Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘genocides

Simone Weil: No credible philosophy without active field engagement…

Note: A re-edit of my post in 2012

In this century of global turmoil and global wars, WWI and II, successive genocides, Afghanistan, Viet Nam, Iraq, ISIS,…Simone Weil was concerned to find links between the state of Gravity (miseries, injustices, brute force, subjugation…) and the state of Grace (Justice, equitable treatment, civil rights, political rights…)

Weil visited Germany in 1932 and experienced the incapacity of the German communist party to be freed from the Soviet dictate and Soviet bureaucracy.  Consequently, faced this rude reality, Weil dropped her previous revolutionary positions due to the total passive behavior of the communists in Germany.

In 1934-35, Weil took a sabbatical from teaching, and worked at the factories of Alsthom and Renault as a daily worker. She kept a diary, and she had to share the workers daily conditions and feelings on the floor-shop, if she had to talk of the working class…

How can people balance the repeated society massive submission to the power-to-be (following orders that are terribly evil) and the individual tendency to avoid harming innocent people?

Are the systematic coercive structure and violent acts of totalitarianism behind this recurring mass subjugation phenomena throughout history?

Desiring to know the truth is a yearning to be in direct touch with reality, no matter how cruel and brutal it might be.

For example, if you claim to describe the conditions and represent the working class, you must be engaged in the daily work activities of the worker, and be connected to the actual working people in specific domain of productions…

In 1936, Weil was side by side with the Spanish anarchists during the civil war…

Simone Weil proclaimed to study the ancient mythologies, the metaphysical texts, the universal folkloric stories…with the same intellectual probity of attitude.

She was opposed to apartheid Zionist ideology and had harsh critics of the radical Hebraic practiced religion:

1. All that is inspired from the Old Testament by Christianity is bad…

2. The concept of Sanctity in the Church was emulated from the Sanctity notion of Israel…

3. Up until the Israelite were exiled to Babylon, not a single character in the Bible was not soiled by horrible acts…

4. Daniel was initiated to the Chaldean wise culture in captivity…

5. The Genesis is a compendium of all the Egyptian stories, transported and adapted… (including the Near-East culture)

6. Weil cannot comprehend how a reasonable mind can see similarity between Jehovah and the Father of the New Testament…

7. The mission of Israel was to acknowledge the unity of a God, without discriminating among people, culture, and the principles of Good and Evil…

8. The Hebrew attributed to God all that is considered supernatural, what is divine and what is demonic: Simply because they view their God in the angle of Power and not in the approach of what is Good and what is Evil…

Viewing God of Power denies any intermediary between the believer and God, although there is no alternative to an Mediator.  Otherwise, God is emptied of divinity and is reduced to a racial and national entity that is directly accessible to anyone (with evil intentions)…

9. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks had this recognition that God is The Good. The God of the Hebrew was carnal, collective, heavy…who engaged in temporal promises.

10. Weil rejects “National God” and refuses the notion of a “Promised Land“…

Note 2: Simone Weil published “Gravity and Grace”, “The rooting” (L’enracinement)

Note 3: Simone Weil was a French deputy, a minister and inducted in the French Academy

Symbolic Capital of what? Hatred, successive occupations, genocides, indignities, apartheid

Synagogue, Mosque Al Aqsa, Jerusalem, attacks, killing, settlements…

 One religious sect is intent on killing as many of another religious sect and denying it the rights to exercise its faith…

Want to understand the attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem today?

First, understand that Jerusalem is occupied. The land is not “disputed” or “contested.” It is occupied.

Second, recognize that human rights violations continue  on a daily basis against Palestinians, both in occupied Jerusalem and in the larger occupied West Bank (as well as within “Israel” and, of course, in Gaza).

Homes are demolished very frequently for one reason or another, for expansion of settlements, punishing the families of kids who killed a heinous settler who cut down the olive trees (11,000 olive and fruit trees were cut down by settlers this year alone)

From 1999 to May 2014, almost 1,000 homes in occupied Jerusalem were demolished, leaving more than 2,028 Palestinians house-less.

