Ancient Egypt Handbook – WIF Into History

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Unusual Facts About

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt has long been a fascinating subject not only to historians, but to average people all over the world. They had many mystical practices that have long kept us intrigued. From their unique burial practices to their awe inspiring pyramids, they have left us with a feeling of mystery and wonder. Architects, Egyptologists, and experts on many different subjects consider the Ancient Egyptians a fascinating subject of study and have long hoped to one day discover all of their secrets. However, while there are many mysteries yet about the Ancient Egyptians, there are also many fascinating things we have already discovered in regards to them that most people are not aware of.

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10. Ancient Egyptians Kept Baboons and Other Monkeys as Pets and for Ritual Significance

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Most people are well aware that Ancient Egyptians did put some historical significance in certain animals — namely cats. Cats are known to be the number one go-to pet for Egyptians. Some are said to have been buried with their owners to accompany them in the afterlife. And while cats were very valued and had a certain religious and ritual significance, they were not the only animal in that category.

While it may not sound quite as dignified, monkeys, especially baboons, were kept around for their ritual significance in magic and religion — which were basically one and the same — and just to enjoy as fun pets. They had to go to great trouble to get their hands on these baboons because they were not native to the area. Historians believe they would have had to be imported by ship. Nevertheless, they became so important that they show up in a lot of religious imagery associated with the gods and found themselves a permanently revered place in Ancient Egyptian history.

 9. They Went to Great Lengths to Remove Body Hair, and Both Genders Often Wore Wigs

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In many depictions of Ancient Egyptians they are shown with very little hair on their heads, but many people may not realize the full extent of the work they went to in removing body hair. Children of both genders would wear a small lock on the side of their head that would be cut off when they reached adulthood. Apart from this, both men and women were bald.

Not only that, but both men and women went to great trouble to remove all body hair constantly from all parts of their body. This was a normal part of hygiene in Ancient Egyptian society, but would have been quite extreme to people today. Of course for women and men fashion was still very important, so wigs were quite common, especially among the upper class.

There are many theories as to why they did this. Most historians figure it was either something to do with the heat of the area, and that the Ancient Egyptians hypothesized that removing all hair would keep them cooler. Some people think that it was simply because they were incredibly obsessed with cleanliness. Most of these theories are quite reasonable, but ancient alien theorists believe they were trying to look like their former reptilian overlords the Anunnaki.

8. The Book of the Dead Was Not Originally a Unified Text

book of the dead

 The Book of the Dead has been featured in countless movies, books and other media at this point, which hasn’t really done much to help people understand what it actually was. Most people think of it as something like the Egyptian version of the Bible or the Koran, but that isn’t really accurate — at least not originally. The Book of the Dead was in the beginning much more like the Wiccan idea of a “Book of Shadows” — a journal you filled with your combined knowledge of all spells you had learned from others, read from other books and found important, your own created spells and wisdom you yourself came up with over time.

For a long time in Ancient Egypt, Books of the Dead were still very personal, they were rarely organized in any particular order, and there was no unifying structure on what should and shouldn’t be included. It wasn’t until the 26th dynasty that any kind of real organization or order was put in place, and even then historians have still not been able to make proper sense of it.

Egyptologists have managed to collate together 192 different spells from books of the dead, but not a single one contains every spell, meaning that there is, as far as they know, not one single unified text anywhere to accept as the official, correct one.

7. The Racial Identity of Ancient Egyptians is Extremely Controversial

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No matter where you live in the world, there are likely controversial race issues around you. These issues have existed as far back as humans have recorded history, and have often led to bloody wars and massacres. While racial tensions still cause violence around the world, we are at a low point historically, and now many people are taking the battle for race to academia, where heated arguments are had over whether revered historical groups or people belong to a certain race.

 Everyone respects and admires the Ancient Egyptians, so it likely comes as no surprise to many that groups with an agenda will go to great lengths to attempt to define Ancient Egyptians as whatever race helps them make a convenient political point. After a recent DNA test of King Tut’s mummy, some people claimed it was evidence that he was of Western European origin, and others said the results were entirely flawed and rushed.

In the past people have also claimed the Ancient Egyptians were of Nordic stock, and many have speculated and tried to claim with great passion that they were black africans similar to many today. Historians, on the other hand, believe that they were a fairly racially diverse society that looked similar to many artistic depictions of them. Obviously they would have had somewhat darkened skin from the sun, but were not none for being an entirely homogenous group.

6. There Were Way More Pyramids Than People Realize

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Whenever we hear about the pyramids, we hear about the great Pyramids at GizaEgypt. These pyramids have been visited by countless tourists, have been excavated and explored and suffered damage over the years — they have quite a story to tell. People have speculated endlessly on how they were built, and if it may have even been alien visitors from another planet. These theorists will go to great lengths to make these particular pyramids and the exact positioning of them on the sand to be incredibly significant. Many of these theorists are convinced that the pyramids are also not burial chambers at all.

