Category Archives: spirit of rebellion

Pesach and the Haggadah

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

פסח Pesach 2017 has concluded. I hope everyone’s was blessed. I learn things every year, and this year I did some deep reflecting and thinking, just sort of processing some of the things I read.

While I realize my life, and our lives in America today, have little if anything in common with the Israelites held captive in Egypt all those years ago, in the Haggadah, it says “In every generation each individual is bound to regard himself as if he personally had gone forth from Egypt”. Hmm, I’ve never been to Egypt, and I have no desire to go there now. But I have watched The Mummy movies several times. Even the old black and white one. But that’s not what it means. Turns out, we all have our own Egypt, Pharaoh and Moshe.

In each one of us there is an Egypt and a Pharaoh and a Moses and Freedom in a Promised Land. And every point in time is an opportunity for another Exodus.

Egypt is a place that chains you to who you are, constraining you from growth and change. And Pharaoh is that voice inside that mocks your gambit to escape, saying, “How could you attempt being today something you were not yesterday? Aren’t you good enough just as you are? Don’t you know who you are?”

Moses is the liberator, the infinite force deep within, an impetuous and all-powerful drive to break out from any bondage, to always transcend, to connect with that which has no bounds.

I wonder, how many of us are in chains of one sort or another? Work situations, relationship situations, health situations, financial situations? There are no limits to the things that can bind us. I might take a minute to mention that former Congressman Bob McEwen points out that when you look at the effect of taxes, working and not being allowed to keep the fruit of your labor is slavery. For those fans of Hillary and Bernie.

How could I make such a statement in the middle of talking about Pesach? Well, because Rabbi Tsvi says

Tell it in first person, in the now. Don’t say, “Long ago, the ancient Hebrews…” Say, “When we were slaves in Egypt, the perverse socio-bureaucratic system thoroughly crushed every individual’s sense of self-worth!” Everything that happened there parallels something in each of our lives. We are truly living it now. We are simply examining our own lives in the dress of ancient Egypt.

See? It’s relevant!

There is a point during the Seder where the youngest child present asks four questions. Hmm, would this present a problem? Cowgirl kitty refused to ask the right questions. No problem, Rabbi had the answer.

No children? Let an adult ask. There’s just you? You be the child, and G‑d will be the father. While you’re at it, ask Him a few other difficult questions for us all.

Oh, I’m good with this! I’m so good with this! What’s more? We’re not limited to four!

Part of the Seder is eating Matzah. My Kosher for Pesach Matzah came from Israel. I’ve been eating Matzah since last Monday night, the 10th. This is a mitzvah, a commandment. Yep, until there is another Holy Temple, this is the only mitzvah we can eat. And according to Rabbi, this is an incredibly powerful thing. An amazing thing. Matzah has been called the bread of faith or Emunah.

Emunah is when you touch that place where your soul and the essence of the Infinite Light are one. It’s a point that nothing can describe. Where there are no words, no doubts, no uncertainty, no confusion—nothing else but a magnificent oneness before which all the challenges of life vanish like a puff of vapor.

I should have ordered like a gazillion cartons (5 boxes to a carton) of this!

We too began buried in Egypt, all but losing our identity. But that furnace of oppression became for us a firing kiln, a baker’s oven, the womb from whence we were born in the month of spring. In our liberation from there, we brought our fruits of freedom to the world.

http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/117118/jewish/7-Bread.htm

Miracles happen when Divine energy from beyond the cosmos enters within. Why did miracles happen in Egypt? Because we believed they would. Those who didn’t believe in miracles saw only plagues. To see a miracle, you need an open heart and mind, open enough to receive the Infinite. That is the opening we make when we thank G‑d for the miracle of our food.

http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/117124/jewish/13-Bless.htm

Aren’t these amazing thoughts to ponder and ruminate on?

And then, there’s the miracle of the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the obstacle.

But the greatest of barriers turned into the greatest of miracles. Not only did the sea become an ambush for the enemy, but also a path that led the children of Israel to their ultimate freedom.

So it is with every obstacle. When you’re out to do the right thing, the entire world is there to assist you—including the most formidable threats, the most impossible challenges. The bigger they are, the more impossible to traverse, the greater the miracle they will provide.

That is the true reality of everything in this world: to serve you on your mission. What is your mission? To make this world miraculous.

And obstacles are miracles waiting to happen.

So,  I think we all struggle with slavery of some sort, perhaps this will give you some hope, and maybe a different perspective. The children of Israel went into Egypt as 12 different tribes, and came out a nation. These are just some of the things that really struck me this year, and I’m still chewing on some of them. Unlike the matzah which I am now loading with my leftover yummy charoset which I munch right down.

