We’re All Just Microbe Poop


The gringa gets so excited about the search for life in outer space that I often forget about the overlooked frontier right here on earth… the deepest, darkest depths of our oceans. And some interesting discoveries have been taking place about 12 miles below the surface of the deep.

A beautiful, sparkly mineral has rendered up traces of microbial life. This is the deepest place carbon based life has ever been found on Earth. So far.  It is suspected that underwater oceanic volcanoes spit out the pretty minerals. But what does it mean? Is there any value to this information other than a cool topic of party conversation that makes a person look brilliant?

Scientists at Utrecht University, who made the discovery 6 miles below the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, consider the microbes to be something like a “message in a bottle”. Studying them will reveal information about mud volcanoes that are otherwise unknown.  Through chemical analysis they hope to find out things like what they “eat” which will tell scientists more about the microbe’s surrounding environment.  But microbes can spin quite a yarn. They are the smallest building blocks of our world’s biology.

Microbial communities basically eat different types of carbon. As these communities feast, grow and produce by-products (microbial “poop” I suppose), all sorts of things are happening. This, in essence, is how the carbon based world we live was constructed.

There are different kinds of microbe classifications. The type of microbe found 12 miles under the sea is considered an anaerobic respirator. That means it releases energy as a by-product of the carbon based food it eats. That means that anaerobic microbe poop is really energy!

This energy then turns around and changes the minerals in the microbe’s environment. And depending on what kind of carbon it eats determines the kind of energy-poop related change that takes place. For example, when microbes eat lactates, the same kind of changes repeat themselves in the surrounding environment. But when researchers feed them glucose, all kinds of different things happen.

The gringa can relate. Glucose is really just sugar. When the gringa’s oldest son was a little boy, if he avoided sugar his behavior was rather predictable. However, offer him a soda and as soon as the sugar high kicked in, he went bananas. So, I guess we really did all originate from microbes! Next time I stare at a microbe under a microscope I will ask myself if that is one of my long lost ancestors.

So, I guess in answer to my question about the value of learning about microbes is that in doing so, we learn more about ourselves!

Sources:

Graphiq

Science Daily

Image Credit:  UK News Yahoo

Video Credit:  Newsy Science

There REALLY IS Life On Mars (And The Moon)


What if the gringa told you that there was, without a doubt, life on the Moon and life on Mars? You might not believe me if you are a strict science enthusiast. You might believe me without hesitation if you’re a UFOlogist. You might hope that I’m telling the truth if you are a science-fiction fan.

Well, the gringa’s got exciting news for all of you. It IS true and there is proof and NASA testimony to back it up. But there’s a curious twist. The life discovered in both locations is not alien. It is very Earth in origin. What does this mean?

The strict science-evidence buff will say this of course means that NASA scientists have contaminated the regions they have explored. UFOlogists will claim it is trace evidence of mankind’s ancient extra-terrestrial ancestry. Science-fiction fans will simply shrug, nothing coming as a surprise to them.

The first thing to do is examine the decontamination procedures of NASA. Is it possible to launch space exploration vehicles that are not contaminated with even microscopic traces of Earth sourced materials? Nope. If complete decontamination is not possible, are there Earthly micro-organisms that can survive the harsh conditions of space travel, be delivered to an alien landscape and, ultimately, thrive only to be discovered later by exploration equipment? Yep.

NASA does not fly solo, determining unilaterally decontamination procedures before or after a space flight. About 50 years ago the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), comprised of UN members from the International Council of Science (ICSU), created the Treaty of 1967 which outlined certain protocols related to outer space travel and research. Contained within the document are guidelines for 5 categories of space missions, rated according to the risk of contamination posed.

  • Category 1: Any mission to celestial body that does not involve study of biological systems (like launching of an orbiting satellite).
  • Category 2: Any mission to any cosmic body within our Solar System where documentation of biological or chemical systems involves a remote chance of contamination (like when a satellite takes a sample of a vent plume to see what kind of gas it is without entering a cosmic body’s atmosphere).
  • Category 3: Any mission with a specific purpose of studying chemical or biological systems that may contain living organisms that poses a risk of introducing contamination to other cosmic bodies (as in taking a satellite sample that could involve an orbit or fly-by into a cosmic body’s atmosphere, elevating risk of picking up atmospheric particles that could cross-contaminate another planet, moon, etc.)
  • Category 4: Any mission that lands equipment on the surface of a cosmic body for the purpose of interacting with the natural processes of the extra-terrestrial body which will certainly create the possibility of introducing contaminates from Earth to a celestial body (this is what occurred with the Lunar Apollo and Mars Rover missions, the equipment at risk of contaminating the Moon and Mars with Earth organisms).
  • Category 5: Any mission that has equipment set down on an extra-terrestrial body and returns physical samples from an extra-terrestrial body to Earth. This creates 2 subcategories of Restricted and Unrestricted. If the host for the sample is rated a Class III stringent, in other words, not a host for possible life, the returning sample is considered Unrestricted. Any specimen returning from a cosmic body where life is possible, must go through severe decontamination and quarantine protocols.