Third, Children are detained by Israeli military. And administrative detention for long periods is the norm. Over 60% of Palestinian youth went through the revolving doors of prison with no charges

Fourth, People are lynched, shot, tortured, injured – on a regular basis.
Fifth, Land is continually stolen. Israel plans to build 500 new colonies – leading to the expulsion of 1,000 Palestinians from their homes and their lands!
Sixth, Palestinian Lives are regularly dehumanized. Decent living standards deliberately denied.

Seventh, 75% of the Palestinian Jerusalemites live below the poverty line.  

Since early June, Palestinian neighborhoods have been flooded with tear gas, skunk water, and drones.

Eight,  Residency rights for Palestinian Jerusalemites denied (while any Jew can live there).  Since 1967, on average 200 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights in Jerusalem. More than 14,309 Palestinians have been denied their residency rights since 1967. This is ethnic cleansing, since the Jews consider themselves a Race.

Apartheid strengthened. Example: Two days ago, Israeli military officials defended the attack of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy at the Kissufim checkpoint, after troops shot him in the neck for “loitering.”

Israeli military confirm that shooting the child in the neck for “loitering” was consistent with the military protocol.

Nine, recognize that these human rights violations are supported by the institutions within Israel – from military, to settlers, to media, to universities.

Example: Israeli settlers lynch a Palestinian driver, Hassan Yousef Rammouni, 32, and father of two children, in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities respond by prohibiting Hassan’s family from taking his body until they sign a paper declaring that Hassan committed suicide.

Example: Israeli forces fail to probe 83% of settler violence cases — rights group.

Example: Israeli settlers regularly “hit-and-run” Palestinians and no charged are imposed on them; all are regarded as mere “accidents.”

Tenth, refuse to decontextualize this act from the ongoing occupation. It CANNOT be separated.

Eleventh, it honestly doesn’t matter if you personally support or condemn the attack, if you stand with liberation and justice, then stand with the occupied people’s right to resist, stand with the struggle, stand against occupation and apartheid.

Twelfth, still having difficulty? Well – did you support the French resistance against the Nazi occupation?

 A few Genocides committed in the 19th century and early 20th

In 1864, Russia under Alexander II, massacred 600,000 Cherkess  around the region of Sochi (men, women, and children) and forced over one million to be displaced toward Turkey.

(The same Tsar who was assassinated shortly after by “anarchists”, the day he was supposed to sign on a new constitution.

What happened?

In 1861, 12 tribes from this Caucasus region united to fend off another Russian invasion, and demanded a self-autonomy within Russia, but the demand was rejected.

In the 19th century, Russia expanded greatly at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. At each Russian incursion, the “Christian” Armenians in Turkey supported the invading Russian troops. One of the cursed city was Kars in Turkey, and situated strategically by the border to Russia.

By 1915 and the engagement of Turkey on the side of Germany, it was a golden opportunity for the Turks to transfer the Armenians far away from the Russian borders. Destination: Deir el Zour in north-east current Syria, and in control of the ISIS extremist Islamic faction, a century later.

The Turkish leaders appointed the Kurds to execute the transfer and turned blind eyes to the exaction, massacre, looting and grabbing the properties of the Armenians. Most of the refugees died on their way to Syria from all kinds of inhuman treatment, famine and thirst.

Shall I mention a few of the recent genocide?

1. In Rwanda (Africa) against the Hutu ethnics. The genocide lasted 6 months.

2. Serbia against the Muslims in Kosovo Srebrenica Genocide,

3. Cambodia. The genocide lasted 2 years.

4. Darfur in Sudan. a still ongoing problem

All of these genocide took their full time to complete, and the international community refused to intervene to stop the genocide, until the genocide was exhausted.

A few of ongoing genocide:

1. Zionist Israel dehumanizing the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Israel apartheid had been at it for over 70 years and the western States kept aiding Israel preemptive wars and settlements.

