Twisted lovers on the path of destruction

‘It’s deeply upsetting to be described as evil’

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the celebrity serial killers, murdered five children around Manchester in the 1960s. They have been defined by their trial judge as ‘ two sadistic killers of the utmost depravity’. Their crimes that we are to see here are those of the sadistic psychopaths.

Myra Hindley met Brady on her first day of work as a typist and she said that she fell in “love at first sight”. His lover, fascinated with the Nazis and World War II, introduced her to Hitler’s marching songs, Mein Kampf, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Brady used to read Marquis de Sade (1740 -1814) who was a French erotic writer and prose stylist, from whose name the words “sadism” and “sadist” are derived. They, later, went on to seek “supreme pleasure” and with this started a journey to commit a ‘perfect murder’.

Their first victim was a 16-year-old Pauline Reade who was murdered on her way to dance. She was lured into a minivan by Myra and after some time she asked Pauline’s to help her look for a lost glove. Brady pounced upon Pauline and raped her, smashed her skull and slashed her throat so violently that she was almost decapitated. Their next victim was a 12-year-old John Kilbridethat have been strangled and raped before being buried in a shallow grave. The couple went on and enticed 12-year-old Keath Bennett from a street on the context of driving him home. He had been sexually assaulted before getting strangled with a piece of string. His body, unfortunately, has never been found.

The couple took hundreds of pictures near the graves of their victims

Their youngest victim Lesley Ann Downey met the same brutal fate.
They even recorded Lesley Ann Downey begging for life. The 16-minute recording was played in a silent courtroom in which the girl pleaded “don’t undress me” and “ I want to see mummy”. This ten-year-old girl had been raped and killed and buried naked with her clothes at her feet.

Fifth and their final victim was 17 years old Edward Evans who was brought at home where their brother in law David was visiting them. They smashed Edward’s head with an ax and took him to upstairs. David fled and contacted the police.

[Brady] opened the door and he said in a very loud voice for him …”Do you want those miniatures?” I nodded my head to say yes and he led me into the kitchen … and he gave me three miniature bottles of spirits and said: “Do you want the rest?” When I first walked into the house, the door to the living room … was closed. … Ian went into the living room and I waited in the kitchen. I waited about a minute or two then suddenly I heard a hell of a scream; it sounded like a woman, really high-pitched. Then the screams carried on, one after another really loud. Then I heard Myra shout, “Dave, help him,” very loud. When I ran in I just stood inside the living room and I saw a young lad. He was lying with his head and shoulders on the couch and his legs were on the floor. He was facing upwards. Ian was standing over him, facing him, with his legs on either side of the young lad’s legs. The lad was still screaming … Ian had a hatchet in his hand … he was holding it above his head and he hit the lad on the left side of his head with the hatchet. I heard the blow, it was a terrible hard blow, it sounded horrible.

Our relationship wasn’t master and slave. It was more like a teacher and student.

When the moors trial ended we did feel a
lack of catharsis: something violent should have happened to put an end to violence. Throughout, we were missing the shadow of the rope. The end was, in fact, unaesthetic.

After the arrest, the couple said nothing. The judge marked Brady as ‘hopelessly evil’. He, somehow, accepted his sentence and withdraw into social isolation. He wanted to starve himself to death and protested when the authorities force fed him. Still, he considered himself to be a comparatively ‘petty criminal’ alongside ‘global serial killers and thieves like Blair or Bush’.

I hope he loves me and will marry me someday. He is cruel and selfish, and I love him.

Indeed, the pivotal evidence in her conviction
did not just revolve around David Smith‘s eye
-witness testimony concerning the death of Edward Evans and it was the discovery of a suitcase in a locker at Manchester train station that would seemingly categorically confirm
Hindley‘s complicity in the crimes:―
Among the contents of the brown suitcase were five photographs of a child in the nude. [Superintendent Robert Alexander] also found two recording tapes. On two tracks, when played, he found voices of a man, woman, and a child. The recordings on the tracks were identical. At the end of each tape was a recording of music.