However, the pyramids were almost certainly burial chambers, and if the theorists realized how many pyramids were built, they may realize how little sense the theories make. The Ancient Egyptians built, at least as far as Egyptologists are currently aware of, somewhere getting close to the neighborhood of 100 pyramids, none of them as large as the ones at Giza but they are all quite sizeable. Huge pyramidal chambers could only be afforded by the richest Egyptian citizens in the ancient days, but they were built for many Egyptians, and were hardly a strange occurrence at all.

The truth is that there are many theories on how the various pyramids could have been built, and many of them are possible solutions. We just don’t know exactly how they did it. They also could have used somewhat primitive, but effective, building techniques that we simply have not thought of ourselves.

5. Some of the Richer Citizens in Ancient Egypt Were Incredibly Fat

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 In the United States and much of the developed world today, obesity has become a very serious health issue. Many people are simply not getting enough exercise and not eating the right foods — or simply overeating in general, and it is causing them serious issues. Apart from the simple strain on the body of excess weight, the massive amounts of sugar intake can cause people to develop a type of diabetes as well.

While most people would think that the Ancient Egyptians were quite thin and muscular, like all societies, the way we look at what is preserved of history can skew our perceptions. Most of what we knew was based on builders and a few rich pharaohs, so it was hard to accurately gauge the true fitness of a person from an ancient society. However, recently remains were found of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, showing that she had been incredibly obese and likely also had diabetes due to her extreme overeating.

While it’s hard to say because surviving mummies are rare these days, if one rich citizen such as a pharaoh could be fat both socially and in terms of resources, it is quite likely that plenty of other richer, more privileged Ancient Egyptian citizens were also fat as well.

4. So-Called “Mummy Parties” Have Caused Much of History to be Lost Forever

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Many people today bemoan how children or young people will be out distracted running around with a phone trying to catch a virtual animal that they can use to virtually battle people, but the hobbies of the young people of yesteryear would have had them much more horrified. As we have mentioned, many people have long been fascinated with Ancient Egypt, but this got really strange in the early 1900s when Egypt fever was at a pitch in Europe.

 It started slowly, and like many fads quickly grew out of control. People would bring back mummies as souvenirs from travels to Egypt, all to happy to take advantage of the lax laws of the time, and then have parties where they unwrapped the mummy in their home with all their friends around. This obviously permanently damaged precious pieces of history that could have yielded scientists with incredible information in the future with proper DNA analysis.

Some people may just say “it was a different time,” but it is hard to imagine any time period where it would be normal and acceptable to invite your pals over for a fun afternoon of unrolling a several thousand year old dead body. Regardless, it is almost impossible to estimate just how much damage this wanton and careless destruction of Egyptian culture — in the name of enthusiasm — has cost us in terms of our knowledge of them.

3. Ancient Pharaohs Were Sometimes as Crazy as Roman Emperors

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Whenever someone wants to think of an example of tyrants who ruled with a combination of insanity and delusional grandiosity, they tend to immediately name someone like Emperor Nero or Caligula. If they can’t think of a specific name, they just generically compare them to the Roman Emperors. They were known for eating absolutely ludicrous feasts, making all kinds of bizarre personal demands and generally abusing their power and position to an insane degree. However, while the Roman Emperors may have been crazy, the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt came before them, and they were often just as strange or even stranger.

 The Pharaoh Hatshepsut, despite being female, was also known for usually wearing men’s clothes as well as a mock up of a male’s beard, in order to look like a male pharaoh. Some historians also believe she may have wore black and red nail polish, kind of like some teenagers today. While she presented herself as a man to receive proper respect as a ruler, and seemed to enjoy mens clothes, there is also no evidence she was anything but straight.

However, even Hatshepsut pales in comparison to Pepi II when it comes to crazy. Pharaoh Pepi II became Pharaoh at a very young age, and as such it may not be surprising that the power quickly went to his head, and he began abusing it greatly. He personally hated flies, and so to ensure that they would never land on him, he came up with an ingenious and cruel idea to keep them off his body. He kept several slaves nearby at all times, covered in honey, so the flies would bother them instead of him. It seems to have never occurred to him that he could have just as easily spread the honey on inanimate objects instead of people.

2. Not Everyone in Ancient Egypt was Elaborately Mummified

mummy

When many people think of Ancient Egypt they mostly just assume that the society mummified everyone — and that this was just their idea of a burial. However, while the elite certainly wanted the most elaborate process available, with the most pomp and circumstance, many people did not have the means for very much. In today’s world, loved ones of the deceased who aren’t particularly rich often have to go with more budget options instead of the elaborate ones they prefer, even going so far as to use cremation in some causes simply because it is much less expensive.

