Unsung Heroes


Or perhaps “Rarely Sung Heroes” in these modern times of growing (or struggling?) decency in the United States. I say that with caution and some hesitation. Let me explain.

Back on June 6, 2019, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France honoring all the Allied soldiers who participated, fought, died, and survived in that historic amphibious invasion to liberate Nazi Europe, I published my blog-post Five Hundred Yards. It was my attempt for readers to bring an acute perspective and emotion what the landings on Omaha Beach was like that June morning for the thousands of 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-year old boys had gone through as they hit the water or beach. If you have the opportunity to read or reread Five Hundred Yards, please do. It will set the stage and context for this post.

Some/Many caucasian Euro-American descendants born and living in our 50-states today have a generic, basic knowledge of how indigenous North American peoples/Indians were either exterminated, moved from their homelands, or abusively treated and deceived by the U.S. government, military, and new settlers between 1778 and 1911, during the official existence of the United States. Between 1539 and 1774 thousands upon thousands of Indigenous peoples were massacred by European colonists and their armed forces. By far the biggest killer of North American Indians were all the lethal diseases European colonists/invaders brought within them and spread. Ironically, similar to what former President Trump accused the Chinese of doing with COVID-19. Nevertheless, it is estimated that from the Pre-Columbian Era (1325–1492) to the final massacre in 1911 in Washoe County, Nevada, between 95,000,000 to 114,000,000 Native American people, that’s millions not thousands, were wiped out by Europeans.

Despite this horrific background and constant inhumane atrocities committed upon them by Europeans and Euro-American descendants, during our first and second European World Wars more than 12,000 Native American Indians fought in Europe for the U.S. in World War I. More than 44,000 fought for the U.S. in World War II. Keep in mind, this is only one to three generations after the exterminations and removals from their own ancestral homelands over a 600-year timespan. Think about that. The numbers of your own people gradually and drastically dying, massacred, and disappearing all around you. With that in mind, these Native American men who, like their African-American WW1 and WW2 military counterparts, volunteered to go fight and risk their lives on a far away continent for a nation who at the time and well before did not love them or treat them as equals and far from justly. Nor did this nation welcome their survivors home as heroes the same as their own caucasian Euro-Americans and yet still went and did their patriotic (tribal) duty and did it bravely, honorably as the warriors they had always been.

I want to commemorate in a small way those Normandy, D-Day Native American warriors who did not come home, those who were wounded and maimed, and those who survived the entire war who did come back home, but nonetheless were still scarred and mentally wounded by those 2–3 years in Nazi Europe. Scarred perhaps too by six centuries of war upon their people by Europeans and Euro-Americans. Here is one of many partial accounts of that June morning on Omaha Beach, 1944 by Army Medic and 19-year old Private of Fox Company in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division who were the first frontline units to hit Omaha Beach.

In my June 6, 2019 blog-post Five Hundred Yards, I wrote about how many casualties were sustained by the first wave hitting the beach or head-high water of Omaha in the first 15-minutes and hour of landing. What I didn’t mention in that blog-post was that decades later German Wehrmacht testimonies stated they were firing their MG-42’s, 5cm and 8cm mortars, and rocket-launching Nebelwerfers so much, non-stop that the barrels were all overheating, even when they rotated them with extra barrels they had, 3-4 extras in some units. The German gun-crews were astonished by how many Allied soldiers kept coming and falling, coming and falling, over and over, endlessly as they quickly exhausted their entire stores of ammunition. On the American side with the 1st Division known as “The Big Red One,” they sustained over 2,000 casualties in the first hour of landings.

One particular Army Medic who was one of 14 total Medics in his regiment made it far enough up the 300-400 yards of flat beach and took cover. However, as he looked back from where he had come he realized he was all alone. No one in his company had made it safely as far as he had. He then noticed many of his fellow infantrymen lying on the beach wounded, screaming, and in the rising tide carrying their 60-75 lbs of gear, most were struggling or unable to pull themselves up the sand so as not to drown. Without hesitation he ran back some 300-400 yards again under heavy fire with his two satchels of medical supplies to those wounded and drowning, pulling many of them 10-11 yards up on the beach and began giving first aid. Another Corp man reported to his officers that this one Medic pulled about eighteen wounded out of the water that were twice or three-times his size and their uniforms and gear heavily soaked. Charles Norman Shay is a Penobscot Indian from the state of Maine and was that one remarkable Army Medic. He tells in his own words what happened:

“The seas were red with the blood. At the very beginning, it was difficult for me to witness so much carnage. I had to push what I was experiencing out of my mind, so I could function the way I was trained to function. Then I was able to operate effectively and even saved a few lives. I have always been proud to be a medic. It’s a special privilege.”