His lover is often described as pure evil, a predator of children, a sex offender. ‘The archetype of a stranger danger’, and apparently the grand master of all the uncertainty and fear that this provoked, she became, as she herself recognized, ―the symbol of the nation‘s revulsion at all those who prey on innocent children (The Guardian).

Yet Myra Hindley, who died in prison in 2002, had always maintained that Brady — who died in a mental health hospital on Monday — manipulated her to murder their five child victim. Ian on the other hand sustained,

I was never conscious of having to exert myself to coerce her into accepting my belief in relativist morality. Bit by bit we were moving towards an almost telepathic relationship. She was as ruthless as I was.

Hindley established herself as an icon of evil. She was a deviant and evil personified. An example that ‘she’ can be brutal too. A cruel woman that can do the unimaginable leaving behind her role of nurturing sex. Even the trial judge suggested, ‘Tough I believe that Brady is wicked upon belief without hope of redemption, I cannot feel the same is necessarily true of Hindley once she is removed from his influence.’

Contrary to Brady who drove to madness as he approached the end, Myra remained persistent in seeking parole until her death and even plotted to escape with a prison warder.

She might be sorry, sorry for wrecking her life.

Trolls, LulzSec & Weev

I hack, I ruin, I make piles of money — Andrew Auernheimer aka Weev

With a rise in technology, sophisticated cyber attacks won’t lag behind. And neither would troll. One of well known is LulzSec, short for laughs and security. They have close ties with Anonymous but as like Anonymous, they are not in hacking for political reason but simply for the laughs. Laughs at the inadequate security.

For the past 50 days (50 days of Lulz), we have been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments and the general population itself and quite possibly everything in between. Just because we could; all to selflessly entertain others.

 

They did an eight-month-long campaign in 2011: began by targeting Fox.com, hacked US broadcaster PBS and planted a fake story saying that Tupac and Biggie Smalls are in fact alive and live in New Zealand. In another attack, they stole personal information of about more than 24.6 million Sony users forcing them to take down their website for several days. Hacking the Infragardpages, they posted:

It has come to our unfortunate attention that NATO and our good friend Barrack Osama-Llama 24th-century Obama [sic] have recently upped the stakes with regard to hacking. They now treat hacking as an act of war. So, we just hacked an FBI affiliated website (Infragard, specifically the Atlanta chapter) and leaked its user base. We also took complete control over the site and defaced it.

Say hello to the insides of the PBS servers — LulzSec

 

After some time, the launched an operation with Anonymous AntiSec to launch attacks on numerous government websites or agencies (Govt. of BrazilArizona Department of Public Safety, Petrobras). But soon, Lulzsec retired and in their last post shared:
Our crew of six wishes you a happy 2011, and a shout out to all our battlefield members and supporters across the globe.

Less than a month later, the group reconvened and announced that it was behind more hacks like the attacks on the British newspaper The Sun and The Times, posting about the death of the publication’s owner Rupert Murdoch.

Fake story created about the death of the media mogul

 

Soon, they found themselves followed by law enforcement authorities as well other hackers. From June 2011, LulzSec members began to be suspected by both the US and UK police and arrests were made— Ryan Cleary, Jake Davis, Mustafa al-Bassam and Ryan Ackroyd. Despite this, there were statements after the arrests suggesting that LulzSec is not a mere group of people but more like an idea that is hard to eradicate.

It’s ridiculous to believe that by arresting members of LulzSec, you have stopped us. You haven’t stopped us. You have merely disrupted the active faction- Anonymous

You cared nothing for the privacy of others but did everything you could through your computer activities to hide your own identities while seeking publicity- Judge Taylor

 

Let’s take a quick turn to another troll — Andrew Auernheimer aka Weev, who is well-known for his dedicated trolls, advocating genocide of non-whites and usual messing with large corporations. He was a leader of the Goatse security, a grey hat group that uncovers security holes for ‘the benefit of the public at large’. He took the disruptions by LulzSec and Anonymous to another level starting something broad against authority. Although he disagrees with LulzSec by saying, ‘ They’re publishing people’s authentication data, which puts the average member of the public at risk.’ and further stating that, ‘ I would never do that. They are the people we have to defend.’