In Ancient Egypt, they had a similar situation, where while everyone would have loved to have an elaborate ceremony, many of the poorer or less well to do citizens would have to make do with less complete, or more hasty forms of mummification that wouldn’t preserve the body as long or as effectively. These ceremonies would probably involve some prayers and other spells, and would sometimes be a simple burial in the sand. Only those with some means could afford to bury their dead in what was essentially a mausoleum — something very few can afford today.

In many cases, the reason we mostly think of Ancient Egyptians being preserved are because the ones we have to study are the ones that managed to stick around to be studied. We know from inference that apart from the many mummies destroyed by unwrapping parties, that there had to be many that were simply never mummified fully, or buried in any marked grave or structure, and decayed thousands of years ago, lost forever to the sands of time.

 1. Punishments for Breaking the Law Could be Extremely Harsh

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In the Ancient world, punishment could often be harsh, but in Ancient Egypt, it was probably still far harsher in many cases than most people would imagine. Today, punishments mostly consist of being sent to a prison where the state sometimes has you do labor, but rarely if ever makes any real money from it. In the ancient world, labor was considered much more important and resources were very valuable. Those who needed to be punished were either killed outright or were given their due and sent right back to work to continue producing for the collective.

In Ancient Egypt, the crime for stealing in one text is described as “100 blows and five wounds” and some studies carried out on skeletons found in Amarna, an Ancient Egyptian city, have given researchers reason to believe this may have been a real punishment. They have found skeletons with gashes on the shoulder blade area, and believe the men were not attacked, but were likely being punished and were then sent right back to work.

 However, while punishments for stealing could be quite harsh, those for crimes of a sexual nature could be much harsher. Women were often treated more strictly, and if a woman was caught cheating she literally had her nose cut off to spite her face, while a man simply had to take a severe beating of 100 blows. Of course, while this may seem like a double standard, the penalty for a man raping a woman was also very strict — if a man were judged to have raped a freeborn woman, he would be castrated. Like some ancient cultures, many punishments also included the removal of limbs, and execution for serious offenses like grave robbing.


Ancient Egypt Handbook

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– WIF Into History

Halloween Facts and Puns #32 – WIF Holidays

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Halloween Facts

– More than Candy and Goblins

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Halloween, or Hallowe’en (/ˌhæləˈwn, ˈn, ˌhɑːl/; a contraction of “All HallowsEvening“), also known as All halloweenAll Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows),martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.

According to many scholars, All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized feast influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots.

Typical contemporary festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related “guising“), attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although in other locations, these solemn customs are less pronounced in favor of a more commercial and secular celebration.Because many Western Christian denominations encourage, although most no longer require, abstinence from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, the tradition of eating certain vegetarian foods for this vigil day developed, including the consumption of apples, colcannon, cider, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.

Etymology

The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word “Halloween” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening”. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scots, the word “eve” is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Halloween. Although the phrase “All Hallows'” is found in Old English (ealra hālgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), “All Hallows’ Eve” is itself not seen until 1556.


Image result for halloweenPuns for Intelligent People 001

My friend wants to dress like the Queen of Hearts for Halloween. I think I’ll follow suit.

The fastest, most efficient way to make Halloween costumes is mask production.Image result for halloween masks

 

Witches are good at spell-ing.

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Where do witches bake their cookies? In a coven.

 

A trickortreat route is a fright path.Image result for halloween candy

 

Those who eat candy with both hands are ambi-dextrose.

 

There was a fight in the candy store. Two suckers got licked.

 

A group of ballerinas were wearing their tutus. A couple of extra costumes arrived but they thought they might be tutu many.Image result for skeleton key

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The tale of the haunted refrigerator was chilling.

 

 

I used my skeleton key to get into the haunted house.

 

Two brothers collaborated on haunted stories, but one was a ghost writer.

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‘We’ve lost too much to the Indian princess at that card game,’ declared Capt. John Smith, ‘but don’t let poker haunt us.’

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Halloween Facts

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– And Puns

Stories of Charitable Christians – WIF Religion

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Inspiring by Karen Grenfell

Inspiring Stories

of

Charitable Christians

We recently told you about ten of the most-inspiring stories in history featuring Muslims. Awesome as that article was, no one single religion has a monopoly on virtue. Just as there are inspiring tales of Muslims out there, so are there inspiring tales of Jews, Hindus, Buddhists…and Christians.

Since the foundation of their religion, Christians have implored one another to ‘love thy neighbor’ and ‘turn the other cheek.’ While not everyone who calls themselves a Christian manages to uphold these ideals, those who do are capable of some extreme acts of inspiring selflessness. Here are ten Christians who didn’t let themselves be blinded by prejudice…but instead dug deep into themselves and found the strength to do the most-amazing things possible.