I’ll leave you with one final Pesach thought, because A) it’s a really good one, and B) it has a picture of a camel.

Leaving Egypt and slavery

Got the popcorn?

Here’s a song I learned in school, I love this version. I know it’s by a group called Tractor’s Revenge, but the words are wonderful. I have it on my phone, so I sang it at the end of my Seder.

Echad Mi Yodea אחד מי יודע

It has the meanings in English, it’s wonderful!

 

Then there is this one, wonderful thoughts, Passover: I’m in Love with the Taste of You, this year’s Aish Pesach video.

 

And lastly, just for fun. Pesach Funk. “Freedom! Oh man! Gonna live my life the best way I can!” Boy can they dance!

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The Path of the Systema Warrior, Compassion

Mitzvahמִצְוָה A commandment, a commandment from G-d, there were originally 613 of them. There are 248 positive and 365 negative mitzvot מצות that would be the plural of mitzvah. The Jerusalem Talmud commonly refers to any charitable act as “the mitzvah.” They are actually eternal to be carried down through every generation. Interestingly, one of them on Page 20: Building a Sanctuary for G­-d from Sefer H’Mitzvot. Okay, I’ll quit. But the point of this is that some of the commands are acts of kindness, acts of goodness and charity. From Psalms תהילים, Tehillim 10:

10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,and fall by his might.

11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;forget not the afflicted.

13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,that you may take it into your hands;

to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.

17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

One rather gets the idea that abuse of the poor, helpless and vulnerable is frowned on wouldn’t they? By G-d, and he commands us to have the same standards, as we are to be a reflection of him. We are to have compassion on them, not abuse them.

And yet.

More than one out of every 5 students report being bullied, 64% of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36% reported the bullying and, more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.

While only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, but all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying. When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth not in special education. Students with disabilities or special education needs are twice as likely to be identified as bullied targets and as bullies when compared to peers without disabilities.1

The results of being bullied are diverse. The victims may be:

depressed, lonely, and anxious, have low self-esteem,experience headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and poor eating. Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance, and think about suicide or plan for suicide.

Some children with disabilities have low self-esteem or feel depressed, lonely or anxious because of their disability, and bullying may make this even worse. Bullying can cause serious, lasting problems not only for children who are bullied but also for children who bully and those who witness bullying.2

While doing research for this column I found several government web sites dealing with bullying. They contained facts, figures and government programs. The government has been trying to deal with it.3 They have sent no less that four “Dear Colleague” letters, in 2000, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Just in case you want to read it yourself. There are lots of acronyms, and lots talk about individual plans, and that sort of thing. But what it amounts to, to me, is they don’t really have any real world answers beyond saying if the parents yank their kid out of your public school, you lose tax dollars.

I find it interesting that 57% of bullying stops when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim. But what if the victim were empowered? No, I’m not talking about shearing more of the poor pink sheep to knit a bunch of hats to plop down on kids heads. I’m talking about an amazing program. I told you to hang on to the horn for this final part of my interview with Joe Mayberry, author of The Systema Warrior Guidebook.

Joe had been training in the martial arts since 1974, but he hadn’t really been teaching. But he started hearing from people he knew who had children that wanted to take lessons, of some rather despicable business practices in some of the area martial arts schools. And it was happening far more often than he would have thought. Joe decided that he would open a school and quit saying “NO” to those who had wanted him to teach. After the school had been going for a while, he got a email one night that became a turning point. He said it was on a Thursday night, and he had to wait about four days before he could respond to it, because he wanted to think it through, he was both mad and sad. The email was from the mother of a little six year old boy who wanted to learn martial arts. The little six year old boy was blind, he wanted to learn to defend himself. The mother had contacted other martial arts schools, some had flat out refused to teach him, others told her they would have to pay for private lessons as he would be unable to learn in a group. I believe Joe said they also told her his guide dog wouldn’t be allowed on the mat at the dojo. I opined that the dog was possibly better behaved than some kids, he would be the least of my worries. Joe kindly overlooked that remark.

The little boy came to Systema St. Louis and started classes, in a group. In his group classes Joe has trained not only blind students, but students with autism, deafness and one who has an eye missing. Students that other schools were unwilling or unable to train have learned and flourished. From this the Systema Warrior Foundation was born.

Because Systema looks at each child’s strength, they are able to help them develop actions and defenses that they are realistically able to use. Shamelessly swiped from the web site:

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a TRUE WARRIOR – Combat Skill, Strong Spirit and Healthy Body.

Our goal is to strengthen those abilities that are already present in each child, no matter what disability they may have. We show them that everyone can be strong, confident and empowered.