 

He believes that we need to toughen up as we are too pampered and that’s one of the reason that ‘the western society is sick; diseased’. When in an interview he was questioned about his tweet – You’re fat and your kid has autism, he started, ‘ I believe that tweet is pretty fair. I believe that person is fat and that child did have autism…
I think the problem with our society is that everybody is so politically incorrect because they have grown up in a bubble- official price, rounded corners, and bright colors. We are costume animals telling nobody anything that might hurt their feelings. Kids these days, they should be out welding, they should work with caustic chemicals, you know control demolition, like learn to be real people living in a real world and not these insulated morons who can’t ever hear anything that might hurt their feelings.
Get over it, grow up, and learn to deal with people on the internet not liking you. And if you don’t like it, shut down your FB page, make your Twitter private, don’t engage in a public discussion and you’ll never run into a conversation where I can say something that can hurt your feelings.’

He regularly writes for The Daily Stromer that is a ‘ neo-Naziwhite supremacist and Holocaust denial website’. In one of his post on this commentary, he expressed his hate towards Jews and black people revealing giant swastika tattoo on his chest.

Weev with a swastika tattoo on his chest

 

“I unequivocally support the killing of children. I believe that our enemies need such a level of atrocity inflicted upon them and their homes that they are afraid to ever threaten the white race with genocide again. We will not relent until far after their daughters are raped in front of them. We will not relent until far after the eyes of their sons are gouged out before them. We will not relent until the cries of their infants are silenced by boots stomping their brains out onto the pavement.”

“Please, Donald Trump, kill the Jews, down to the last woman and child. Leave nothing left of the Jewish menace. It is all on you, my glorious leader.”
— “Kikes Tried to Frame Me for Synagogue Threats a Second Time,” Daily Stormer, March 2017.

— From a flyer Auernheimer sent to 50,000 computer printers across the country, August 2016.

Even though his mother said that Weev comes from a large-mixed raced family with Jewish relatives on “both sides of his family,” as well as Native American blood. After serving his sentence, he is reported to move to eastern Europe as the Department of Justice is still looking for him. He said that he misses America every day and is living a sort of miserable and despairing life in Transnistria. Still, he consistently uses the Internet to troll and shares his sort racist beliefs.

 

Trolling which now seems an everyday superficial and impulsive action is rather a ‘dark’ psychological phenomenon which has a further strong association with the darkest aspects of personality — including sadism, psychopathy, and manipulativeness. Furtherthe web provides the users the opportunity to shape and develop this aspect of the personality which might otherwise remain hidden from our neighbors and friends. This gives the advantage of remaining anonymous and not suffer from face to face social impacts that such kind of action might bring.

Luke Goode, researcher, and writer about new media technologies summed up this phenomenon:
It is also a symptom of our hyper-individualistic culture. Schools, the media and the self-help industry devote tremendous energy to telling people they are extraordinary individuals whose calling is to make their unique mark on the world. When the rest of humdrum social reality reneges on this promise, internet trolling offers a temptingly simple, though illusory, escape from feelings of powerlessness, insignificance, and boredom.

Incel and love deprivation

As the phrase that I had coined goes: If I cannot join them, I will rise above them; and if I cannot rise above them, I will destroy them- Elliot Rodger, the perpetrator of the 2014 Isla Vista Massacre.

There is loneliness. A yearning to find someone. Fulfilling the basic need for love. But when the desires never actualize in reality. When the immense craving stays within and suffocates one to the core. The frustration and doubt ensue. Hatred and a contempt for the society arise. And when they further get a platform to connect and express anger things can really take an ugly turn.

In 1997, Alana wanted to create a supportive forum for lonely people. People who struggle to find love. A friendly place for people like her. So she created a simple website to post some articles and ran a mailing list. This site came to be known as ‘Incel’, an abbreviation for ‘involuntary celibate’. After setting up the forum, she eventually moved away from it, satisfied and thinking that it can continue without her.