But how effective are these guidelines? Well, considering what happened with the lunar missions in the 1970s, none of these protocols may even matter. Even though there were procedures for quarantines and decontamination, there was simply no baseline to compare against any data.

Astronauts, equipment and geological samples were quarantined in isolation units for 3 weeks after a “bath” in a super-bleach solution or a betadine wipe-down. An examination for biological, bacterial and chemical anomalies would determine whether or not there was any risk posed by releasing from quarantine. And what about alien contaminants that had dormancy periods longer than 21 days?

Not all returning Apollo mission “stuff” was scrupulously cleaned and monitored. You know the raft the astronaut crews rode in from the module that splashed down to the ship that picked them up? Yeah. It just got a wipe down with betadine and was then sunk in the ocean. And guess where Earthly biological life as humans know it is theorized to all begin? Yeah. In the oceans. Hm. That might not have been such a good idea. That raft may have just been converted to a lunar life nursery.

And you know the geological samples the astronauts returned? Those “Moon Rocks”? Yeah. They didn’t even get quarantined or a splash of Lysol. They were whisked away in a helicopter and taken to NASA laboratories in Houston. So that means a couple of pilots, their crew and an entire helicopter were not just contaminated but blazed a trail of contamination across the sky of half of the United States. The helicopter and crew were quarantined but what about all of that airspace? Yeah. There’s that.

So, basically, humans have already cross-contaminated the Moon and Earth. That means any samples that pop-up on either locale that indicate alien life from one or the other are suspect.

The same is also probably true for Mars. Chances are Earth-origin micro-organisms have probably already survived the trip,arrived and set up shop for the next millennia or two. And, if climate change continues on course, Earthlings may not be around to explain human life on Mars for the ETs that eventually discover them. They will be on their own to figure out that little conundrum.

Which poses the question. Is that how life on Earth originated? Are humans the ancestors of alien contaminates? Could be.

And what is NASA’s solution if samples are determined to be contaminated with biological matter that is a threat to humans? If a danger is discovered en-route back to researchers on Earth, their fall back plan is to fly the stuff into the Sun. Hmm. Yes, by all means. Let’s continue our practice of pollution and let the chips fall where they may.

Sources:

Gizmodo

NASA

Johnson Space Center

Image Source: Gizmodo

Video Source: Licensable

Dargavs, Russia – The City of the Dead


With all the paranoia seeping into American society over Russia, thanks to the Trump administration, the gringa would like to take a moment to share some good and interesting stuff about Russia. You see, it’s so easy to generalize and say, “Russia bad” and forget all about the human element. Just because Trump and Putin and their respective governing bodies may be ruthless, greedy megalomaniacs, the Russian people are generally just like people everywhere. Some good. Some bad. And the nation of Russia is filled with rich history just like every other place on earth.

The gringa feels a bit guilty of all the complaining and criticizing I’ve been doing lately. It’s about time to focus on some good stuff. And the Russian good stuff I plan to focus on is all dead. In fact, an entire city of the dead.

Believe it or not, a city of dead Russians gets 4 out of 5 stars from travel experts as a must-see place to visit for guests to Russia. So, if you are planning your own tour, put the city of Dargavs on your bucket list. Also, pack your best Sherlock Holmes gear because this little gem is filled with mystery. Maybe you can crack the case and take your place in history as well.

When you arrive you will not be greeted with an eerie sight of Russian zombies and fog-filled ancient cobbled streets. You will discover a hillside burial ground set against the rugged backdrop of the Greater Caucasus mountain range.

Dargavs is found in North Ossetia. Stone structures, most with steep tiled roofs, house the resting places of ancient citizens called the great Alans who were a sub-set of the Sarmatian tribes. Although they are well-known as a nomadic, pastoral people speaking an ancient Eastern Iranian dialect, who lived around the first millennium of our current era.