Shay remembers cradling those critically wounded to give them some comfort. When he found one he recognized, badly wounded with an open abdomen, he stayed with Private Edward Morozewicz, one of his closest friends, to ease him in his last few breaths. In 2017 Shay visited Morozewicz’s family, making sure they knew of Edward’s courage. Charles participated in a special ceremony honoring his fellow fallen medic. Shay still questions why he lived when Morozewicz and most of his unit were killed. “I knew [Edward] was slowly dying. I bandaged his wounds and gave him morphine. But I knew there was no help for him, says a somber Shay.

Most of the American 1st and 29th Division’s first waves onto Omaha Beach perished, cut-down and slaughtered by the precise, heavily supplied and experienced 352nd German Infantry Division. The 352nd was assembled with many battle-tested soldiers pulled from worn-out or disbanded Wehrmacht divisions that had served on the Eastern front in Russia. By 12-noon on D-Day over half the men and most of the officers in Shay’s Company were either seriously wounded or dead. Up to 3,000 Allied troops died, and some 9,000 were injured or classified as missing that day, unidentifiable, or lost to the sea. Of Shay’s Regimental Medical Detachment of 42 medics, seven were killed and 24 severely wounded. After so many of his regiment and company fell or were killed, he later struggled many times with Survivors Remorse.

“My heart breaks for those mothers who prayed for their brave sons but never welcomed their sons home again,” says Shay wiping away a tear. “I can never forget the men who never had the chance to experience life as it was meant to be, a wife and a family, but instead were destined to depart this life in some far-off [European] land.”

Shay often says it was random, crazy luck that he survived D-Day, the rest of the war, and later the Korean War that he volunteered for service just five years later. After the war in Europe ended, the U.S. Army awarded Shay a Silver Star for his actions, and the French government appointed him a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, the highest honor given to non-citizens of France. But despite those medals this humble Penobscot Indian veteran always refers back to fellow warriors who paid the ultimate price and sacrifice for their country, homeland, Native tribes and family. Shay says there were many just like him.

Recently there has been new memorials and ceremonies finally recognizing the heroic contributions and sacrifices of Native American WW2 veteran warriors. Charles Shay makes annual trips back to Normandy to pay his ceremonial respects and honor his fellow Indians lost there with Eagle feathers, sage, and tobacco. He does so to bring heightened awareness to the younger public, particularly back in the United States. He lets his fellow Indian warriors lost, buried there under row after row of white crosses that they are not forgotten.

In the Normandy American Cemetery at least 29 Native American soldiers are buried. In the Brittany American Cemetery at least nine Native American soldiers are buried. And at the Utah Beach American Cemetery 30 Comanche soldiers, Code Talkers, from the Oklahoma Reservation are memorialized there. According to Dr. Harald E. L. Prins, an anthropologist and researcher at Kansas State University, 175 Native American soldiers landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Over 75-years later only around 55 have been identified.

For an extensive telling of Shay’s gallant service on D-Day go here. Many of the past stories of that day in June, a lot of the later accompanying military field narratives describing the Omaha ordeal are sanitized versions of the original field unit notes. And as S.L.A. Marshall writes for The Atlantic magazine in his provocative, transparently graphic article First Wave at Omaha Beach, he says even “Cornelius Ryan’s epic film The Longest Day misses the essence of the unfiltered Omaha story.” I highly recommend his article.

It is my opinion, reflecting back this June 6th, 2021 anniversary of D-Day, given these Native American warriors pre-war histories they had every justifiable reason not to lift a finger for a white-man’s faraway war. They did not have to do any patriotic service for a 1940’s Euro-American country that treats them and had treated them as second- or third-class people without the same identical privileges and human rights afforded White America. Today, I think these Native American warriors are overdue, deserving the utmost respect, honor, and ceremony up to or beyond any other homage given to any Euro-American veterans of any U.S. wars! May they all receive many sacred Eagle feathers, burnt sage, and tobacco so all of their spirits rest in peace and receive (at minimum) equal remembrance and honor by all Americans; every single one of us without exception. Unmeasurable gratitude for all of you Native American warrior veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present.