10. The Orthodox Serb Who Gave His Life to Save a Muslim

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When the soldiers came for shopkeeper Alen Glavovic, he knew his time was up. A Muslim shopkeeper in the Bosnian-Serb town of Trebinje, he had the misfortune to be living at the time of the vicious 1991-95 Bosnian civil war. It was a time when mainly-Orthodox Serbs went on the rampage, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Bosniak Muslims, and Trebinje was no exception. On this bleak day in 1993, Glavovic was to be the Serbs’ latest victim.

At least, that was how things were meant to go. But the three Serb soldiers who arrived to kill Glavovic hadn’t reckoned with one man: Srdjan Aleksic.

A Christian Orthodox Serb who was a reservist in the army, Aleksic fit the profile for a Muslim-hater to a T. But Aleksic was a little different from his fellow Serbian soldiers. He was first and foremost a Christian. So when he saw three men beating an unarmed shopkeeper to death, he bravely decided to step in.

In the resulting scuffle, the three soldiers murdered Aleksic. Yet his intervention allowed Glavovic to escape. He literally gave his life for his fellow man. Aleksic’s good deed was not forgotten. Years later, the citizens of the Serbian city of Belgrade named a street in his honor – to remind themselves that even in their darkest hour, some of their soldiers were still capable of amazing acts of compassion.

9. The Latvian Janitor Who Saved Liepaja’s Jews

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It’s a cliché that some men are born to greatness, while others have greatness thrust upon them. In Robert Seduls’ case, though, it’s extremely apt. A lowly janitor living out his life in Latvia’s third-largest city, Seduls probably assumed his name would never be praised around the world.

Yet Seduls just happened to be living his life at the same time Hitler was annexingevery country he could get his grubby hands on. He also just happened to be a Christian who took ‘love thy neighbor’ seriously…even when that neighbor was a Jewish man wanted by the occupying Nazis.

Under Germany’s control, punishments in Latvia for sheltering a Jew were horrifying. Nonetheless, when the Nazis liquidated the ghetto, Seduls offered shelter to his former neighbor David Zivcon, along with Zivcon’s wife and two friends. The janitor built them a shelter in the cellar behind a fake wall. He kept them hidden there for 500 days.

Over time, word got out to surviving Jews about Seduls’ efforts. More and more people turned up on his doorstep. Seduls offered shelter and food to them all. By 1945, there were 11 people hidden in the cellar, and you better believe feeding them all on a janitor’s wage in occupied Latvia at the height of the war while death squads roamed the streets was hard and dangerous work.

But Seduls stuck at it. Although he tragically died only days before Liepaja was liberated by the Red Army, all 11 Jews he was sheltering survived. Before the war, Liepaja’s Jewish population had been 7,000. After, it was a mere 30. Sedul alone had saved over a third of them.

8. The Irish Priest Who Stuck it to the Nazis

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You’ve probably heard of Oskar Schindler. The former-Nazi turned humanitarian managed to save 1,200 Jewish lives during WWII. That’s a lot of people, but even that pales in comparison to the work of Hugh O’Flaherty. An Irish priest working at the Vatican during WWII, he is estimated to have single-handedly saved around 6,500 Jews and Allied soldiers from the Nazi death machine.

How he did this should be a Hollywood movie in its own right. During WWII, Mussolini’s fascist state got increasingly more, well, fascist, before finally being fully taken-over by the Nazi regime. In other words, it was far from safe ground from which to operate a mercy mission. Yet O’Flaherty managed it. Setting up base deep in the heart of the Vatican, he devised a system of safe houses and clandestine smuggling operations that stretched as far away as Malta. When the fascists came for the country’s Jews, he got them into hiding. When they later came for Allied soldiers stuck behind enemy lines, O’Flaherty saved them, too.

The best part? O’Flaherty lived to see the difference he’d made. In the aftermath of WWII, he was honored by the US, UK, France, and Italy. As the priest was fond of saying: “God has no country.”

7. The Janitor Who Saved 200 Girls from a Suicide Bomber

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If there’s one strange fact we’ve taken from writing this article, it’s that Christians who are also janitors tend to be some of the bravest people on Earth. Like Robert Seduls in Latvia, Pervaiz Masih was just a regular guy working a regular job. A cleaner at the International Islamic University’s female-only campus in Islamabad, Pakistan, he probably never expected his name to hit the news. But when death came calling in 2009, the Christian was the only one with the guts to stand in its way.

In this case, death came in the form of an extremist jerk who decided to bomb the university. Unhappy at the thought of women learning, he strapped himself into a suicide vest, disguised himself under a burka and tried to walk into the campus’s cafeteria. At the time, the room was packed with around 400 girls. The bombers vest was filled with ball-bearings. A successful attack could have killed hundreds and wounded even more. Luckily for those girls, Pervaiz Masih just happened to be cleaning nearby.

