by Chaim Walder
Nearly half a million soldiers in the Gulf. Thousands of
planes, ships, cruise missiles, smart bombs -- the whole
world is watching.
Not watching the country or its citizens and not even its
soldiers are of interest. Just one man stands before this
great production, a man who could be killed with a 0.9 mm
bullet worth less than a dollar. For years unsuccessful
efforts have been made to get rid of him, while everyone
knows if he went away, even into exile, there would be no
need for war.
This man, Saddam Hussein, by name--a country bumpkin just
like millions of other people who live and die without
managing to leave even a scratch in the history books, if
they even know what history is--rose to power driven by
raging feelings of anger, hatred and revenge, according to
the psychological sketches.
After he rose to power through an amazing building process,
he set up a huge human apparatus entirely designed to insure
that no 0.9 mm bullet would reach him. And that any mouth
that spoke of such a desire would speak no more, and that any
hand that might reach out to cause him harm be severed, and
that a family in which one of its members entertained an evil
notion regarding the ruler be wiped off the face of the
Through a combination of unimaginable cruelty and cunning, he
surrounded himself with an apparatus comprised of 70,000 men
in which every division oversees and spies on the others, and
in which one wrong step means death. All in order to preserve
the stability of his regime.
And now the strongest and largest nation, together with other
nations, is trying to overpower him, and it cannot do this
with a single bullet or grenade or shell or bomb.
In order to reach him part of the country has to be
destroyed, killing hundreds and perhaps thousands of
civilians and soldiers, and even so it remains uncertain
whether they will succeed in killing him.
Even now, when the Iraqis are well aware they face an
onslaught the likes of which have never been known, they are
not rushing to oppose Saddam Hussein, and if this seems
illogical to someone, apparently he has not really grasped
what Saddam Hussein has done to his people--he has managed to
make them fear him much more than they fear an atom bomb. And
perhaps more than death itself.
Saddam knew how to make use of the most effective weapon.
Fear. Because regular weapons kill some people and the rest
remain healthy and well. But fear kills some people . . . and
keeps the rest quiet.
The well-known remarks above are brought merely to highlight
a fact to which nobody has been paying attention:
How much power is contained within a single man. A country
And he's not the only one. Hitler was the same, Stalin was
exactly the same, as well as Chmielnicki, Pharaoh and
A few individuals who, had they not lived, the world would
have looked very different, and history would have taken an
entirely different course.
Without them hundreds of millions of people would have lived
happy lives, raising families and living to a ripe old age.
And one man stood against all of these hundreds of millions.
Hitler, Stalin or Saddam Hussein.
A man like everyone else. Flesh and blood, physically no
different than anyone else. He doesn't even have an extra
Note how much power one man has.
And why is it important for us to know this?
Because just as one man, a country bumpkin, is capable of
doing so much evil--engineered, organized, effective,
precise, powerful and historical evil--by the same token one
man can do tremendous good, building and bettering,
inventing, organizing, founding and making history.
People are stunned by the idea they could change the world.
They don't believe in themselves and in their own ability.
But in reality they do have it in them. A single man can
unite the entire world by doing and spreading good.
Throughout the generations of the Jewish nation, as we learn
in the Tanach, were people who changed the world,
starting with Avrohom Ovinu and through the gedolei
hadoros in our own times.
Let's take, for example, the work of Maran Hachazon Ish,
zt'l. While once a yeshiva student was perceived as
second fiddle to anyone else, through the revolution the
Chazon Ish effected in a single generation, this situation
was entirely turned around. Today only someone who learns in
yeshiva is rightfully admired according to the true value of
a Torah hashkofoh.
Is this not remarkable?
The outcome of this revolution affects the entire world and
is beyond measure or understanding.
And who did it? One man whose light lit other torches that
lit hundreds of thousands of candles that eventually became
torches and lit other candles.
Let it be clear: None of the other residents of the city of
Tikrit (the hometown of Saddam Hussein) imagined that this
orphaned, clumsy boy would turn into one of the cruelest
tyrants in history and would make them afraid to utter his
name. To them he was just a pitiful, foolish boy and those
who hurt him eventually paid with their lives.
Lehavdil, we also do not know who is the child that
will grow up to be the next Chazon Ish. It could be anyone.
This demands something of us. For if one man can create such
drastic changes for good or bad, it demands that we at least
give our very best.
Even when Saddam Hussein is overpowered during the present
campaign, his survival so far against the entire world, due
to the reign of wickedness and fear in the hearts of the
people he rules, will remain an instructive lesson. To teach
the world how much raw power a single man has. For bad, but
also for good.
One man. An entire world.
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