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Five Hundred Yards

One afternoon over the December holidays while my young son and daughter were visiting for a week in Kerrville, together with my Mom and sister, Ethan and I settled into the living room couch and one of the recliners to begin watching the 10-part series by HBO called Band of Brothers. My daughter Tori (Victoria) and Ethan had gone in together to buy this incredibly excellent production and historically precise production as my gift as it had already won several awards.

My kids and family had known I had always been a history buff, especially military history buff, and more so a WW2 buff since my boyhood. They had heard on numerous occasions — actually tolerated — how much I praised the astonishing historical detail that HBO’s Executive Directors with historical-military consultants, utilized Stephen Ambrose’s bestselling book of the same name which went into the making of the final cut of Band of Brothers. Ethan had been looking forward to watching it with me. He knew well how passionate I was about personal authentic history. At that time, he was a bit of a military fan too. Where he may have got his interest I couldn’t say. But I would be lying, wouldn’t I?

When Mom and sister saw what we were about to watch, they rolled their eyes, a bit put out and both essentially griped, Dwain, why are you such a huge fan of war films, documentaries, graphic violence, and showing it to Ethan!? Do you love violence and war? Later that evening when he and I were done with parts 1-3, I hoped I had answered their question and deep concerns for my son.

But I’ll share that at the end of this post.

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Seventy-five years ago this morning at 5:50am Caen, France time, June 6, 1944 the Allied invasion of Normandy began. To this day, it is the largest amphibious military force ever assembled in history. The Allied invasion force consisted of around 346,700+ souls, comprising of almost 7,000 naval vessels crammed into a tiny French Bay (Seine) off the coast of northern France—about 900 sq. miles of sea and only about 50-miles of flat beach. A flat, sandy beach 3-5 football-fields long at low-tide, from waste-deep water to land, when the first wave of troops landed; meaning nothing to hide behind to protect yourself except narrow, German-landing obstacles (many booby-trapped) until the first natural or German-made obstacles… 500-yards ahead of you.

omaha-beach-normandy-d-day-beaches
Omaha beach, Normandy, today — low-tide

Of the five different landing zones that morning at Normandy, Omaha beach was a slaughtering section on the first wave of the V Corp., 29th Infantry Division, 116th Regiment with Companies A-D, each with 230 men. Dog Green Sector where Company A of the 116th landed was the most horrific scene any human being could ever witness.

Much of the Allied’s intricate, precisely planned timing of Operation Overlord went wrong on many levels. For Company A (first wave) their section of the beach was nothing like they had been told or trained for back in England. With up to 60-75 lbs of gear, weapons, and ammunition to name only three, they had not trained for disembarking into waist-high or neck-high water with 200-yards in front of them until sand. Then the additional 200-300 yards on open beach and sand bars was supposed to have hundreds of bomb-craters from air force and naval bombardments to shelter for seconds or minutes to rally and organize before rushing forward to their objectives against a severely weakened or destroyed German defensive emplacements. None of this had happened when they lowered the landing-ramp of their LCI’s (Landing Craft Infantry) into 4-6 feet of water.

Omaha_beach_dog_green

What lay ahead for these 230 young men of A-Company was a superbly designed defense by one of Hitler’s most brilliant combat Generals, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. His objective was to inflict upon the Allied landing forces as many casualties as possible by slowing down landing craft and infantry getting to the beach, and then across 200-300 yards of flat sand before arriving at his first-line of gun emplacements, trenches, bunkers, and pillboxes. Rommel had 7-months preparation to build and reinforce this Atlantic Wall. He believed the only way to have a chance of repelling the invasion was to drastically slow the Allied forces at the beach making the losses so unacceptable for Eisenhower and Bradley the invasion would be unsustainable and abandoned. It almost worked. Against the 116th’s A-Company it did work, to appalling results.

Two of Germany’s most lethal weapons of WW2 and during D-Day were their 88-millimeter artillery guns and the MG-42 machine guns. All Allied combat soldiers and their commanders feared these weapons. In any engagement Allied units had to quickly disable or destroy them or they would wipe out entire platoons or more.

The earlier air force bombardments were suppose to pummel these German weapon units days/weeks before. The early morning naval bombardments were also suppose to pummel these targets. On D-Day the 116th Regiment and A-Company did not know they were still operational and waiting for them, particularly the combat experienced German 352nd Division defending Omaha Beach. Typically, each of this division’s 200 companies had a minimum of one or two MG-42’s per company, or about 250 deployed at Omaha Beach. This is a formidable slew of this weapon pointed at the incoming LCI’s landing-ramps when it opens and attempts to unload 36 men packed inside.