​When Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko created the foundations of Systema, he noted that everything that happens to us in life; good or bad, has one ultimate purpose, that is to create the best possible conditions for a person to understand him or herself. Our goal is to grow on that philosophy and to share it with others.

Since the Systema Warrior Foundation started at Systema St. Louis, Joe has trained around 2,000 children with disabilities. TWO THOUSAND, in the United States and Canada. Did I mention, he does this free of charge to them? Yes, he does. The cost of teaching them is covered by donations (just in case you wanted to) to the Systema Warrior foundation, and some of the things that Joe does, he donates the proceeds to the Systema Warrior foundation.

As Joe said, no matter your age, shape or abilities, you have a G-d given right to life and defend yourself. And his actions back up his words.

It seems so perfectly fitting that a Systema school would have a Systema Warrior Foundation when you consider that the original Systema warrior was Ilya Muromets. And Ilya has quite an amazing story. I really prefer the version in the Systema book as it gives you more of a spiritual side. That’s Ilya in the first picture with the little girl.

I just can’t help but love the school motto: “Doing bad things to bad people since 2010”. Just kind of fits with my world view.

So, if I were a kid, and I had a choice of having a knitted pink hat plopped down on my head, or a government program that says it’s illegal to bully children or learning skills that have been taught to me, for my level of ability? I know which one I would go for. I think the Systema Warrior Foundation is a great example of a mitzvah, don’t you?

The Systema Warrior Foundation
http://stlsystema.com/systema-warrior-foundation.html

 

1Bullying Statistics http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp

2Bullying https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandsafety/bullying.html

3Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/bullying-students-disabilities-addressed-guidance-america%E2%80%99s-schools

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But HOW could this happen?

I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at gun control through Jewish history, so I did so for a research paper a couple of years ago, but I think it is all still relevant.

I often hear people say “Oh, but why did this happen?” I think we should look at the question of how things like this can happen, by examining the role of the victim disarmament laws in place during the time period.

As Dave Kopel points out in his paper To Your Tents Oh Israel i weapon control dates way back for a conquered people. From I Samuel 13:19-22: Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. Mr. Kopel points out that governments must control people’s ability to access weapons by also preventing them from making them. Therefore, there were no Israeli smiths.

Whenever Jews lived with Muslims, they lived as dhimmis. This meant they would be facing many restrictions of common rights. First they had to pay jizya, which is a tax any non-Muslim will have to pay to be allowed to live among the Muslims. In addition to that, the Jews living amongst the Muslims were forbidden to testify in court cases if the case involved a Muslim, nor were they allowed to bear arms.ii These restrictions enabled many attacks against the helpless Jews to succeed.

The May Laws in Russia carried many restrictions for the Jews. In some of the areas where pogroms took place some of the Jews attempted for form self-defense groups, but they would be disarmed by the government who appeared to have been involved in instigating some of the pogroms. Firearm registration for all was introduced on April 1, 1918, and in October of 1918 all firearms, ammunition and sabers were ordered to be turned in. The exception was Communists were allowed to keep their weapons. Pogroms in Russia occurred 1881-1884, 1903-1906 and 1917-1921 with each wave of pogrom being increasingly violent towards Jews.iii

Nazi Germany is the easy to use to illustrate how restrictive gun laws can be used to control a population or discriminate against or eradicate a segment of it’s citizens. The Nazi government kept good records. In 1928 the Weimer Republic enacted the “Laws on Firearms and Ammunition”. These laws stated that a person had to have a government permit to do each of the following: one to own or sell a firearms, one to carry firearms (including handguns), one to manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and a separate one to buy ammunition. Then the government decided who got them based on it’s decision if a person was “trustworthy” enough and if they could demonstrate what the government decided was a good need. This would be the 1928 German version of what is advocated by some in America currently as “Universal Background Checks”. If at some point the government decided they didn’t want someone to have a weapon or ammunition, they simply didn’t renew the permit. In September 1935 the “Nuremberg Laws” were enacted and the Jews lost their civil rights. On March 18th 1938 the “Nazi Weapons Law” was enacted. No Jew was allowed to own or work in a business involving firearms. Kristallnacht occurred on November 10th, 1938. On November 11, 1938 the Nazi Weapons Laws was broadened and no Jew was allowed to own a weapon, any weapon, not just a gun. Since the permitting system had been in place for some time the Nazi government knew who had what weapons, they were marked with serial numbers and where they could be found. This ensured that the Jews, who by now were not considered citizens of Germany could do little to resist the coming attacks.