2. South Sudan, in the newly established “independent” State

3. ISIS in north Syria and Iraq, committing atrocities on christian sects and all religious sects and…

4. Boko Haram in north Nigeria

 May Al Awar posted this photo.
‎حملة كفى اطلقها اتراك بمئات المواقع والصفحات التركية</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>ارادوا ايصال صوتهم الى العالم ليضغطوا على اردوغان والعثمانيون الجدد لايقاف جرائمهم ضد البشرية<br /><br /><br /><br />
3.5 مليون ضحية جرائم العثمانيون ضد البشرية‎

(I’m not sure of the number of massacred Greeks  who occupied Turkey. But the Greek troops were routed and vacated Turkey)

Stages of genocide, influences leading to genocide, and efforts to prevent it[edit]

Hassan Kakar wrote in Wikipedia:

For genocide to happen, there must be certain preconditions.

Foremost among them is a national culture that does not place a high value on human life.

A totalitarian society, with its assumed superior ideology, is also a precondition for genocide

Members of the dominant society must perceive their potential victims as less than fully human: as “pagans,” “savages,” “uncouth barbarians,” “unbelievers,” “effete degenerates,” “ritual outlaws,” “racial inferiors,” “class antagonists,” “counterrevolutionaries,” and so on.[89]

In themselves, these conditions are not enough for the perpetrators to commit genocide.

To commit genocide, the perpetrators need a strong, centralized authority and bureaucratic organization as well as pathological individuals and criminals.

A campaign of vilification and dehumanization of the victims by the perpetrators is carried out over decades, who are usually new states or new regimes attempting to impose conformity to a new ideology and its model of society.[88] 

(The same process done by Zionist Israel against the Palestinians for over 70 years)

In 1996 Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, presented a briefing paper, shortly after the Rwandan Genocide,  called “The 8 Stages of Genocide” at the United States Department of State.[91]

Stanton suggested that genocide develops  8 stages that are “predictable but not inexorable“.[91][92]

The preventative measures suggested, given the briefing paper’s original target audience, were those that the United States could implement directly or indirectly by using its influence on other governments.

Stage Characteristics Preventive measures
1.
Classification
People are divided into “us and them”. “The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend… divisions.”
2.
Symbolization
“When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups…” “To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden as can hate speech“.
3.
Dehumanization
“One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases.” “Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen.”
4.
Organization
“Genocide is always organized… Special army units or militias are often trained and armed…” “The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations”
5.
Polarization
“Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda…” “Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups…Coups d’état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.”
6.
Preparation
“Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity…” “At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. …”
7.
Extermination
“It is ‘extermination’ to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human”. “At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection.”
8.
Denial
“The perpetrators… deny that they committed any crimes…” “The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts”

Another massacre anniversary: Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila (Chatila) and crocodile tears

First, the description of late Amnon Kapeliouk of the three nights and three days genocide story:

Tuesday, September 14, 1982; (Iron Brain Operation): 

The Israeli army is stationed on the outskirts of Beirut on all sides. Multinational forces of the USA, France, and Italy were brought in to protect the Palestinian civilians in the camps around Beirut.  Bechir Gemayel was elected President of the Lebanese Republic on August 23 under the bayonet of the Israeli army.

Bechir Gemayel (34 years old) was the closest ally to Israel since the civil war broke out in April 13, 1975.  Bechir Gemayel headed the Christian militias named “The Lebanese Forces” that united the Phalange Party, the Party of Camille Chamoun, and other fringe parties by coercion and frightful infighting.

“The Lebanese Forces” had received from Israel military training, military sophisticated hardware, logistics, and military intelligence.  Israel Menahim Began PM and Ariel Sharon (Defense Minister) expected immediate peace pact to be signed by Beshir.  Beshir was reluctant to officially sign any peace treaty before he discusses with Arab leaders and consolidate his power.

At 4:10 p.m. a charge of 50 kilos of TNT explodes at the above flat where Bechir was meeting with his supporters in Ashrafieh.  Sharon had accurate intelligence of the status of Bechir within minutes.  The Medias and radios would refrain from declaring Bechir dead until 10:30 p.m.

By 6 p.m. Israel has established an air bridge to land tanks and soldiers in Beirut airport.  Sharon and Begin PM agreed to enter the Capital Beirut without consulting with their cabinet of ministers.  An already detailed military plan for invading West Beirut in unfolded in the Defense Ministry.

