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Well, I might be a douchebag.
I submitted: No god has ever been real. Odin, Allah, Ra, Zeus, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, or Shiva the Destroyer, none of them.
A Redditor challenged me with: "You can’t be any more sure of that then the religious people are sure that they are real. What is your proof?"
Here was my reply, god help me:
On the topic of proof, there is none. If you direct me to the tomes as proof, you're going to be embroiled in defending countless contradictions and unexplainable fictions so, let's eliminate bibles and qurans and stone tablets as off the table for the purposes of this discussion, if you don't agree let me know.
So the number is a range, 8,000-12,000 known worshipped gods in recorded history. The canaanites, (who were polytheistic fwiw) are first recorded in The Levant in the bronze age. (Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria about 1200BC).
We think this is the origin of your contemporary Abrahamic religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. (Hindu religions date back at least a thousand years earlier) Stories and legends passed around campfires evolve to fit the needs of regional leaders.
Very much immediately in any 'civilization' the cleverest in the groups saw the power that the belief in an afterlife was as a comfort. It allowed people to assuage, at least in part, the fear of their own death. This is opportunity. See now, we want people to have this comfort ... but it's conditional. Sure heaven, paradise, valhalla, nirvana, elysium is real! 100% And you can go there, if you follow the god's laws. How do I know god's laws? Oh he talks to me. Sound familiar? Moses, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, on and on. Always a magic story that's totally unverifiable.
What you have now is an amazingly powerful tool to police and fleece the uneducated. The god is always watching. If you do these bad things, you don't get to go to the good afterlife. If you don't make sacrifices and tithings to the god's holy men, locations, idols ... you just might find yourself in hades, the underworld, lake of fire for eeeeeeeternity!
From a scientific perspective, psychology, psychiatry, physics, thermodynamics, there is zero evidence of cosmic higher beings. There is however tons of verified peer reviewed studies on anthropology, evolution, how cultures take shape, history, that gives creedence to our need for a god. Especially in times when we could not explain things like the sun, rain, plants, life and death. Where did we come from. We know all those things now, mostly.
Everything is formed and driven by gravity. Odd? Extremely. But we know, at least in part, how this works. Objects are attracted to each other with variable strengths depending on their concentration and densities. Over time and study and continued advancements in our tools to observe the unobservable, we now know that at the center of every galaxy exists a super massive black hole. Including our own Milky Way. To the best of our current understanding, a black hole is a concentration of matter, (dark matter, antimatter, all still guesswork) so dense that bodies are drawn to it with unimaginable force. Force so powerful it can literally alter the path of light and affect the speed of time itself.
But space is big. Like really big. So even with this immense force of attraction it could take bodies billions of billions of years to reach it.
You know when water spirals down a drain? We now know is caused by the force of gravity, (by way of energy being converted and reformed a few different ways). We observe the same spiraling behavior in all observable galaxies. Gravity is shaping them.
Along the way, gasses, solid particulates, elements pass within proximity of each other and are attracted as all things are and so they bond. Stars form. Incredibly dense matter so compressed that the friction creates heat, igniting gasses, so much matter concentrating in on itself that it can give off heat energy for billions of years. That density also causes things to be drawn to it. Moving bodies, if they're fortunate enough to be traveling at just the right angle can find themselves in a sustained orbit. Not permanent, but until acted upon by an outside force or the force of attraction becomes greater or lesser.
So we know how this planet and all others formed. They formed by bonding with materials as they travel towards the bodies with the greatest densities. We think that happened here as 'Earth' somewhere around 4 billion years ago.
We assume life started as a single cell, again a lucky bonding of elements in motion, and evolved. At first in water, and over the course of billions of years and several extinction events mammals evolved. The first primate we know of is called the purgatorious, to the best of our scientific knowledge and history we evolved into our current homo sapien form from here.
If gods were real, are their origin stories not immediately negated by what we now know of science? Was the earth created in 7 days? Is it Thor that makes lightning with a hammer? Is our planet held aloft in the cosmos on the shoulders of an unfathomably large man? Of course not.
Is magic real? Is there any evidence whatsoever that magic is real? None. Zero. Never has been. But religion demands that it exists, or at least it did exist once upon a long unverifiable time ago.
It is vastly more plausible that humans need an afterlife story to ease the fear of mortality. A beacon to easily follow to stay out of trouble. Far more explainable as a tool of the regional government to police and fleece. A tool so powerful you can convince people to fight, kill, and die for it. Now, because the god spoke to you, you have loyal subjects that will not only protect your castle, they will go out and claim your neighbor's land and resources in the name of saving their souls by exposing them to your region's benevolent god.
It makes more sense that god is the evolution of stories from times of ignorance. It no longer has a place in evolved educated thought. It is my sincere wish that people would consider this before allowing their government to be installed by religious organizations. Organizations clever enough to be funded by loyal subjects with the most valuable resources. Like say, oil. If you control the government that makes the laws, and the resource that garners the most wealth and therefore power is questioned, it is in the interest of the church to make permissive laws to aid the effort in obtaining that resource.
So we squash clean fuel sources in favor of once coal now oil. Why? Money. It's easy to do because the methods of controlling popular thought are centuries old. Introduce doubt on a topic's validity to popular opinion like say, branding it a conspiracy. Say that to a believer and he will dismiss any and all logic presented to them. As many people will dismiss this wall of verifiable text.
Now you go."
DOC3 - More Facts and Questions (Part 3)
Paris Climate Deal
(Whoever was involved wanted to at least appear to want world temperatures to decrease soon: Me, Ob, Ma, Xi, P etc. Trump cancelled it because he does not want world temperatures to decrease soon. He knows the world is burning and is a smart man, so logically, he must want these apocalyptic conditions to continue and even worsen. No country except China is on track.)
Q: Why does Trump and those around him explicitly oppose the logical plan to decrease global temperatures, stop the melting of the ice caps and the devastation being caused?
Q: Why do other leaders who appear to want world temperatres to decrease make decisions that do the opposite?
Iran nuclear Deal
(Whoever was involved wanted Iran to become more powerful on world stage: Merkel, Obama, Macron, Xi, P etc. Trump cancelled it because he does not want Iran - Home of Shia Islam - to become more powerful on the world stage.)
New Pope is decided democratically each time a Pope dies. It is possible to infiltrate.
Last Pope was ex-Nazi Death Camp Soldier, who was involved in the Holocaust.
Is the best private school in the UK. It was established in 1440 by Henry VI and is situated approximately 1,000 metres from Windsor Castle, home to the Royal family.
The Queen Mother, was known to drop by often.
The Provost of Eton School during Boris Johnson's time, was the ex-Private Secretary of The Queen.
Dominated by a specific religion
Dominated by a specific religion
Domination by a specific religion
Dominated by a specific religion
Dominated by a specific religion
Formed in the aftermath of the war in former-Yugoslavia
Bill Clinton instrmental in forming international coalition that stopped the bloodshed and saved many lives, incluuding the poplation which now inhabit Kosovo.
Population dominatin by a specific religion.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY THINGS
Stock markets are at all time highs despite multiple threats to economic stability including war with Iran, trade war with China, Climate change and natural disastors, Brexit, populist protests in HK, France etc.
Traditional Fiat currencies
Western currencies are now worth a fraction of their previous value compared to years past, for example, when USA Dollar was pegged to Gold e.g. 1 dollar was worth 1 oUNce of gold. This is due to decisions by previous Western leaders / central banks to UNpeg their crrencies from gold, plus recent activities like quantitative easing i.e. when central banks just printed more money. They've been constantly dilting the value and legitimacy of their currency and borrowing huge sums on top of that increasing national debt. This will all rebalance at some point and when it does a dollar will be next to worthless.
Bitcoin is a new, unregulated form of currency popular with the criminal nderworld as the beneficial owners cannot be traced. It's creator is unknown. It is a digital currency which relies on the availability of internet access and electricity. you cannot withdraw it physicallyu as you can with cash. Bitcoin spiked hard previously drawing in many inexperienced speculators, who lost a lot of money. Its price has come down significantly since then. The Bitcoin price is known and followed worldwide by millions. If bitcoin owners forget their accoUNt's numeric key, they can never access their fnds again. Bitcoin numeric accoUNt keys can be guessed if a powerful enough computer is used e.g. quantum compter is used. Bitcoin can be slow to access and withdraw money, The speed is related to Usage; more users making transactions, slower it goes. Many people now consider Bitcoin a way to diversify in times of trouble in a similar way to gold, as there are a finite number of bitcoins.
In recent years countries have been repatriating their gold reserves i.e. bringing that physical gold back to their own country. Some countries have been buying gold in recent years; Russia, Germany, Lebanon and some have been selling; UK notably sold the majority of UK's gold reserves at rock bottom prices in the early 2000s.
Rare Earth Minerals
In recent years countries have been seeking to become self-reliant on certain rare earth minerals which are crucial for indstry including USA, EU etc.
When stock markets and western currencies crash, many will rush to bitcoin for 'safety'.
Corbyn kept in power - who voted for him? how many? and why? clear he'd never be voted into power.
Assassination of one man leads to the start of the first world war in which several European nations and America come together to kill each other. Millions of predominantly Christians are left dead. The fighting extends to modern day Turkey and beyond.
World War 1 ends.
1920 (one hundred years ago)
UK and France takes over administration of Palestine, going back on their word to hand over control of Palestine to a now-defnct emirate ally. [Get name of ally, pls treaty name and date]
A meeting of Islamic leaders takes place [Get mroe info]
1924 Sharif of Mecca, HUSAUN, fights brief war with Ibn Saud's Wahhabis and Kingdom of Sa'ud is established.
The Great Depression
The Nazi party is created and Adolf Hitler placed at the apex of this organisation. It pushes an odious, white-spremacist, anti-semetic doctrine. Using all manner of subversion, intimidation, violence, disinformation and propaganda, they scale German politics in the wake of economic hardship brought about by the great depression and scape-goat Jews for Germany's problems.
Adolf Hitler democratically elected to power in Germany amidst backdrop of economic hardship and begins to cause great consternation in the capitals of Europe.
UK and France have signed defence pact with Poland to come to their aid in the event of an invasion.
Neville Chamberlain, UK's then Prime Minister, is wary of UK's relative weakness compared to Germany and takes an appeasement line to buy more time. Returns from meeting Adolf Hitler in Berlin. He says he has reached agreement with them. Peace in our time.
Adolf Hitler invades Poland.
UK and France go to war with Germany 1939.
Neville Chamberlain resigns as PM.
Winston Churchill elected PM.
Millions of European Jews are systematically rounded up and murdered.
Winston Churchill finally manages to bring Americans into war.
Sauds support the allies and create strong and deep ties with the Americans.
Winston Churchill avoids assassination attempt when nexpectedly called to attend secret allies meeting in North Africa.
1945 - Allies win war.
