Tastier than old wine,

sweeter than the passing of winecups

is the play of swords and lances,

the clash of armies at my command.

To face death in battle is my life,

for life is what fulfills the soul.

al-Mutanabbi

What is Patriotism?

Men and Women:

What is patriotism? Is it love of one’s birthplace, the place of childhood’s recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivete, we would watch the passing clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not float so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one “an eye should be,” piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or is it the place where we would sit on Mother’s knee, enraptured by tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous and playful childhood?

If that were patriotism, few American men of today would be called upon to be patriotic, since the place of play has been turned into factory, mill, and mine, while deepening sounds of machinery have replaced the music of the birds. No longer can we hear the tales of great deeds, for the stories our mothers tell today are but those of sorrow, tears and grief.

What, then, is patriotism? “Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels,” said Dr. [Samuel] Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman…

Indeed, conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism. Let me illustrate. Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot consider themselves nobler, better, grander, more intelligent than those living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others. The inhabitants of the other spots reason in like manner, of course, with the result that from early infancy the mind of the child is provided with blood-curdling stories about the Germans, the French, the Italians, Russians, etc. When the child has reached manhood he is thoroughly saturated with the belief that he is chosen by the Lord himself to defend his country against the attack or invasion of any foreigner. It is for that purpose that we are clamoring for a greater army and navy, more battleships and ammunition…

An army and navy represent the people’s toys. To make them more attractive and acceptable, hundreds and thousands of dollars are being spent for the display of toys. That was the purpose of the American government in equipping a fleet and sending it along the Pacific coast, that every American citizen should be made to feel the pride and glory of the United States.

The city of San Francisco spent one hundred thousand dollars for the entertainment of the fleet; Los Angeles, sixty thousand; Seattle and Tacoma, about one hundred thousand… Yes, two hundred and sixty thousand dollars were spent on fireworks, theater parties, and revelries, at a time when men, women, and children through the breadth and length of the country were starving in the streets; when thousands of unemployed were ready to sell their labor at any price.

What could not have been accomplished with such an enormous sum? But instead of bread and shelter, the children of those cities were taken to see the fleet, that it may remain, as one newspaper said, “a lasting memory for the child.”

A wonderful thing to remember, is it not? The implements of civilized slaughter. If the mind of the child is poisoned with such memories, what hope is there for a true realization of human brotherhood?

We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people. We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence. Yet we go into spasms of joy over the possibility of projecting dynamite bombs from flying machines upon helpless citizens. We are ready to hang, electrocute, or lynch anyone, who, from economic necessity, will risk his own life in the attempt upon that of some industrial magnate. Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that she will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations.

Such is the logic of patriotism.

…Thinking men and women the world over are beginning to realize that patriotism is too narrow and limited a conception to meet the necessities of our time. The centralization of power has brought into being an international feeling of solidarity among the oppressed nations of the world; a solidarity which represents a greater harmony of interests between the workingman of America and his brothers abroad than between the American miner and his exploiting compatriot; a solidarity which fears not foreign invasion, because it is bringing all the workers to the point when they will say to their masters, “Go and do your own killing. We have done it long enough for you.”

…The proletariat of Europe has realized the great force of that solidarity and has, as a result, inaugurated a war against patriotism and its bloody specter, militarism. Thousands of men fill the prisons of France, Germany, Russia and the Scandinavian countries because they dared to defy the ancient superstition…

America will have to follow suit. The spirit of militarism has already permeated all walks of life. Indeed, I am convinced that militarism is a greater danger here than anywhere else, because of the many bribes capitalism holds out to those whom it wishes to destroy…

The beginning has already been made in the schools… Children are trained in military tactics, the glory of military achievements extolled in the curriculum, and the youthful mind perverted to suit the government. Further, the youth of the country is appealed to in glaring posters to join the Army and the Navy. “A fine chance to see the world!” cries the governmental huckster. Thus innocent boys are morally shanghaied into patriotism, and the military Moloch strides conquering through the nation…

When we have undermined the patriotic lie, we shall have cleared the path for the great structure where all shall be united into a universal brotherhood — a truly free society.