An interesting note is that America’s “Gun Control Act of 1968” was based on the “Nazi Weapons Laws”. Senator Thomas Dodd was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials and brought back a copy of the Nazi Weapons Laws. He had it translated by the Library of Congress. He then pushed for similar legislation in the “Gun Control Act of 1968”, which was signed into legislation.iv

The results of these type of laws are made very clear as by the end of our class observance of Yom HaShoah and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will both have occurred.

Some of the Jews trapped in the Warsaw ghetto formed defensive bands and attempted to fight back. They realized they would not succeed for long, but they fought for their honor, and for the chance that some of them might make it out alive. The Yad Vashem web site has interviews with the survivors of the uprising and they talk about the pitifully small amount of weaponry they had available and their lack of training or experience. But they wanted that chance, that chance to live.v

The British attempted to keep the Jews disarmed in the forming state of Israel

On more than one occasion the British soldiers retaliated against the Irgun by rioting and attacking Jews and Jewish owned businesses. The British also turned a blind eye to Arab guerillas sneaking into Israel, or even knowingly armed them by supplying arms to TransJordan. Indeed there is a long history of attacks upon Jews in their homeland by both Arabs and British. These attacks were either ignored by the British or they made attempts to cover them up, as in the Hebron massacre. Even after the Hebron massacre the British refused to allow the Jews to arm themselves for protection. vi

Israel would seem to be a country that would understand the need for a armed populace. They have not been that way to the extent it might be thought. On July 31, 2013 Public Security Minister MK Yitzchak Aharonovitch called for tighter restrictions on firearm ownership.vii A little over a year later after the massacre at a Jerusalem Synagogue he called for relaxing controls.viii

Moshe Feiglin former MK, also called for easing restrictions on firearm ownership for citizens. His sentiments were expressed with the statement “The answer

is that the State of Israel is not increasing our liberties; it is reducing them. Dictatorship confiscate citizens’ weapons. ‘The State alone will take care of all your security needs’.”ixIsrael does have soldiers throughout the country that ride public transport with their weapons. There has still been many attacks on unarmed citizens in Synagogues, streets, and shops when one was not close enough to stop the attack before casualties resulted.

Europe has seen a rise in antisemitism over the last few years. In 2014 the Metropolitan Police have recorded a 120% increase in antisemitic crimes, but hate crimes are generally under reported. A Human Rights Watch article reported “the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency found that three quarters of respondents living in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden, and the UK felt antisemitism had increased in the country where they lived over the previous five years.”x Both Europe and the United Kingdom have very restrictive firearms laws, and yet attacks appear to be increasing on the defenseless as evidenced by the above statistics.

The divide between the church and the synagogue, that certainly played into the role of the attacks on Jews in Russia, the Spanish Inquisition, Germany and the Muslim countries. In those instances there were attempts to force them to convert to either Christianity or Islam as an alternative to torture and death. In the case of Germany, conversion was not an option as the Nuremberg laws defined who was or was not a Jew. Conversion was not offered or relevant, it was based on heritage. In this case, the church played a role

in terms of helping the Nazis and spreading antisemitic thought. The recent attacks do not appear to be related to the divide between the church and synagogue, but are based solely on hatred of Jews, because they are Jews. But throughout time and country one thing has remained the same. The laws in place restricted Jews from being able to carry out the Torah commands of self-defense such as Exodus 22:2-3 and defense of others Leviticus 19:16. Finally there is the law of pikuach nefesh. In the case of saving a human life, it trumps all others. It’s hard to obey G-d’s law when you are prevented by man’s, to paraphrase Rabbi Dovid Bendory.xi

i(Kopel, 2007)

ii(Wikipedia, Muslim and Arab Antisemitism)

iii(Isseroff, 2009) (Kopel, 1995)

iv(Simkin and Zelman, 1993)

v(Ochayon, Undated)

vi(Hollander, 2009) (Jewish Virtual Library) (Lapidot, 1999)

vii(Ya’ar, 2013)

viii(Dvorin, 2014)

ix(Gold, 2015)

x(Leghtas, 2015)

xi(Bendory, 2009)

Kopel,D (April, 2007). To Your Tents Oh Israel! Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://davekopel.com/Religion/To-your-tents-o-israel.pdf

Wikipedia. Persecution of Jews, Muslim and Arab Antisemitism. Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jews

Jewish Virtual Library (2013). CHMIELNICKI (Khmelnitski), BOGDAN. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0004_0_04259.html

Kopel,D (24 March, 1995). Lethal Laws. Retrieved 20, April 2015 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1272846

Issaroff,A. (2009). Zionism and Israel – Encyclopedic Dictionary: Pogrom Retrieved 21 April, 2015 from http://zionism-israel.com/dic/pogrom.htm

Zelman,A. And Simkin,J. Gun Control-Gateway To Tyranny (1993). Jews For The Preservation of Firearm Ownership Publishers, p. 1-14.

