October 18, 2001



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 debt.

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, not Idaho.

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 really believe.

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 game!

YOE, Ernie Wolfe