1949 - State of Israel created from British Administered Palestine and Jews Return from across the world.
Commonwealth commnities brought to rebuild Britain, inclsing some from a particularly devout region of Pakistan. [When? Who?]
"I know you are in there. I will wait."
This happened while I was in college, 5 years ago. I was transfer student and was 21 at the time. I was set up to be living in a building that was for students 21 or older and moved in a week and a half before classes began. This school was in northern Michigan so when I first arrived, campus was dead. I mostly kept to myself, but was friendly with the few people in my building. Namely, one guy named Kalil, an exchange student from Lebanon. He seemed nice enough, though there was a distinct language barrier, so things were easily lost in translation. Our RD and RA (resident director, resident assistant) made everyone who had moved in have a meeting to go over basic rules and whatnot. At the end of the meeting as I’m leaving the rec room, Kalil suddenly puts his arm up on the wall in front of me, almost clotheslining me. Caught off guard, I am peeved and creeped at this aggressive move. He begins explaining that he would like to be my friend, and would like to go out for dinner to get to know me.
He worded it oddly, so I wasn't sure if it was a date or just a friendly invitation, but I attributed it to his bad english. Like an imbecile, I felt cornered physically and socially. I am awful with confrontation, and can be too nice, so I agreed. He meant right then, and there however, and says “I will get us taxi and we go now.”
My introverted side was upset that my night of drinking and unpacking in solitude was disrupted, so I was not excited. If only I knew listening to that inner introvert would have saved me from an unsettling experience.
10 minutes later, we are getting into this taxi and as I am entering, I feel this sense of dread. I think...“I barely know this guy, and Hudsons (the restaurant) is a couple miles away and will be stranded out there with this stranger if it gets weird”.
As we drive, my guard raises higher and higher. He wants to know EVERYTHING about me, and is throwing questions rapid fire. My age, dating history, physical preferences in men, religion, family, everything. I am thinking...fuck, this is going to be SO awkward, and wanted the night to be over before we even get to the restaurant. At the restaurant we both look at the menu for a bit- the waiter comes and takes my order (salad- small and quick to eat) and then the waiter asks what Kalil wants. He says “Oh no, I am not hungry. I just want to watch her eat”
What. The. Fuck. Why would you ask me for dinner if you weren't hungry, and why the hell do you just want to watch me eat? I was horrified. All my family was in the lower peninsula of Michigan, 8 hours away. I had no friends up here, the only local numbers I had were of my RA and RD.
I speed eat my salad, as Kalil watches me, now talking about himself. He tells me about how he has anger problems and is looking for a woman to help calm him, but still be a submissive traditional wife. I am trying to hide the horror and uneasiness as I nod and eat. He continues explaining how he was known for his temper back home, and how his brothers have stopped him from doing awful things. At this point, red flags blinding my vision- it’s time to end this. I finish my food, and tell him to get a taxi back to campus. I intentionally sat in the front of the taxi- I wasn’t allowing the possibility of physical contact.
When we get to campus, we get in the building and I say a quick thank you and haul ass back to my room. Door locked, I get into my sweats and try chalk it up to a weird experience and vow to avoid Kalil from then on. Around 12:30am, I hear knock on my door. I was watching netflix, and took out my earbuds to make sure I was hearing right. The knocking continues. Not a courteous “knock knock knock”, but a closed fist pounding.
I am petrified and making as little noise as possible, get to the door and look out the peephole. I see Kalil. My room was at the very end of a long hallway, all rooms around me empty at this point, with a door outside of my room leading to a parking lot surrounded by woods. Knowing how isolated I was, I slink away from the door, making zero noise just waiting for the knocking to stop. About a minute later, it stops. He growls “I know you are in there, I will wait”. My eyes widened in horror. I felt a mixture of rage and panic, but decided that confronting him then wouldn’t be smart. So I quietly watch netflix until I fall asleep. I have no idea how long he waited out there.
The next morning, when I finally emerge from my room I find a couple of pages taped to my door. Oh god. 3 handwritten pages from Kalil, explaining his feelings for me and his intentions of making me his wife.
I went straight to my RA, and explained everything that happened. She agreed to meet with Kalil herself, to explain to him how inappropriate he was being, and to tell him to leave me alone. He didn’t. Notes kept coming, he came to my door dozens of times a day, and I became pretty much trapped in my room hiding from this psycho.
It lasted for 8 days- but classes began, and Kalil disappeared. I was told he dropped out, and moved back to Lebanon. I found it eerie how he just...vanished. Had he come here solely to find a wife? I’ll never know, but Kalil- lets not meet, ever again.
Tech Tree Tuesday: Emile Bertin
On 18 August 1931, the Light Cruiser Emile Bertin was laid down. It was designed as a large Destroyer Flotilla Leader and Minelayer.
The design was extremely large by destroyer flotilla leader standards, but arguably very small by light cruiser standards. Fun fact: this was the first ship in the Marine Nationale fleet to utilize triple turrets!
On 9 May 1933, Emile Bertin was launched, and was commissioned after trials on 28 January 1935. During speed trials, the Emile Bertin achieved an incredible 40 knots top speed.
Between her commission date, and the start of France's involvement in World War II, the Emile Bertin served as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla which included Le Fantasque and Vauquelin class destroyers. After the break out of World War II, she was stationed at Toulon.
What is historically noteworthy about Emile Bertin?
Well, on 23 September 1939, the Emile Bertin landed in port at Lebanon, was secretly loaded with the Polish State Gold reserves (57 tons of gold), and left back to Toulon to transfer the reserves before the Germans could seize them.
In April 1940, she was reassigned as the flagship of group Z. This was the Marine Nationale Taskforce assigned to Norwegian support. Admiral Edmond Derrien was her commanding officer during this campaign.
From 10 May 1940 until the French Armistice, she made 2 runs from Brest to Halifax, Nova Scotia carrying gold from the Bank of France. The armistice was signed as she docked on the second trip, and the Emile Bertin was redirected by the admiralty to Fort-de-France, Martinique to relocate the gold.
After she unloaded at Fort-de-France, Martinique, the Emile Bertin was docked in Martinique until 16 May 1942, when the Vichy French regime ordered the ship mobilized in case of threat from the United States.
In June 1943, the Emile Bertin joined allied forces under French colors, and underwent refit for modernization in the Philadelphia Naval Yard.
After her refit, the Emile Bertin patrolled the Mediterranean until she was ordered to assist in Operation Dragoon to invade southern France in 1944. She also participated in the shore bombardment of Italy in 1944.
The Emile Bertin underwent her final refit at Toulon until October 1945. After the last refit, the Emile Bertin was made flagship of the Marine Nationale Indochina fleet until 2 July 1946 when she returned to France with the cruiser Tourville.
Her last station was a gunnery training vessel until decommission in October 1959.
Emile Bertin plays very much like a hybrid between a light cruiser and a destroyer flotilla leader. The 152mm guns can be quite devastating, especially when paired with IFHE. The Emile actually tends to be able to withstand uptiering relatively well because the 40 knot top speed makes her very difficult to hit for other ships. The torpedoes are strong for tier 5, and it is honestly my favorite tier 5 cruiser. If you enjoy Russian gunboat DDs, or a hit and run playstyle, this ship is very much worth consideration!
Unusual Incidents Report #57 - The Karashkafan Incident (Part 1)
However, in regard to this interview with a Mr. Pashinyan, I found myself unable to do this.
Before we begun the process of interviewing Mr. Pashinyan, I was keenly aware of the fact that he worked closely with my grandfather. His death and the death of my uncle was something that shook my father to the core; and after supposedly learning the circumstances of how this unfurled, was never the same man since. It is knowledge that I, as his legacy, would be better off not knowing.
In short, I personally want absolutely nothing to do with this case.
However, I did not dedicate my life to the pursuit of the unknown just to let my emotional connections cloud my progress. So, in light of the situation, my colleague Dr. Brindley has opted to interview Mr. Pashinyan in the place of me.
Read the following interview with caution; I sincerely hope you come out of it unscathed.
Doctor Brian Huxley.
22nd of May, 1948.
UNUSUAL INCIDENTS REPORT (U.I.R) CASE NUMBER 57:
Interviewer: Doctor George Brindley
Interviewee: Mister Narek Pashinyan
Interview date: 21st of May, 1948
[Both men take their seats in the interview room.]
PASHINYAN: [Chuckles] Barev, Inch’pes yes?
BRINDLEY: Lavem. I’m afraid that’s the extent of my Armenian, Mr. Pashinyan.
PASHINYAN: That’s quite alright, I have lived in London for the past 20 years, my body may have aged, but not my tongue!
BRINDLEY: That’s good to hear. How old are you exactly if you don’t mind me asking? It’s just for the record.
PASHINYAN: I was born on the 12th of June, 1858.
BRINDLEY: And that would make you-
PASHINYAN: [Chuckles] Yes, 89. Don’t remind me.
BRINDLEY: And you were born in Gyumri, Armenia. Is that correct?
PASHINYAN: That is correct, yes.
BRINDLEY: Now Mr. Pashinyan, I’m not sure if you’re aware but in our profession, this case is somewhat of a legend. However for our team it is a rather… Sensitive topic, especially in regards to my colleague and friend, Brian Huxley.
PASHINYAN: I met Brian, yes. He’s a good man. I also am aware of the… Attention this case has garnered.
BRINDLEY: Of course the only other person who knew anything about this case was Brian’s father, but…
PASHINYAN: I am aware of Arthur Huxley’s condition.
BRINDLEY: Were you aware that he committed suicide two months ago?
PASHINYAN: No… I was not.
BRINDLEY: Well, Brian believes that his father’s condition and suicide both link back to this case, and of course by the end of this interview I will hopefully discern whether that’s true or not. Because of his emotional connection to the case and the mysterious set of circumstances surrounding his father, he has opted to stay out of this case entirely. However, I’m getting off topic. I just wanted to clear up some questions before we begin this interview properly.
PASHINYAN: Of course.
BRINDLEY: I only have a few questions; the first of which being that Arthur Huxley was the only other person who had any knowledge about the events that happened in Karashkafan in 1885. As the only known surviving person related to the incident, do you have any knowledge on how Arthur gained this information?
PASHINYAN: No, I do not.
BRINDLEY: Okay, next question; you are the only surviving member of the incident, but this has only become common knowledge in recent months. Everyone thought you died during the battle of Marash. Firstly, why fake your death? And secondly, why only now are you coming forward to discuss the details of this case?
PASHINYAN: The Armenian genocide took a lot from us as a people; our land, our culture, our future. For me personally, it presented an opportunity. I was in Marash when the Ottomans marched on the people of Armenia during World War 1. A defected soldier from the Ottoman empire, a soldier by the name of Avedis Seferian, returned to Marash to fight for his people. He is the reason any Armenians at all from Marash are still alive; including me.