As the bomber approached, Masih seems to have realized what was about to happen. Rather than call for help, he ran to the cafeteria’s door and physically blocked the bomber’s path. Like the jerk he was, the bomber detonated his vest, killing Masih. Yet Masih’s sacrifce wasn’t in vain. By intercepting the bomber, he caused the force of the explosion to rebound backwards into the empty parking lot instead of into the cafeteria. Thanks to his bravery, hundreds of girls who should have died that day lived instead.

6. The Priest Who Taught His Students the Greatest Lesson

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The name Lucien Bunel should probably be known by everyone on Earth. A Carmelite priest, he ran the Petit Collège des Carmes, in Avon, near Fontainebleau. When the Germans invaded France, Bunel (also known as Father Jacques) made the decision to admit three young Jewish boys into the school to shelter them. What happened next will break your heart.

Although Bunel succeeded in keeping the children safe for most of the war, his luck finally ran out in January 1944. Some anonymous scum who knew about the boys turned informer, and gave the Gestapo details about Bunel’s heroic deed. The Nazis duly arrived and arrested the three children. Bunel, his mother, his sister, and the three Jewish boys were deported to Auschwitz or Mauthausen. They all died.

So why are we including this in an article on inspirational Christian stories? Well, shortly before his arrest, Bunel was heard to say, “I am sometimes accused of imprudence; I am told that since I am responsible for the children at the Petit College, I do not have the right to expose myself to possible arrest by the Germans. But do you not think that, if that happened and, if per chance I should be killed, I would thereby bequeath to my students an example worth far more than all the teaching I could give.”

It turned out he was right. The day the Gestapo took him, all the students at the school flocked to see. As the good father vanished into the morning mist, he turned and called out “Au revoir et a bientot”  (Goodbye and see you soon). Immediately, all the watching boys erupted into thunderous applause. Even as the Gestapo shouted at them to be quiet, they kept defiantly applauding, giving Bunel the send-off he deserved.

5. The Priest Who Sheltered 1,500 Muslims from Ethnic Violence

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Not all heroic Christians lived long ago. Father Bernard Kinvi of the Central African Republic (CAR) is every bit as modern as you or us. Yet his heroism is every bit as impressive as those who lived during WWII.

In 2013, Muslim rebels overthrew the CAR’s government and began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Christians, killing men, women, and children. Fast forward to January 2014, and the Christians forced the Islamist rebels from power. Only rather than focus on promoting peace and turning the other cheek, they immediately began their own campaign of sectarian violence. An anti-balaka Christian militia rose up and went on the rampage, murdering Muslim men, women and children. Against this bloodshed stood one man: Father Bernard Kinvi.

In the small town of Bossemptele, the Father threw open the doors of his mission to those fleeing violence. Up to 1,500 Muslim civilians poured in. When the Christian militias turned up, Father Kinvi refused to hand them over. Despite being unarmed and facing the constant threat of death, he managed to stare down the killers. Through sheer force of personality, he kept the anti-balaka at bay until nearly every Muslim was safely over the border.

Most-impressively, Father Kinvi didn’t just help Muslims. When anti-balaka members were wounded, he treated them just as he would those fleeing them. His attitude directly contributed to spreading peace in Bossemptele. At one point, he even managed to convince anti-balakas to help him evacuate Muslims peacefully – something that should have been impossible.

4. The Man Who Made it His Christian Duty to End Slavery

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William Wilberforce was one of the most-awesome men of the 18th century. How awesome? At a time when the vast majority of people thought it was cool to sell Africans into slavery, he took one look at the whole rotten system and said “no.” He was an ardent abolitionist, motivated by a deep-seated Christian belief that all men should be equal before God. And he used that belief to change the world.

Back in 1790, most Brits thought enslaving Africans was doing them a favor. Although there were some abolitionist movements – like the Quakers – no-one took them seriously. But Wilberforce was connected. He was friends with the Prime Minister, Pitt. Wilberforce used those connections to get himself a chance to make the case against slavery in the House of Commons. Boy, did he go for it.

For three hours, he bludgeoned everyone present with facts about slavery’s cruelties; about how many died during the voyage, about conditions in the Caribbean, about the sadism of slave masters. He ended his speech with a rhetorical flourish to the lawmakers that’s still remembered to this day: “Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know.”

This was the speech that got the ball rolling on the abolitionist movement in Britain. Although it would take nearly another 20 years for slavery to be outlawed in Britain, and another 20 after that for the ruling to be implemented in the colonies, Wilberforce was instrumental in it all. He even lived long enough to see the end of British slavery. He died exactly two days after slavery was abolished throughout the Empire for good.

