Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

John Dunn was a Controversial Figure

In the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, not very many people in the English colony of Natal liked John Dunn. He was a white man but he lived with the black tribes in Zululand. It was his own choice. When he was seventeen, he worked for a group of white men, making a delivery through dangerous Zulu territory. He did the job, but when it came time to get paid, they didn't pay him.

So he moved away from white society with a girl who was half-black and lived in Zululand until one day by chance Captain Joshua Walmsley, the Natal border agent, found him.

By then, Dunn was more Zulu than white. He barely remembered how to speak English. But Captain Walmsley retaught him English, how to read and write, and provided a home for John, his wife, Catherine, and the three children they had in the years they lived in the wild. Walmsley even hired John as his assistant. But Captain Walmsley and his wife, Maria, were about the only white people to like John. They were the only white people who didn't care that he was married to a colored girl.

The word "colored" to people in South Africa back then meant a person who was half white and half black. Catherine's father was an Englishman, but her mother was a native from the Cape Colony. And she had to deal with racism all of her life. But not from John. John Dunn, in my  opinion, was a perfect example of a man who didn't care about skin color. To John Dunn, people were people no matter what the color of their skin. To John Dunn a man was a man, no matter what race he was or what language he spoke or what kind of home he lived in.

I believe I'm the same way. Race never mattered to me. I can honestly say that all my life, skin color did not matter to me. Nor the country of a person's origin. Nor the language that a person spoke. I have always believed that people are people no matter what color is their skin. I am proud to say that, because I know that it's true. Anyone who's ever known me knows that it's true.

And John Dunn was like that. But he had to deal with racism. He had to deal with prejudice. He had to deal with the English belief that they were superior. And they took their racism to the Zulus by making war against them. The Zulus didn't do anything to the English. But the English declared war on them anyway. It's all in my book, John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu.

And John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu is quite a story, beginning with his participation in the Zulu Civil War of 1856 to the end of the Anglo Zulu War of 1878-79. That means he fought in, not one, but two Zulu wars. And he survived them.

As Mr. Spock raising an eyebrow in Star Trek would say: Fascinating!

Or as that German soldier smoking a cigarette in Laugh In would say: Verrrry Interesting!

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