Even though I was in my late fifties, I was still capable of holding a rifle; so, I aided his revolt. There, whilst we were caught in a crossfire between French and Ottoman artillery, the house we were in collapsed. I lost them in the chaos. Shortly after, I am lead to believe that Avedis battled his way out of Marash, and they believed I had perished in the shelling. I chose to take that anonymity as a gift, and on that day, I died.
BRINDLEY: But… Why?
PASHINYAN: The case you speak of has haunted me. Every time I close my eyes, I’m back in Karashkafan. I see the faces of my allies. Alexander Huxley, Levon Agajanian, Andrew Black… I knew I should have said something. I should have told someone what had happened, but I couldn’t. As the case gained infamy, I was constantly questioned by many similar to you. I am not angry at them; they were just people seeking answers, but I was too selfish to give them; too scared to relive my past.
BRINDLEY: I see. That’s how any normal person would have reacted, you want to shut out bad memories and move on. I see it in veterans all the time. Why have you chosen to only now come forth about what happened in Karashkafan?
PASHINYAN: It is no lie that I am getting older. I am a relic of a world that has passed. Not long ago, I was diagnosed with Senile Dementia. Soon, I will forget everything that I am, was, and ever will be. The coming years will be my final opportunity to share exactly what happened, and it is what I plan to do.
BRINDLEY: That’s very noble of you.
PASHINYAN: I disagree, if I had any shred of respect for the brave men who sacrificed… Much more than their lives during the Karashkafan incident, I would have told my story years ago.
BRINDLEY: Well, Mr. Pashinyan, you now have the opportunity to correct those wrongs.
[A silence of roughly 7 seconds ensues]
BRINDLEY: Would you like a cigarette?
PASHINYAN: Thank Christ; I thought you’d never ask.
[both men laugh as they light their cigarettes]
BRINDLEY: So, for you, where does the story start?
PASHINYAN: It starts in early 1885, with reassignment to a small village called Karashkafan. The Ottoman empire had no such thing as an ‘unusual incidents unit’, but my comrades and I were the closest it came to. We didn’t wear the typical bright blue uniforms and red hats that the rest of the soldiers wore; our uniforms were a dark green, covered in satchels and rags, obscuring our figure. This sort of uniform is very common now, but back then, this was unheard of. We represented a very strange juxtaposition from the archaic nature of the Ottoman Empire. Essentially, we were ghosts; out of sight, out of mind. My comrades and I took care of problems the Sultan wanted handled discretely. I was second in command of our unit.
BRINDLEY: This is… Unbelievable. Camouflage Ottoman uniforms in 1885? Who was your commanding officer?
PASHINYAN: Captain Agajanian was the leader of our contingent, I never knew the name of our commanding officer. We never even officially had a name, nor did we officially exist in any capacity that I’m aware of. The captain was a leader of a contingent of 7 men. Only the Sultan and few officials knew that we, for certain, existed. For everyone else; it was speculation. We became known as the Karakoncolos; the Boogeymen. Not only this, but we possessed technology far superior than what was typically given to the average Ottoman soldier.
BRINDLEY: Such as?
PASHINYAN: Our rifles were semi – automatic; prototypes of prototypes. The model and make of such guns I have never seen since. I am not aware of how the Sultan came into possession of these guns; as to whether they were invented by Ottoman engineers or whether they were taken from some other place.
BRINDLEY: Who was on the team that went to Karashkafan?
PASHINYAN: Captain Agajanian and I, along with maybe 21 other soldiers. Among those selected were mostly Armenian or had some grasp of the Armenian language.
BRINDLEY: 21 soldiers? I thought you said that the Karakoncolos were a small group.
PASHINYAN: Karashkafan was the only time I can recall where more than 7 Karakoncolos were all in the same place on a mission. In 1885, I would dare say there were close to 300 Karakoncolos. None of which ever spoke a word about their time served in the group.
BRINDLEY: Jesus… So, you must have spent most of your life in secrecy.
PASHINYAN: I was loyal to the Sultan and the people of the Empire.
BRINDLEY: Did that change when-
PASHINYAN: When Enver Pasha and the Young Turks slaughtered my countrymen? Yes.
BRINDLEY: [Clears throat] I see. Who were some other notable members of your unit?
PASHINYAN: Well, there was Agajanian of course, then there was Azhdahak; the dragon. Not an overly large man but had a reputation that made him feared even among the Karakoncolos. He was a quiet man, and was the best shot out of anyone in our contingent.
BRINDLEY: Azh – da -hak.. Really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Who else was there?
PASHINYAN: There was also Aghmkot; the loudmouth. His nickname means noisy in Armenian. Not a very good quality to have whilst apart of the Karakoncolos. He had the least amount of kills out of us all, but was very boastful.
BRINDLEY: He sounds like a wanker.
PASHINYAN: He always had a smile on his face, always laughing. It was something we needed. I look back on him fondly.
BRINDLEY: Was there anyone else?
PASHINYAN: The four of us were the only real permanent members. We had a fifth named Ara, but he sadly passed away during the Egyptian conflict with the British. Since he died, the other three vacant spots were on a constant rotation.
BRINDLEY: Constant rotation?
BRINDLEY: Why would that be? Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to have one squad work together instead of rotating them?
PASHINYAN: That wasn’t what I meant by rotation.
BRINDLEY: …Oh… So the other three spots-
PASHINYAN: Were filled by people who did not live very long.
BRINDLEY: Oh… I see.
PASHINYAN: Moving on.
BRINDLEY: Oh! Yes, of course, sorry. So, what were you told about the situation in Karashkafan?
PASHINYAN: Agajanian usually relayed our orders from the leader of the Karakoncolos, but our orders came from the Sultan himself that time. They were nondescript; which was always a bad sign.
BRINDLEY: Why’s that?
PASHINYAN: There are only two reasons our orders would be vague; the first is because they simply didn’t know enough about the situation to inform us properly, and the second is…
BRINDLEY: Because they didn’t want you to know what you were getting into.
PASHINYAN: In a fashion, yes. At the time I couldn’t fathom it being the second option; we were the most feared soldiers in the entire Empire… What could they possibly be hiding that could even scare us?
BRINDLEY: If they were going to send you there anyways, why would they abstain that information from you? Were you allowed to reject missions?
PASHINYAN: We were soldiers; back then, rejecting a mission… You did what your commanders said, and that was that. Anything else would make you a traitor. The Karakoncolos were no exception; you always will have deserters, but it was rare.
BRINDLEY: So, what did the mission brief say?
PASHINYAN: Disappearing children. Each full moon, a child would go missing. Simple enough, right?
BRINDLEY: So it was a missing persons case? Why call in the Boogeymen for that?
PASHINYAN: That’s exactly what I thought, but I kept reading. The rate of children disappearing from the town increased with every full moon. Our attention was finally called because... [PASHINYAN clears throat] Sorry, excuse me.
BRINDLEY: It's quite alright; take your time.
PASHINYAN: We were called in because a woman in the village had been murdered on the previous full moon. She was... Heavily pregnant. Her torso was almost ripped in two, with the baby cut from her womb.
PASHINYAN: Barbaric; I know. What kind of person would do something like that? The only other detail mentioned was that the marauders would come from the direction of Lake Ariman, which was maybe a kilometre away from the village.
[BRINDLEY pulls out a map of Karashkafan]
BRINDLEY: So where did the report say the assailants were coming from?
PASHINYAN: [Pointing towards the lake] from the East, across the lake. It’s very strange, because Lake Ariman is almost in a crescent shape surrounding Karashkafan. I remember thinking to myself; why come by boat over Lake Ariman when you could sneak in from the forest to the west of the town? Very confusing. The whole thing didn’t add up.
BRINDLEY: This still doesn’t sound like it would require the attention of you and your colleagues.
PASHINYAN: I agree, I remember speaking to Agajanian, asking why our time was being wasted.
BRINDLEY: And what did he say?
PASHINYAN: ‘It is not our place to question the orders of the Sultan’. This struck me as strange. Captain Agajanian complained just as much as any of us about our assignments; he was our brother more than our leader. That sort of… Automated response… Was very odd. He didn’t even look at me, or any of us. Whenever we asked him any questions, just the same response; ‘It is not our place to question the orders of the Sultan’.
BRINDLEY: Fascinating. Now, this is the part that we know. You and your associates reached Karashkafan on the 14th of March 1885.
PASHINYAN: Yes; 7 days before the full moon.
BRINDLEY: And by the 17th of June…
PASHINYAN: There weren’t many of us left.
BRINDLEY: [Clears his throat] yes. So, what happened when you arrived in Karashkafan?
PASHINYAN: It was before midday, and it just looked like a normal Armenian village. Surrounded by lush green mountains, with sparkling Lake Ariman curling around half the town about a kilometre out, with the rest of the town backing onto a forest. We came through on a trail from that forest by carriage. Karashkafan was nondescript. Beautiful views, but the town itself was muddy. No roads of course, just a churned-up path of hoof prints and mud leading from one place to the next. It was very strange; the town had always been in love with Lake Ariman, however there was not a boat to be seen on the lake.
BRINDLEY: Did anything seem off at all?
PASHINYAN: Not really. Every set of eyes didn’t have a soul behind it; it was like they had given up on life itself. This of course was to be expected, as the marauders from across the lake were stealing their children and had maimed a woman. How else would you feel other than powerless? I remember Loudmouth spouting off his usual nonsense as Agajanian talked to the leader of the town. A small girl whose little brother was taken on the last moon, was pointed out to us by the town leader, and Loudmouth went up to her. He said something to the effect of ‘don’t worry, we’ll get your brother back’.
BRINDLEY: And what did she say? Did the girl seem relieved?
PASHINYAN: She looked Loudmouth in the eyes and said; ‘No you won’t.’ and slowly walked away. We should have taken that as a warning as what was to come. We asked around the village as to what people saw, physical descriptions, all the usual stuff.
BRINDLEY: What were the results of that?
PASHINYAN: The same vague descriptions that had been given to us in the assignment descriptions. Some of the townsfolk believed the assailants were Alks.
BRINDLEY: Alks? What’s an Alk?
PASHINYAN: Armenians are a superstitious people. On the carriage ride to Karashkafan, Loudmouth actually was the first to say that the situation sounded familiar, and that the people will probably think that Alks were responsible. They are tall, wiry creatures who wear horned clay masks and appear from the nearest body of water; they interfere with all things related to childbirth.
BRINDLEY: What do you mean interfere?
PASHINYAN: They cause miscarriages, steal children, even rip women open and take their unborn kids. They put the children in woven baskets that they carry and go back to whatever body of water they came from. Superstition says that if they injure a woman; the only way for the woman to survive is if the Alk is killed before it returns to the water.
BRINDLEY: That’s disturbing…
PASHINYAN: I remember my mother telling me about them as a child, the thought of being thrown in that basket and being dragged into the depths of the nearby river absolutely terrified me.
