L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 275, June 13, 2004
"The Sovereign in this country is the people themselves"
The Kaptain's Log
Exclusive to TLE
"What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!"
The word "courage" comes from the Middle French. It means "having the strength that comes from the heart" and its root word is "le coeur", or "the heart". In wartime the imperial State and its various minions (mis)use this word frequently, yet they are never eager to discuss its meaning. But we shall.
Like any character trait, courage is formed in action, and those who act courageously are called "heros". Let us learn about courage from the examples of those whose lives exemplify it:
Of course, the most courageous soul of all time is Christ Jesus. Mel Gibson's wonderful film helped us to understand the depth of His divine Courage. He has inspired His disciples and legions of others for the two millennia Anno Domini.
The whole world knows how Mother Teresa lived her life in selfless service to the poor and the sick. It takes a special strength to sacrifice one's entire life in order to help the least valued members of society, and she had this courage in abundance.
Mother Teresa loved her work, for she said that in ministering to the poor and the dying, the diseased and the unwanted, she was also alleviating Christ's suffering. It was her love of God which gave her the powerful courage to love the least of His children. She persisted in working for them, and overcame all obstacles in order to continue and expand her vocation of service. In a cynical world, Mother Teresa braved apathy and disdain. She persisted and she triumphed.
Pope John Paul II has that same selfless courage; he speaks out against every evil Satanic trick of the kingdoms of this world, and persists in defending Christ's church against every demonic attempt to pervert its mission. He exhibited the courage to visit with his would-be assassin, and to forgive him. He persists and he triumphs in delivering Christ's message of peace to a war-torn world.
One can be both anonymous and well-known, as demonstrated by the famous 1989 footage of a Peking citizen stopping a column of tanks by standing in their path. Armed only with his shopping bags and his courage, he defied the overwhelming armed might of the State, daring it to crush him. His actions roared a statement to all mankind: the individual is not subservient to the State! I was told by a refugee from Peking that this hero was shot dead by the police shortly afterward. The State took his life, but it never touched his dignity or his courage.
A relatively unknown, but equally courageous man, was a German soldier who refused to execute Serb civilians in Yugoslavia during WWII. The Nazis routinely rounded up people and murdered them after every partisan killing of an occupying soldier. This killing of armed invaders, of course, was called "terrorism" by the occupiers. Some things don't change...
A movie was made from the captured Nazi archives' report of this incident. The report included a series of black and white photos, and these were used to reproduce the scenes in the film. [The title of it I have, unfortunately, forgotten, but I think it may have been "The Execution Tree" or some such. If you know anything about this movie, please email me!]
The young German soldier was part of a firing squad formed to kill the unfortunate civilians who had seized. He asked to be excused from this "duty"; this was refused. He was several times ordered to shoulder his rifle; this he refused. Finally, he was told that he had either to join the firing squad or its targets. Now remember, this is a true story which was taken directly from the Nazis' own report of it...
There is a tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the USA, and one in France, and who knows how many other countries, but there should be a huge monument called "The Tomb of the Unknown Hero", for that young man, who had his whole life before him, handed his rifle to his sergeant and walked over to stand and die with people whom he didn't know and whose language he probably couldn't speak. I guess, though, that in those last few moments they became his friends, for "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ~John 15:13
Some of my contemporaries have been imprisoned for their courageous defiance of the State. Three come to mind, and I encourage you to read their stories (which you can do at the URLs given):
Tony Martin was imprisoned for years for the "crime" of defending
his life and property. He refused to say that he had done wrong, so
he was imprisoned and denied parole for his obstinate defence of
man's most basic rights. Read his story at:
Leonard Peltier, a Native American, was falsely accused of a
shooting which his accusers know that he did not commit, framed and
tried in a kangaroo court, and imprisoned (Amnesty International
points out that he is a political prisoner) many, many long years
ago. You can read about this hero at:
Another man who was in prison for most of his adult life is Dr
Mordechai Vanunu. He was kidnapped by the Mossad for the "crime" of
providing proof that Israel has a nuclear weapons programme. He has
only recently been conditionally released, after having been in
solitary confinement for a lifetime. Learn what courage means here:
Of course, the brave US soldiers who "blew the whistle" on the torture of prisoners by the US military, must not be overlooked. One of them, whose name escapes me at the moment (a Puerto Ricano, as I recall), got a year in the stockade for his "reward"...
The courage to do right and the courage to oppose wrong are two sides of the same shining, heavenly coin. God has blessed the truly heroic with courage; may He bless us with the wisdom to honour and emulate them.
Peace and Liberty
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