Wednesday, September 15; (Israel occupies the first Arab Capital)

General Amir Drori, commander of Northern Israel region, receive the order at 12:30 a.m. to take over the strategic points in West Beirut.  At 3:30 a.m. commanders of the Christian militias known as “Lebanese Forces” are assembled in their headquarters on the outskirt of south Beirut close to the Israeli headquarter.

The Israeli Generals Rafael Eytan (Fafoul) and Amir Drori are discussing plans with the militia officers Fadi Frem, Elie Hobeika, Emile 3id, Michel Zuwein, Deeb Anastase, Maroun Mich3alani, Joseph Edde and the liaison “Jessy”.  They are ironing out details of the invasion of the Christian milias into the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila.

The “Lebanese Forces” militia got busy painting their logos on walls and trees with directional arrows for troop’s movement from Chouweifat to Kuwait Embassy.  At 5 a.m. the Israeli forces have cordoned off both Palestinian camps.  By 9 a.m. Ariel Sharon is observing the deployment from a tall building close to the Kuwait Embassy and overlooking the camps, 200 meters away.

Sharon finds time at 1 a.m. to fly to Bikfaya and present his condolences to the Gemayel family; he is received coldly.  The Lebanese army in West Beirut refuses to cooperate with Tsahal.  By nightfall, electricity power is shut off in West Beirut.  By 10 p.m. rockets for lighting the Palestinian camps are launched at the rate of two per minutes at each launching point.

Thursday, September 16 (Felicitations! Our friends are entering the camps)

By noon, West Beirut has completely fallen and Tsahal is rounding up thousands of Lebanese at check points.  The Palestinian camps are shelled and Israeli snipers are active. At noon General Drori asks Fadi Frem if his militias are ready to enter the camps. They are ready and 1,500 Christian militias receive the green light for action.

The militia assemble by the airport and the Israeli General Amos Yaron exhibit to them aerial maps.  General Yaron confirms that Tsahal will deliver all the logistics and supplies for the “cleaning up of the camps”.  The Christian militias were never shy proclaiming at every occasion to the Israeli officers that they meant a thorough slaughter of babies, women, and elderly Palestinians. The Phalangists (Kataeb) used to utter their motto “A dead Palestinian is pollution. The extermination of all Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is the solution”

A unit of 150 Christian’ militias crosses from Ouzai to the Lebanese army barrack of Henri Chehab to their headquarters at the UN building.  The Israeli check points let 25 jeeps packed of militias enter the camp of Chatila at 4 p.m.  The frightened civilian Palestinians go to the Israeli headquarter ad expressed their strong concerns. They are told to return and not be worried.

A detachment of soldiers of the splintered Lebanese army in south Lebanon and commanded by Major Saad Haddad, the stooge to Israel, arrives to the outskirts of Chatila.  Before 5 p.m. the dirty wolves were inside the chicken hen.

Within an hour, hundreds of Palestinian civilians, babies, women, and elderly are slaughtered by machetes, knives, and hatchets.  Palestinians and Lebanese within the camps, regardless of being Christians or Moslems, are killed while having supper. The militias cut off limbs of women to grab bracelets attached in their forearms before finishing off their victims. Babies’ skulls are smashed on walls. Women are raped before being killed.  Nine Jewish women who married Palestinians long time ago were also killed.

During the night, delegations of Palestinians arrive at Israel’s headquarter to explain the situation and they are repulsed to the camps; most of the members of the delegations disappeared.  A militia demands a stretcher for a few wounded companions and explains “We have finished off more than 250 dirty Palestinians”.

By 11 p.m. a militia commander had expedited to the highest military Israeli echelons a succinct report stating “As of now 300 terrorists have been eliminated”.  The camps were brightly lighted with 81 mm rockets.  Two thousand Palestinians take refuge in nearby hospitals named Akka and Gaza.

In Jerusalem at 7:30 p.m. the Israeli cabinet met for 4 hours; Chief of Staff Raphael Eytan quickly goes over the situation in the camps stating “The Phalangists are cleaning up a few nests of terrorists”.  The massacre resumed for the entire night.

