world war ii: resistance

A picture of Freddie Oversteegen, a Dutch girl who was the unsuspecting killer of dozens of Nazis. Along with her friend Hannie and her sister Truus, the girls worked with a team from the Dutch Resistance to lure men into the woods for a promised kiss. Once they reached a remote location, the men got a bullet to the head instead.

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In honour of Liberation Day in the Netherlands, let me tell you something about Willem Arondeus, homosexual activist, anti-fascist artist and writer and member of the Dutch Resistance during the occupation of Nazi Germany.

During the early Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Willem realised that the demand by the Nazis that all Jewish people register with local authories was not, as the Nazis claimed, for their own safety, but to deport them to concentration camps. 

Willem was one of the first to join the Dutch Resistance and together with numerous other artists, he created an illegal periodical that called for mass resistance against the German occupation.

As a member of the Resistance Council – which also included other openly gay members – he put his artistic skills to use by forging tons of identity papers and recruiting new members. In March 1943, Willem led a group in bombing the Amsterdam Public Records Office in order to hinder the Nazis.

Willem dressed as a Nazi Army captain and with the group, he disabled the guards by drugging them and positioned the explosives, destroying thousands of files.

Within a week after the bombing, he and the other members were arrested and sentenced to death after a short trial. On July 1st 1942, Willem was executed. Shortly before his execution, however, he told his lawyer the following:

‘’Tell the people that homosexuals are not cowards.’’

In 1945, after the Dutch Liberation by the Allied forces, Willem was awarded a posthumous medal by the Dutch government and was reburied in a honorary cemetry.

amysantiagone  asked:

In Rogue One, Cassian Andor states that he's been fighting for the rebels since he was 6 years old. Assuming he meant literal combating, would his personality be similar to that of a child raised for combat? Would there be any differences?

This is sort of a yes and no, as all children involved in violent conflicts from an early age are affected by it. However, the children who take part in rebellions aren’t in the same category of the child soldiers discussed on this blog before, though they absolutely share similarities.

Kids involved in rebellions are rarely used as frontline combatants. They’re far too valuable for that. Instead, they function as informants, carriers, and, occasionally, saboteurs. They’re not the one who picks up the gun to shoot down enemy soldiers in a safe zone. They’re the ones who move the gun past the security perimeter or receive it from the old man or woman who did and plant it. They’re the ones hanging around befriending enemy soldiers in bars or cantinas so they can tip their friends off about where the troops are moving to next. Children, women, the elderly, those generally viewed as non-combatants, the ones that society overlooks or views as “safe” are often the backbone of any resistance movement.

They get the goods, they move the packages, they carry the messages between resistance cells, they sometimes take care of the equipment, and they do most of the footwork that allows a resistance to engage the enemy. When they do fight, it’s generally in the form of sabotage like finding and slipping poison into the enemy troop’s stew, planting bombs, or because survival necessitates it when their cover is blown.

As a child, Cassian Andor would have a background common with other children in rebellions depicted in media like ‘Phan Duc To’ from Good Morning, Vietnam! (1987) and the children involved in The Battle of Algiers (1966).

If you’ve never seen Good Morning, Vietnam! I just spoiled the movie.

The Battle of Algiers is a great movie if you’re looking for an honest overview of how rebellions function on both sides of the conflict or just a treatment on the French colonization of Algeria. Fair warning, it is not an english language film. Kiera Nerys from Star Trek: Deep Space 9 is another decent character to look at when wanting to model a background for a resistance fighter who joined as a child. G’kar from Babylon 5 and the entire Narn/Centauri conflict is also an excellent example of the enduring hatreds and issues brought by colonization.

One of the qualities you see in these children and then again as adults is pure, unadulterated hatred for their oppressors. More so than the other kinds, they hate. Often to the point of becoming a new version of the enemy their resistance was attempting to drive off.

Cassian would’ve spent a lot of time hanging around rebel fighters, doing odd jobs for them until the day came when they were short a man or needed a message run by someone who wouldn’t attract attention.

If this has started to sound like spycraft, well, you’re not far off. Resistances don’t have the luxury of major battle offensives like an army, and even guerilla warfare is actually a step up from what happens on the ground, and there is a common word you’ll find familiar for what they do: terrorism.

The actions of a resistance fighter and the actions of a terrorist are one and the same, the only difference is in who is telling the story. If you want to investigate real resistances without the judgements, study up on World War II, the French Resistance, and the Maquis.

Yes, that Maquis not the one from Star Trek.