BRINDLEY: So, the people of Karashkafan thought their young were being taken by Alks?
BRINDLEY: What did you do in preparation of the full moon?
PASHINYAN: In the 7 days before the full moon, we established patrol routes in all parts of the village, which was quite easy, as it was small. We took those patrols in shifts, so we could sleep. On the eve of the full moon, we set up full blockades in the direction of lake Ariman.
BRINDLEY: So, you would say you were prepared?
PASHINYAN: In a fashion. I regret… Not taking the situation seriously. We thought it was just a missing persons case; the time before the first moon was more like a holiday than an assignment. I remember sitting around a fire with Loudmouth and Dragon. Loudmouth had a substantial amount to drink and was running his mouth. He was saying something stupid; about how this was the easiest assignment we’d ever had and that he was going to drink himself into a coma by the end of it. Dragon was different; he was cold and calculating. He wasn’t the talkative type, but this level of silence was unusual even for him. When Loudmouth drunkenly got up to go urinate, Dragon turned to me.
‘Something doesn’t add up,’ He told me.
‘What do you mean? Loudmouth seems to be having a good time,’ I chuckled.
‘The Captain has spoken maybe a handful of words since we’ve arrived, incredibly vague orders from the Sultan himself, and the sheer terror on these villager’s faces? Something isn’t right.’
‘My friend, think of everything we’ve been through. Do you remember Egypt?’
‘Yes… That was… Messy.’
‘Do you remember what we all said to each other? After Ara died?’
‘We would look out for each other; and that we would do everything we could to make sure our fellow brothers would live to see the end of their service… Even Loudmouth.’
We both laughed, ‘Even Loudmouth.’
Our exchange was interrupted by some noises in the bush. We both nodded to each other and Dragon raised his rifle whilst I moved closer to see what it was. It was Loudmouth; loudly snoring and face down in the dirt. We both laughed and helped him back to where we were staying.
BRINDLEY: [Laughing] Your friends certainly were characters.
PASHINYAN: Yes, they were.
BRINDLEY: Now, this is where the known details get fuzzy. We both know the answer to this, but I just want it down for the record.
PASHINYAN: Of course, proceed.
BRINDLEY: The assailants who came from across the lake, were they men?
[Pashinyan pauses momentarily, before leaning forward in his seat]
PASHINYAN: Those things were not men. Nor were they women or children.
[PASHINYAN leans back in his seat]
BRINDLEY: I suspected as much. I can understand if you’d like to have a rest before we discuss the details of March 21st, it must be a painful memory to relive.
PASHINYAN: Yes, thank you.
BRINDLEY: We’ll continue in half an hour.
[Thirty minutes pass before both men re enter the room. PASHINYAN has a bottle of Arak in his hand]
BRINDLEY: Is it really that bad?
PASHINYAN: You have no idea. Would you like some?
BRINDLEY: No thank you, but I’m going to have a cigarette, would you like one?
PASHINYAN: Yes please.
[BRINDLEY gives PASHINYAN a cigarette whilst he pours a glass of Arak]
BRINDLEY: Arak is an interesting drink of choice, I haven’t found anywhere in London that sells it.
PASHINYAN: I acquired a taste for it when I lived for a short time in Lebanon, beautiful flavours.
BRINDLEY: Back to the topic at hand…
PASHINYAN: The day of the full moon started like the others. Captain Agajanian hounding a hungover Loudmouth, whilst Dragon and I oversaw the rest of the soldiers until the Captain was done. We took the day quite seriously; even Loudmouth settled down on his drinking and antics. As the sun started to melt below the mountains and the sky turned a resilient orange, I saw Dragon looking over the main street of the town. I asked him what was wrong, and he just told me to listen.
Listen to what, I asked both him and myself… But that’s when I realised what he was trying to show me.
There was not a single sound. None. Not a single noise coming from the forest, nor any birds. All of the people were cowering in their houses, with all of the windows and entrances boarded up. Something much more ominous than some marauders was coming, we could all feel it. The stench of fear was heavy in the air, even Loudmouth looked uneasy. It was about 6pm, when the final remnants of the sun were lowering below the mountains.
BRINDLEY: When did you first see them…Them?
PASHINYAN: It was around 7. The moon was fully out, and there was no sign of activity whatsoever. Dragon, Captain Agajanian and I were all just sitting around at our campsite.
BRINDLEY: Where was Loudmouth?
PASHINYAN: The Captain had sent him out to patrol with some of our other squad mates. It was meant to be a punishment for what he did earlier. Soon enough, his patrol circled back to us, and we were poking fun at him. He was about halfway down the main road of the village when we heard the scream.
BRINDLEY: The scream?
PASHINYAN: Of a little girl. Shortly after, we heard Loudmouth yell. By the time we got to where they were, it had taken the girl.
BRINDLEY: What took the girl?
BRINDLEY: It’s okay, take your time.
PASHINYAN: Loudmouth was 6’4, and it made him look like a child. It must have at least been 8ft tall. Eight. Feet. It had a woven basket on its back. It had a little girl in its clutches, still screaming her lungs out. Her screaming hurt our ear drums, ‘Mummy! Daddy! Please don’t let it take me! Please!’, repeatedly. Pleading for her parents. The creature’s arms cracked and bent backwards unnaturally and put the girl in its woven basket. We could still hear the muffled screams of the girl from inside the basket.
BRINDLEY: Jesus Christ… If you feel okay, can you give me a description of the creature?
PASHINYAN: Tall and wiry. Its arms were almost long enough to drag on the ground, whilst being no thicker than a man’s wrist. It had long, matted grey hair, and a dull red clay mask on its face with two yellow tusks protruding out the bottom part of the mask. Because of the bright light produced from its eyes, it was impossible to see its pupils.
BRINDLEY: What did you do next?
PASHINYAN: Loudmouth and the two soldiers with him raised their guns up and fired into the beast. It backhanded loudmouth and sent him flying about 5ft, whilst the other two soldiers moved back. We were running up to help them when we heard a scream from what must have been the other side of town; the sound of gunshots echoed all around me. It was like a warzone. Dragon, the Captain and I moved toward the original beast we saw. It had one of the three soldiers in its arms…
BRINDLEY: Oh God…
PASHINYAN: It had grabbed one of his arms and one of his legs and begun to pull. His grunts of discomfort turned into wails of agony. I can still hear the cracking of his spine. The beast ripped him in two and threw him to the ground. An explosion of entrails covered Loudmouth, who was still struggling to get back on his feet. As the beast reached for the second soldier, we opened fire on it.
BRINDLEY: Did the bullets affect the beast?
PASHINYAN: They may as well have been snow balls, until Dragon placed a shot on the mask. The mask cracked slightly, and the beast staggered back in agony. It set its sights on Dragon, pushing the other soldier to the ground and started doing this strange… Speed walk on all fours towards us.
BRINDLEY: Can you describe this walk?
PASHINYAN: Do you remember, as a child, how you would climb up stairs on all fours? It was sort of like that, except on even ground, with longer arms.
BRINDLEY: That sounds mortifying, what happened next?
PASHINYAN: It charged at Dragon, we were doing our best to fire at its mask but it moved too quickly to get a clear shot. We all were about to run for our lives when Loudmouth jumped on the creature from behind, attempting to choke it with his rifle. The creature fell on him and he wrestled with it on the ground. We were about to help him when the other soldier who was with him yelled something; I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something to the affect of, ‘Jesus Christ, they’re everywhere!’. That’s when we saw two other soldiers running from the direction of the lake towards us. Them and the one remaining soldier that was with Loudmouth started to rush over to us, when we saw two arms of a beast reach out from under one of the houses and grabbed the two soldiers and pulled them underneath the house. The remaining soldier, his name was Tigran I think, tried to line up a shot at the beast Loudmouth was wrestling with. That was when Loudmouth managed to get on top of it and rip its mask off.
BRINDLEY: What happened?
PASHINYAN: A high pitched scream from Loudmouth, and a blinding beam of yellow light from the beast’s face. The beast smashed him against a house and put its mask back on before jumping over the house, leaving us all with no other sounds but the screams of the soldiers around us. Tigran and I tended to the unconscious Loudmouth, whilst Dragon and the Captain had his gun raised. He told Tigran and I to find a place to hide, and make sure us and Loudmouth were safe. Him and Dragon were going to join whatever fight was still taking place and make sure, if possible, that at least someone survived until morning.
BRINDLEY: Why didn’t he want you to come with him? Why wouldn’t he want the extra firepower?
PASHINYAN: He said that it didn’t matter if he had one extra soldier or fifty; the result would still be the same. If he or Dragon were to die, which was a very likely scenario, at least someone would need to survive to spread word of the… Incident… That took place. If not that, lead any surviving soldiers that were left.
BRINDLEY: So, where did you hide?
PASHINYAN: That night, we hid in the muck underneath the house Loudmouth was propped up against. Tigran and I pushed him in, and we all covered ourselves in muck and manure in hopes that those… Things wouldn’t see us. The gunshots and screams over the course of the next hour died down. We had no idea if that was because the Captain managed to complete his task, or if they were all slaughtered. Tigran kept muttering to me; he kept saying that we should go out and check. I told him absolutely not; not even because I was his superior and we were following orders, it was because I was scared. Covered in shit, absolutely freezing under that house, I didn’t want to be left alone. Shortly after that, we saw a pair of gnarled hooves walk past the house we were under.
Tigran and I held our breath, and it kept moving. Occasionally over the course of the night, we heard the occasional scream. I wasn’t sure if it were from the soldiers or the villagers, but those creatures were looking for something; I was sure of that.
BRINDLEY: This must have… Been traumatic.
PASHINYAN: Every time I close my eyes, Dr. Brindley, I’m back there. The second that they shut once I sleep, I’m there again, next to Tigran and Loudmouth. I still see those hooves that stopped in front of the house for a split second, before moving on.
PASHINYAN: May we please take a break?
BRINDLEY: Of course. I think this will conclude our interview for today actually, Mr. Pashinyan.
PASHINYAN: Thank Christ.
[PASHINYAN lets out a hollow chuckle, and exits the room]
Dolores, once you go over this manuscript, please get into contact with Brian. I know he said he didn't want anything to do with this case, but I believe this requires more attention than we initially anticipated. When you see him next, please ask him that I would like to conduct a few more interviews with Mr. Pashinyan.
That's all, thank you.