The Israeli soldiers were witnessing the genocides and did not move.  A single Israeli soldier with a minimum of moral standing and with a minimum of guts could have entered and ordered the militias out; they would have obeyed!  Nobody moved. The Israeli soldiers just reported to their higher commanders who knew the plan.

Friday, September 17

At day break and from their posts Israeli soldiers could see people lined up on walls and executed. The hospitals are invested; foreign physicians and nurses are chased out and everyone inside is killed.  An Israeli officer broadcast “It is not done to pleasure us. I forbid you to intervene in the camps.” Fresh militias, among them “soldiers” of Saad Haddad, enter the camps in jeeps and bulldozers borrowed from the Israeli army.

At 11 a.m. the militias barge into Akka hospital and finish off the injured; they raped a nurse ten times before killing her.  Forty of the personnel are hoarded into a truck; they will disappear.  Bulldozers are digging ditches by the Israeli headquarter; a Norwegian diplomat observe a shoveling truck dumping cadavers into the ditches.

By noon, fresh militias reinforcement are observed by the airport; 10 “command cars”, 13 tanks, jeeps, and more bulldozers are filmed by an Israeli TV channel reporter Ron Ben Yichai heading toward the camps.  The militias carry with them plenty of alcoholic beverages and hashish.

The Israeli Chief of Staff lands his helicopter at Beirut airport 3:30 p.m. and meet with the militia chief Fadi Frem and congratulates him on “a job well done” because they did not obey the American orders to vacate the camps.

Eytan flies back to his ranch in Tel-Adachim to celebrate Israel’s New Year with his family; he will call Sharon around 9 p.m. to tell him “the Phalengists are exaggerating”. Today, the militias are shooting bullets to expedite the “clean up” mission.  Trucks packed with Palestinians are taken out of camps; the detainees are never heard of.

All night long, with the camps well lighted by Israeli rockets, the bulldozers are destroying the shantytown homes over their inhabitants.  Yesterday, the objective was to terrorize the Palestinians out of camps; they had nowhere to go since the Israeli check points forced them to return to camps.  This night, the goal is to erase the camp completely of any structure and clean up this prime Real Estate.

Ben Yichai called up Sharon to inform him of the horrible conditions in the camps and he reported “Ariel Sharon gave me the impression that he was updated thoroughly on the situation”.

In the Israeli headquarters soldiers are eating lavishly, celebrating the New Year, and enjoying the carnage scene overlooking the Palestinian camps. A single Israeli soldier with a minimum of moral standing and with a minimum of balls could have entered and ordered the militias out: they would have obeyed! Nobody moved.

Saturday, September 18, 1982:  (No prisoners taken)

At dawn, the carnage is going on. It will resume till after 10 a.m. the time that Israel had decided that the operation should end. At 6 a.m. the loudspeakers of the militias are encouraging the Palestinians to set out of their homes saying “Go out and you will be saved” (Sallimou Tislamou).

Thousands of Palestinians obey the order and they are horded into trucks; they will disappear, never to be heard from. Many are executed on the way: “It is better to kill the maximum before delivering them to the Israelis”; the roads toward Ouzai are strewn with bodies.  The bulldozers and shoveling equipments are working full-time.  The hospitals get invested again and the injured achieved.  The foreign physicians and nurses witness the activities helplessly.

At exactly 10 a.m. Israeli tanks move toward the camps; it is the signal for the militias to vacate the camps. Over 4,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in camps containing more than 20,000 will be recorded disappeared. For two weeks, the Lebanese army, Red Cross, and volunteers will not be able to “re-clean up” this human disaster. (To be continued in my posts “Reactions to the genocide”)

On this Saturday, correspondent Robert Fisk was on location in Beirut and he was an eye-witness and described the grueling scene in both camps (I posted Fisk’s description)

And now, one of the leaders of the Lebanese Forces at the time, and still its leader Samir Geaja is apologizing. Samir had resumed expeditionary excursions and retaliations for another 9 years, after the massacre, in different regions of Lebanon… killing, executing and maiming Lebanese, including the Christians who refused to follow his orders. And how sorry is Geaja?