On the ground resistances are rough and ready, they’re often split apart into distinct cells comprised of only a few agents, and almost no one knows who is higher up the food chain. This is important because it protects the other operating cells and resistance leadership in case an operative is captured by the enemy.

For the most part, whether you’re writing historical fiction or a foray into science fiction, the philosophy, goals, and strategy of a resistance will remain the same. What changes is how they go about operating within their setting because, like spies, a resistance requires the author have a solid grasp on how the enemy functions, the details in how they hold power, the technology they have access to, and how their army works.

On a literal and literary level, the Resistance is about disruption. Whether they’re sabotaging train tracks, blowing up food transports, or bombing nightclubs, their goal is to disrupt everyday life and make it as unpleasant as possible. They’re ghosts in the system, you’ll never know where or when they’ll strike, and they’re out to destroy enemy moral every way they can. A resistance drives the enemy from their homeland by making the cost of holding it no longer worthwhile. Though, historically, this is often impossible unless the majority of the population joins the cause and/or the tide of public sentiment back home within the enemy’s homeworld or nation turns against the invaders. A resistance occurring against the powerful within their own homeland is much, much more destructive.

What marks a character like Cassian, who grew up in a resistance movement, more than other children engaged in violence is first and foremost betrayal. Betrayal from without, betrayal from within, the people he’s lied to and betrayed, seeing many friends vanish overnight or die, and never quite knowing who he can trust. He probably has very few friends left alive from his early days with the Rebellion, and more than likely experienced the Imperials wiping out his cell(s) on multiple occasions. He worked his way up the ranks until he became an operative working closely within the Rebellion’s inner circle.

Star Wars is functionally much more clear cut than the real resistances that occur throughout the world.

Happy writing!

-Michi

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For the Love of Pizza, Enough with the Term “Alt-Right”

As we knew he would, President Obama categorically denies DJT’s allegations of wiretapping. Because, you know, President Obama didn’t wiretap DJT or Trump Tower or Ivanka’s dead conscience or whatever the hell DJT’s addled brain will “think” of next.

FBI director James Comey, who has been extremely friendly with DJT and his administration, has stopped just short of calling DJT a liar on this one. 

By the time I finish this sentence, we’ll get another breaking news alert on this story, so I’m tabling it for the moment.

What I find particularly astounding today: that I’m still encountering the term “alt-right”. 

I understand libel, slander, and defamation laws. 

So, I get the reluctance of publications or pundits to deem anyone–such as Steve Bannon, for instance–”a Nazi” or “a neo-Nazi”. 

But when he keeps invoking the hideous and genocidal novel “The Camp of the Saints”–Huffington Post’s feature on this is outstanding–what term is more accurate? Everything he says about persons of color and Muslims is exactly what Hitler said about Jews, gays, Gypsies, and the disabled. And Bannon’s hate and position of power have given rise to people who target all those groups, too. 

Yes, I’ve heard “But Ivanka and Jared are Jewish!” So was Hitler’s mom. Why don’t we discuss Putin calling Jews “rats” when he was head of the KGB? And DJT and his administration have repeatedly colluded with Putin. (The latest: on Tuesday DJT promised the Keystone Pipeline would be built with American steel. Yesterday we learned roughly 30% of the steel will be Russian.) 

Here are the groups this administration has either targeted directly or allowed to be targeted by its supporters:

Women

Muslims

The LGBTQ community

The disabled

Trans kids

Disabled public school students

Black Americans 

Jews

Refugees from Muslim majority nations

Native Americans

Mexicans

Anyone Latinix, American or foreign born

Journalists 

Any representatives of the media or free press

Intellectuals (”Elites!”)

The intelligence community (bizarrely, comparing them to “Nazis” and DJT himself as the persecuted) 

Sikhs 

Persons of East Indian descent, such as the man in Kansas shot and killed in last week’s hate crime

Climate scientists

All scientists


If I omitted anyone targeted, it’s an oversight. 

But read that list again. It comprises over half the United States and over half the planet.

Who does it shield?

White males of European descent who are purportedly Christian. (Actual Christians want nothing to do this administration.) 

My family lived under Nazi occupation in Greece.

Does “alt-right” feel sufficient? Isn’t it a ridiculous pseudonym? 

Today is Day #45, Sunday March 5. 

The past six and a half weeks have seen a cavalcade of hate. 

This isn’t the time to pull punches: Nazis are Nazis are Nazis.

The alt-right doesn’t exist.

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Saturday’s Google Doodle honored Josephine Baker, the famous black entertainer and later civil rights activist, on what would be her 111th birthday.