Emma Goldman May 1980 San Francisco, CA

High Flight

Where never lark, or even eagle flew-

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

"One of the things I’m completely fascinated by is the determination of many film directors-mostly men-to believe it’s like fighting a war. If you have a caterer along it is not quite a war. I think we have to remember this."

Nora Ephron

Boston Common. Each flag represent a lost soldier from Massachusetts since the Civil War.
In honor of Memorial Day, don’t forget.

Boston Common. Each flag represent a lost soldier from Massachusetts since the Civil War.

In honor of Memorial Day, don’t forget.

(Source: richardn-photos)

"Git" by Evan Knappenberger, A. Co. 1st STB, 4th Infantry.

Lose me, allow me to die

Although I am forgotten by history

Posterity will judge ys

As we are now


Force me to defeat myself

No one is watching I will not be missed

As I stand now


Flagellate me, sneer at me

Your jests do not fall

On idle ears

Nor will they always


Forget me, let me fail

And all will be lost

Destory what makes a man

And you will destroy that man

"Thousands of the men are barefoot…but they are bravely struggling on…so we may finish the war now…I am tired, almost worn out, haven’t had my shoes off for a week, lying sometimes in the heaviest rain."

Pvt. Oliver Norton of the Union Army, pursuing retreating Confederates following the Battle of Gettysburg.Get

"War is hell."

General William Tecumseh Sherman

"I have marched in many a battle host, but I have also planted seeds and reaped the harvest with my own hands. And I have learned there is greater honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood."

Lloyd Alexander

thisclassymuslimchick:



On This Day in 2009: When Palestinian children returned to school for the first day of classes since Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza ended, not all pupils showed up. Some students had to be excused for not attending after being killed by the Israeli army during its three-week bombing campaign of the besieged strip.
Over 300 Palestinian children were killed in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ — between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 — which took the lives of over 1,400 Palestinians in total.
Signs replaced the once-occupied seats at al-Fakhura School in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza; names of victims written under the word in red: ‘Martyr’, 24 January, 2009.
(Photo: Anja Niedringhaus / AP)

:( omg


Human beings have a reamarkable capacity to do good as well as bad. We also have a remarkable capacity to do nothing. It is a solemn day when we find ourselves incapable, unwilling or indifferent to such matters.
What comfort is it to the parents of these children that someday they will be able to live in peace? That someday their children will be safe? And what justice is that? It is justice denied to them to say someday, to say that the change is inevitable. 
There are people doing something about this everyday and we should be grateful to these people for sparing humanity the horrific response of having done nothing. Yet when the forces of evil meet the forces of good at equilibrium, we are not doing enough. And do not be fooled, twice. Do not be fooled by this apparent equity of might. The existence of potential, of those holding down the fort, leaves space for the rest of us to join and make the changes we see necessary. Do not be fooled; either, by the idea of inevitability. That, because the potential exists, so does the certainty.
It is truly hard to change our minds, to not defend our experiences, to deny what we know to be our truths and to put aside our pride. It is not that people do not care about these children, it is that they see the situation and the necessary changes differently. We all do it, I do it. Yet that does not mean we cannot overcome ourselves.
I am not saying that I hope we will make the right changes. I am not saying that I believe we will make the right changes, that I have faith we will make the right changes, that I dream, trust or know we will make the right changes. I am saying we must make the right changes.

thisclassymuslimchick:

On This Day in 2009: When Palestinian children returned to school for the first day of classes since Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza ended, not all pupils showed up. Some students had to be excused for not attending after being killed by the Israeli army during its three-week bombing campaign of the besieged strip.

Over 300 Palestinian children were killed in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ — between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 — which took the lives of over 1,400 Palestinians in total.

Signs replaced the once-occupied seats at al-Fakhura School in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza; names of victims written under the word in red: ‘Martyr’, 24 January, 2009.

(Photo: Anja Niedringhaus / AP)

:( omg

Human beings have a reamarkable capacity to do good as well as bad. We also have a remarkable capacity to do nothing. It is a solemn day when we find ourselves incapable, unwilling or indifferent to such matters.