EDIT: Sorry for spelling errors guys, i'll try to fix them up in subsequent edits
ontological has been created
By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D. LECTURE XXXIV. THE FALL OF SAMARIA. THE external glory of Israel was raised to its highest pitch by Jeroboam the Second; but its internal condi- tion already indicated its approaching dissolution. On that condition a sudden light is thrown from a new quarter. We have at last reached the point where the Prophetical spirit began to express itself, not only in action and speech, but in writing. It was in the king- dom of Judah that this development took place in its greatest force; but it took its rise in the kingdom of Is- rael, in which, so long as it lasted, the Prophets found their chief home and their chief mission. Amos and Hosea, both belong, by birth or by their sphere of action, to the northern kingdom. Some few glimpses, too, into the state of Israel are afforded by the great Isaiah, now just appearing as a young man in the neigh- boring kingdom of Judah. It is from these several prophetic documents that we arrive at a knowledge of the state of society in Israel, such as we have not obtained of any period since the time of David. Their whole tone is so true to nature, so descriptive of the sins of actual States and Churches, that when the preacher, who of all perhaps in modern times has most nearly resembled an ancient Prophet, wished to denounce the sins of Florence, he used the Prophets of this period as his textbook. Savonarola's sermons on Amos are almost like Amos himself come to life again. The foreign civilization of the house of Omri——the long depravation of the public worship from the time of Jeroboam the First——had produced their natural effect amongst the higher classes of society. One of the most widely spread vices was drunkenness in its most revolting forms. "Wine and new wine take "away the heart." "In the day of our King the "Princes have made him sick with skins of wine." This was the canker in the beauty of the most glorious scene in Palestine,——the luxuriant vale of Shechem, and the green hill of Samaria. The gross intoxication of the Israelite nobles and priests almost resembles that which unhappily prevailed amongst the English aris- tocracy and clergy in the last century. It extended even to the most sacred functionaries: "They have erred "through wine, and through strong drink are gone out "of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred "through strong drink, they are swallowed up by wine, "they are out of the way through strong drink; they "err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment, so that there is "no place clean." Even the monastic Nazarites were either required or forced against their vow to drink the forbidden wine. Great ladies, who are compared to the fat cows or heifers of Bashan, that feed on the rich mountain of Samaria, say to their lords, "Bring, and let "us drink." Out of this terrible vice sprang a brood of other yet more desolating sins,——licentiousness in all its forms, oppression of the poor, self-indulgent luxury, robbery and murder. To the eye of the Prophet "these it was, and nothing else, which he saw, "wherever he looked, whatever he heard,——swearing, "lying, killing, stealing, adultery," one stream of blood meeting another, "till they joined in one wide inun- "dation." Many of the details are preserved to us. Innocent debtors were bought and sold as slaves, even for the sake of possessing a pair of costly sandals. The very dust which they threw on their heads as a sign of mourning was grudged to them. The large cloaks which were their only wrappers were used for the couches of the hard-hearted creditors. Strict as was still the profession of religion,——holy days, offerings, tithes, sabbaths faithfully observed——Priests, Prophets, Naza- rites highly honored——sacred ephod and image duly reverenced,——yet even in the very Temple of Bethel the luxurious, listless revelry was carried on; pilgrims coming to the sacred places at Mizpeh and Gilead be- yond the Jordan, or to Tabor and Shechem, in the heart of the kingdom, were attacked by bands of robbers, often headed by the Priests themselves. Even the "Jewish" craft, as we deem it in modern times, appeared in the readiness with which religious festivals were pressed into the service of hard bargains. The calf was still wor- shipped, as the sign of the True God, at Dan and Bethel, but the darker idolatries of Phœnicia, author- ized there also under Ahab, had been never entirely uprooted. The Temple of Ashtaroth still remained in Samaria. Baal was a familiar name throughout the country. Licentious rites were practiced in the groves and on the hill-tops. The ancient sanctuary at Gilgal was at once a seat of constant pilgrimage, surrounded by altars, and yet also a centre of wide-spread heathen abominations. As the rise of the house of Jehu had been ushered in by Prophetic voices, so was its doom. As in the struggles of the earlier Jeroboam, so in the splendor of the second Jeroboam, a Prophet from Judah came to denounce the crimes of Israel. He was of no Prophetic school, with no regular Prophetic gifts,—— one of the shepherds who frequented the wild uplands near Tekoa, and who combined with his pastoral life the care of the sycamores in the neighboring gardens. He was, as has been well said, "a "child of nature." The imagery of his visions is full of his country life, whether in Judea or Ephraim. The locusts in the royal meadows, the baskets of fruit, vine- yards and fig-trees, the herds of cows rushing heed- lessly along the hills of Samaria, the shepherds fight- ing with the lions for their prey, the lion and the bear, the heavy-laden wagon, the sifting of corn,——these are his figures. He was not a poet, so much as an orator. His addresses are poetical, not fro rhythm, but from the sheer force and pathos of his diction. He appears on the hills of Samaria to denounce the luxu- rious nobles. He appears in the very sanctuary of Bethel, like Iddo, to predict the violent death of the royal house, if not of the King,——the fall of the king- dom, the fall of the sacred altar. It was not now, as formerly, the King who confronted the Prophet. It was the chief priest Amaziah, who sent to the King to inform him of the new-comer, and himself warned him off the sacred royal precincts. He was living there with his wife, his sons and his daughters, and on them Amos turned the curse which he had before called down on the nation. Such an apparition may well have roused the anger and the alarm of the easy revellers "who put far away the evil day." "The "land could not bear those piercing moral invec- tives——that cry then first uttered, a hundred times repeated since, "Prepare to meet thy God." Whether or not we attach any credence to the tradition, that he was beaten and wounded by the indignant hierarchy of Bethel, and carried back half-dead to his native place, it is the fate which such a rough plain-spoken preacher would naturally invite, and it would almost seem as if faint allusions to it transpire in more than one place in the New Testament. Well had he said, in the bitterness of his heart, "The prudent shall keep "silence in that time, for it is an evil time." The calamities which Amos described or invoked, gathered faster over the devoted kingdom. The great physical disasters, which we shall have to consider more at length in their relation to Judah, had also extended to Israel. The visitation of locusts, which passed over the south, also reached to the gardens and vineyards, the fig-trees and olive-trees of Samaria. Their corn and wine failed; blasting and mildew smote them; drought and famine fell upon them. Rain was withholden in the early spring, or fell partially only on one city; so that the inhabitants of two or three cities crowded to one for the sake of water. The pastures of the shepherds were dried up, and the woods of Carmel withered. The plague, so common in Egypt, so rare in Palestine, sprang up, amidst the festering carcasses (whether as cause or effect) of the dead men and dead horses which lay around, as after a terrible carnage. The celebrated earthquake which shook the Temple of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives in the reign of Uzziah was heard and felt throughout Palestine, with its altar and its pillars, the ivory palaces of Jezreel and Samaria, "are smitten," "shake," "fall," and "perish, and come to an end." There were three nearly total eclipses during this period. One of these was visible in Palestine, in the year B.C. 771, on the 8th of November, at five minutes before one P.M. This may have been sufficient to have attracted the attention of the Prophet: "I will cause the sun "to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in "the clear day." But these were forerunners of a still more fearful calamity. Now, for the first time, appeared on the Easter horizon that great power which for a hundred years was the scourge of Asia. The ancient empire of Assyria, possibly repressed for the time by the dominion of Solomon, rose on its fall, and was henceforth intermingled with all the good and evil for- tunes of the kingdom of Israel. Already in the reign of Jehu her influence began to be felt. His name is to be read on the black obelisk which records the tributes offered to Shalmaneser I. in the form of gold and silver, and articles manufactured in gold. The destruction of Damascus by Jeroboam II. brought the two powers of Israel and Assyria into close contact; there was now no intervening kingdom to act as a breakwater. Long before its actual irruption, the rise of the new power is noted by the Prophets. Jonah had already traversed the desert, and seen "that great "Nineveh." Amos had already, though without naming it, foretold that a people should arise which should crush the powerful empire of Jeroboam from end to end, and sees the nations one by one swept into cap- tivity. Hosea brings out the danger more definitely, sometimes naming it, sometimes speaking of it only under the form of the "contentious king." The wake- ful ear of Isaiah catches the sound of the irresistible advance of the Assyrian armies; their savage warfare, their strange language, the speed of their march, their indefatigable energy, "their arrows sharp, their bows "bent, their horses hoofs like flint, and their chariots "like a whirlwind." In the midst of these dark misfortunes and darker terrors, the dynasty of Jehu came to its end. The curse of Amos was fulfilled, though not on the King himself. The great Jeroboam died in peace, and was buried in royal state. But his son was the last regular occupant of the throne of Israel. There was, as it would seem, a revel prepared for him by the nobles. They were kept up to the mark as of a burning fever by some one powerful plotter, who is compared to a baker heating and stirring the oven. They drug the unhappy prince with wine till he is sick with drunkenness, and joins freely in their de- bauchery. Then in the morning the conspiracy breaks out, and the King is slain. The year of Zachariah's death was probably the year of the great eclipse already mentioned. The time at which he died was known as "that in which the kings "fell," and apparently also as the month in which "the three shepherds were smitten." From that moment the kingdom was occupied by a rapid suc- cession of fierce soldiers, who reigned for the next fifty years, leaving little but their names behind. The "military despotism," which had characterized the kingdom of Israel more or less even from the time of Saul, now held unbridled and undivided sway. Zachariah was, it would seem, succeeded by a king whose very name is almost lost to us, Kobolam, and Kobolam was succeeded by Shallum. The troubled monarchy settled down for a time under Menahem and his son Pekahiah, till he too perished, in the midst of his harem, by the hand of Pekah. By this time the Assyrian conquerors broke upon the country; and the struggles of the various states of Western Asia, in their agony to escape from this overwhelming enemy, became more and more complicated, as the danger drew nearer and nearer. In the presence of this threatened destruction, the long feud between Israel and Damascus was reconciled. An adventurer who had placed himself on the throne of Syria combined with Pekah to defend themselves against Assyria by attacking Judah. The effect of this alliance, as regards the kingdom of Israel, was but to hasten its doom. In a few short years it was broken up. Tiglath-Pileser, the Assyrian king, whose predecessor, Pul had been satisfied with the tribute from Menahem, descended upon the allied kingdoms. The kingdom of Damascus was now finally extin- guished, and its inhabitants carried off to Kir, an un- known Eastern spot, the cradle, and now the grave, of that proud Aramaic nation. And now the first great rent was made in the king- dom of Israel. The trans-Jordanic tribes had long hung but loosely on its skirts. Uzziah, King of Judah, had of late acquired royal pasturages in the downs of Gilead. But now they were to lose even this protection. We see little of their last expiring struggles. But their wild history ends, as it had begun, in bloodshed and violence: "Gilead was a city of