 

Things changed and so did the meaning of the term and the content of this innocuous website. Discussions were characterized by hatred, violence, racism, and misogyny. Incels believe that social norms are destroying them. This online community of celibate men convinces themselves to be ugly and socially awkward. And they believe that this is the reason they are unable to find any potential partner. Misogynists blame the women and conclude that they are the victims. There were discussions about raping and torturing women and this kind of content was accepted, to say the least. Evidently, a toxic place to frequent.

A lot of these guys are pretty young, and I think some of it stems from standard adolescent insecurities and sexual frustration and anger at being rejected by girls- David Futrelle

 

Incel received a momentum in 2014 when Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old man killed six people and then himself in California. He had a narcissistic personality and even wrote a 137-page manifesto filled with his grandiose fantasies and delusions. As Berit Brogaard, a professor of philosophy noticed, Roger was preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love. He was obsessed with finding ‘love’.

Elliot Rodger, an incel hero

 

In his last video, Elliot expressed,

You will finally see that I’m in truth the superior one- the true alpha male…
From now, I’ll be the god compared to you. You are animals and I’ll slaughter you. I’ll be a god exacting my retribution for all those who deserve it. And you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me.

Then on April 23 of this year, Alek Minassian posted on Facebook — the Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the supreme gentleman Elliot Rodger.

Chad and Stacy are the popular, attractive and sexually active men and women while Becky is the ‘average’ women

 

Alek then got a rented van and targeted pedestrians on the North York City Centre – killing 10 and injuring 16. Another similar case is of Chris Harper-Mercer who killed nine people in a community college in 2015. He stated, ‘Here I am, 26, with no friends, no job, no girlfriend’.

There is a new crisis in masculinity, or that we need to take a special focus on redeeming our Millenial ‘lost boys’- the losers of a changing social hierarchy who posted once on 4chan as teenagers and turned into a neo-Nazis as adults. It is more worthwhile to think about this as a problem of nihilism (Drew Brown)

 

Incels brood hate for society and for themselves too. They blame others for their defeat and the feeling of unworthiness. As the relationships expert Hunt Ethridge notice, “The fox couldn’t reach the grapes, so he convinced himself the grapes were sour and he didn’t want them anyway.” Their despair and belief that women have some functions on a superficial level only dehumanize the perspective of the opposite gender. And when they find these online corners to connect and share their ideologies with no external perspective, ‘the validation can fuel aggression’.

 

When they allow all these isolated and alienated people to unite and for once feel a sense of connectivity, acceptance, and understanding to share their sense of shame and self-condemnation. But it also allows for a perfect storm of not only self-hatred but vitriol, rage, and a desire to inflict harm on others whereby victims can also experience first-hand the grief and suffering which Incels feel they’ve had to endure for a lifetime.”-Sam Louie, Psychology Today

Isolation and lack of normal social
relationships

Alana was sad and angry when she learned what her innocent creation ended up being. She, then, created a project named Love not Anger to research how these lonely people might find respectful love and leave behind their state of anger and hopelessness. This is an important step towards awareness and recognition of the problem. The alienation from society and a subsequent loss of reality can pose a real threat. There is a need to stand in, challenge and dismantle the toxic ideologies through the practical actions. Gathering support and extending a helping hand to get out of the toxic environment before the things take an ugly turn. Change in mentality can change the lives.

 

The greatest generation of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind- William James

Quote

Internet’s folk hero

“Think deeply about things. Don’t just go along because that’s the way things are or that’s what your friends say. Consider the effects, consider the alternatives, but most importantly, just think.”

Aaron Swartz, an internet legend, it’s own boy — a tech genius. Dropped out of school at the age of 14, he earned an early success as a programmer. He developed Reddit at the age of nineteen and took a turn toward political activism devoting his short life to the idea of free internet.

He was against the corporate influence. He believed that ideas should be freely available on the Internet favoring the free access of all sources. Academic publications are bound within the notions of copyright. Information published in the scientific and cultural field are digitized and monopolized by few private corporations. These large corporations, he wrote, are ‘blinded by the greed’ and the restricted access is a ‘private theft of public culture’.