3. The Forgotten Chaplains of WWII

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WWII was carnage for pretty much everyone involved. Even as a latecomer, the US lost nearly half a million men. Although the exploits of the US and other Allied armies have since become the stuff of legend, there’s one branch of the military who deserve to be remembered more: US Army chaplains.

Per capita, more chaplains were killed in WWII than any other military group, bar the Army Air Corps. This wasn’t due to there being a low number of chaplains, or a spate of accidents mysteriously targeting men of the cloth. It’s because the chaplains were driven by a deep sense of duty to go right into the heat of battle.

One representative example is an unnamed Catholic priest who was present at the infamous Battle of the Bulge. An injured officer witnessed him running full pelt towards the Ardennes, where the fighting was thickest. Apparently, he called out “Chappie, what in the world do you think you’re doing? People up there are dying by the scores!” The chaplain said, “That’s precisely why I need to be there!”

Incredibly, this story is not unique. Across the entire arena of war, chaplains from all denominations put themselves into deadly danger just to bring a tiny bit of comfort to dying men. If that isn’t heroism, we don’t know what is.

2. The Christians (and Muslims) of Albania Defy the Holocaust

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This entry is split between both Albania’s Christian and Muslim communities. Yet it’s so amazing and inspiring that there’s no way we could leave it off.

During WWII, Albania was swiftly occupied by Axis troops. At the time, the country was home to a mere 200 Jews. Nonetheless, the Nazis decided to bring the Final Solution to Albania, too, like the big jerky jerks they were. It was a decision that should have resulted in 200 more deaths added to the total of the worst genocide in history. Instead, something amazing happened.

Albania’s Christian and Muslim communities decided they weren’t going to let their Jewish neighbors die on their watch. Across the country, Albanian Jews, along with 400 Jewish refugees from Austria and Germany, were taken into hiding and protected. When word got out, hundreds more Jews poured in from across the Balkans seeking shelter. And Albania’s two major religious groups provided it. Even when the Germans took over ruling the country from the Italian fascists, they kept the country’s Jews safe.

In fact, Albania’s Christians and Muslims did such a good job, that Albania became the only occupied European country to end the war with more Jews that it started it with.

1. The Polish Priest Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

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How far would your compassion take you? Would you sacrifice yourself to save 100 others? What about 10? What about just 1? Polish priest and Auschwitz prisoner Maximillian Kolbe didn’t even have to think twice. When Nazi guards randomly selected 10 prisoners to starve to death as reprisal for an escape attempt, he did something most of us could only dream of doing.

It was August 14, 1941, a hot and bitter day in the death camp. The Nazis had rounded up the 10 men and were making an example of them. Just before they were sent to their deaths, one of them men,  Franciszek Gajowniczek, fell to the ground and cried out My wife! My children! I will never see them again! Moved by his grief, Maximillian Kolbe stepped forward and did something unthinkable. He offered to die in Gajowniczek’s place.

The Nazis granted his request.

Over the next two weeks, Kolbe and nine other men enduring mind-numbing agony as they died of starvation and dehydration. Yet Kolbe tried his best to keep their spirits up, singing psalms and offering prayers. He was the last of the group to expire, executed by lethal injection after the Nazis decided he was taking too long to die.

But there’s a truly amazing twist to this story. See, Kolbe didn’t die for nothing. Franciszek Gajowniczek was so moved by his offer that he swore to survive Auschwitz and honor the dead man’s memory. And he did. Gajowniczek finally expired in 1995 aged 93. Maximillian’s Christian charity had saved his life.


Stories of Charitable Christians

WIF Religion-001

– WIF Religion

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #223

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #223

… a small shrine to Mary Mother of God and her son Jesus. Votive candles are apparently lit around the clock, two of which burn devotedly now…

Virgin Mary and baby Jesus

Camille Diaz does not push for more, preferring to keep him talking. “You don’t sound like a Northeasterner Alpha, so where are you from?”

“Florida…Tallahassee to be exact, I’m on staff at Florida A & M Hospital.” He senses a trend, so he guesses the next question, “I was comin’ back from a meetin’ in Boston, but I’m here in Atlantic City to see my brother. He told me to find him on Melrose Avenue – you see what I found instead.”

open-and-closed-signs    “And I found you.” She is warming to this diminutive, quiet, somewhat dashing man; and being so far from home, that warmth feels good to him.

As is the diner pot roast warm, the company is satisfying. An hour passes, then another when the waitress brings them back to reality, “We close at nine, you two. Here’s your bill.”

Nine o’clock? Daylight had long since faded, leaving A.O. wondering privately if he could still get a room. Camille has already decided to offer, “I would be offended if you didn’t stay at my apartment. It’s not big, but it’s cozy… good heat.”