Wikipedia. Kristallnacht Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

Ochayon,S. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/newsletter/30/warsaw_ghetto_uprising.asp

Yad Vashem. Fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/warsaw_ghetto_testimonies/fighters.asp

Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Defense Organizations: The Role of Jewish Defense Organizations in Palestine. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/defense.html

Lapidot,Y. Chapters in the History of the Irgun. Retrieved 22 April, 2015 from http://www.etzel.org.il/english/ac03.htm

Hollander,R. Anti-Jewish Violence in Pre-State Palestine/1929 Massacres (23 August, 2009) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1691

Ya’ar,C. Israel To Consider Stricter Gun Control Laws. (31 July 2013) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170453#.VToMABdVFX8

Dvorin,T. Aharonovich to Ease Restrictions on Weapons Permits (18 November, 2014) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187597#.VToMxBdVFX8

Feiglin,M. Citizens Carrying Firearms Prevent Terror. (22 January, 2015) Retrieved 25 January, 2015 from http://jewishleadership.blogspot.com/2015/01/mk-moshe-feiglin-citizens-carrying.html

Leghtas, I. In 2015, Anti-Semitism Should No Longer Be a Reality in Europe (18 February, 2015) Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/02/18/2015-anti-semitism-should-no-longer-be-reality-europe

Bendory,D. Man’s Law Kills Again – The Sin of Gun Free Zones. (12 November, 2009) Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.ammoland.com/2009/11/mans-law-kills-again-the-sin-of-gun-free-zones/#axzz3YDa9BUi8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peshmerga

The things we learn from our friends at TZP. I sent a screen shot not long ago to my teammates of some of the followers we have picked up. To my great shock they are from….wait for it, no not the DNC, but rather, Iraq. Well color me baffled. As he does from time to time, and it’s always gratefully appreciated, Y.B. helped clear things up for me. He sent me a link to the following documentary. It’s excellent. Not only is it in Hebrew, which is good practice for me, but it has English subtitles, because I’m just not that good. Yet. I’d urge you to watch it. It’s about 45 minutes long and contains a wealth of information, and to me inspiration.

A small bit of background. Peshmerga means “those who stand in front of death.” The head of the Peshmerga is the President of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Region is located in the north of Iraq and constitutes the country’s only autonomous region. Often referred to as Southern Kurdistan, since the Kurds consider it to be one of the four parts of a Greater Kurdistan. Southeastern Turkey is Northern Kurdistan, northern Syria is Rojava (as it is called in the video) or Western Kurdistan, and northwestern Iran is Eastern Kurdistan. The Peshmerga were said to have been instrumental in the capture of Saddam Hussein. I’m guessing the Kurds are still miffed about the 3,200 to 5,000 Kurds killed and 7,000 to 10,000 more injured, most of which were civilians, in the Halabja chemical attack on March 16, 1988 by Saddam. Stuff like that tends to make one hold a grudge. In Syria under Assad, the clothes, language, dances, songs, basically the culture of Kurdistan was forbidden to them. If you can erase a culture, it’s easier to dominate or erase a people.

There are different branches of Kurdish fighters. There is a handy cut out and save guide to the who’s who of the different units at Who are the Kurds? A user’s guide to Kurdish politics. Some are Pro-Western and capitalist, some more communist. What they are all doing though is fighting ISIS. Or as barry calls it, the JV team. And barry has once again demonstrated what happens when people are incapable of seeing evil for what it is. Or seeing the wrong thing as evil, for example, law-abiding gun owners, police, Christmas Trees and Bakeries. But I digress.

Back to Iraq. The “JV” team has decimated several Yazidi villages. Some Yazidis have managed to flee through routes the Kurds who crossed the border from Syria managed to make for them. The Yazidis are told they will convert to Sunni Islam or die. Then they are given a “deadline”. If they do convert, the men are forced to fight with isis and the women are taken. Another small digression here, isis has said they are infiltrating fighters with the “refugees” to America, and if a people needed refuge, it would be the Yazidi or Christians fleeing. Yet, the door to refuge in America is shut to them.

The Kurds have a rough row to hoe. Turkey threatens them if they perform operations near the Turkish border and the PKK is involved because Turkey blames the PKK for the “attempted Coup”. Their weapons are outdated and in short supply and help from the rest of the world has been in quite short supply. The Christian militia in Syria does fight with them though in some places. Despite all this, the Kurdish fighters have been amazingly effective against isis.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s a interesting “Cliff Notes” part for you. Some of the units are made up of women. Much like the IDF, these women are fighters, and fight alongside their male brothers-in-arms. Some of the unit leaders are women. In the video one of the male PKK fighters says the women are excellent leaders, better than some of the men, they are good teachers. And some of these leaders have been at it for a long time.