The surviving ancestors of the great Alans buried belongings with their loved ones when they were entombed. Among the relics concealed in the crypts of this mysterious necropolis are:

  • Open, boat-like vessels to hold the corpse rather than a traditional coffin (curious since there are no rivers nearby)
  • Oars
  • Coins
  • Clothing

Despite some UFOlogists convinced the great Alans were really extra-terrestrials, the gringa thinks they were just regular humans. It seems they had beliefs and lifestyle practices that link them to every other group of humans trying to eke out an existence with primitive means in a harsh climate. Consider the stuff that researchers and archaeologists can all agree on that is very “humanizing”:

  • The crypts house the remains of entire families throughout multiple chambers and sometimes multiple levels.
  • Criminals were entombed in “exile”, their tombs constructed outside the collection of crypts for the Alan clan in general.

5.9.2b

  • Each tomb features a well at the entrance to the crypt that contains coins. So, the great Alans were sophisticated and human enough to understand economics, earnings and wealth.
  • They practiced some sort of religion or superstitions that had a belief in the afterlife hence the construction of a symbolic watchtower to guard the tombs and is, perhaps, the explanation for entombment with boats despite not being a river-faring people.

5.9.2c

There are many theories to explain some of the mysterious features that are, indeed curious, as well as to try to understand what the story was for the great Alans.

Religion: It is presumed that the boats and wells with coins are possibly related to the great Alans’ religious beliefs. The ancient Ossetians are believes to be pagans. However, a pagan is not an atheist. They do have religious beliefs, or superstitions, if you will.

Many religions feature boats and rivers as the means of travel to the world of the afterlife.  The river Styx of Greek mythology is, perhaps, the most well-known.  However, Acheron was also a river the dead navigated to the underworld on a ferry with Charon at the helm who served the king of Hades. It was known as the river of pain and at times, in legends and myth, is interchangeable with the River Styx.

An interesting note is that ferryman Charon also required a fee of a single coin. Non-payment meant a soul was left to wander aimlessly the banks of the River Acheron, presumably in great pain and anguish. However, if you are entombed with your own boat, why would you expect to need the services of another boatman? Perhaps the rivers Styx/Acheron were not the ultimate destination for the great Alans.

Ancient rivers of the underworld are also:

  • Lethe, also known as the river of forgetfulness and oblivion of sleep (no fee required).
  • Phlegethon was written about by Plato who believed it led to the deepest parts of Tartarus. Dante also penned a bit about this river in his legendary “Inferno”, it existing in the Seventh Circle of Hell, a boiling river where souls were tormented in cages by Centaurs tasked with dipping them in to the river’s scalding depths. Probably not the intended afterlife river for a people who hoped to arrive with their own boats.
  • Cocytus, the River of Wailing, joins with Acheron, ultimately leading to a frozen lake. It is the destination of traitors and all who commit sins against humanity. This may have been the destination of the criminals entombed in the outer circle, the Cocytus being a river that encircles the underworld.
  • Oceanus, another afterlife river that encircles the entire underworld, this freshwater stream was where the edge of the world met the cosmos. Although some think this would have been a gloomy, lonely afterlife existence, the gringa thinks this may have actually been the most coveted locale of the dead because they would be the ones nearest the realm of the gods. This may have been where the great Alans hoped their souls would be headed after death and they would need their own boats to navigate the waters of Oceanus. So, then, what was the coin for?

History of the Wishing Well: Wishing wells are common all over the world. Toss in a coin for good luck. We all do it. Anthropologists date the practice as far back as ancient Egypt and the Mesoamerican cultures. It was common practice to placate the gods with gifts. Want your natural water resources to remain sweet and pure? Toss in a valuable coin as a gift and hope for the best. This lends credence to the local legend that loved ones of dead great Alans would toss a coin in the well for good luck with regard to the afterlife situation of a family member who had passed.

Of interesting note is the local legend that the entire clan was wiped out by a plague. This is to explain the small, rectangular open entries into the tombs rather than be sealed crypts. It is said that once a person’s entire family died, having no one left to bury them, once becoming sick, the remaining survivor would climb into the tomb and await death. The gringa wonders if they tossed a coin into the well for themselves since they knew no one else was left alive to wish them well on the other side?