   “I,” he hesitates, thinking of his young wife, who has been absent from any of their discussion; not wearing a wedding ring for purposes of sterility, “… suspose that would be the prudent thing to do, seein’ the lateness of the hour.”

Red light-001  Red light-001So, around a couple more corners and down another block, they arrive at a brick building with twenty mail boxes. She checks the one labeled 3D, extracts a Sears catalogue and a letter and they are off to the third floor. She keys the lock and they enter the three roomed apartment; a kitchen/living room combination and a bedroom and a bathroom, the bedroom having floor length red fringe for a door. It is very well kept, populated by largely antique furniture and a small shrine to Mary Mother of God and her son Jesus. Votive candles are apparently lit around the clock, two of which burn devotedly now. It is a well meaning gesture, if not a bona fide fire hazard.

You have a very nice place, Camille. It’s very comfortin’ to be in the company of another believer.”

     The woman is busily preparing for an overnight guest, amassing a set of bedding to convert her sofa, after applying her stove’s flame to a teapot and turning on her radio, which emits a wealth of Latin melodies. She disappears into her bedroom, reentering in loungewear, with a robe draped over her arm, handing it to her wayfaring boarder.

“You need to get out of that suit, Alpha. I started a bath for you – how do you like your tea?”

  “Hot, maybe if you have some lemon.” He is getting the royal treatment. And to think he had planned on staying with his brother, rubbing elbows with hookers and probably roaches.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Luis German Cajiga

Episode #223


page 210

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #222

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #222

…Instead, the woman of Puerto Rican descent pushes the hooker to the ground, while rushing the doctor down the street and away from the red-light district…

Red Light District Memories by Michael Litvack

Thinking he is being led to his brother Hosea, he takes the woman’s arm.

“What floor does Hosey live on?”

 “All of them, he owns the joint. But he ain’t here now, went up to Philly on business, you know, to recruit some girls, should be back tomorrow.”

It dawns on the doctor just what business his brother is in. He hastens to free himself from the prostitute.

“Come on, honey, you don’t want to leave. I’m very lonely and I bet you could use a place to stay. Hosey left me in charge.”

“No! I can come back tomorrow.”

“What’s the matter nigger, ain’t you ever had a pretty white girl? Afraid you might rub off on me? ‘Cause you won’t you know, Hosey ain’t, see?” She shows him her belly.

She has him cornered, saying uncomfortable things to the intimidated Christian man, determined to entice him inside.

The mild disturbance attracts the attention of passers by, one of whom is a Latino woman somewhere likely in her twenties, on her way home from her shift at a Boardwalk restaurant. “Why don’t you find someone who wants you, you jezebel. God will strike you dead!” yells the devoutly Catholic woman, with zero tolerance for such depravity.

“This ain’t none of your beeswax, lady.” “Jezebel figures that should do the trick.

Instead, the woman of Puerto Rican descent pushes the hooker to the ground, while rushing the doctor down the street and away from the red-light district. Around a few corners and down two blocks, she slows from a trot to a slower gait. “Are you hungry? I am.”         disoriented

He just nods, not knowing if he was afoot or horseback.

“They have good food.” She sees his need for a guide, extending her hand, “Camille Diaz.”

“Doctor A.O. Campbell.” He is settling down. “I would like to thank you for what you did back there. I must be a real country bumpkin.”

“Two specials,” she tells the waitress, who interrupts. “Do you like pot roast? Theirs is the best.”

“Sure, sounds good.” He could eat horse right about now.

disoriented2      “Coffee?” ask the waitress, with a spare pencil on her ear and food stains all over her apron, residue from a long day feeding other people.

Camille Diaz looks at a nodding A.O. “Yes.” She resumes the conversation. “Do not be ashamed for being pure of heart.”

“I still feel addle-headed, can’t change that.”

“Well, if you insist” she relents, speaking with a trademark, but Americanized Puerto Rican accent. Feeling like she must carry their talk, she asks, “What does A.O. stand for?”

“Alpha Omega,” simply stated.

“Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 11, I so love that book. It tells us what we have to look forward to.” It is the second time she has invoked knowledge of God. This, above all, puts the doctor at ease.

“I had a mentor who actually gave me that name. I use it now, mostly ashamed of my real name,” he admits.


Alpha Omega M.D.

by Jammil Deviant Art

by Jammil Deviant Art

Episode #222


page 209

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #167

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #167

… Alpha Campbell is the only person remotely qualified to perform resuscitation. He may have learned this technique from the stricken Ziggy himself…

by TheMozzy (Deviant Art)

Alpha is smart enough not to scare Maggie Lou off with talk other than friendship. He can only hope that she will be there for him, when he is a doctor and she is not off limits

For the time being, he must be satisfied with holding her hand, helping to complete an unbroken circle around the departed Frieda… surviving husband Ziggy and Reverend Watkins.