Scholarly researched literature which is funded by taxpayers is available to only some well-known universities in the developed world. The general public would have to pay a subscription fee to go through an article. In 2013, Aaron was a research fellow at the Harvard University which provided him an access to the JSTOR account. JSTOR is a digital library that contains full-text research of almost 2,000 journals on various disciplines. He downloaded a close to two-thirds of the JSTORE archive through the MIT computer network (which can be equivalent to the subscription fee of fifty thousand dollars). This lead to his capture and an eventual trial. Federal prosecutors charged him with a ridiculous 35 years sentence in prison and a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fine. However, the plea bargain was offered which Swartz and his attorney denied in the end.

Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar and whether you take documents, data or dollars- Carmen M. Ortez, U.S. Attorney & Prosecutor of Aaron Swartz

On 11th January, two days later, Swartz hanged himself with his belt in a New-York apartment leaving no suicide note behind. Contrary to the idea that he was depressed, his family members and near ones claimed that he has been indirectly killed by the government. His girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman wrote,

“I believe that Aaron’s death was not caused by depression…I say this because, since his suicide, as I’ve tried to grapple with what happened, I’ve been learning. I’ve researched clinical depression and associated disorders. I’ve read their symptoms, and at least until the last 24 hours of his life, Aaron didn’t fit them.

…I believe Aaron’s death was caused by exhaustion, by fear, and by uncertainty. I believe that Aaron’s death was caused by a persecution and a prosecution that had already wound on for 2 years (what happened to our right to a speedy trial?) and had already drained all of his financial resources. I believe that Aaron’s death was caused by a criminal justice system that prioritizes power over mercy, vengeance over justice; a system that punishes innocent people for trying to prove their innocence instead of accepting plea deals that mark them as criminals in perpetuity; a system where incentives and power structures align for prosecutors to destroy the life of an innovator like Aaron in the pursuit of their own ambitions.”

Aaron Swartz was a significant part of the free culture movement. He was fighting furiously to make the information accessible to everyone. Restriction over valuable research in developing countries seemed intolerable to him, “Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.”

This meant that researchers and doctors treating patients with cancer or other diseases in remote regions of Africa could not access complete articles that describe the latest results in the treatments even if the research is done locally.

And if you decide to pay, you won’t know the article is relevant as the abstracts don’t always make it clear enough what is contained there. And restricted access journals are also prone to spurious results. You might cover the costs to read a peer-reviewed journal but receive some junk crafted by long technical phrases. Predatory and ‘unacademic’ articles are, overall, building a real obstacle in scientific development. For instance, an analysis done by Gopalkrishan Seethapathy and colleagues from the University of Oslo judged 350 journals (published in the year 2015–2016 alone) as predatory. In brief, prestigious and restricted sites aren’t completely flaw-free.

Coming back to Free-culture movement, it doesn’t concern academic publication exclusively but targets the restriction over music, art, and software industry also. Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation shared his opinion by stating,

Works of practical use should be free. Works regarding points of view should be shareable but not changeable and works of art or entertainment should be copyrighted.

Maybe we do need a free access to research done by our predecessors in order to appease our curiosity and as an initial point for our own discovery. Just like they used the knowledge and discoveries of others to build themselves up. Openness helps in the discovery.

Standing on the shoulders of the giants.

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Failure of justice

 

We fail ourselves if the wrong person is in jail. Police, prosecutors, and judges are society’s agents: what they do in our name, rightly or wrongly measures us as a people. One wrongful conviction would be too many if you were the one: imagine for a moment that it’s you locked behind bars, innocent – Bill Rowling, CEO, Civil Liberties Australia

We have the freedom to cherish. We feel protected and safe within a system that guarantees us the legal rights. This system composed of human beings like you and me is an ultimate source of support and relief. But as they say to err is human. And an error made during criminal convictions can destroy lives, relationships and mental health with no real compensation for the lost years and liberty. And the question of compensation arises only if one is lucky enough to be exonerated. Or else, many innocent prisoners never make to clear their offenses and stay unrecognized by the justice system. As the study shows that 4.1% of inmates awaiting execution on death row in the US are innocent and that at least 340 innocent people may have been executed since 1973.

