Promises Kept

More than two decades ago I witnessed a chilling vow. One that appears to have been kept. Therein lies a story.

It was a beautiful spring morning in 1985. The cloudless sky above the mountains brought clear air in off the Mediterranean Sea. The morning sun had burned off the early fog that usually covered the blacktop streets in the strategic mountain village of Marjayoun, South Lebanon perched 1200 feet above the Litani River gorge. From my office I looked directly across the gorge to the ruins of Beaufort Castle atop the mountain that was exclusively Shiite Muslim territory. I had no idea of what was about to happen.

This morning my cameraman and I were heading into that territory and further south to the large Shiite town of Bent Jbeil. I was nearing the end of the first year of my contract as producer for Middle East Television. From our offices in Beirut, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Marjayoun, Lebanon and Metulla, Israel, we produced television news programs broadcasting in both English and Arabic across five countries of the Middle East. I was part of the English department and worked as a correspondent in both Lebanon and Israel.

South Lebanon was the bottom third of the country and almost exclusively Shiite Muslim in population. I was an American working on a two-year contract occupying an office in a Christian village in the heart of Shiite dominated territory. To say I was kidnap bait was an understatement.

The Israeli army patrolled this sector, but it was a war zone and every week their soldiers were wounded or killed. I crossed the border from Israel into Lebanon through a sector held by the South Lebanese Army. Since I had a pass from each side I traveled at will by myself 24/7. Some called me crazy, but I was the only correspondent in the world who was doing it at that time. As a result, I was about be thrown into a story years ahead of it's time.

My cameraman, Mark, and I drove down the mountain ridgeline from Marjayoun through the towns of Qlaya, DyrMimas and Kifar Kila and continued along the Israeli frontier past Aytun where we curved east and then south into Bent Jbeil that was surrounded on all sides by high hills. We were going after "evergreen" video footage that we could use in all manner of stories. The town itself was very colorful with traffic, mosques, shops and a big open-air market called the souk. Traditionally, the market was a place of truce where sides in conflict could meet for commerce.

My bet proved good. We got plenty of attention, some smiles and also some of the most vicious glares I've ever seen. We were recognized yet the tradition of truce held strong. We got great video but as we were preparing to leave two young men that tailed us for some time finally approached. One spoke English well and said he had something to say. I offered to put him on camera but he refused. Suddenly, he launched into a diatribe and made a blood chilling promise.
"We are holy warriors chosen of God. We are coming to America to kill Americans. You cannot stop us. You'll see."

"Are you Hezbollah?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied. "Some day we will make you pay for all the evil you have done. We'll come to America. You'll see!" With that he and his companion congratulated each other and walked quickly away.

Mark and I were quiet for the first few minutes as we drove away to Marjayoun. 
"They really hate us," Mark said.

"Yea, I guess," I replied. "But don't you wonder what drives it?"


"No," Mark answered. "It's not complicated. They hate Israel and they hate Americans."

"You think they'll ever make it to America?" I asked.

"Why you asking me, Ken? How should I know?" Mark answered.
That way his way of telling me to do the writing and researching and let him make the pictures. Mark and I parted company a year later in 1986 when my contract ended.

Did the two Hezbollah recruits in Bent Jbeil keep their promise? You bet. Last I checked the mayor of Bent Jbeil, Lebanon is from Dearborn, Michigan. And the Hezbollah stronghold has sent thousands of its residents to the US. I'm no genius, but with where I've been and what I've seen, I can connect the dots. They're here, waiting.

But what drove them to our shores is another matter. In Islam there are four enemies, two of which qualify for a holy war. Those two are the unbelievers and the apostate. Of the four enemies of Islam the apostate is the worst. In the case of the apostate all those who leave the faith and those who persuaded them are to be put to death. By their very existence apostates betray all Muslims.

According to the Iranian Shiite Revolution, the modern state of Israel is an apostate government in the heart of Islam, and America is viewed as the supporting resource, the persuader of the apostasy. So the Ayatollahs call America the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan and Hezbollah chants; "Death to America. Death to Israel".

What made the two teenage recruits holy warriors? The answer is simpler than you think, and it's not based on pure hate. It's based on the premise that Israel is actually Islam in the worst of all conditions, apostasy. So there can never be a lasting peace, only a temporary cease-fire until a better opportunity of conquest arises. And since America is the sponsor of the apostasy, all those who struggle for Islam in Israel or America are automatically holy. They are fighting against the apostasy, the betrayers of all Islam, the greatest enemies of Allah, His Prophet and the only true faith.

In our wide-open western mentality this Death to America chant is merely free speech, a dissenting opinion. Instead, we must understand that as persuaders of the apostate we are now locked in an unrelenting conflict for our very civilization. By the terms of this struggle there will be only one victor.
More than two decades ago I witnessed a chilling vow. One that appears to have been kept. Therein lies a story.