To get a proper feel for what the MG-42 (nicknamed Bone-saw by the Germans) could inflict on unsuspecting infantry, listen to the first 30-seconds of the video. It is not graphic, it just demonstrates by audio the large-scale lethality:

The MG-42 Bone-saw fired 900 – 1,500 rounds per minute. That is about two cartridges per second for 60-seconds when the barrel wasn’t overheated, fairly cooled, or just replaced. The 2-man crews usually had 4-5 barrels at their disposal to keep switching out.

500 Yards badge-breaker

Of the 230 men assigned to A-Company first wave of the 116th Regiment, 7 survived. These seven soldier’s narratives below, collected shortly after the day ended, tell firsthand what happened to 223 men in less than eight minutes. When the German squads located A-Company’s surviving commanders that had reached the shoreline, they had all their experienced snipers take them out with one, maybe two shots in a matter of 7-10 seconds per American officer. The 88-mm gun’s fragmenting shells ripping to separate pieces human body parts along with the MG-42’s mowed down the rest of A-Company.

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On this historic day 75-years later we remember, salute, and thank the veterans of D-Day still alive, but more importantly those who made the ultimate sacrifice to achieve victory. A victory that was enormously costly, particularly to the one Regiment that paid the most and one town, Bedford, Virginia of about 4,000 residents at the time, who lost 19 of their boys, more than any other town in America that day per capita, June 6th, 1944. Four more lost their lives during the remainder of the Normandy campaign. Director Stephen Spielberg was inspired by a book called The Bedford Boys which chronicled these 23 men’s sacrifice and it resulted in his multi-award winning 1998 film Saving Private Ryan. As most movie-goers know, the opening scene of the D-Day landings have been confirmed by most survivors of that day as ‘precise as any screen-portrayal ever made about Omaha Beach, June 6th, 1944.’ Some could never watch the movie again.

As the Allied forces proceeded inward through western Europe and toward Germany and Hitler’s Nazi Third Reich the next 11-months, started by the victory in Normandy, we’d eventually learn the horrid truth about their concentration camps. So now I have reached the point in my story where I answered my Mom, sister, or anyone who asks or questions me: Why are you such a huge fan of war films, documentaries, graphic violence, and showing it to Ethan!? Do you love violence and war?

500 Yards badge-breaker

I tell them if that ever makes me an advocate of war, a warmonger rattling his sabers or shooting off his personal arsenal of weapons on weekends, then please… you have my permission to shoot me.

No, on the contrary it is precisely BECAUSE it is so horrific, so insane, so life-damaging, and the worst of humanity’s behaviors—witnessed by combat soldiers returning home with PTSD, Holocaust survivors scarred for life by what they lived through—that I am stubbornly anti-war! I remind myself and any others I can by watching, reading, and understanding profoundly what really goes on at the front lines. And hence, I emotionally remember the harsh reality of what slaughtering looks and sounds like in order NOT to use war rashly and foolishly like many of our politicians or aggressively hyper-patriotic citizens—with no combat experience themselves—seem too ready to fight and too frequently oblivious of its cost! Its real and long-term human costs. Therefore, do everything humanly and diplomatically possible to avoid war before sending our men and women to exact it and pay with their lives.

As one of the scenes and parts in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers impart, after they had liberated one of the many concentration camps, it’s why we fought. Let us never forget how precious life is before a violent conflict breaks out. It is never the same after… for any of the soldiers and their families.

————

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Religious Imperialism Alive Still

obama_syriaA few months ago I got lured into what I thought was a discussion and dialogue over American-Syrian foreign policy.  My college friend had an obvious hatred for President Obama and Democratic policies.  The discussion, turned heated debate, was regarding the treatment of Syria by President Obama and Syria’s perceived lack of respect for American threats against Assad’s regime and his use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens.  My conservative college friend’s stance on Syria, Islāmic regimes, and basic American foreign policy in the Middle East was one of ‘enforced power‘ applied through America’s alliance with Israel.