“On the anniversary of the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla, I extend my apology to all the families of the victims in the Lebanese Forces contribution to the massacre. And I urge all the other political parties and their leaders to do the same. And I am sorry…”

Like what other militias participated in the massacre? Other militias committed countless massacres, but they were not involved in Sabra and Shatilla.


Nadine Moawad wrote on her blog:

“Nobody talks about Sabra and Shatila in my family. We all know, though, that some of us fought for Hobeika during the civil war, for Geagea and Bashir and Aoun – all in the same family. There was no logic to the Lebanese civil war, nothing I can trace that shows any loyalty or creed anyone followed that didn’t change and change back.

It was a time of chaos and desperation and a vengeance chain of massacres that led to war that led to more massacres that led to more war. Anybody who tries to make sense of it is trying in vain. What remains to be made is redemption for the crimes, the murders, the kidnappings, and the total sell-out of the Lebanese and the Palestinian people. Redemption can only be made through acknowledgement and apology.

Many have called for efforts to commemorate the civil war so that generations would remember how sectarianism kills hundreds of thousands of people. That never happened – and how could it, with the same militia men and their militia parties in parliamentary seats today?

It is an offense that nobody has apologized. There was no one side to blame, and, therefore, everybody is to blame. And everybody must apologize. It is the first step towards accountability.

It entails acknowledgement. Doesn’t make up for it – the least all these parties could do is dissolve themselves. But it’s the first step.

This weekend is the commemoration of the Sabra and Shatila massacre that happened on September 16, 1982. Thousands of men, women, and children were lined up and killed under an Israeli-lit sky and a Christian-led killing machine. It is no different from the Tal el Zaatar massacre where women running away had their babies snatched from them so the soldiers could kill the male babies, the “future fighters.”

They bashed the babies’ heads against the wall in front of their mothers. It is no different from the Damour massacre or the Ehden massacre or Black Saturday or the Karantina massacre or the Hama massacre.

Decades after the war, we must still hold political parties responsible. We must hold ourselves responsible. We all come from families that took part in the war. We all come from families that suffered the loss of sons and daughters during the war. We are all responsible.

Even those of us who weren’t yet alive during these crimes. We carry the legacy of the crimes committed in our names still – the unspoken burden of history. We must all apologize.

I start with myself. I apologize for the crimes of Sabra and Shatila committed in the name of Christians in 1982. I apologize to the thousands of Palestinians who lost their souls in the most heinous of crimes. I apologize to the families who saw their loved ones slaughtered in front of their eyes. I apologize to all the women who were raped repeatedly for days on end. I apologize to their children – now probably my age – for the wounds they bear. I apologize with all my heart. I’m sorry”.

And here is another young deputy, who inherited the family position in the Phalange Party, the party that started the civil war, and broke almost all the cease fires and reignited the war for another 17 years, Sami Gemayel is apologizing:

“Bla bla bla and I apologize for the Phalange party…and start with myself…”

What else does a post-war Lebanon look like?

Israel PM Begin replied to the atrocities: “Goyims kill goyims, and they blame Israel for it…”

Note 1: Late Ghassan Tueyni, owner of the Lebanese daily Al Nahar claimed that the assassination of Bashir Gemayel was a joint contract by Israel and Syria. Why?

Bashir was of no use to Israel because the Lebanese Forces would not enter West Beirut alongside with the Israeli occupation troops, on the ground that the Phallangist will then be unable to govern all of Lebanon.  Israel had already given the order to enter Beirut before the assassination date. And the Praetorian guards of Bashir where not present at the location of the blast…They will be the one managing the massacre in Sabra and Chatilla, following the orders and planning of Sharon…

Note 2: The complete story from an Israeli: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/18/investigation-into-a-massacre-by-amnon-kapeliouk/

“Pain is more powerful than death”: Who is Lev Nussimbaum?

Pain is more powerful than life, more powerful than death, love, loyalty, and duty” wrote Lev Nussimbaum before he died in acute pain in the retreat village of Positano by the shore around Naples in 1942.