If you plan to visit, expect quite a trek to get there and plan to be your own guide. The place is remote and rarely visited. Even the locals avoid it on pain of death. It’s about a 3 hour drive from the nearest thing that can be called civilization. And the road has a reputation for danger. But, from the looks of things, if you like adventure, history and mystery, this will be a very satisfying jaunt!

Sources:

Encylclopedia of Sacred Places, Volume 1 by Norbert Brookman

RT

Theoi

University of California Irvine Anthropology

Dante’s “Inferno

English Russia

Image Credits: Atlas Obscura

Video Credit: Sam Conney

Are You A Passive Terrorist?


As the US has continued a long, pro-tracted war on terror that focuses on the religious element of a perceived terrorist enemy, what about the religious position of the US? Does the election of Trump signal the possibility that religious extremists have taken over the Republican party? Are Americans now living in a nation poised to become, in essence, a theocracy? With executive orders shooting out of the White House in quick succession, most citizens know little about what they actually mean. We read the headlines, perhaps even the wording of the orders. But what about the motives inspiring them? Even more importantly, what are the long-term consequences? In other words, what is the hoped for end-game the Republican party desires for the country they are re-shaping?

The gringa finds it pointless to try to ascertain motives. The private discussions and hidden agendas are just that, private and hidden. But there are clues that have been laid out right in the open long before Republicans began fuming openly about Obama’s presidency. And many of these clues point to a Republican party effectively taken over by religious extremists.

As early as 2005 there was at least one Republican concerned about the direction the party was headed:

“This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.” – U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-CT, 3/25/05, with regard to the Terri Shiavo case.

To discover how this happened, interested dear readers must look to activities within American churches prior to 2005.

“… true Christian citizenship… [involves engagement in society to] take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God.” Rev. D. James Kennedy, Sept. 1994 when addressing the national convention of political special interest group Christian Coalition.

What does dominion ideology mean to American Christians? The first command God gave to Adam was to have children (Gen. 1:26). The second command was to subdue the entire earth. For dominionist Americans, the Republican party platform that is anti-abortion is in perfect alignment with the first commandment.
Despite the instruction of Jesus to turn the other cheek and, in essence, co-exist peacefully with all of mankind who are our brothers, dominionist Americans believe in military aggression in order to rule the world as an obligation of their religious calling and duty. Dominion theology is no less dangerous than the perversion of Islam used by ISIS.

“There will never be world peace until God’s house and God’s people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world.” Pat Robertson, The Secret Kingdom.

Here’s a taste of Pat Robertson’s ideology that the Christian God is the only way to make America great. Do not miss all the phrases which make it clear that he believes that America was originally designed to be a theocracy, not a democracy. He is the star of a recruitment video for the Christian Coalition:

But how influential are special interest groups like the Christian Coalition and well-known religious leaders like Pat Robertson? After all, most people are inclined to believe that churches are playing by the rules, not preaching politics from the pulpits. When Time magazine interviewed Pat Robertson in 1995 regarding the most recent elections, here is what he reported about the effectiveness of the strategy implemented by the Christian Coalition:

“… eager volunteers down to the precinct level… handing out 33 million voter guides, often in church pews, prior to last November’s election, the Coalition is credited with providing the winning margin for perhaps half the Republicans’ 52 seat gain in the House of Representatives and a sizable portion of their nine seat pickup in the Senate”

Consider the terms of George W. Bush. Religious leaders made no secret of their support of the Bush-Cheney administration.

“It is the responsibility of… every evangelical Christian… to get serious about re-electing President Bush.” Jerry Falwell as reported by The New York Times, July 16, 2004

And Bush made no secret that he was God’s vessel in the White House. There was no separation of church and state as he led daily devotionals every morning, reading from “My Utmost for His Highest” with his staff. George W. made no secret of using descriptors like “messenger of God” with regard to himself. As he made executive decisions like going to war, he was never too shy to claim that he was doing “the Lord’s will”.

In the book, “Plan of Attack”, written by Bob Woodward, based on his personal conversations with President George W about the Iraq war, he clearly lays out the case for perceiving the war as a holy war waged by the US on behalf of George W’s god. Fulfilling his god’s will was all the justification George W. needed to lie to Congress, the American public and even certain members appointed to his cabinet. In George W’s mind he was embarking on a modern day Christian crusade.

Despite George W’s criticisms of the Afghani Taliban regime’s brutal enforcement of radical religious fundamentalism, George W was actually paving the way back home for Republicans to re-shape the US into its own Christian Fundamentalist regime. And now we are seeing the fruits of his labor in the attacks on freedoms here at home and threats to non-Evangelical nations abroad by the Trump administration.