Media-Leader of a PKK group
Media-Leader of a PKK group

Therefore isis has put large bounties on them. Like Media, shown above.

Unlike barry’s JV team isis, the Kurds do not kill the captured isis fighters. They go to prisons. The isis fighters? They enjoy killing the Kurds, or Jew, or Christians as it says in the video. Also Journalists. They enjoy killing them as well. They will tell you. The interviewer asked, he had personally known some of the journalists they killed.

And he's proud.
And he’s proud.

They also asked the captured isis fighters about their recruits that came from other countries. They explained the got in easily across the Turkish border. They just claim to be something they aren’t.

pretend2b
No, we aren’t jihadist. We’re refug, er um, free Army.

But back to the Kurdish women

An all-female Kurdish militia has launched a military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq with the aim of avenging and liberating the Yazidi women who’ve been raped, assaulted and killed by the terror group in Northern Iraq’s Sinjar region.

And the Yazidi women

An all-female Yazidi militia has vowed to be part of the operation to attack and drive out the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) from northern Iraq. The Sinjar Women’s Units (YJS) announced Saturday that they have “not forgotten those Yazidi women sold in [the slave] markets of Mosul or burned alive.”

If you aren’t aware of the issues I’m talking about this should get you up to speed pretty quick.

‘Yazidi women dragged by their hair, sold into sex slavery by ISIS for $25’

The isis fighters if given a choice, as you saw in the video, will usually choose to run from the Kurdish women. They hear their battle cry and choose to beat feet, and are often instructed to do so. Why? Because if they are killed by a “lowly woman”, it’s no 72 virgins and heaven for them. Is that sweet or what?

So, what brought all this on about the female fighters in Peshmerga? Well, it seems we recently had an election in the US. A woman labeled a “strong woman” a “fighter” by the media and the left was defeated. I, me, personally, believe many have confused “strong” with evil. As a result of these elections it seems countless people have been “triggered”. I’m not sure if they’ve been “triggered” by their winning trophies for “participating” most of their lives, if it’s indoctrination by the preponderance of left wing loons that indoctrinate in schools, their parents outrage that the appointed person didn’t win, or if their left wing coffee shop messed up their coffee. Or, they may have been “triggered” by $1500 a week pay. Non-profit? Interesting, would this fall under the auspices of the clintoon foundation or just another one of soros’s charity organizations? I dunno.

Pretty good pay, eh?
Pretty good pay, eh?

But when you have crowds blocking ambulances from getting through, idiots punching innocent police horses, and you have a pregnant woman trapped in her car as “peaceful protestors” hit the windows with bats, it’s too much. If they want to make a difference, if they want to work for a strong woman, and fight for womens rights? Then I think they need to turn in their diaper pins , say some prayers for the fighters that have been most effective against isis, perhaps speak to their legislative representatives about sending the Kurds some weaponry and supply help, and if they feel the need to be part of a group helping make the world a better place? I’m sure the Peshmerga would be glad to welcome them.

The amazing Media
The amazing Media

Ask for Media. They could use the help and these are strong women, fighting to free other women who have, and are living and dying in the hell of isis captivity. Who knows, maybe when the women of Peshmerga are done liberating the women in this war, they will go to Germany and help the women there.

One of these things is not like the other. That’s one of the female YPG fighters jumping over the fire.

Babies vs. Brass
Babies vs. Brass

Have at it. #RealFeminists

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A Partisan Passes

nyberg-iii-flag

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 10, 2016, Mike Vanderboegh passed away. In recent years, he battled cancer as well as tyranny.

MikeVanderboegh

Longtime militia and ‘Patriot’ leader Mike Vanderboegh dies at 64
Mike Vanderboegh, a longtime leader in the “Patriot” movement, died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64. Vanderboegh also was founder of the “Three Percenters,” who vow to use force if necessary to resist what they see as oppressive gun-control laws.

I say ‘partisan,’ although Mike was not formally associated with The Zelman Partisans. Nevertheless, we were fellow freedom travelers. He could be darned controversial, but he recognized the threat of gun owner control and victim disarmament. He backed up his words with actions. I believe that his smuggling of standard capacity magazines to states banning useful tools against tyrants was far more effective than many people realize: In terms of logistics support,the magazines meant little except to a few hard-pressed individual who benefitted, but it demonstrated — oh so well — how magazine bans are pointless. A lesson we should have learned from Prohibition and the War on (Some) Drugs. Even when he announced a smuggling run, the powers that would be failed to intercept a shipment.