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New Israeli army on parade – 1949

In my attempt to give more historical background to America’s long Israeli support in matters of Middle Eastern conflicts, including our MASSIVE costly mistake in invading Iraq for WMD’s, I stressed how prudent and utterly cautious the U.S. should be when involving itself in Middle Eastern matters so soon after invading Iraq.  I eventually let him know that the 1949 U.N. creation of the nation of Israel was a horrible blotch on the U.S. and Western nation’s historical political record in the eyes of Palestinians, Syrians, and Islāmic nations in the region.  It is the major reason the area has seen so much violence and blood-shed for the last 65-years toward Israel and Western powers.

My friend blew his top and began using Biblical passages – as if they were God-ordained entitlements – that Israel “belonged there” for several millennia.  That’s when I knew I was facing an all too common Christian-Zionist misconception of the region’s history which is TOO OFTEN naïvely understood and ignorantly proclaimed by conservative (Puritan?) American politics.  Here are at least 10 reasons why their belief is based in gross fabrication as inspired from the work of Dr. Juan Cole from the University of Michigan.

  1. The ancient geographical history of Judaism begins in Mesopotamia, loosely modern-day Iraq and Syria, not Jerusalem or the Levant.
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    The actual settlement of Jerusalem and its surrounding region was founded between 3000 to 2600 BCE by a Semitic people (possibly Canaanites), the common ancestors of modern Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Jordanians.  However, outside of Old Testament passages, Judaism as a state or kingdom did not exist in or around Jerusalem.  To date, there has been no archeological evidence found of a “Kingdom of David” or of Solomon’s Temple claimed in the Bible during this period.
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  2. The settlement of Jerusalem was named in honor of Shalim, (salem) from the Canaanite religious pantheon, found on inscriptions in Syria.  According to the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (1999), the word Jerusalem means “built-up place of Shalim.”  Modern Judaism wrongly translates the word as City of Peace, and has romanticized its historical context as their own at the exclusion of Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Jordanians.
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  3. Exodus-262x300Strictly from Biblical sources, i.e. not from additional independent sources, Judaism asserts that the prophet Moses led slaves inside ancient Egypt.  Judaism asserts slave labor and a major slave revolt by Jews in ancient Egypt followed by a mass exodus into the Sinai Peninsula.  Judaism also asserts a Jewish invasion of Palestine by fleeing slaves from Egypt.  Yet no Egyptian records or evidence during the reign of Ramses II, as recorded at Luxor, exists to support any of these claims.  Furthermore, the only archeological evidence of a monotheistic worship happening inside Jerusalem doesn’t take place until around 1000 BCE.  All evidence prior to 1000 BCE clearly demonstrates common Canaanite deities were worshiped.  And even in this case, as noted in #4 below, substantial evidence of a monotheistic religion beginning in Jerusalem doesn’t begin happening until after 900 BCE as a small sect or population!
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  4. There is no definitive proof that Jerusalem was even inhabited between 1000 and 900 BCE.  No archeological evidence of glorious palaces, great states or kingdoms, or recognized kings of the region by Assyrian tablets, which record even the minutest events throughout the Middle East, has been discovered.  But once again, strictly from Biblical sources only, Judaism asserts these buildings, kings, and states existed.  The independent archeological records simply are not there.
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  5. Finally, with much exhaustion, a Jewish group known as the Hasmoneans did rule Jerusalem briefly between 168 and 37 BCE.  This is a grossly different time span (almost a 2,200 year difference) from what Zionist Judaism claims:  3000 BCE to present?  Yet even during this period (168 – 37 BCE) the reign over Jerusalem was with the significant help of Parthia.  The archeological and historical sources clearly show the Assyrians ruled Jerusalem and the region in 722 to 597 BCE when the Babylonians conquered it.  They lost it in 539 BCE to the Achaemenids of ancient Iran and ruled until Alexander the Great took the entire Levant in the 330’s BCE.  Alexander’s descendants, the Ptolemies, ruled until 198 BCE when his other descendants, the Seleucids, took it.  Enter the well-known King Herod of Parthian heritage from 37 to 6 BCE, at which time the Romans conquered all of Palestine.  The Romans and then later the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium, or later Constantinople, or modern Istanbul) reigned from 6 BCE until 614 CE when the Iranian Sassanian Empire conquered Jerusalem.  They ruled until 629 CE when the Byzantines took it back.  But wait!  The fighting and conquering isn’t over!
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    Beginning in 637 CE, the Muslim Arabs put siege to Jerusalem and conquered it a year later.  They ruled until 1099 CE when all the European Crusaders took it.  It is at this point when the Jewish and Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem fought side-by-side but were horrifically murdered in mass by Christian Crusaders.  The Gesta Francorum, the chronicle of the First Crusade, states “[our soldiers] were killing and slaying [women and babies alike] even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles”  The estimated genocide is calculated today to be between 10,000 to 25,000 lives.
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    Saladin