Born on June 3, 1906, in the city of St. Louis, Baker rose from poverty and obscurity to become an international sensation and one of the highest paid performers in Europe. A symbol of the Jazz Age and the 1920s, Baker earned fame as a cabaret performer and singer and spent years in Paris, where she aided the French resistance against Nazi Germany during World War II as a spy and troop entertainer. Read more. (6/3/17, 6:16 PM)

Painting commissioned by Richard J. Guggenhime, showing SO agent Virginia Hall tapping out a message to London with a British SOE Type 3 Mk II suitcase radio, while French resistance leader Edmond Lebrat provides power with an improvised hand-cranked generator. Hall reported on German troop movements, and directed 400 Maquis fighters who ambushed convoys and sabotaged rail lines; she became the first civilian woman to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. This painting by Jeff Bass currently hangs at CIA Headquarters.

Photo & caption festured in Osprey Elite • 173 Office of Strategic Services 1942-45 The World War II Origins of the CIA by Eugene Liptak

“A girl of the resistance movement is a member of a patrol to rout out the Germans snipers still left in areas in Paris, France, on August 29, 1944. The girl had killed two Germans in the Paris Fighting two days previously.”

(AP)

A friend of mine is talking about trans veterans at a national anthropology conference.

He asked me to write a statement in response to the result of the 2016 election. This is it:

An open letter:

De Oppresso Liber.  To free the oppressed.  Nous Defions.  We defy.  Liberty and justice for all.  My country has long claimed to be THE symbol of freedom and democracy across the globe. We have always espoused these lofty ideals.

And yet.  

Here we are.  

I was never a patriotic “true believer” but gods I thought we were better than this.  In spite of losing the popular vote our electoral system is poised to emplace a man who campaigned on the promise to restrict the human rights, civil liberties, and bodily autonomy of black people, Muslims, immigrants, and queer people of all stripes.  We have elected a man who is staffing his cabinet with openly white nationalist figures like Stephen Bannon.

David Duke, the KKK, and the actual American Nazi Party are holding victory parades and celebrations for our new president elect.

I want to say I don’t recognize my country.  But I do.  The thing is, when I was a child I did believe that we were the good guys.  We were the greatest country in the world—freedom was what made us different from every nation across the globe.  Then again, in those days I was a male-assigned child who went to church 5 times a week and only ever got into trouble for bringing my bible to school and preaching to my classmates.  To say I was naïve is an understatement.  The scales fell from my eyes very quickly.  

When one of the faithful raped me for 5 of my first 10 years of life, it was somehow MY shame to bear rather than his.  My father convinced me not to press charges because once people knew I had been raped, he said, I could never take that back.  

I learned that words and actions rarely aligned.  The church sign always said “All are welcome” but the church bylaws, which were updated in the 1990’s by the way, still forbid members of the church from even being party to interracial weddings.  My dad “didn’t approve of black people” as if they somehow chose their race and threatened to disown me if I ever brought home a black girl.  My family fears that gays will “convert” good little Christian children.  

My country kills unarmed black children but takes white mass murderers into custody and buys them cheeseburgers.  In my country a man with a gun can harass, stalk, and kill a child and claim he feared for his life, but a black trans woman who accidentally kills her meth-addled neo-nazi attacker with a pair of scissors from her fashion design class will go to prison.

No, I absolutely recognize my country.  All straight cisgender white Christian men are created equal.  The rest of us are to be dominated, subjugated, incarcerated, or deported.  Or otherwise “protected” from choice and bodily autonomy.  The toxicity of whiteness and Christianity and masculinity is a swift current that swept me into the teeth of a war I never believed in.  I did terrible things for a nation that refuses to acknowledge my basic humanity, and I will never be able to wash that blood off my hands.  In special forces our motto was De Oppresso Liber—most often paraphrased as “to free the oppressed”.  Our direct action teams appropriated the motto Nous Defions—We Defy—from the French resistance in World War II.  To me they are more than just buzzwords. I took them to heart.  I recognize that America is an oppressor to people of color, women, queers, and the disabled.  My transgender status and my womanhood do not negate my status as a warrior, and I recognize president-elect Trump and those who back him as the same dark forces my grandfather battled in the 1940’s.  I recognize my country for what it is—an empire built by slaves on the bones of natives—but I still believe in what it could be.  I know what side of history I will be on.  My America is diverse, without the divisions encouraged by those who would put so-called state’s rights before human rights or federal protections for them.  My America has skin that is red and black and brown, not just white.  My America is queer and fat and femme.  My America is Atheist and Jewish and Muslim.  My people are disabled and incarcerated and undergoing “reparative therapy”.  I still believe in one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  For ALL.  And I say to Trump and Pence and Bannon:  We defy you.  WE DEFY.  Nous Defions.  


