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.



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Women are strong, but do they really want to fight?

I've been watching on Netflix an action show called Arrow. He's a vigilante and a great fighter. So is his sidekick Roy Harper. But the badass fighters aren't limited to the men. Arrow's ex-girl friend Sara is also a badass fighter. And a Chinese gangster girl. And an Italian mobster's daughter. And then Sara's sister, Laurel becomes a badass fighter. And now I'm finding out that Arrow's little sister, the sweet and dainty Thea, is going to be a badass fighter. I mean, come on. I was okay with Sara. I was even okay with the Italian mobster's daughter. And I was okay with the Chinese gangster chick. But Laurel? And now Thea? Come on.

Sure, Women are Strong, but do they really want to fight people? Of course, you want your wife, your daughters, or your sisters to be able to defend themselves if need be, but do you really want to see them duke it out with someone? I am amazed how so many shows on TV and movies feature badass chicks who punch, clobber, and straight up kick everyone's ass. It's sensationalized, and I don't think I agree with that.

Why? Because let's face it people, fighting is an ugly thing. It's not something to glorify. Fighting gets people hurt. Sometimes really bad. Sometimes it gets people killed. Is that something women really want? Think about it. Have you ever been in a situation where you really had to fight someone? I mean really punch them, and try to hurt them? Is that what you want? If you're a man or a woman. Is it?

Sure, if you're being attacked, or sexually assaulted, you should know how to defend yourself, but that often leads to a worsening of the situation. Better you just run! Yeah, even if you're a man. Get out of there. Too often men think they're tough guys, and they have to prove their manhood by fighting. But where a woman gets off proving her 'womanhood' by fighting is beyond me. I thought they were smarter than that. Aren't they? I would think a woman would be better off if she could use her brains and avoid a fight. A man, too, btw.

Yeah, in my Killer books, my main character, Trent Smith, is a fighter. But he was a professional fighter in Japan. He had made a lot of money doing that because he had trained for over twenty years in the world's most renowned martial arts academy. He was the world's greatest martial artist. Events led him to his road of justice in America, and it's the story that's important, not the fighting. But the fact remains. When you're face to face with someone, getting ready to 'throw down', do you think that's a pleasant thing? To all the women out there, is that what you want? Is that what you want to see other women do? Is that the way you want women to convey strength? That they can beat someone up? Does that prove they're strong? Does it?

I say again fighting is an ugly thing. As a teacher in a Middle School, I've seen girls going at it in an all out brawl. More than once. Punching, kicking, scratching, pulling hair, gouging eyes, tearing clothes. I've had to break up a girl fight in my own classroom. I couldn't do it by myself, they were so vicious. It was the definition of ugly. Something I would never want to see again. Two fourteen year old girls trying to kill each other. And you want to see that in the movies and on TV? Do you?

The movies and the TV shows glorify it. They make it as if you are not a strong person if you can't fight. Sure, as a youth I had some scraps with other boys. I'm not proud of it. Yeah, I was glad I was trained in the martial arts, specifically Ju Jitsu, like Trent Smith in Killer of Killers and Killer Eyes. But I didn't go looking for a fight. And I'm glad (and proud) to say that as an adult, I actually did use my brains to avoid escalation in situations that might have resulted in violence.

So what about all these badass, kickass women? You see them in almost every TV show, almost every movie. Even my books, The Vase and Killer Eyes had a couple women who were fighters. In The Vase, Mary Levin is a trained IDF captain. (Most women in Israel are trained in the IDF. It's a national requirement.) In Killer Eyes, the antagonist, Ming Sang is a highly trained martial artist. But neither one goes out looking to fight. Not even Ming Sang. And she's the villain.

So I would like to know. If you are a woman, do you really want to go out there and punch someone? If you do, do you realize that you might get punched back? I'm betting that will take the fight out of you. And I'm betting it will make you think twice about wanting to be a badass.

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