evil- "doers, polluted with blood." Now for the first time, just in the very crisis of their own fate, they were in possession of the throne. Menahem and Pekahiah were, perhaps from the tribe of Gad, and they carried with them the savage customs which they had learned, es- pecially from the ferocious wars of Syria and Ammon, in their own trans-Jordanic districts. Pekah, who ver- threw this dynasty, was himself also probably from the same region. At least, his fifty companions i the con- spiracy were from Gilead, and two of them bore names which carry us back to the earliest days of those pas- toral regions: Argob, from the fastness of Bashan,—— Arieh, "the Lion-like," from those Gadite chiefs of old, whose faces "were as the faces of lions,"——remnants, it may be, of the original guards of David. Of one or other of these pastoral kings, the unknown Prophet, whose flickering light alone guides us through these stormy times, speaks as of the careless and rapacious shepherd who neglects the flock, and grasps only at the flesh of the fat. Of one or other too, as the fall of the dynasty approaches, he bursts forth into the cry which afterwards became proverbial, but which had a peculiar fitness to those nomadic chiefs: "Awake, O sword, "against My shepherd . . . smite the shepherd, and the "sheep shall be scattered." Nothing now intervened to save from the destroying armies those outlying portions of the dominions of Israel. The gates of Lebanon were thrown wide open ——the forests of Bashan howled in their anguish, as the destroyer swept through them, and their cry of distress was echoed back by the shepherds in their oaken glades and by the lions startled in their lairs down in the deep recesses of the Jordan valley. Then fell the grievous affliction on "the land of Zeb- "ulun and the land of Naphtali," "the Sea of Galilee "and beyond Jordan"——a darkness only to be lit up by a distant gleam, seen far off by Prophetic eyes. Then the hostile Ammonites, long warded off, rushed into the vacant space, and the cry went up "Hath "Israel no sons? Hath he no heir? Why doth Molech inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?" "Feed them"——so the last reminiscence of their pas- toral state expresses itself——"feed them; guide them "like a flock of their own sheep, in Bashan and in Gilead, "as in the days of old." Pekah was now left with a mere fragment of the ancient kingdom. With that terrible succession of royal murders, so forcibly described as "blood touching blood," he fell before a conspiracy, a band of conspirators, of whom the chief Hoshea, formerly one of his own adherents, mounted the throne. Rival factions, like those which divided Jerusalem in its last siege, troubled also the last days of Samaria: the old feud between Ephraim and Manasseh, which had in the time of Jephthah given birth to the symbol of all party watchwords, broke out afresh——Ephraim devoured Manasseh, and Manasseh devoured Ephraim. Better than his predecessors, ——like Josiah, in like case, in Judah,——Hoshea came too late to re- deem the fortunes of his country. At first the vassal of Assyria, he took advantage of the Tyrian war to throw off Shallmaneser's yoke, and began that sys- tem of alliances with Egypt, which from that time for- ward was the last desperate resource of the nations of Western Asia against the encroachment of Assyria. It might have seemed as if the old alliance with Egypt, which had set the founder of the northern kingdom on his throne, would support his last successor. But it was too late. Sargon, the Assyrian king or general, de- scended on the country. Hoshea was carried off as a hostage for the payment of the tribute. It was a sud- den disappearance, "like foam upon the water." Then the Assyrian armies poured into the country. A struggle took place in Galilee——perhaps in the fatal field of Jezreel, perhaps in the deep glen of Beth-arbel, where, as afterwards in the time of Josephus, the Israelite population took refuge in the caves in the precipitous cliffs, and mothers and children were dashed down to the valley be- neath. The siege of Samaria followed. With- out their king, the people stood at bay for three years, as in the final siege of Jerusalem. As the end drew near, they gave themselves up to frantic revel- lings of despair. At last the city was stormed. With the ferocity common to all warfare of those times, the infants were hurled down the rocky sides of the hill on which the city stood, or destroyed in their mothers' bosoms. Famine and pestilence completed the work of war. The stones of the ruined city were poured into the rich valley below, and the foun- dations were laid bare. Palace and hovel alike fell; the statues were broken to pieces; the crown of pride, the glory of Ephraim, was trodden under foot. In the midst of this wild catastrophe, the voices of the Prophets rise, alternately in lamentation an con- solation. From the prophets of Israel——from the seven thousand of Elijah's vision——two voices especially make themselves heard above the rest. One is the author of the 80th Psalm. The Divine protection is invoked un- der the figure that the unknown Prophet of the period had so often used: "O Thou that art the Shepherd "of Israel, give ear; Thou that leadest Joseph like a "sheep." There is no mention of Judah——only the days are recalled in which the Ark marched in the wilderness before the three great kindred "tribes of "Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh." That goodly vine of the house of Joseph, which hung over the valley of Shechem, which had been twice over brought from Egypt——which cast its shade on the mountains of Geri- zim, and spread its branches to the sea, visible from those very heights, and its boughs across the Jordan to the distant Euphrates——was now trodden down. The wild Assyrian boar had trampled it under foot; it was burnt with fire: "O God of Hosts, turn and visit this "vine, which Thy right hand hath planted the branch "that Thou madest so strong for Thyself." Often has this Psalm ministered to the encouragement of broken hopes, but never so fitly as in this its first application. The Prophet Hosea is the only individual character that sounds out amidst the darkness of this period,——the Jeremiah, as he may be called, of Israel. His life had extended over nearly the whole of the last century of the northern kingdom. In early youth, whilst the great Jeroboam was still on the throne, he had been called to the Prophetic office. In his own personal history, he shared in the misery brought on his country by the profligacy of the age. In early youth, he had been united in marriage with a woman who had fallen into the vices which surrounded her. He had loved her with a tender love; she had borne him two sons and a daughter: she had then deserted him, wan- dered from her home, fallen again into wild licentious- ness, and been carried off as a slave. From this wretched state, with all the tenderness of his nature, he bought her, and gave her one more chance of recovery by living with him, though apart. No one who has observed the manner in which individual experience often colors the general religious doctrine of a gifted teacher, can be surprised at the close connection which exists between the life of Hosea and the mission to which he was called. In his own grief for his own great calamity,——the greatest that can befall a tender human soul,——he was taught to feel for the Divine grief over the lost opportunities of the nation once so full of hop. It is, as it has been beautifully described, a succession of sighs,——a Prophetic voice from the depth of human misery: "The words of upbraiding, of judgment, of woe, "burst out one by one, slowly, heavily, condensed, "abrupt, from the Prophet's heavy and shrinking soul, ". . . as though each sentence burst with a groan from "his heart, and he had anew to take breath, before he "uttered each repeated woe. Each verse forms a whole "for itself, like one heavy toll in a funeral knell." But in his own love no less he was taught to see, first of any of the Prophets of the Old Dispensation, the power of the forgiving love of God. Even the names of his children were intended to signify——one, the condemna- tion of Jehu's massacres; the two others, the extension of the Holy Land and the Divine Mercy, beyond the limits of Israel. "Come, and let us return unto the "LORD, for He hath torn and will heal us, hath smitten "and will bind us up. After two days He will revive "us; on the third day, He will raise us up, and we shall "live in His sight." He goes back to the early history of his own northern tribes, when they were still loved as children——fresh from Egypt——taken by their little arms, all unconscious——drawn "with the cords of a "man, with bands of love." Then comes the burst of sorrow over their fall: "How shall I give thee up, O Ephraim! how shall I deliver thee, O Israel! how shall "I make thee as Admah! how shall I set thee as Ze- "boim! My heart is turned within Me, My strong "compassions are kindled. I will not execute the fierce- "ness of My anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim; "for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the "midst of thee." Even from the grave the dead nation shall start to life. It shall blossom and burgeon with all the prodigality of the rich vegetation of its own northern forests; like the gorgeous lilies of Galilee, like the cedars of Lebanon, with their gnarled roots, and spreading branches, and delicious fragrance. Ephraim shall say, "What have I to do any more there with "idols?" And the Divine answer shall be, "I have "heard him and observed him." Ephraim shall say, "I "am like a green cypress-tree." And the answer shall be, "From Me is thy fruit found." From Judah these strains are echoed, more faintly but still distinctly enough to show that the anguish of the rent was felt there also. The Prophet Jeremiah is not so lost in the misfortunes of Jerusalem, but that he has an ear for the earlier fall of Israel. He hears a voice from the confines of Benjamin, from the height of Ramah, lamentation and bitter weep- ing. It is Rachel, the mother of the three mighty tribes of the north, the house of Joseph and the house of Benjamin; weeping as she looks over the desolate country, weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted because they are not. He bids her wipe away her ears, "for there is hope in thine end, that "thy children shall come again into their own border." He hears a bemoaning, a plaintive lowing as of a power- ful beast struggling with his captors. It is Ephraim, the mighty bull of the northern tribes: "Thou hast chastised "me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to "the yoke. Turn Thou me, ad I shall be turned, for "Thou art the Lord my God." And the haughty Son no less than the mournful Mother, here is a tender reply: "Is Ephraim My dear son? is he a pleasant "child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly re- "member him still; therefore My heart is troubled for "him; I will surely have mercy upon him." And to the Prophet's vision, the valleys of Samaria and Shechem again are clothed with vineyards, and resound with "tabrets and the dances of them that make merry," "old and young together." The hope of Jeremiah and of Hosea, like many others of lofty hopes of the world and of the Church, has been fulfilled rather in the spirit that in the letter. In spite of these predictions "the ten tribes were never "restored; they never, as a whole, received any favor "from God after they went into captivity." Many seem to have fled into Egypt, which, though unable to help the falling kingdom, received its fugitives. But of this migration we have no particulars. The general history of the tribes divides itself henceforward into two unequal streams. The main body of the inhabitants were transplanted to the remotest provinces of the Assyrian em- pire. The first generation of the exiles lived to see the fall of their conquerors. The suddenness, the totality of the ruin of Nineveh has been preserved from oblivion chiefly through the predictions or the descrip- tion of Nahum the Elkoshite. He was, we can hardly doubt, the last of the great series of Israelitish Prophets, whether we suppose that his birth- place was in Galilee, or the Assyrian village of that name; whether we suppose that he was amongst the captives in Assyria, or had taken refuge in Judah. There s something pathetic in the thought that the crash of these mighty cities, Thebes in the far south and Nineveh in the far east, is known to us through the triumphant cry of this solitary exile. It is one sustained shout of wild exultation that the oppressor has fallen at last. The naked discrowned corpse of the glorious city is cast out to the scorn and disgust of the world. No spark of pity mingles with the Prophet's delight. "All "that hear the report of thee shall clap their hands at "thee, for upon whom did not thy wickedness con- "tinually pass?" The lion's lair is at last laid waste, where the lion, and the lioness, and the lion's whelp once walked without fear. In this storm of indignation and vengeance, the spirit of Prophecy in the northern kingdom breathes its last. Under this doom, Nineveh vanishes from view, to be no more seen till