As parent, Mike also performed well. He raised a son who not only stands up as his own man, but has stood up to continue his father’s work. That is a legacy of which any person should be proud.

לנצח לזכור, לנצח החמיץ.

Requiesce in pace, Mike.

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Folks still after Nugent

I have a suggestion for him.

Ted Nugent shows protested over singer’s controversial remarks
“The fair reflects the values of the entire county, and having Ted Nugent perform at the fair would reflect tolerance of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, xenophobia, ableism, and incivility toward people who protest his remarks or cancel his shows,” former social studies teacher Jennifer Vogt-Erickson wrote.

He should email the ditz a copy of his Honorary TZP Membership certificate, and wear his yarmulke on stage.

As for Vogt-Erickson, she should learn a little more about Ted Nugent before bleating like an ill-informed, self-entitled fool.

Is Nugent perfect? Of course not. Who is? Despite his flaws, am I still willing to have him as an ally in the fight for freedom?

Absolutely.

“Ableism”? She’s frickin’ upset that he can do stuff she can’t?

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Battle of Athens

battle-of-athens
Sadly, I let this anniversary slip my mind. Happily, a friend reminded me of this, and that this was always popular with Aaron Zelman and his original crew.

Yes, people did exercise their Second Amendment rights to put down tyrannical government. In 1946, the Battle of Athens, Tennessee.

Is it any wonder that today’s wannabe tyrants want to dismiss the Second Amendment as “obsolete” and “archaic”?

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10 Reasons You Really, Really, Really Want to Own This Rifle

This post appeared first in TZP’s weekly email alert.

You may know that The Zelman Partisans is holding a contest to award this beautiful Israeli Mauser 98 to one of you out there in the gun world. Entering is as simple as writing a statement on “Why I want to own this rifle” and paying an entry fee.

TZP_IsraeliMauser

You’ll have to come up with your own reason (or reasons; we encourage multiple entries and offer discounts for them). But to inspire you, here are 10 things to consider:

You might really, really, really want to own this rifle because:

1. It’s rare. Sure, there are lots of Mauser 98s in the world. But not many of them were made by Nazis then later adopted and adapted to become Israeli liberation tools. You’ve got to admit, that’s amazing.

2. It’s historic. This very rifle helped create the nation of Israel. It may have served the Irgun or the Haganah; it certainly served one of the many liberation forces. From there, it went on to join the IDF and may later have served civilian guards, protecting Israeli citizens.

3. It’s in beautiful condition and comes with a frameable Certificate of History.

4. Where else are you going to get a treasure like this with an investment of only $10? Such a deal! Invest $25 for three entries and have an even better chance; it’s still a deal.

5. Where else are you going to get a treasure like this just for paying your entry fee and writing a simple statement about why you want this rifle? How long does it take to write a sentence or two? You’d regret it if you lost out because you didn’t take time to jot down your thoughts.

6. Okay, true. You might not win. But with only 300 total entries allowed, you have a darned good chance to stand out amid the competition.

7. There’s a reason there are so many Mauser 98s in the world. They’re rugged, durable, reliable shooters. Though we expect this one is likely to end up over a mantelpiece or in a display case next to its framed certificate, in time of need, it can be taken down and put to its historic work of fighting for freedom.

8. Think of this firearm’s symbolic value. Its spirit, if you will. This rifle, this very rifle, already helped bring freedom out of savagery. Look at the Middle East — a cauldron of tyranny, terrorism, perpetual war, and medieval intolerance. Then look at Israel — standing alone amid the chaos, a modern, civilized land. This rifle, and the people who wielded it, helped make that difference.

9. Consider the conversations this historic firearm will start. Think of the awe when your friends learn the meaning of the firearm you so proudly display. It came from savagery; it overcame savagery.

10. We hope you also want this rifle because your entry fee helps The Zelman Partisans stand tall for its mission: Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.

We’d like one of you great-hearted supporters to own this rifle for all 10 of those reasons.

So please enter today. Make one entry or use the special form for multiple entries. Enter as many times as you like. Once we’ve received 300 statements on “Why I want to own this rifle,” we’ll close to contest, judge the entries, choose a winner (and second- and third-place winners, as well), and award this incredible piece of history.

YOU might soon hold this rare and significant rifle in your hands.

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Larry Pratt, the media and the “bullet box”

The anti-gun punditry was all aflutter last week with the news that Larry Pratt had stated that in some near-future time, we might have to resort to “the bullet box” to preserve “proper constitutional balance.”

Speaking of November’s election and its possibile consequences, Pratt noted:

The courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is. They decide particular cases, they don’t make law. Their decisions, unlike the Roe v. Wade usurpation, don’t extend to the whole of society, they’re not supposed to. And we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty. So, I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.