    Saladin

    Upon the incursions and invasions of the European Crusaders, the great Sultan Saladin led his Egyptian and Syrian Muslims against the Christian armies, conquering much of the Levant and freeing Muslim slaves, then put siege to Jerusalem in 1187 CE and conquered it less than a month later.  Saladin, in unprecedented military fashion of the time recognizing the historical significance of Jerusalem to so many, allowed non-combatant Christians to leave and allowed Jews the choice to return.  Muslims ruled Jerusalem until the end of World War I, or in sum for about 1,192 years!
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    To conclude #5, advocates of Zionist Judaism did not found Jerusalem.  Judaism as a firm stable known religion or as a kingdom did not begin until around 200 BCE.  And the Hasmonean dynasty only ruled Jerusalem (in part) for about maybe 170 years.
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  6. Perhaps the most notable part of Jerusalem’s history is in 136 CE after the Bar Kochba revolt against Roman authority failed.  Some of the Jews in Jerusalem remained, but firmly under the rule of Rome and then Byzantium.  Many converted to Christianity to escape the harsh oppression.  After 638 CE and the Arab Muslim invasion, 90% of Jerusalem converted to Islam!  Thereafter, the entire region was almost exclusively Muslim for the next 1,300 plus years.  Palestinians are the legitimate descendants of Jerusalem, Eastern Israel, and the region!
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  7. In 1947 the virtual city and region of peace was completely turned upside down.  Despite the above historical and archeological chronicle of Judaism, the United Nations enacted the Partition Plan for Palestine following World War II and Jewish Holocaust.  This plan for the State of Israel developed from the post-war British political and military withdrawal from Palestine as well as wide Western sympathy for Jews and the Holocaust.  Suddenly, it seemed, the U.N. and West completely forgot what European Crusaders did to Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem in 1099 CE in the aftermath of the First Crusade.  Naturally, Palestine breaks out into civil war shortly after Resolution 181 (II) of the United Nations General Assembly implementing the partitioning of Palestine.  All out war followed between Arab militias and Jewish militias eventually leading to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.  Because of Western powers and alliances with Zionist Israel, and dare I say ignorance, the region has seen very little peace ever since.  Today tensions, violence, and terrorism trickle over into other contemporary conflicts from Western nations over-meddling in the Middle East, i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan, based indirectly on religious imperialist differences.
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    1967 Six Days War

    1967 Six Days War

    The 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 along with the Hague Regulations of 1907 explicitly forbids occupying powers (i.e. Britain or Jewish Europeans) to alter the lifestyles of non-combatant civilians who are occupied.  It furthermore explicitly forbids the immigration of people from the occupiers’ country into the occupied territory (i.e. Palestine).  Western nations of the U.N., including the United States, sat idle as the newly formed State of Israel removed Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, usurped Palestinian property and settled on their property, annexed districts of Jerusalem, all in gross violation of International Law.  Ironically, to state mildly, the Nazis began the same violations in 1938 and 1939 Europe.
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  8. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

    Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin

    Past and present Israeli governments have not been united, much less consistent, about how East Jerusalem and the West Bank should be settled and managed once they were taken over.  Comically, this is reminiscent of Judaism’s long history of sectarian division and fragmentation going all the way back to 37 CE.  The Judaization of Galilee, a region in northern Israel, was implemented throughout the 1960’s and ‘70’s but with limited success.  Prime Minister and Nobel Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin was primarily responsible for bringing Israelis to peaceful coexistence with Palestine through the Oslo Peace Accord in 1993 and granting Palestinians their right to become a recognized state and withdrawing Jews from Gaza and Jericho.  For these proceedings Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Jewish-Zionist elements in 1995, specifically Yigal Amir, and elements that are now associated with current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.  As late as 2000, rhetoric and hints of Palestinian assurances by post-Rabin Israeli officials have been given but fourteen years and counting none have materialized.
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  9. The archeological record and linguistic history of Jerusalem and Levant show who has the most legitimate claim to sovereignty from best to least, in chronological order, by the  number of years settled:
      1. Muslims – they ruled it and built it for at least 1,191 years.
      2. Egyptians – ruled it as a vassal state for several centuries in the 2nd millennium BCE.
      3. Italians – ruled it for about 445 years until the fall of the Roman Empire in 450 CE.
      4. Iranians – ruled for 205 years under the Achaemenid Empire, for three years as a Parthian-Hasmonean vassal state, and for 15 years under the Sassanids.
      5. Greeks – ruled it for over 160 years, counting the Ptolemys and Seleucids as Greek empires.  If this period is counted as Egyptian and Syrian, that adds significantly to an Egyptian claim while introducing a Syrian one!
      6. Byzantines (Greeks/Turks) – ruled it for 188 years, however if one considers the heir to be Greece and add the time Hellenistic dynasties ruled, that gives Greece almost 350 years of ruling Jerusalem.
      7. Iraq– the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires ruled Jerusalem for 183 years, though adding the Ayyubid Empire (Saladin’s dynasty) who were Kurds from Iraq, ruled for 730 years bringing the total reigning years up to that point to a whopping 913 years!
      8. Jews – finally we arrive to the people who have the LEAST claim for Jerusalem.  The Hasmoneans ruled as a vassal state under Parthia for 131 years.
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  10. In the end, the only real claim Judaism has for Jerusalem and a state of Israel is based subservient to Persians, Greeks, and Romans when they ruled Palestine.  To make assertions to inhabit Jerusalem and the Palestinian region based on Biblical history, is like Americans claiming the European continent as legitimately theirs because of their ancestors, or Mexico claiming the southwest United States as their own because prior to the 18th century CE it belonged to them.  Spain could then lay claim of southwest America prior to them!  Yet, in a post-WWII world, by pandering to the West’s sympathies and political imperialism, Zionist-Jews robbed western Palestine and expelled Palestinians from their legitimate homeland while the “civilized” Western nations turned their heads.
Christian Biblical Fundamentalism

My conservative college friend no longer acknowledges me.  Because I questioned and disagreed with his political, religious, and social positions, he no longer speaks to me.  In fact, many of my former college and seminary friends – yes, I attended three years of seminary in Jackson, MS – no longer speak to me much less listen to me.  My more moderate college friends and my current liberal friends enjoy having these types of discussions and examinations.  Why they do, compared to the far-right fundamentalists, I cannot specifically answer.  I can speculate, but without any level of communication it is impossible to figure his or the far-right’s obstinacy.

teaparty2For the last twenty-three years, my once biblical fundamentalism has been increasingly deprogrammed and deconstructed until finally there was no intellectual basis for it whatsoever.  It eventually became all together Pagan or non-religious until I finally determined my current “title” or label:  Freethinking Humanist.

I recently read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, 500 Questions, where he examines whether the canonical Bible is divinely inspired (click here for that post).  He delves into the power and persuasion of memetics or the transfer of information or stories socially over the span of many generations.  If popular and useful enough, the meme can take on a life of its own becoming seemingly factual.  It is an excellent post if you have a chance to read it!

My now former conservative friend is a microcosm of a larger global problem:  religious extremism or literalism.  When I study all the world’s various faiths and social systems, I am appalled by how much of humanity’s history is filled with religious conflict and imperialism.  More striking is how much of it has been born from the Abrahamic religions.  If historians compiled the top ten worst moments in human history so far, half of them would be religiously based with the Crusades of Jerusalem topping all of them.  Two to three more would be politically-religiously based.

In light of what I’ve written here, in an age where geneticists and modern genetics have determined time and again that all of humanity has less than a 1% difference with each other, it is appalling that religious extremism and imperialism still exists.  Ninety-nine percent of us have the same tools genetically to live in peace and prosper together!  Everything outside of that 1% is taught to us (truthfully or falsely) by our parents, family, and community.  What does that say about potential change and world peace?

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**Nov. 22nd, 2014 — More Information:

AOBJ-Alison Weir“Few Americans today are aware that US support enabled the creation of modern Israel. Even fewer know that US politicians pushed this policy over the forceful objections of top diplomatic and military experts. As this work demonstrates, these politicians were bombarded by a massive pro-Israel lobbying effort that ranged from well-funded and very public Zionist organizations to an “elitist secret society” whose members included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.”

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Alison Weir’s organization:  IfAmericansKnew.org

John Crewdson’s October 2007 Chicago Tribune article

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Live Well * Love Much * Laugh Often * Learn Always

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