in our day the discovery of her buried remains has given new life to the whole of this portion of sacred history, and not least to the magnificent dirge of Nahum. Of him we know no more. Tradition rejoices to trace to his in- fluence the rise of the great Zoroaster. His Reputed tomb hard by the ruins of Nineveh is still visited by hundreds of Christian and Jewish pilgrims. But side by side with this stern representative of the fire and energy of Elijah lingers a faint trace of the tender scenes of the Galilean valleys, of the milder spirit of Elisha and Hosea. The Book of Tobit is, doubtless, of far later date in the history than the point at which we are now arrived, and it hardly pretends to be more than a religious historical fiction. But it was reckoned amongst the Prophetical books by Nestorius, and amongst the books of inspired Scripture by the Homilies of the English Church; was the especial admiration of Luther, and has often consoled the Chris- tian sufferer by the same topics that cheered the griefs of the Israelite captive. Its doctrine and details must be reserved to the time when it came into existence. But its portraiture of the domestic life of the exiles, the exultation at the connection of Tobit's house wit the great sanctuary of Kedesh Naphtali, the longing regard for their own country, and "the rejoicing" over the fall of Nineveh——carry us back to the age in which the story is laid, amongst the funerals, and wedding- feasts, and parental anxieties, and cousinly loves, and the patriotic philanthropy of the "good" father of the "good" son, in the first generation of Israelite cap- tives. After this it is difficult to discover any distinct trace of the northern tribes. Some returned with their countrymen of the southern kingdom. In the New Testament, there is special mention of the tribe of Asher, and the ten tribes generally are on three emphatic occasions ranked with the others. The im- mense Jewish population which made Babylonia a second Palestine was in part derived from them; and the Jewish customs that have been discovered in the Nestorian Christians, with the traditions of the sect itself, may indicate at any rate a mixture of Jewish de- scent. That they are concealed in some unknown region of the earth is a fable with no foundation either in history or prophecy. There is, however, another doubtful remnant of the northern kingdom, which has clung to its original seat with a tenacity exceeding even that of the tribe of Judah itself. The full history of the Samaritan sect belongs to a later period. But its origin dates from the first moment of desolation. Then took place that union, in whatever proportions it may have been, between the remnant of the old Israelite inhabitants and the Cuthæan colonists transplanted from Central Asia, which alone can account for the singular position, neither Jewish nor Gentile, which the Sama- ritans have occupied ever since. In the inroad of the lions of the Jordan valley, through the tangled and deserted forests of Samaria, these foreign settlers saw a divine judgment on their alien rites, and though these rites lingered for two or three generations, they soon gave way to the traditions received from the Ephraimite or Benjamite priest, who revived for the last time that ancient sanctuary of Bethel, and from the poorer classes, who remained in the country after the court and aristocracy had been carried off. In the deep-rooted inveterate feud between the Jews and Samaritans, surviving even to our own time, but with a world-renowned bitterness at the time of the Chris- tian era, we see a later outbreak of the fiery rivalry which burnt between the kingdoms of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. In the congenial kindness with which He who was Himself called in scorn a "Samaritan" at- tracted and was attracted by this despised sect; His gracious words to the Samaritan village——to the Sa- maritan woman——to the Samaritan leper——concerning the Samaritan traveller——we read a continuation of the same lesson which is suggested by the whole course of the history which we have been studying. The kindly feeling towards Ephraim, Gerizim, Sama- ria, is Biblical sanction of the truth im- pressed upon us by all sound ecclesiastical history, that the grace of God overflows the boundaries within which we should naturally suppose that it would be confined. The kingdom of Judah had, as we shall see, the sanctuary and the sacred ritual. "The Jews knew what they worshipped;" and in the fullest sense "the salvation" of the nation came from them. But this did not prevent the growth of the series of Prophets within the kingdom of Samaria, and throughout their teaching there is hardly a word to show that they laid any stress on the duty of conform- ing to the ritual of Judah. There is, indeed, a modern tradition that the travellers described by Hosea were pilgrims in Jerusalem. But of this there is no trace in the original text. The moral evils, the sensual idola- tries of Samaria, are attacked with no sparing hand, but hardly ever the sin of outward separation. Both kingdoms are impartially denounced; neither is by de- liberate comparison placed above the other. The soil of the kingdom of Israel was as precious to distant pilgrims as the soil of Judea. The capital of Omri was saved by as direct an intervention of Providence as ever rescued the capital of David. In the life of Elijah a later Jewish tradition maintains that the rebuke which he addressed to Ahab was the first verse of the 76th Psalm: "In Judah is God known." But this, though it is what much of modern Judaism and modern Christianity would require of him, is not the record of the ancient Scriptures. His rebuke to Ahab, as we have seen, was grounded on a far deeper basis. The question of the schism of Judah and Israel was one which he never for a moment stirred. The position of this greatest of the Prophets, living entirely apart from the authorized sanctuary of Judah, has been described with a thrilling sympathy in a remarkable sermon, preached more than twenty years ago by one who was struggling, with all the energy of a large and generous heart, to keep his balance in what he believed to be a schismatical and almost heretical Church. Elijah made no effort to set right what had gone so wrong; he paid no honor to the regular service of the Mosaic ritual; he never went on yearly pilgrimage; in the one instance in which he is found in the kingdom of Judah, "he "passed over Jerusalem, he went on to Beersheba"—— he passed on along a forlorn "and barren way into "that old desert where the children of Israel had wan- "dered to Horeb the mount of God." His mission and that of his successor was to make the best of what they found; "not bring back a rule of religion that "had passed away," but to dwell on the Moral Law, which could be fulfilled everywhere; not on the Cere- monial Law, which circumstances seem to have put out of their reach: "not sending the Shunammite to Jerusalem, nor eager for a proselyte in Naaman, yet "making the heathen fear the name of God, and prov- "ing to them that there was a Prophet in Israel." When our hearts glow with admiration for the splen- did character of Elijah, or in sympathy with the tender- ness of Hosea, we are responding to the call of Him who bids us to do justice and mercy even to those to whom, on theological or ecclesiastical grounds, we are most opposed; and recognize that the goodness which we approve was found, not in the Priest or the Levite, but in the heretical, schismatical, Samaritan. The history of Judah will have other and equally important lessons to teach us; but the history of Samaria, the very names of Samaria and Samaritan, carry with them the savor of this great Evangelical doctrine. The Prophets of Judah looked forward to a blessed time when Ephraim should not envy Judah, and Judah should not vex Ephraim. The Prophets of Israel, and He who, like them, dwelt not in Judea but in Galilee, "whence no good thing could come," and in Samaria, "with which the Jews had no deal- "ings," were incontestable witnesses that such a hope was not impossible.from The History of the Jewish Church, Vol. II: From Samuel to the Captivity, by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Dean of Westminster Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879; pp. 396 - 418
Barbell House Local Meet Report (512.5kg @ 82.5kg, 343 Wilks) and Sheiko Advanced Medium Load Review
I learned about the meet about two months before it happened. It was to be a meet by my gym, which is a very legit powerlifting and weightlifting gym in Beirut, Lebanon called Barbell House. That is when I downloaded the Sheiko iOS app, put in my estimated maxes and got classified into AML by the Russian Powerlifting equivalent of the Sorting Hat that's in the app.
What was interesting is that AML is a 20 week program but since you can put when your meet date is, it automatically placed me at the start of the 3rd prep cycle, which lined up with my meet surprisingly perfectly.
On this 4 day a week program, you typically squat and deadlift twice a week on alternating days, and bench 3 or 4 times a week (days where you don't bench, you either overhead press or incline)
So this is a review for the 3rd prep cycle and the comp cycle, totaling 9 weeks.
My numbers that I inputted at the time were:
Squat: 170kg (based on 142.5kgx7)
Bench: 110kg (based on 100x5 TNG)
Deadlift: 200kg (low-ball estimation based on 172.5kgx6)
Weight: 85kg Height: 1m85cm @25 years of age
What I liked about the program:
The deadlift variations: I loved doing rack pulls, paused reps etc. It kept my back fresh and my CNS running. Big plus compared to programs with too much volume off the floor that have basically broken me in the past
The style of frequency/volume adding up to results almost magically: I thought for a while that you need to go all out every day to see any kind of results. Well not at all (except maybe for bench). I had no idea about submaximal, high set low reps training but am now a believer.
The mid cycle test days: I know some people dislike them, but these gave me the opportunity to retune my maxes when I hit the 105% singles (I'll let you know what my maxes were by meet day)
What I didn't like about the program:
The bench programming: as you'll see with my results, something fucked up seems to have happened. Might be largely my own fault that I picked dumbbell chest flyes as an accessory (program just tells you to do a "chest" exercise), but damn.
The length of the workouts: holy fucking shit every single workout took 2 hours at least. I ended up splitting the first deadlift workout of the week into two, with me doing my two main lifts in the morning and coming back at night to do accessories. I wish there was a way around it but when you have 12 sets over 50% it's kind of hard to go fast.
Some of the accessory choices: not a big fan of good mornings, whereas the program has you do seated and standing good mornings at least once a week each.
Now onto the meet:
I weighed in at 83.8kg a week (still 1.2kg dropped over the course of the program) from the meet and maybe overreacted a little and dieted hard. This, compounded with a bout of stomach flu 4 days before the meet, meant that I weighed in at 81.5kg two days before. I reupped my food intake as a result and ended up weighing in at 82.4kg at 8am this morning.
I went into the meet with the following numbers in the app (they grew because I either went off program and hit a PR or did the ordained 105% singles on certain days)
Squat: 180kg (based on me missing a 105% day and making it up with some weight added, although I missed a 175kg a few weeks prior for lack of depth)
Bench: 120kg (based on hitting 115 very easily)
Deadlift: 220kg (I hit a 210 PR as a 105% single, then did 200kgx3 one day I got in late at the gym and just wanted to get some work in before they closed, and finally hit 220kg on a whim one night at the gym)
Now unfortunately, I slept very little prior to the meet. Even though I took my precautions and was in bed at 9 to wake up at 7, I must've slept 5/6 hours total which is nothing for me. Nevertheless, I went in, warmed up, and everything started.
1st attempt: 160kg. Easy and super fast. Unfortunately walked back a bit too quickly for one of the judges, but still, [2/3 white lights]
2nd attempt: 170kg, bit of a struggle because I forgot to tighten my feet properly, still went up ok. [3/3]
Now considering I hadn't slept and was starving, I decided I'd be happy to just match my PR from a few weeks before, and called my third attempt at 180kg. So,
3rd attempt: 180kg. [3/3] Matched my PR. Video Based on how hard it was few weeks prior and how tired I was, I half expected to miss it. Instead, it fucking flew faster than the 170kg. Definitely left 10kg on the platform. Oh well, onto bench.
1st attempt: 107.5kg. Went up very easily, nothing that could have prepared me for what happened next [3/3]
2nd attempt: 112.5kg MISS and it wasn't even close. I just felt empty at that point, and it barely got off my chest. I hit 115kg with lightning speed several times in training so this was a fucking disappointment to say the least. So I ate a bunch of nuts, dried figs, chugged some energy drink and prepared for a redo.