Now I differ with Pratt on a number of points, including any poorly supported assumption that the R. candidate will appoint better justices than the D. candidate. And the item he mentions is historic piece of military equipment more properly called a cartridge box, not a bullet box (and you can still buy replicas of it, NFI). But I don’t see anything unusually incendiary in what he said.

Unlike the Usual Suspects in the media.

The Huffington Post (presumably just before writer Ed Mazza swooned into a deep faint) cried that:

Pratt’s organization is considered even more extreme than the National Rifle Association. The Southern Poverty Law Center claims Pratt has “ties to the militia movement, white supremacist organizations and Christian theocrats.”

The SPLC, of course, makes millions by claiming that everybody to the right of Hillary Clinton has similar eeeeeevil “ties.” Specific claims against Pratt have been long debunked, as anyone with 10 fingers and a search engine could discover. And don’t you always laugh at those little squeaks of horror about organizations “more extreme than the National Rifle Association”? After all these years, it’s amazing that hopolphobic journos haven’t realized that, within the gun-rights realm, most organizations (including ours) are “more extreme than the National Rifle Association”?

Oh well.

Ed Kilgore of the New Yorker has a better understanding of Second Amendment supporters and even compliments us (though I suspect he doesn’t consider it a compliment) by calling those of us who are beyond the NRA “Second Amendment ultras” rather than the usual “extremist” cr*p. I’ve never been an “ultra” before and I think I’d rather like being one.

He also makes the absolutely correct point that if conservative politicians and activists like Larry Pratt, Joni Ernst, Mike Huckabee, or Ted Cruz (all of whom have made statements compatible with the “bullet box” remark) heard rhetoric similar to Pratt’s coming from, say, a black-nationalist group, they’d be crying alarm.

But Kilgore seems to have no grasp of the concept of a constitutional republic and seemingly no understanding at all of limited powers, the Bill of Rights, or for that matter the plain truth that individuals have rights that no government or interest group has authority to abolish.

Bottom line, although his language is restrained and high-toned, Kilgore, like Mazza, seems to hold the common hoplophobe view that taking to the bullet box simply means “shooting anybody you disagree with.” Especially if you don’t like particular election results or the views of judges.

Of course, anyone can see by Pratt’s statement that he’d rather do just about anything rather than resort to shooting. And I wonder how many of the fainting pundits understand that Pratt was referring to the famous “four boxes of freedom” — soap, jury, ballot, and cartridge — and that the final item is only the very last resort of people who’ve been so tyrannized that the first three fail utterly to preserve freedom. Not “democracy.” Freedom. Individual rights. The soap box, the jury box, and (at least in theory) the ballot box are all tools of the individual. It’s only when government or perhaps powerful agents working with government take them away that the cartridge box legitimately comes into play.

On the other hand, we know where we stand with the first three boxes now.

The soap box has long been under threat from uppity presidents, self-righteous campus thugs (not to mention campus speech codes), political intolerance on any part of the spectrum, state governments, federal officials, and even petty local tyrants.

Between the over-criminalization of everything, the pressure to force us to incriminate ourselves (pdf), and other forms of courtroom tyranny, the jury box isn’t as free as it was supposed to be, either.

And the ballot box? Oh, please. At a local level, and sometimes even at a state level, voting may occasionally nudge government a little ways in the direction of greater respect for individual rights. But at the federal level, overreach, mission creep, corruption, secrecy, uber-surveillance, funny money, militarization, paranoia, unaccountable bureaucracy, and “stroke of the pen, law of the land” arrogance have gone so far that the ballot box has become nothing but a kind of “opiate of the masses” — a quasi-religious ceremony that encourages us to believe we can influence the far-off “gods” who — no matter whether they’re the gods of the Ds or the gods of the Rs — increasingly rule without regard to any limits on their power.

No, I do not know a single gun owner who believes in “shooting anybody you disagree with.” But then again, maybe those ardent advocates of unlimited “democracy,” those believers in the “anything-goes” power of unelected judges, justices, and bureaucrats really do have something to fear.

Not gun owners. We’re not their enemy. We’re not the enemy of any peaceable people, no matter how much we may dislike their opinions. What they have to fear are the inevitable — and now rapidly growing — consequences of the very policies they so lovingly or stridently or self-servingly or ignorantly support.

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Ed. note: This commentary appeared first on TZP’s weekly email alert. If you would like to be among the first to see new commentary (as well as to get notice of new polls and recaps of recent posts), please sign up for our alert list. (See sidebar or, if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down). Be sure to respond when you receive your activation email!

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