 

The matter becomes more disturbing when someone from the justice system intentionally works against innocents and frame them. Prosecutors who are focused on securing convictions, a police officer who isn’t reliable and a judge who is reluctant to overturn the case can end up putting an innocent behind the bars. They can use controversial techniques to get the confessions and have their work done without caring whatsoever about the truth. As happened with Jeffrey Mark Deskovic who was convicted of raping, beating and strangling a classmate at the age of 17. According to the police, he had a suspicious behavior as he was emotionally distraught over her classmate’s death and was an awkward kid without many friends. Jeffrey described his experience during the police interrogation that eventually leads him to the imprisonment for 17 years.

 

“They got me to agree to take a polygraph test telling me that there was some new information in the police file that they wanted to share with me but the only way they could do that if only I took and passed the polygraph examination…

They put me in a small room. I didn’t have an attorney present. I wasn’t given anything to eat the entire time I was there. There were three police officers who I knew were police officers and then there was the polygraphist who actually was a county sheriff’s investigator dresses like a civilian pretending not to be a cop. They strapped me to the polygraph machine and before beginning the polygraph examination they gave me countless cups of coffee, the purpose of which was to get me nervous. So after about 20 mins, pretending to align the machine, the interrogator started interrogating me using the third-degree tactic. He invaded my personal space, he raised his voice at me, he kept asking me the same questions over and over again as each hour passed so did my fear increase in proportion to the time. Towards the end of the examination, the polygrapher made a statement. What do you mean you didn’t do it? You just told me through the polygraph test result that you did. We just want you to verbally confirm it.

When he said that to me, it really shot my fear through the roof. At that point who should make a grand appearance other than the police officer who was pretending to be my friend. He informed me that the other officers were going to harm me but he was holding them off but could not do so indefinitely. You have to help yourself here, you understand.

Considering that I have maintained my innocence for previous six and a half to seven hours. It was clear what he meant by that. They wanted me to confess. When it was added that if I did as they wanted, not only the would stop what they are doing but I could go home afterward. Being young, naive, frightened sixteen years old, not thinking about the long-term implications, just being concerned about my safety right then right there, in fear of my life, painfully conscious of the fact that I knew that nobody knew where I was and then there was the push-pull dynamic. One one hand, the officer is threatening me with harm bait, on the other, he’s throwing me the false life preserver telling me that I’m not gonna be arrested. Being totally overwhelmed emotionally and psychologically. I took out what they offered and I made up a story based upon the information which they had given me in the course of interrogation.”

Jeffrey is one the 205 men and one woman who have been exonerated through DNA evidence since 1989 in which 53 have been convicted of murder.
Another alarming case is of Lawrence McKinney, 62, who spent half of his life in prison after he was wrongly convicted of raping a woman and stealing her television in 1978. After 31 years in jail, an evidence was found indicating that he was not even present on the scene. He was issued $75 in compensation and it took him another three months to cash it as he had no ID. Pretty shame paying $2 for each year he spent in prison.

 

I don’t have no life, all my life was taken away.

After release begins the struggle of reconnecting with people and making a living. A trauma that proceeds with grief for lost years.

 

When I came out I was very paranoid and I thought people were out to get me -it was like everybody was staring at me. For the first six months after I was released from prison, I tried to work with other people in similar circumstances to me to secure the release, but I ended up in the hospital because I was having a nervous breakdown. — Michael O’Brien

In 2012, convictions of more than 1100 cases were overturned due to separate 13 police corruption scandals, most of which involved the planting of drugs or guns on innocent defendants.

It’s not that rare that the prosecutors and police ignore key evidence and intentionally withhold information from the defense. Prosecutors have immense power in determining who will be subjected to criminal punishment. And some misuse this power and fail to reveal the evidence. They have absolute immunity against civil suits and they rarely receive the conviction for their errors. Indeed, a study conducted in 5 states found that in 660 cases where courts had confirmed prosecutorial misconduct the number of prosecutors disciplined was only one. Some prosecutors even receive bonuses for achieving a high conviction.