It was a beautiful spring morning in 1985. The cloudless sky above the mountains brought clear air in off the Mediterranean Sea. The morning sun had burned off the early fog that usually covered the blacktop streets in the strategic mountain village of Marjayoun, South Lebanon perched 1200 feet above the Litani River gorge. From my office I looked directly across the gorge to the ruins of Beaufort Castle atop the mountain that was exclusively Shiite Muslim territory. I had no idea of what was about to happen.

This morning my cameraman and I were heading into that territory and further south to the large Shiite town of Bent Jbeil. I was nearing the end of the first year of my contract as producer for Middle East Television. From our offices in Beirut, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Marjayoun, Lebanon and Metulla, Israel, we produced television news programs broadcasting in both English and Arabic across five countries of the Middle East. I was part of the English department and worked as a correspondent in both Lebanon and Israel.

South Lebanon was the bottom third of the country and almost exclusively Shiite Muslim in population. I was an American working on a two-year contract occupying an office in a Christian village in the heart of Shiite dominated territory. To say I was kidnap bait was an understatement.

The Israeli army patrolled this sector, but it was a war zone and every week their soldiers were wounded or killed. I crossed the border from Israel into Lebanon through a sector held by the South Lebanese Army. Since I had a pass from each side I traveled at will by myself 24/7. Some called me crazy, but I was the only correspondent in the world who was doing it at that time. As a result, I was about be thrown into a story years ahead of it's time.

My cameraman, Mark, and I drove down the mountain ridgeline from Marjayoun through the towns of Qlaya, DyrMimas and Kifar Kila and continued along the Israeli frontier past Aytun where we curved east and then south into Bent Jbeil that was surrounded on all sides by high hills. We were going after "evergreen" video footage that we could use in all manner of stories. The town itself was very colorful with traffic, mosques, shops and a big open-air market called the souk. Traditionally, the market was a place of truce where sides in conflict could meet for commerce.

My bet proved good. We got plenty of attention, some smiles and also some of the most vicious glares I've ever seen. We were recognized yet the tradition of truce held strong. We got great video but as we were preparing to leave two young men that tailed us for some time finally approached. One spoke English well and said he had something to say. I offered to put him on camera but he refused. Suddenly, he launched into a diatribe and made a blood chilling promise.
"We are holy warriors chosen of God. We are coming to America to kill Americans. You cannot stop us. You'll see."

"Are you Hezbollah?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied. "Some day we will make you pay for all the evil you have done. We'll come to America. You'll see!" With that he and his companion congratulated each other and walked quickly away.

Mark and I were quiet for the first few minutes as we drove away to Marjayoun. 
"They really hate us," Mark said.

"Yea, I guess," I replied. "But don't you wonder what drives it?"


"No," Mark answered. "It's not complicated. They hate Israel and they hate Americans."

"You think they'll ever make it to America?" I asked.

"Why you asking me, Ken? How should I know?" Mark answered.
That way his way of telling me to do the writing and researching and let him make the pictures. Mark and I parted company a year later in 1986 when my contract ended.

Did the two Hezbollah recruits in Bent Jbeil keep their promise? You bet. Last I checked the mayor of Bent Jbeil, Lebanon is from Dearborn, Michigan. And the Hezbollah stronghold has sent thousands of its residents to the US. I'm no genius, but with where I've been and what I've seen, I can connect the dots. They're here, waiting.

But what drove them to our shores is another matter. In Islam there are four enemies, two of which qualify for a holy war. Those two are the unbelievers and the apostate. Of the four enemies of Islam the apostate is the worst. In the case of the apostate all those who leave the faith and those who persuaded them are to be put to death. By their very existence apostates betray all Muslims.

According to the Iranian Shiite Revolution, the modern state of Israel is an apostate government in the heart of Islam, and America is viewed as the supporting resource, the persuader of the apostasy. So the Ayatollahs call America the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan and Hezbollah chants; "Death to America. Death to Israel".

What made the two teenage recruits holy warriors? The answer is simpler than you think, and it's not based on pure hate. It's based on the premise that Israel is actually Islam in the worst of all conditions, apostasy. So there can never be a lasting peace, only a temporary cease-fire until a better opportunity of conquest arises. And since America is the sponsor of the apostasy, all those who struggle for Islam in Israel or America are automatically holy. They are fighting against the apostasy, the betrayers of all Islam, the greatest enemies of Allah, His Prophet and the only true faith.

In our wide-open western mentality this Death to America chant is merely free speech, a dissenting opinion. Instead, we must understand that as persuaders of the apostate we are now locked in an unrelenting conflict for our very civilization. By the terms of this struggle there will be only one victor.