Who are the radical Christian fundamentalists in the Trump administration?

  • ·     Jerry Falwell, Jr. is leading Trump’s higher education task force assigned to overhaul the accreditation process and operations of universities and colleges. What this means is that whether or not an institution of higher learning receives any government funding will rely on teaching what suits the US government. If that government is a theocracy, that means teaching religious ideology and rejecting anything, even sound science, if it conflicts with the religious ideology of the government.
  • ·     Steve Bannon is most often depicted as a racist white nationalist. However, don’t overlook the significance of his religious fervor. In 2014 he delivered a speech via Skype for a Catholic conference at the Vatican. He attributed the economic and social crisis of the US as a result of the erosion of Judeo-Christian beliefs rather than the effects of capitalism. In other words, only re-shaping the nation into earlier models of a stricter religious-focused American society can the country become great again.
  • ·     Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, poses the greatest danger because she is in a position to affect the belief system of our upcoming generations. She wants to remove the teaching of evolution in public schools and replace it with the religious doctrine of intelligent design. By re-directing money away from our public school systems through the voucher system she supports, DeVos can accomplish her goal of government funding of religious education and destroying public education that, by law, cannot show preference to any specific religion.

But why does any of this matter? The primary reason all of this matters is that radical fundamental evangelicalism culminates in Zionism. The ultimate goal of Zionism is world domination as the duty of Jews and Christians to subdue the world and rule for the sake of their god’s glory. When this is achieved, their god will return and manifest in the flesh, restoring world peace and order while doing away with suffering and death.
The only way fundamentalist Christians and Zionists can achieve this goal is with enormous wealth that is the means to military dominance. This wealth, for the US, is generated through the invasion of non-Evangelical countries who are subjugated and exploited without conscience because they are not god’s people.

This ideology thus makes the US no different than ISIS in its motives for waging war. The primary difference is that the US makes a concentrated effort to keep up appearances at home. In order to have a free hand around the world the US must maintain a homeland population that is easily managed.

Within the Republican party are the war hawks who are religiously motivated as well as the war hawks who are motivated solely for the purpose of amassing more wealth, the investors in corporate interests abroad. So long as the Republican party continues to be in power, the US will continue to be at war, and shamefully so. For we are not protecting, preserving and spreading democracy. We are exploiting others while we destroy their native lands for national gain.
When Americans become fully aware that the humane social norms, luxuries, freedoms and comforts of American culture are by design, to keep them compliant, they must then accept that their silence and inaction also makes them complicit in their nation’s ability to perpetrate religious inspired terrorism around the world. By refusing to be a part of the resistance, an American allows the US to continue business as usual without so much as a hiccup. Americans who prefer to keep their eyes closed become, in essence, a passive terrorist.

Sources:

NY Times

Occupy Democrats

Theocracy Watch

Christian Headlines

Image Credit: The Gospel Coalition

Video Credits: PFAWdotorg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbiFt3UdxX7LxferwDmuegQ

India’s 1st Female Muslim Ruler


The average American is inundated with headlines and articles about the nature of Islam practically on a daily basis. Despite the fact that many Americans don’t even have a Muslim as a close, personal friend, they often believe they have a pretty good handle on Islamic culture. One of the most common misconceptions non-Muslims have about Islamic culture is how women are perceived and treated. That is one reason the gringa, who has a Muslim daughter that enjoys a liberated life, higher education and career in medicine, would like the American public to become better informed. Let’s start with some notable Islamic women and their achievements as recorded in history.

Hinduism may be most commonly associated with India, but, once upon a time, a brave Muslim warrior became India’s first female Muslim ruler. Her name was Raziya, the daughter of a Turkish slave, Iltutmish Raziya, who achieved final greatness as the Sultan of Delhi, paving the way for his daughter’s future acclaim.

The year is 1236 in India when Raziya Sultan, birth name Jalalat-Al-Din Raziya, took the throne as the first female Sultan of Delhi. Her older brother, Nasiruddin, governor of Bengal, had died. Her younger brothers were too young to rule. So, when her father, the reigning Sultan, died, his legacy passed to the next capable heir according to the law of “qabliyat”. That was Raziya.