Lev Nussimbaum, (he signed his books and articles by Essad Bey in the first 8 years or Kurban Said in the last 4 years of his life), arrived from Vienna to Italy in full health at the age of 31, fleeing Nazi Germany that occupied Austria.  He was trying to obtain the rights to becoming Mussolini biographer.

Before 1938, Mussolini politics were against Hitler and the anti-semite or Aryan Nazi policies.  Lev ( a Jew by origin) was dropped from the writers syndicate in Germany, and his author’s rights from selling his already published 10 books were denied him.

He married for convenience sake a German baroness and signed Kurban Said so that he may receive money through his wife from different accounts in Europe.

By 1938, Mussolini sided with Hitler; it seems that Mussolini understood that Germany will not leave its southern front (Italy) unprotected by all means.  Thus, Italy started leisurely to tighten the grip on Jews.

Lev was suffering from Reynaud’s syndrome by 1940; it is a blood infection that asphyxiate the cells and your body witnesses internal gangrene.  Lev was amputated several times and he relied on morphine and hashish to secure short reprieves from pain.

Imagine you were born at the turn of the 20th century (say 1905) and had to witness genocides and two world wars before you reach the age of 30.

You experienced genocides against Armenians in Baku (Azerbaijan) and you had to flee persecutions with your father (since your mother committed suicide when you were only 9 years old) and you were kept on the run from Baku, to Turkmenistan, to Persia, to Georgia, to Constantinople, to Italy, Paris, Germany, and back to Italy.

Imagine that “revolutionary” gangs kidnapped people in your city for ransoms and that you had to be confined in your home for years.

Imagine that you witnessed the “Red Bolsheviks” invade your country and commit mass massacres.  You see the old world of lasting empires, monarchies, kingdoms, and dynasties falling apart and you have to get used to a new world of “barbaric” youth who are trying to live in a different changing culture, tradition, and set of values.

Trying to comprehend a world of totalitarian regimes, racial ideologies blatantly discriminating among race and religions, regimes intent on restricting freedom of opinions that you were used to and you have to juggle amid this world of upheaval while barely 20 of age.

Imagine you are mentally more mature than normal kids, that you could read in three languages and devoured all the novels in your rich library about the Orient of Sultans, Princes, and Khans, that you built an imaginary world of fast and pomp and luxury.

Imagine that you appreciated luxury and lived in luxury (your father is an oil baron in Baku and money is redundant) and then you are reduced to a life of poverty.

Imagine that you believed deep down that Islam and the Islamic world (for example, the Ottoman Empire) is the alternative political and social system to Bolshevism and racial segregation; that you converted to Islam and took the name of Essad Bey.

Suppose you could assimilate the culture of your environment and play the roles you desire; that you attended university courses in Orientalism (the history, literature, geography) of Islam and Central Asia nations (Ottoman, Mogul, Tatar, Persia) while still a high school kid.

Imagine that you started publishing big hit books at the age of 24 and that you published 15 books and 200 articles in renowned dailies and magazine within 12 years and you were hired and recognized an expert on the Orient.  Lev donned the Ottoman Fez and garments of the Caucasus regions in his home.  You earned plenty of money and recognition and then you were reduced to be penniless and mortally ill.

Imagine you had to play as many roles as countries you live in as immigrant and survived to keep a semblance of sanity in a fast changing world where liberty was doomed to disappear. Imagine that your father is living in Vienna and he is unable to travel and you know that Nazi Germany will most probably get hold of your father and send him to a concentration camp (which was done).

You are longing for a stable and tolerant society but are faced with a barbaric reality of total intolerance and totalitarian ideologies.

Then, you had to suffer the life of a prisoner, unable to travel and communicate freely in an isolated Italian village and had to deal with physical pain every minutes of your life.

Yet, Lev spent 15 hours a day writing and publishing.  His radio and typewriter were taken from him and Lev wrote on cigarette paper and on the marge of books for lack of paper.

It would have been nice to live confortably to an older age; but how else could you learn the secret of life: “Pain is more powerful than life, more powerful than death, love, loyalty, and duty”

Note: I have posted two articles on Lev Nussimbaum if you are interested in his biography.  The information were extracted from the “The Orientalist” by Tom Reiss.


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