleged mastermind of several acts against the United
States culminating with the kamikaze bombers of the World Trade
Center, now stands as the worlds enemy No. 1. He is todays
Assuming bin Laden is caught alive, there will be considerations
of what to do with him, how to inflict the proper punishment
on him for the atrocities he has heaped upon innocent people.
It brings to mind a radio play by Arch Oboler during World War
II when the Allies were on their way to victory and people theorized
about how to punish Hitler if he were caught alive.
Oboler was a masterful suspense writer. This is my recollection
of the radio play in mid-war that dealt with what would happen
to Hitler when he was captured alive:
The drama has a tribunal of justices from the countries who had
suffered from the Nazis. They rule that Hitler be burned at the
stake in the main square of Rotterdam, the Netherlands city that
was leveled by German bombs.
On the day the wick was to be lit, people gathered in all the
countries to watch the flame burn toward Hitler. The torch ceremony
started in a public square in Athens. Greeks cheered when the
wick was ignited and the flame began its long journey Thousands
lined the way as the flame made its way through the Balkans and
Turkey. They cheered the moving flame as if it were a living
Jews were given special vantage points close to the flame as
it made its way through Italy, Germany, Denmark and France. At
times the flame flickered and there was alarm that the fire would
go out. But it never did. It moved past the cheering crowds in
Belgium into the Netherlands. There were millions of people along
the roads of the burning wick by now.
A spotlight shone on Hitler. His face was a mask of agony. Finally
,the flame moved into the huge square. As the flame inched its
way toward Hitler at the stake, a huge silence descended upon
the scene. Inch by inch it moved.
Now it was 50 feet from Hitler, 40 feet, 30 feet, 20 feet. And
then as it moved up the steps toward the stake to torch Hitler,
a small figure raced out of the crowd. He ran up to the flame
and stomped it out.
The multitude was stunned for a moment. The gendarmes immediately
moved in and grabbed the man before the crowd could attack and,
probably, kill him.
They looked at the man closely. He was an old man, perhaps 75.
And he was Jewish.
The officials were stunned. How could a Jew, whose people had
suffered so much from Hitler, now stomp on the flame that would
have burned Hitler alive?
Why did you do it? they said to the old man. Why,
The old man looked at them for a moment. He looked at Hitler,
quaking on the stake.
And with a slight smile, he said, Do it again.
© 2001 by Stan Isaacs.
The logo illustration is © 2001 by Jim Hummel.
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