What determined her legally “qabliyat”, or, capable, of ruling a nation? While her father was Sultan, Raziya had acquired many years of experience as a trusted minister and regent when her father, the Sultan, was away on state business. Formally educated in the Qu’ran, she was also trained in the martial arts and became a skilled mounted warrior, be it on horseback or commanding an elephant.

As she carried herself with dignity and exhibited noble accomplishments, her father confided to the ulama, the religious law scholars, that he saw in his daughter “signs of power and bravery”.  He expressed his preference for her over his sons with these words:

“My sons are devoted to the pleasures of youth, and not one of them is qualified to be king… After my death, you will find that there is none more competent to guide the state than my daughter.”

Many noblemen within the kingdom resented the idea of a female Sultan. But Raziya was clever and rendered their opposition powerless. She sowed seeds of discontent among them, making it possible to win over enough that she soon had a majority supporting her. As support for her leadership solidified, she was able to manage all the affairs of state through the loyalty of appointed maliks (lesser kings) and amirs (state governors).

Her accomplishments include building public schools, expanding academic opportunity, opening medical and science research centers, and public libraries for everyone to have access to religious texts related to Islam and Hinduism. She oversaw an extensive infrastructure project that created a sophisticated roadway system. This strengthened the kingdom’s economy and security, connecting remote villages and military outposts. And, contrary to many modern Americans who view Islam as intolerant, Sultan Raziya established the law of religious tolerance and equality between Hindus and Muslims.

It is interesting to note that she claimed the official title of Raziya Sultan rather than the feminine version, Raziya Sultana. This was by design to communicate to all that she was, indeed, the sovereign and rightful ruler of Delhi. She also set aside traditional female attire, opting for the masculine fashion of tunics and turbans. When she boldly rode out in public on horseback or elephant, she did not wear a purdah, the customary veil associated with Muslim women of that era.

Much to the dismay of the nobles who continued to refuse to accept a woman ruling over them, Raziya, secure in her power, made it clear that she did not need their approval. She signaled her independence by appointing a trusted slave to the strategic position of commander of her army. Even more shocking to the discontented nobles was that the new army commander was not even a Turk. He was Jamaluddin Yakut, an Ethiopian. His official new title was Amir-i-Akhur which literally means Intendent of the Royal Stables. The horses and elephants maintained in the stables were, in essence, the kingdom’s war machines. So he was, indeed, Commander of the Army.

The antagonistic noblemen were so incensed they conspired to overthrow their Sultan. They hoped a bit of romantic intrigue might result in a jealous rivalry that could end in assassination. You see, dear readers, at one time a nobleman, Malik Ikhtiyauddin Mirza Altunia, who had been a good friend to Raziya’s father, had proposed marriage to the new female Sultan. She turned him down, citing her responsibilities as head of state. She did, however, reward him with a governorship of Tabarhinda (today’s Bhatinda). The troublemaking noblemen began to gossip to Altunia, telling him lies about an affair between Raziya Sultan and the new Commander of the Army, Yakut. Altunia reacted as expected and joined the rebellion.

The rebellion consisted of small pockets of resistance cropping up in remote areas. Yakut had to send the army here and there, squashing fires and skirmishes as they popped up. Eventually, with his army scattered and tired, Yakut was killed in battle. His disheartened soldiers surrendered to Altunia. This led to Raziya Sultan’s forces turning on her, taking her prisoner.

The noblemen who started all of this trouble appointed Raziya’s step-brother as the new Sultan. It turned out that he was a drunk who oppressed the people and slaughtered all who criticized him. As the disaster of his leadership was fully realized, Altunia once again softened his heart for his old love. Raziya saw the strategic advantage of the alliance and the two were married.

Although Raziya Sultan did gain her freedom and, ultimately, her throne because of this marriage, the bloom on the rose faded quickly.  One particular nobleman, Bahram Shah, could not let go of his hatred for her. He continued to stir up resistance. Raziya Sultan often took to the battlefield. The exact details of her death are unknown but the gringa will share the legend that is most often told:

Engaged valiantly in battle, Raziya Sultan was struck with an arrow. She fled the battlefield, looking for a place to restore her strength. A man discovered her and offered her food and a place of concealment where she could rest, unaware of who she was and thinking that she was a male soldier. While asleep she shifted her position. This revealed to her rescuer a glimpse of a golden tunic with expert needlework and pearl embellishments. Enraged when he realized that this was a woman disguised as a man, the rescuer turned murderer, later selling her valuables at market.
Legend recounts that the murderer buried Raziya Sultan. However, if you travel to Delhi you can find a tomb designated as this famous woman’s tomb. In fact, you might find several! Who really knows where Raziya Sultan lies today?!
If you don’t like this kind of ending to the fantastic account of Raziya Sultan’s life, you can see any number of fanciful and romantic endings in the many dramatic re-enactments on stage or in film that tell her amazing tale. And the next time you hear someone stereotype Muslims as not respecting their women, oppressing them and affording them no power, you will know what they don’t know. That Muslims are people like everyone else. Some good, some bad. And within every religion there are those who abuse the opportunity to use religion as a means of power over others while there are those who understand the true meaning of their religion: to serve all of mankind with kindness and humility, regardless of gender.

Sources:

Delhi Timeline

History of Islam

The Famous People

Mvslim.com

Image Credit: Alchetron

Video Credit:
Mint

VideoVolunteers

Let’s Read “White Water”


This true story from America’s history is crafted by authors Michael S Bandy & Eric Stein. Children learn the empowerment of looking beyond what is commonly accepted to discover what is really true and truly right.

Let’s read books that empower children! 

Image Credit: Granite Media

Where Are All These Terrorists Coming From?


 

As the gringa has posted about US involvement with covert operations and regime change around the world to protect US corporate profit interests, rather than actual security threats, most of the operations took place back in the 1970s. Is there any evidence of more recent operations? Is this still standard operating procedure for the US?


Well, first we have to consider that any real evidence would be classified information. Such a status only changes when public knowledge of the information poses no security threat to individuals or nations involved. That’s why the US public usually doesn’t find out the dirt until several decades later.


The most recent activity of US interference gone bad resulted in the creation of the Mujahideen which eventually morphed into the ISIS of today. The creation of this rebel group by US programs thus makes the US directly responsible for the radical Islamist terror problem in the world today. You see, Osama bin Laden was originally a US trained Mujahideen operative.

And bin Laden, like so many other tools crafted into existence by US dark ops, was done away with once he went rogue, acting in his own interests and the interests of his compatriots rather than in the interest of the US. And once bin Laden became powerful enough to have credibility, he also became a liability to expose the dark legacy of the US. So, bin Laden was destined to die at the hands of the US sooner or later. Once a tool serves its purpose, it is expendable. That’s pretty much the pattern time and time again with the actors the US uses to fulfill its dark operations.


To understand the emergence of bin Laden, once again, we have to go back to the 1950s. Despite the US reputation for being a nation founded on democracy and committed to spreading and preserving democracy to nations around the world, the opposite is actually true. 


The “love of democracy” spiel is propaganda. The actions of the US prove this to be true. Historically the US has consistently supported monarchies rather than democracies, where other countries are concerned. It is easier for the US to exploit the natural resources and engage in slave labor practices of the indigenous populations if these people do not have the right to voice their grievances and bring about change. Monarchies good for US investors, democracies bad.


In the 1960s the US coveted even more wealth. This meant they expanded the territorial reach of corporate investment into unpopular dictatorships. What’s a bit of bloody oppression compared to a few kazillion dollars, right? Besides, if they wanted to prevent Russia from gaining ground by making friends around the world, making it impossible for capitalist investor exploitation, the US was going to have to compromise its principles of liberty and freedom and make friends with despots.


By the time the 1970s rolled around, the US had become so ethically compromised for the sake of corporate interests that it decided adding terrorists to their friends’ list really didn’t make that much difference. The rationale was that, in order to get the biggest bad guy, the US often had to cooperate with lesser bad guys. Sounds reasonable, right? Um, yeah.


And the first terrorist group the CIA got in bed with was the Mujahideen in 1979. The reason why? Because they were resisting the Afghan government that was getting into bed with Moscow. Throughout the 1980s Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of the group Hezb-e-Islami was the CIA’s inside man.


Hezb-e-Islami means “Party of Islam”. So, basically Hekmatyar represented a religiously affiliated political organization. Throughout the 1970s it was involved in many conflicts. The group’s position in these conflicts reflected a virulent hatred and opposition to Western ideas. Hekmatyar authorized attacks against Coalition forces who were supporting the Afghan government, which he sought to overthrow. 


You want to know what the Hezb-e-Islami jihadists did with some of the money the US supplied them with? It didn’t all go for weapons and survival supplies. Much of it was spent on sophisticated propaganda to attract young, vulnerable Muslim men in the region to join their noble struggle by glamorizing regional religious war.