What comfort is it to the parents of these children that someday they will be able to live in peace? That someday their children will be safe? And what justice is that? It is justice denied to them to say someday, to say that the change is inevitable. 

There are people doing something about this everyday and we should be grateful to these people for sparing humanity the horrific response of having done nothing. Yet when the forces of evil meet the forces of good at equilibrium, we are not doing enough. And do not be fooled, twice. Do not be fooled by this apparent equity of might. The existence of potential, of those holding down the fort, leaves space for the rest of us to join and make the changes we see necessary. Do not be fooled; either, by the idea of inevitability. That, because the potential exists, so does the certainty.

It is truly hard to change our minds, to not defend our experiences, to deny what we know to be our truths and to put aside our pride. It is not that people do not care about these children, it is that they see the situation and the necessary changes differently. We all do it, I do it. Yet that does not mean we cannot overcome ourselves.

I am not saying that I hope we will make the right changes. I am not saying that I believe we will make the right changes, that I have faith we will make the right changes, that I dream, trust or know we will make the right changes. I am saying we must make the right changes.

(Source: fajrarmy, via saraharaha-deactivated20120126)

The Refined Man

I was of delicate mind. I stepped aside for

My needs, Disdaining the common office. I was

Seen from afar and killed…

How is thi matter for mirth? Let each man be judged

By his deeds.

I have paid my price to live with myself on

The terms that I willed.

Rudyard Kipling

retrowar:

Afghanistan

I was going through some “old” photos of when my family had the pleasure to visit Washington D.C. I remember so much of that trip vividly and I was absolutely, as a child who loved, was in love with history, floored by the nation’s capital. I saw the pictures we had taken when we went to Arlington National Cemetery: the fields, the tombstones, JFK’s eternal flame and of course the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The latter of those made me feel so young. The command, the solemness, the respect of the sentinels felt so beyond what I imagined human beings were. There they were, going back and forth, any variation or slight of hand on their part invisible to the mesmerized eye. They looked big.
I also thought to myself how long ago that trip felt. In my mind I think of those memories, startled I can recall something so seemingly ancient I recall almost more as a myth or dream rather than actual events. And I thought “was this before?” but I stopped myself. My cousin who had been born in August of 2001 was there. It may have been Spring 2002  so I was about eleven years old. The War in Afghanistan had already started. So long. That long? Half my lifetime? I was a kid when it all began and not able to understand exactly what going to War meant for individual people–the soldiers, their families–nor for our nation and theirs. It’s often repeated how long the wars have been going on and everything but in the context of my own memories, of seeing those photos and knowing it was happening then and then thinking how it is still happening now, I am still having a hard time being able to grasp that thought and understand it.

retrowar:

Afghanistan

I was going through some “old” photos of when my family had the pleasure to visit Washington D.C. I remember so much of that trip vividly and I was absolutely, as a child who loved, was in love with history, floored by the nation’s capital. I saw the pictures we had taken when we went to Arlington National Cemetery: the fields, the tombstones, JFK’s eternal flame and of course the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The latter of those made me feel so young. The command, the solemness, the respect of the sentinels felt so beyond what I imagined human beings were. There they were, going back and forth, any variation or slight of hand on their part invisible to the mesmerized eye. They looked big.

I also thought to myself how long ago that trip felt. In my mind I think of those memories, startled I can recall something so seemingly ancient I recall almost more as a myth or dream rather than actual events. And I thought “was this before?” but I stopped myself. My cousin who had been born in August of 2001 was there. It may have been Spring 2002  so I was about eleven years old. The War in Afghanistan had already started. So long. That long? Half my lifetime? I was a kid when it all began and not able to understand exactly what going to War meant for individual people–the soldiers, their families–nor for our nation and theirs. It’s often repeated how long the wars have been going on and everything but in the context of my own memories, of seeing those photos and knowing it was happening then and then thinking how it is still happening now, I am still having a hard time being able to grasp that thought and understand it.

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived."

— General George S. Patton Jr.