3rd attempt: 112.5kg MISS again and honestly it fucking sucked. Still trying to process it.
With that done, we started the deadlift warmups, and I just ate everything I had brought with me to make sure I had some energy left to get home by the time we were done.
1st attempt: 205kg. [3/3] Was very easy but got very lightheaded when I put it down. IDK about you guys but getting lightheaded feels like acid flashbacks to me. I just can't feel anything for a few seconds, and things in my sight get extremely distorted for a second. Since it had happened before I shrugged it off, put on some music, and headbanged and air drummed to stay warmed up.
2nd attempt: 215kg. [3/3] Was a little bit of a struggle, and when I put it down and walked away I had a bit of a stumble that no one but a judge noticed.
Considering that I almost fainted, I should've taken it easy, but given that I was toe to toe with a guy that had hit 135kg on his bench, I was damned if I was going to get last place. So i called 225kg for my final attempt.
3rd attempt: [3/3]. Everyone that saw it happen told me it was an amazingly beautiful lift. I wish I had a video, because I have no recollection whatsoever of what happened during. I just know that I was extremely lucky to have a spotter right behind me that held me after it was done, otherwise I think I would've fallen face first onto the judge (who happened to be Jordan Shallow aka the Muscle Doc on a visit to our humble Lebanon). I tore open two calluses in the middle of my hand, but I got a podium finish out of it. Got a video of me putting it down and almost crashing here, for your entertainment only.
Program length: 9 weeks.
Bodyweight: 85kg->82.5kg on meet day.
Squats: +10kg (and possibly way more) from 170 inputted max, a fail on 172.5kg two weeks into the program, to an amazingly easy 180kg. Very happy with it although I wish I had aimed a bit higher on my third attempt.
Bench: +5kg during, -7.5kg on meet day. from 110 inputted max, to 115kg hit easily several times throughout the program, to a disappointing 107.5kg on meet day. The more I think about it, the more I put it down to poor choice of accessories honestly. That or lack of sleep and food on meet day. Oh well.
Deadlift: +25kg. From hardly hitting 200kg at the start to an amazing 225kg 5kg PR, on meet day, following 2 10kg PRs over the course of the 9 weeks. I just felt so confident in my deadlift thanks to this program, it's really something. I can't stress how big of a difference deadlifting twice a week with lockout/off the floor variations alternating made.
Meet Final Results:
512.5kg total (100 pound improvement from my last meet, which was in pounds, 2 years ago before my hips got majorly fucked up - I almost got surgery)
3rd place out of 4 in the 83kg category (2kg behind the 2nd, damn you bench).
Overall thoughts: Bench is truly a shame, but I am going to run AML again with much more focus on good accessory choice and possibly doing push-ups every rest day I have. I'm extremely happy with the progress this program gave me on my Squat (even though I was maybe too scared to fully measure it on meet day) and particularly on Deadlifts. Now I'm going to take it easy for a while because that last pull could've very well put me in the ER.
The meet was amazing and the atmosphere at my gym, which organized it, had a lot to do with it. I'll upload some videos so you guys can see the hype because it was really something to behold.
Is Yahweh the God of Esau, The Red People aka The Canaanites?
I don't believe Yahweh to be the only god in the Old Testament. I think it's pretty obvious that, at the least, there is more than one. Take the Elohim for example, the God(s) who refer to themselves as "us" in the Garden of Eden story and the Tower of Babel for example. If you study the history of the Israelites, you will find they rewrote their stories to hide this fact and make it seem like it's all one god, it isn't. Yahweh though, is a specific god very prevalent in the book. You can tell who he is because he's always angry and ordering murder and destruction.submitted by Oblique9043 to TheGreatDeception [link] [comments]
Here we have what seems to not be Yahweh, admonishing them for worshiping Molek and a star of a god named Rephan.
Remphan( Acts 7:43 ; RSV, "Rephan"). In Amos 5:26 the Heb. Chiun (q.v.) is rendered by the LXX. "Rephan," and this name is adopted by Luke in his narrative of the Acts. These names represent the star-god Saturn or Moloch.
The star of Saturn and Moloch. The Star of Saturn is the Star of David.
So the Star of David wasn't even strongly associated with Judaism until the 17th century it seems and when it was, it was associated with Kabbalah. Something not-Yahweh is completely against.
Yahweh is undoubtedly a fire god. Moses even describes him that way. Could Yahweh be Moloch and Baal?
And then the child sacrifices.
Yahweh is strongly associated with fire and orchestrated the entire Exodus so that the Israelites would sacrifice their first born children to him. Not literally (I think) but indoctrinate them in the religion and it's practices.
Someone from 1667 recognizes the Moloch was King Solomon's God
In John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667), Moloch is one of the greatest warriors of the fallen angels,
The Jews were Canaanites.
God later promises the land of Canaan to Abraham, and eventually delivers it to descendants of Abraham, the Israelites. The biblical history has become increasingly problematic as the archaeological and textual evidence supports the idea that the early Israelites were in fact themselves Canaanites.
The tetragrammaton YHWH came from the descendants of Esau, the Edomites. The first evidence of the name is from nomads called the Shasu.
The Shasu (from Egyptian š3sw, probably pronounced Shaswe) were Semitic-speaking cattle nomads in the Levant from the late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age or the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt. They were organized in clans under a tribal chieftain, and were described as brigands active from the Jezreel Valley to Ashkelon and the Sinai.
Given that Moses spent 40 years in Midian and married a woman who's father Jethro is the one who taught him about Yahweh, I'd say this is on track with what the Bible says.
How do the descendants of Esau, the Edomites fit into this?
Name of Edom in the Hebrew Bible
Could the descendants of Esau be these fake Jews? Considering they say they became the Romans and the Europeans, this makes a lot of sense. They are said to actually be the Catholic priests, and the banking capital of the world is in London, which is run by people who call themselves Jews.
Well what exactly is the name of the god the Edomites worshiped?
Qos (Hebrew: קוס/קוש, also Qōs, Qaus, Koze) was the national god of the Edomites. He was the Idumean rival of Yahweh, and structurally parallel to him. Thus ‘Benqos’ (son of Qōs) parallels the Hebrew ‘Beniyahu’ (son of Yahweh). The name occurs only once in the Old Testament (if we exclude a possible allusion in an otherwise corrupted text in the Book of Proverbs) in the Book of Ezra as an element in a personal name, Barqos ('Qōs gleamed forth'), referring to the 'father' of a family or clan of perhaps Edomite/Idumaean nĕtînîm or temple helpers returning from the Babylonian exile. The noun frequently appears combined with names on documents recovered from excavations in Elephantine, where a mixed population of Arabs, Jews and Idumeans lived under the protection of a Persian-Mesopotamian garrison.
Jethro being a Kenite from Midian. Moses father in law who taught him about Yahweh. Seems like they're all the same god. Moloch, Baal, Qos, Yahweh.
Nabataean depiction of the goddess Atargatis dating from c. AD 100. The eagle on her head is believed to be a symbol of Qos.
I wonder if that has something to do with the Phoenix.
So this seems to originate with Esau, the brother of Jacob who's name get's changed to Israel.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Esau is the progenitor of the Edomites and the elder twin brother of Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites Esau and Jacob were the sons of Isaac and Rebekah, and the grandsons of Abraham and Sarah. Of the twins, Esau was the first to be born with Jacob following, holding his heel. Isaac was sixty years old when the boys were born.Reminds me of this,
Esau, a "man of the field", became a hunter who had "rough" qualities that distinguished him from his twin brother. Among these qualities were his red hair and noticeable hairiness. Jacob was a shy or simple man, depending on the translation of the Hebrew word tam (which also means "relatively perfect man"). Throughout Genesis, Esau is frequently shown as being supplanted by his younger twin, Jacob (Israel).
Is it just me or is Jacob really the asshole here? I mean Esau is getting royally fucked by his own family and he still is the bigger man and forgives his brother for his lying and scheming and this is what causes Yahweh to change Jacob's name to Israel? The Jew's own Holy Book doesn't exactly paint them in a favorable light. Lying and scheming get you rewarded by God apparently and forgiving someone turns you into a pariah.
It seems like these Jews went through a lot of trouble to blame certain groups of people for things that I am suspecting were actually them. Their supposed hatred of the Canaanites, Molech, Baal, Esau, and even Sin itself. Sin was the name of the Moon god in Mesopotamia. They made "sin offerings" on the golden altar. Seeing as how Yah was the Moon god in Egypt and that's partially where the name Yahweh comes from, you have to wonder if this sin stuff is not just some covert way to show them actually worshiping sin. They don't sacrifice animals because they did something wrong, they do it for their god to get his favor.
Sīn /ˈsiːn/ or Suen (Akkadian: 𒂗𒍪 Su'en, Sîn) or Nanna (Sumerian: 𒀭𒋀𒆠 DŠEŠ.KI, DNANNA) was the god of the moon in the Mesopotamian religions of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. Nanna is a Sumerian deity, the son of Enlil and Ninlil, and became identified with the Semitic Sīn. The two chief seats of Nanna's/Sīn's worship were Ur in the south of Mesopotamia and Harran in the north. A moon god by the same name was also worshipped in South Arabia.
Ur is where Abraham was originally from. Sin was the protector of shepherds? Sounds a lot like Yahweh.
The Semitic moon god Su'en/Sin is in origin a separate deity from Sumerian Nanna, but from the Akkadian Empire period the two undergo syncretization and are identified. The occasional Assyrian spelling of DNANNA-arDSu'en-e is due to association with Akkadian na-an-na-ru "illuminator, lamp", an epitheton of the moon god. The name of the Assyrian moon god Su'en/Sîn is usually spelled as DEN.ZU, or simply with the numeral 30, (cuneiform: 𒀭𒌍 DXXX).
A few things I am noticing here. First, the name also meaning "illuminator or lamp". The association with the number 30 or just simply 3. Being known as the "lord of wisdom". All things associated with the secret societies.
His wife was Ningal ("Great Lady"), who bore him Utu/Shamash ("Sun") and Inanna/Ishtar (the goddess of the planet Venus). The tendency to centralize the powers of the universe leads to the establishment of the doctrine of a triad consisting of Sin/Nanna and his children.
The chief sanctuary for this Mood god was called "House of the Great Light". He had a beard made of a blue stone. Inanna, who in the Sumerian stories supplants a lot of the other gods territory, is the daughter of this moon god. Inanna sure sounds a lot like Yahweh at times. She has two men offer sacrifices and picks one over the other, a farmer or a shepherd. She casts a rainbow in the sky after the great flood. She's very arrogant and proud, loves war and administering her own brand of destructive justice. She even dies in the underworld and comes back to life 3 days later just to condemn her shepherd husband to the underworld for not caring that she died.
Inanna was also worshipped as one of the Sumerian war deities. One of her hymns declares: "She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals. Battle itself was occasionally referred to as the "Dance of Inanna"
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