Alana McLaughlin, former staff sergeant, United States Army

De Oppresso Liber.

Fight Like a Girl

Anhotep I, Ancient Egyptian Warrior Princess, Hyksos War, “cleansed Egypt of the Hyksos”.

Queen Boudicca, led the Iceni Rebellion against Rome, 1st century.

Relief of two Roman gladiatrices found at Halicarnassus, Roman Empire

Hua Mulan, Tang Dynasty China, disguised herself as a man to fight in her father’s stead.  Inspired the Disney movie “Mulan”.

The Trung Sisters, 1st Century Vietnam, rebelled against the Chinese Empire.

Joan of Arc, the Hundred Years War. Led the French to victory against the English.

Tomoe Gozen, 12th-13th century Samurai.  The woodblock print below depicts her beheading the Samurai Moroshige of Musashi at the Battle of Awazu.

Matilda of Tuscany, Middle Ages, Investiture Conflict, personal bodyguard of the Pope.

The Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Pettinella Duel, circa 1552.

Julie d'Aubigny, 17th century swordsmen and opera singer. Considered one of the greatest duelists in history.

Mary Read and Anne Bonney, 17th/18th century pirates.

Elizabeth “Lady Bare Knuckles Stokes, popular bareknuckle boxer in Britain, early 18th century. Fought both men and women, was also noted for her skill with the broadsword and cudgel.

Hannah Snell, Royal Marine, Seven Years War, disguised herself as a man.

Deborah Sampson, American Revolution, disguised herself as a man. Removed a musket ball from her thigh with a knife.

The “Petticoat Duel” between Almeria Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone, circa 1792.

Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova,  most heavily decorated soldier in the Russian Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars.

Pine Leaf, Crow Nation War Chief, 19th century

Harriet Tubman, American Civil War, spy, army scout, and co-commander of Union forces during the Combahee River Raid.

Loretta Valsaquez, American Civil War, Confederacy. Disguised herself as a man.

Frances Lousia Clayton, disguised herself as a man to fight with her husband, Union Army, American Civil War.

Cathay Williams, 38th Infantry (Buffalo Soldiers) during the late 19th century. Disguised herself as a man.

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Old West icon, once shot a man in the bum in a gunfight after he called her a nigger.

The Dahomey Amazon’s, West Africa 19th century.  The most feared warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey.  Their favorite pastime was to decapitate their captured enemies.

Princess Pauline Metternich and Countess Kielmannsegg Duel of 1892

One of many “Soldateras” during the Mexican Revolution

Captain Flora Sandes, World War I, English woman who fought in the Serbian Army.  Won the Serbia’s highest honor (the Order of the Karađorđe’s Star) after leading her company on a successful assault despite being wounded by a grenade and in a bout of hand to hand combat.

Edith Gerrud, the Jiu Jitsu Suffragist

Spanish Civil War.

Lydia Litvyak, Soviet Air Force, World War II: First female fighter ace, first kill scored by a woman, highest scoring female fighter pilot with 16 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.

Nancy Wake, World War II, commanded a 7,000 man resistance group in France. Was tortured by the Gestapo for 4 days and never talked.  On the flip side she was known for interrogating enemy spies and getting them to talk, then executing them.

The 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Group, a Soviet all female bomber group during World War II.  Nicknamed “The Night Witches” by the Germans because of their stealthy bombing tactics.

Partisan Fighter, World War II

Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, Soviet Sniper during World War II, deadliest female sniper with 309 kills. Heroine of the Soviet Union.

Mariya Oktyabrskaya, Soviet tank driver during World War II, Heroine of the Soviet Union.

Capt. Kim Campbell, US Air Force, A10 Warthog pilot during the Iraq War, the pictures speak for themselves.

Rukhsana Kausar, defended her family from a band of terrorists with an axe and a captured assault rifle.

Odette Hallowes (1912-1995) was an investigation officer for the Allied forces during World War II. She worked with the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation, and was subject to terrible torture and treatment by the Gestapo for her activities.

She survived the war, and became the only woman to both receive the George Cross and be appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. In 1955, she co-founded the Women of the Year Lunch, a charitable event in honour of women achievers that still goes on today.

Else Marie Pade, monitoring her Faust suite composition, 1962. During World War II she was involved with the Danish resistance and began composing music after she was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and sent to Frøslev Prison Camp. Pade was one of the earliest electroacoustic composers from Denmark and worked with Pierre Schaeffer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Pierre Boulez.