Yeah, thanks America for helping the jihadist recruiters of the 70s prepare the groundwork of the ISIS recruiters of today.


After Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah was removed from power in 1992, the nation erupted into civil war as different factions, including the Party of Islam, wrestled for control. Eventually the Party of Islam gained power with Hekmatyar becoming Prime Minister in 1993.  But his power was brief. By 1994 he was out of office, although he did return for a brief stint in 1996. One of his first acts of office was to order the public hanging of his rival, Mohammad Najibullah in the capital city of Kabul in 1996. The gringa wonders if Najibullah’s status as a communist is why the US didn’t decry his lynching as a brutal crime and human rights violation?


1996 was the year that the Taliban gained power in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar fled to the safety of Iran. The Taliban’s reign was also short-lived, falling in 2001 to Coalition forces. Afghanistan would now be led by US puppet Hamid Karzai. This was when Hekmatyar fled to self-imposed exile in Pakistan.


But even exile in Pakistan couldn’t stop this determined jihadist. When Coalition forces showed up in 2001 to challenge Taliban rule, Hekmatyar’s organization found resources and support among the people of Pakistan’s tribal areas. His persistence to resist the contaminating influence of Westernization that US led forces would bring to Afghanistan would inspire him to support the Taliban that had previously engaged in a power struggle with his own organization. This would pay-off, eventually bringing him back to favor. Last year he returned to the country of his birth.

But where’s the link in all of this to Osama bin Laden? How is the US responsible for the creation of this infamous terrorist through a connection with CIA sponsored terrorist warlord Hekmatyar? After all, bin Laden was a Saudi, not an Afghani? 


It was the strict religious ideology of Hekmatyar that made his leadership appealing to young bin Laden. Having the extensive training and weapons resources provided by the US was just the icing on the cake. Under Hekmatyar’s leadership, bin Laden got placed on the US terrorist payroll.


In 1979, bin Laden joined the Afghan resistance when Russia invaded the country. Guess what bin Laden left behind to become a freedom fighter for the Afghani people: the legacy of being the 7th child to a Saudi construction billionaire who was highly influential after projects like renovations on the holiest of Muslim sites, Al-Aqsa Mosque.


But bin Laden was actually raised by his mother and step-father. However, his upbringing was no less comfortable while living separate from his billionaire biological father. He attended the most prestigious schools and became recognized as an exceptional student. He would eventually be invited to study at prominent institutions of higher learning. While studying as a young adult, bin Laden memorized the entire Q’ran.


A few years before entering college, bin Laden joined a small group of pupils tutored by a teacher from the Islamist sect, “The Brotherhood”. The ideology was of pure Islam loyalty, even if it meant death for a loyal observer. After two years under this tutor’s instruction, bin Laden was a full-fledged activist. He finished his college education in 1981. 


Rather than use his public administration degree, he chose to become a freedom fighter in Afghanistan as a duty of his religious beliefs. When he arrived in Peshawar, Afghanistan, he joined a program led and funded by the US, the CIA’s Operation Cyclone, which was training other jihadist Mujahideens of Hezb-e-Islami, the group led by the CIA’s inside man, Hekmatyar. 

And thus the circle is complete. The very Muslim leader the US assigned blame to for 9/11 was actually a terrorist trained, bought and paid for by the United States. Is it any wonder, then, that bin Laden could not be allowed to live? It’s even likely that bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11. When one becomes acquainted with the M.O. of the US government to craft frame-up jobs to demonize someone they need to get rid of, it becomes within the realm of possibility to consider 9/11 as an inside job with bin Laden as the patsy. 


Is it too hard for the average American patriot to swallow that their government could murder thousands of its own citizens just to cover their ass? Well, the US government sure doesn’t mind murdering people abroad. Why should its own citizens be any exception? All that is necessary is an effective cover story to keep up the nation’s “good guy” appearance so that every American follows the story hook, line and sinker. Not only will a good, little American then pose zero risk for rabble-rousing, but they will also wholeheartedly support the murder of an innocent they have been conditioned to perceive as an evildoer. After all, what might happen should the American public realize that in order to truly end the war on terror, their own government would need to be overthrown and replaced?


Sources: Biography


Tracking Terrorism


National Counterterrorism Center


All That Is Interesting


Academia


Image Credit: University Hartford


Video Credit: DD News


Hezb Islami


Ali Sedarat


Audiopedia