“We commit our sister, Frieda, to you, Lord God Almighty. We believe you have already taken her into your loving arms, to a place where we the living look forward to coming; the throne of everlasting grace.

          “And please help her watch over her dearest Siegfried. Comfort his heart, dry his tears, give him the strength to continue to look after Laura and Maggie.”

  Strength is substituted by the opposite. Ziggy wavers for a moment, catches himself, only to crumple like a house of cards, narrowly avoiding Frieda’s earthen aperture.

Without hesitation, Alpha rushes to his mentor, removing his tie and loosening his collar. Finding no pulse, he goes to work alternately pumping the breathless man’s chest and forcing his air into the mouth. This looks so foreign, to the point of violence, but Herbert Love and John Ferrell urge the others to stay calm. After all, young Campbell is the only person remotely qualified. And who knows, he may have learned this technique from Ziggy.

Back to Life-001    “Breathe, Doc, breathe!” Alpha screams while forcing the palms of his hands onto the heart area.

“Have mercy on our souls!” calls out the Reverend. What a cruel fate to suffer; how unthinkable.

But just as all hope was lost, with resuscitating efforts having ceased, Ziggy comes to life, seemingly on his own, as if he had an on/off switch that had been accidentally tripped, then reset to on. “Vhat am I doing on za ground? You have been crying, why. Did someone die?”

          Did someone die?

          “We thought you were – not more than two minutes ago,” explains his friend and neighbor, Ferrell, still dumbfounded by what they have just witnessed.

No explanation except God!” claims Reverend Watkins.

“Vhy are vee in za cemetery?” he asks, before focusing his failing eyes on the headstone in the background. His chin touches a once silent chest, upon seeing the completed dates under his Frieda’s name. What had caused him to spring back from death had removed the memory of his loss. Laura, Maggie, Willy, Alpha and John, those he knows the best, surround him in loving kindness, easing the newest impact on a man who cannot remember a day without his wife.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #167


page 156

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #155

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #155

…It is now four years hence, Maggie Lou is nine and Alfrey Campbell’s  future is being decided…

A Future Decided

.Hosea-001

Among the crowd is a woman with her son. She had heard, from their Baptist preacher the Sunday before, that Ezra Elijah would be passing through and is there to have him pray for the soul of wayward son, Hosea. Amanda Campbell has raised her family to love and fear God. Alfrey is there, still under her wing, Hosea is not. She prays for his soul in wretched Atlantic City.

Amanda and John are side by side, entreating God for different reasons. She sees the tears streaming down the face of a man she knows has accepted Jesus, embraces him, sharing the love of God.

It is a moment that 13 year old Alfrey will never forget; one of those life-defining moments. Here stands a man (John F.) he respects, vulnerable and broken, repenting before the Lord. He will never look at Maggie Lou quite the same. In light of what he knows about her father, she no longer is just another little girl, rather a human being that will need all the loving support she can get. He will be there for her as a true friend, not just the younger sister premise he had been working from. He wonders what she will be like in a decade.

Vertical-001

Vertical-001    ~~~It is now four years hence, she is nine and his future is being decided.~~~

“Vat is you answer, Mr. Love? I know dis is much to ask, but Frieda and me, ve squeak by on our savings. Ve have not za resources for six years medical school.” Siegfried Endlichoffer has known for years that he must hand over the shaping of Alfrey Campbell into a real doctor. Until now, he did not know how to go about it.

“You know how I feel about the Campbells, Ziggy. Willy and his family are very dear to me. Ever since they were freed from that 19th century incarnate, Smythwick, they have been an absolute blessing and a joy.

Ziggy-001     “Heck, every time I light up a Loyal Campbell cigar… but only one a day, Doc…”

“Ya, ya, Mr. Love and you do not inhale, correct?”

“One fine cigar enjoyed and visions of a business that may have crumbled while I was serving the country in Washington. And

I have it on good authority that Willy has long since ceased wondering why his only remaining Child spends more time at San Luis than here, helping shoulder some of his father’s burden.”

“Are you angry vith me?” the 70 year old German probes sheepishly.

Love's-001  “No, no, I did not mean to imply that. I do not believe God created Alfrey for manual labor.”

Love motions for Phoebe, who is cleverly keeping tabs on the conversation under the guise of setting the dining room table, knowing the precise time to include her; usually just before she starts clearing her throat uncontrollably.

“Phoebe, would you pour us a cognac? We have something important to discuss.”

“Cognac?  Cognac it is.” Her Herbert does not take a drink very often, especially since his father literally drank himself to death.

“Thank you, dearest…please sit while I tell you what Doctor Endlichoffer has proposed to me – I mean to us.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

philanthropy

Episode #155


page 143

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