Kwame Ajamu exonerated after 40 years spent in prison

When people in power turn a blind eye to the crime and let some innocent rot in the prison for a lifetime, we can’t help losing our faith in humanity and justice system. But the struggle will go on, striving for the truth and for the meritable freedom. Finishing with Voltaire, the priority must be to protect the innocent.

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.

The world needs strong women

The most common way people gave their power is by thinking they don’t have any — Alice Walker

Hey my beautiful girls, where are you lost? I saw you thinking about other’s perception and letting yourself fade a little. Little by little until you forget yourself.

You mold yourself to please others. But this makes you die a little. You feel this pain of slow death — a pain so thorough and exhausting.

Your face has become a piece of canvas which you paint daily to hide your imperfections. Those imperfections that are beautiful and inspiring.

You want to be a so-called strong woman but let yourself defeated by the superficial society. You leave your dreams behind, justifying mortality while the world’s opinion holds importance as if it is concrete and mortal.

Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself.

Your daughter will look up to you. She will try to find a role model in her dear mother. She needs someone to tell her, ‘ You are good the way you are. Be authentic and strong. Hold your passion near your heart and use it to make this world a better place.’

Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself — Maya Angelou

I want you to tell her to read those great women who believed in themselves and lead the mass to follow them. Women that wanted to please themselves and not to satisfy the world.

I want you to make them fearless.

I want you to gather your empathy again. Get up and leave the cage of your own mind. Shred the barriers. Recognize your power and don’t be a prisoner of your own beliefs.

Charlotte Corday: Angel of Assassination

“She kills us, but she teaches us how to die.” — Pierre Victurnien Vergniaud

Jean-Paul Marat, one of the influential figures of the 18th century was a revolutionary leader and a radical voice during the period. He was a vocal and aggressive opponent of the counter-revolution, a defendant of people’s right and a nationalist who hated ‘the enemies of the fatherland’. He was an eloquent writer and started his own newspaper L’Ami du Peuple in which he unmasked the traitors whom he believed to be enemies of the republic. He was an extremist asking for people to be killed, suggesting

“five or six hundred heads cut off would have assured your repose, freedom, and happiness.”

His writings helped to enrage the mass which eventually ended up in September Massacres — some 1200 to 1400 prisoners were executed and no one went through justice for this carnage.

The Terror. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Some were supportive of this prominent representative of the reign of terror but there were critics too who believed that this instigator of the bloodshed must be halted at once.

Charlotte Corday, daughter of a minor aristocrat and a sympathizer of Girondins was one such opponent. She took to herself this necessary task of assassinating Marat which she undertook to safeguard her country from violence and bloody civil war.

Thus begins her plot of assassination. Initially, she planned to kill him at the Bastille Day in front of the National Convention but soon found out that his target won’t be able to attend those festivities due to his poor health. She reached his house and arranged to meet him on the context of revealing the list of Girondist traitors who were planning an uprising in Caen. She was admitted to his medicinal bathtub and furnished him the list. Then, she pulled a 6-inch kitchen knife and plunged it in his chest.

The Death of Marat, By Jacques-Louis David (1793)

Immediately arrested, Corday was brought to trial. The prosecutor asked him what she intended with this murder. She replied, ‘ Peace! Now that he is dead, peace will return to my country.’

“ Who has inspired you with so much
hatred against Marat.” they asked of her.
“I had no need of the hate of others,” she replied, “I had enough of my own; besides, persons execute badly that which they do not conceive themselves.”

Eventually, she was condemned by the revolutionary tribunal and ordered to be executed by guillotine only after four days from the murder. As her last wish she requested a portrait of her to be painted, “Since I still have a few moments to live, might I hope, citizens, that you will allow me to have myself painted.”

Portrait painted at her request by Jean-Jacques Hauer, a few hours before her execution.

She went to the scaffold wearing red chemise which symbolized a traitor- a person who assassinated a people’s representative.

