WESTWOOD VILLAGE ROTARY - Another Good One!
October 18th was another success. Professor Gertmenian
was quite topical, but again, in an attempt to engender your pity,
YOE must report that he talks too damn fast. We'll get to that below.
Meanwhile BILL EDWARDS led us in the Pledge, followed by JACK HARRIS
leading and PP JIM DOWNIE accompanying on his keyboard - It's a Grand
Old Flag (and it is, of course). PP STEVE SCHERER stepped into the
breach when the scheduled Invocator failed to show. A sobering note
here -the person assigned to line up Invocations knew in advance that
the scheduled speaker could not make it - and he called FIFTEEN people,
asking them to help - thank you STEVE (but shame on the rest of you).
And while we are moralizing, PP MIKE NEWMAN (who is NOT a member of
WHCC) felt that we failed miserably in supporting DAVE MATSON and
his excellent program about planning and decisions as life winds down.
which took place on this past Tuesday the 16th. MIKE reminded me that
with the number of - shall we say - generationally advantaged members
we have, this program was not only helpful, but of special interest
to many of us. Next time, let's support such programs, please.
There were a bunch of guests. First, two Rotarians -
Amy Lau from LA 5, who is in advertising, and Earl Bubar, from Culver
City, a senior active in Optometry. ELLIOTT TURNER brought someone,
whose name I didn't get, and DONN CONNER was with Jim Henderson, a
money manager now with DONN'S firm. TED IHNEN escorted Special Guest
Casey Roselle, whom you may remember was first brought to Westwood
by former member Bill Bloomfield Jr. PP TOM LENEHEN was with Lyn Vandegrift,
and RALPH SMITH presented his Special Guest, Rev. Dwain Coombs. YOE
reminds all that this recruiting effort WILL pay off, and all of the
above members are to be congratulated - the rest of us are in your
Computer Class is coming up - at PP
DAVE WHITEHEAD'S office on Thursday the 25th, 6:30 to 9:30.
BOB YOUNKER will lead, assisted by PP RON LYSTER, VP Peter More and
DAVE. Lord knows, some of us can well use the help here. If you haven't
RSVPed yet, please do so soon, OK? And note that one of the two textbooks
suggested is "Windows 98 for Dummies". If you don't have Windows,
call any of the four instructors and they will give you the name of
the other suggested textbook - which should be taken to the class,
of course. Editor's note: (The other book is Windows ME for Dummies)
Pres. GEORGE next spoke about Aidan's Place, a new playground
under construction, essentially for handicapped kids. Located at the
park between Sepulveda and Veteran, just south of the Federal Bldg,
this needed facility deserved - and got - a $5,000 donation from WVRC.
Pres. GEORGE presented the check to Tiffany Harris and Nicole Gaffney,
and Nicole accepted nicely. She has just lost her first child, Aiden,
who passed away from a muscular disorder. A video was shown, which
well illustrated both the problems a handicapped child faces plus
the special equipment which enables him or her to more fully participate
with the other kids who are present.
MARK BLOCK introduced our speaker, Professor L.W. Gertmenian,
who is on the faculty at Pepperdine. However, Dr. Gertmenian began
by assuring us that he was a real USC fan, and was concerned with
how long his talk today might last, not wanting to be delayed in getting
to Notre Dame for this weekend's football game. He is a member - we
assume in good standing - of the Rotary Club of Moscow - that's Russia,
Previously, he has served on the National Security Council
- and this gives him real familiarity with what is going on around
the world. As a matter of fact, his subject matter leaped from country
to country - but I'll provide what my notes recorded, which is all
I can do, I think. He noted that Deng Chou Peng, who was the boss
in China for so many years, had only one official title - Vice Chairman
of the National Bridge Club! Dr. Gertmenian's niece was a Professor
at Beijing University, and thus apparently the source for the following.
In 1989, Tiananmen Square, which is the largest public square in the
world (98 acres), became the gathering place for great many students.
They were there to decide which two students would serve on the Committee
which was to write a new Constitution for China. The original guards
there were friendly to these students, so soldiers from Mongolia replaced
them. In the melee which developed, between 2500 and 3000 students
were killed - giving China a worldwide black eye, of course. The official
figure was listed as 270, many of whom were Mongolians, it was claimed.
There are about ten major religions in the world, which
continue to survive. If you boil down their basic precepts, they fall
into only two categories: pro or anti prosperity. The Chinese leadership
had tried only one system, anti-prosperity, but they shifted after
this time to the pro side. A major event in the history of religion
occurred when Martin Luther had the temerity to suggest that several
ideas in the then universal Catholic faith were not correct. For this,
he was sentenced to complete silence for one year - and when released
from this stricture, he came up with additional ninety-five disagreements!
This in turn broke up the one dominant religion of the time.
Historically, the High Priests usually provided major
changes. Then military leaders took over - recent examples would be
the ousting of the Shah, the murder of Anwar Sadat, and the attempts
on the life of Egypt's Mubarak. He feels that it has become convenient
to blame the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for our negative image in
most of the Muslim world. But the real issue is something much more
basic, which causes 500,000,000 Muslim women worldwide extreme unhappiness.
They are often subjected to female circumcision, an excruciating operation
that leaves them in permanent pain. This deep unrest has nothing to
do with whom we support, or whom we ignore, in the Israeli conflict
- but it is never stated.
This basic problem is the reason that Osama bin Laden
cannot prevail in his campaign to rouse the rest of the Muslim (not
Arab, but Muslim, remember) world to renounce the U.S. History is,
quite simply, running against him. And in his recent attack, he has
finally aroused our country - and we won't quit the struggle. Change
will occur in the Muslim world! He is pleased that we have 'grownups'
back in charge in the White House. President Bush is smart, despite
comments to the contrary - his degrees from Yale and Harvard were
earned, after all - and an example of this is Bush's insistence on
having problems fully explained, rather than ignoring the unknown.
Remember that we are ALL foreigners - we came from someplace else,
originally. We should consider visiting a nearby mosque - experiencing
it - and then perhaps forming a more accurate impression of what Muslims
Q&A - YOE led off, asking what reversal of policy our
speaker was suggesting. Osama bin Laden is attempting to stop the
process of change, which is underway and totally unstoppable. BERT
KREISBERG wondered why Hussein won't join us in this battle. Because
he fears that we won't stay the course. Note that President Bush continues
to emphasize that we WILL complete the job. Remember that Condelesa
Rice heads up a very strong group of advisors. (At this point, someone
said something, which YOE didn't hear, but our speaker immediately
spoke up, saying "Are you listening? Sit Down!")
The job of the National Security Council is to provide
a wide variety of opinions - and she takes very seriously her responsibility
to see to it that everyone who has something to say gets a chance
to say it. At this point, a guest - name unknown - asked what can
American Women do. They should act separately, and the LA Times recently
listed a number of good ideas. ELLIOTT TURNER asked what had become
of VP Cheney. He is always in a separate place from Bush, for security
reasons - but he is intimately involved in everything that is going
on. LEE DUNAYER first reminded Dr. Gertmenian that he was his favorite
professor at Pepperdine, plus remembering him when his hair was still
BLACK. Dr G pointed out that he had seen LEE before the meeting, and
promised him twenty bucks if he said something nice about him…The
question, however, was How far do we go in this war? We shouldn't
go to war with leaders - just wait them out, since they WILL fall.
Summary - WOW, this is what we could safely call a wide-ranging
talk, and it seems safe to say that everyone enjoyed it very much.
Thank you, Dr. G. Hope you aren't disappointed after the Notre Dame
YOE, Ernie Wolfe