Mt. Everest--Terror Mountain or Vigilant Mountain?
Article Overview:   Climbing Mt. Everest or landing on the moon are achievements of great historical and personal acclaim.   But what if you did those things and your name was swept into the shadows of history?   Would you be a victim of Historical Terrorism?   Recently, a 15-year-old Sherpa girl climbed to the top of Mt. Everest, one of only 1,200 to achieve the goal over the past 50 years following Sir Edmund Hillary and his climbing partner, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.    Was her shadow swept into the pages of history?  You decide.


Sunday--May 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 620
Who's On First--Mt. Everest?  The Moon?
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City--I heard a rumor that Buzz Aldrin was actually the first man on the moon.   The stories have it he slipped out to film his partner, Neil Armstrong, take the first step on the moon and speak the famous words: "That's one small step for man;  one giant leap for mankind."  The legend has it Aldrin was first on the moon to record history, and took his place as one of its shadow heroes.   He, like many in history, was the Gunga Din.

Who was the first to climb Mount Everest?

       Sometimes, however, the servant is really the master, even in fable.
        Take the recent row over who was really the first to climb Mt. Everest.  Was it Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealand beekeeper turner mountain climber who mounted the peak of the world's largest peak on May 29, 1953, or, his climbing partner, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay?
        There's enough doubt to make heads turn as the golden anniversary of climbing Mt. Everest draws to a peak this coming week with a host of celebrations, including Sir Hillary, now 83, attending special functions in Nepal honoring his alleged feat of being first to the top of the 60 million-year-old mountain.
        But there will be those who believe they have been "Terrorized" by the shadow of the foreign climbers who gain knighthood for their achievements while the Sherpa natives are lucky to get their names mentioned, let alone remembered.
         The flack is not unlike the famous comedy routine between Bud Abbot and Lou Costello battling wits over who was on first base.   The confusion is the comedy, but in this case, the confusion is also the shadow of the Beast of Terror.
         Today, the world struggles to bring equality to the underprivileged.  If we toss out the issue of oil in Iraq, the war was fought to give the people of that nation the freedom of equality over the tyranny of oppression.  That was the moral underpinning of all U.S. wars.  Fighting for fundamental freedoms and the equality that goes with them is one of the hallmarks of American history.  If one nation is known for climbing the "Mt. Everest" of human equality, America certainly ranks among the top contenders, willing to wage war in almost any part of the world on the basis of freeing those whose freedoms have been quashed.  It also includes going to war within our own ranks for the equality of American citizens.
          On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a speech to the 77th Congress titled "The Four Freedoms" (link to speech) following the attack on Pearl Harbor.   In it, he cited the four essential human freedoms.   The speech was, some claim, America's endorsement of fighting for the rights of others anywhere in the world to enjoy these freedoms.   Here is a section of FDR's speech:

Excerpt From Four Freedom's Speech by FDR to 77th Congress, Jan. 6, 1941
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look
  forward to a world founded upon four essential human
  The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere
  in the world.
  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his
  own way-- everywhere in the world.

  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world
  terms, means economic understandings which will secure to
  every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants
  --everywhere in the world.
  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into
  world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to
  such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation
  will be in a position to commit an act of physical
  aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the world.
  That is no vision of a distant millennium.  It is a definite
  basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and
  generation.  That kind of world is the very antithesis of
  the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators
  seek to create with the crash of a bomb. (link to speech) 

          The four basic freedoms-- of religion, speech and from want and fear--represent the sum of America's belief that no one is a servant and no one has the right to be lord over others.  And while America has struggled internally, and is still struggling to right its own moral ship, it still forays out into the world, bringing the four freedoms to lands that may or may not want them.   
          The recent Mt. Everest battle is, in part, about the equality of the Four Freedoms..  The Sherpas want what is only due--equal recognition.   But that may come only as an afterthought rather than as an equal gift bestowed upon them as it is on others from foreign lands.

Ming Sherpa's brother, Mingma Myalu

          Achievement seems to be the most glorious and righteous way of correcting inequalities.   Just the other day the youngest of all Mt. Everest climbers stood on the summit.     She is Ming Kipa Sherpa, age 15.     Joining her at the top was her 30-year-old sister,  Lahpka Sherpa, the only person to have climbed the 8,848 meter-high mountain three times, and her 24-year-old brother, Mingma Myalu.
          Since the first climbers placed their feet on Everest's summit in 1953, they have been followed by 1,200 others, including a legally blind climber, Erik Weihenmeyer, who stood on the summit on May 25, 2001.  One-hundred-and-seventy-five have died in the attempt.
           Mt. Everest, like the moon landing, leaves open the question of who really was first, and, also, why that is so important.  Was Everest first conquered by a Sherpa or a New Zealand beekeeper?   Did Buzz Aldrin slip out and take pictures of Neil Armstrong?

Snow flurries at Hillary's Step on the South Summit of Mount Everest at 28,700 feet

            Today, the struggle for a world in which truth, peace and prosperity rule seems a long, tortuous road compared to the potholes of Terrorism that make every attempt to achieve it swerve out of control.  Great newspapers are being attacked for falsifying stories.  Great institutions of politics and religion are being attacked for their internal defects.   Great business icons, once the realm of untouchable kings and queens of commerce, are being tainted by actions that fall far below the expectations of their worshippers.

Sir Edmund Hillary and fellow climbers going up Mount Everest in 1953

          Summit meetings, such as the U.S. is attempting to have with North Korea via China to limit the nuclear arms race, seems to be a scramble over who can get to the top of the power heap fastest, and those who lag behind want to keep their "nuclear ice picks" sharp so they can still climb the international Mt. Everest of Power even if they are small and tyrannical.
          North Korea wants to join those who have climbed the nuclear Mt. Everest summit and to thump its chest with India, Pakistan, England, the U.S., France, Russia and Israel, all of whom have the power to blow up mountains.  It seems the world wants to scream:   "I am the king of the world!"
           Then there is a 15-year-old girl, a Sherpa, who achieves an incredible feat of climbing the world's highest and toughest mountain--receiving little recognition.
           While she faced life and death danger, millions of Americans watched Annika Sorenstam sweltering to try and climb the Mt. Everest of PGA golf, to break through the "old boy's club" and join the "men at the top."   It may seem to some in contrast a matter of insignificance that Annika was even put in front of a television camera while no one bothered to track the climbing of Ming Kipa Sherpa in her adventure to conquer the world's greatest mountain, rising 29,035 feet above sea level.

Ming Kipa Sherpa is a Sentinel of Vigilance

            Perhaps there won't be knighthood for any Sherpa who conquers Everest, but there is Sentinel of Vigilancehood.
           We at the Vigilance Voice honor all those who climb the great mountains, especially the locals who live in the shadow of those from abroad and risk their lives to offer others the fame and glory of achievement.
           Let Ming Kipa Sherpa, 15, be a Sentinel of Vigilance.  Her Courage, Conviction and Right Action for the Children's Children's Children is not unnoticed.   If there is a role model of achievement that exceeds that of Annika's vainglorious attempt to become a "man-golfer," let Ming Kipa's achievement of climbing Mt. Everest shadow the golf tournament, and humble all those who think heroism is hitting a ball around a course versus climbing a mountain that thrives on killing those who make the attempt.
            Let the Light of Vigilance shine forever on Ming Kipa Sherpa.
            Let the Four Freedoms ring from the top of Mt. Everest, not from the greens of Ft. Worth's Colonial Country Club.

May 24--110 Men Stalking Woman Of Terror

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