She resembled the celestial vengeance, satisfied and transfigured. She
appeared, at some moments, to seek in the thousands of visages, a look of intelligence on which her eve might repose.
Charlotte Corday, Her Biography (translated from Lamartine)

Wartime violence against women

“You save yourself or you remain unsaved.” — Alice Sebold

Terror of Nazis was concluding and new dark clouds were engulfing Europe. Allied forces were coming to save but they will distress the vulnerable women and violate them to appease their hunger.

After the war’s end, a pair of smiling, well-dressed Soviet soldiers accost a German woman on a street

From January until June of 1945, there was a mass rape of German women by Soviet Red Army. There aren’t any precise figures available but the estimation states about 2 million victims. According to hospital reports, abortions rates were surging. Even though aborting a child was strictly illegal in Germany, many doctors thought it to be their duty to help these women.

Sexual violence was a revenge tactic — for a crime that Germans committed by invading their motherland. Make their women suffer, establish power by controlling their body and leaving them traumatized with unwanted pregnancies.
“They all lifted their skirts for us and lay on the bed. Two million of our children were born”, boasted one senior leader of a tank company.

Violations were indiscriminating. They were raping every woman from eight to eighty. A young Jewish lieutenant, Vladimir Gelfand recorded in his diary the following observations:

With horror on their faces, they told me what had happened on the first night of the Red Army’s arrival.

‘They poked here,’ explained the beautiful German girl, lifting up her skirt, ‘all night. They were old, some were covered in pimples and they all climbed on me and poked — no less than 20 men,’ she burst into tears.

‘They raped my daughter in front of me and they can still come back and rape her again’, said the poor mother.

“‘Stay here,’ the girl suddenly threw herself at me, ‘sleep with me! You can do whatever you want with me, but only you!’”

Author of German Diary 1945–1946 (Deutschland-Tagebuch 1945–1946) — Notations of a Soldier in the Red Army

Ingeborg Bullert was twenty at the time and dreamed of becoming an actress. She came out after decades to share her distressing experience.

Ingeborg Bullert, one of the victims of Soviet Army sexual violence

Suddenly there were two Russians pointing their pistols at me. One of them forced me to expose myself and raped me, and then they changed places and the other one raped me as well. I thought I would die, that they would kill me.

“My mother liked to boast that her daughter hadn’t been touched,” she says.

There was another anonymous diarist who shared her bed with a senior officer from Leningrad to save herself from the ‘male beasts’.

“By no means could it be said that the major is raping me. Am I doing it for bacon, butter, sugar, candles, canned meat? To some extent I’m sure I am. In addition I like the major and the less he wants from me as a man, the more I like him as a person.

It was not only German to suffer, but women in other parts of Europe also received the same treatment — Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. “The boys should be allowed to have some fun. It’s been a hard war’, justified the ruler of the Soviet Union Iosif Stalin.

One victim of these gang rapes described it as being dead. The whole body is gripped by cramp and you feel repulsion. I can’t tell how many men were there- ten, fifteen. But this went on and on.

Inge Zaun lived in Klein-Machnow was raped “over and over again, sixty times” when she was just eighteen-years-old.

‘How can you defend yourself?’

‘When they pound at the door and fire their guns
senselessly. Each night new ones, each night others. The first time
when they took me and forced my father to watch, I thought I would
die … . Since their captain has taken me as his mistress, it is fortunately
only one. He listens to me too and helps make sure they leave the girls
[her sisters] alone.’

Andreas-Friedrich notes that after 6 May, when the Soviets entered her
neighborhood, German men were lamenting the rape of their daughters
and wives:

Suicide is in the air…
‘Honor lost, all lost’, a bewildered father says and hands a rope to his
daughter who has been raped twelve times. Obediently she goes and
hangs herself from the nearest window sash.

‘If you get raped nothing is left to you but death,’ a teacher declares
to a class of girls two days before the final collapse. More than half the
students came to the anticipated conclusion, as expected of them, and
drowned themselves and their lost honor in the nearest body of water.
Honor lost, all lost. Poison or bullet, rope or knife. They are killing
themselves by the hundreds.

Women took their own lives in advance of the Red Army invasion. (Voller Ernst/Getty)

Rupy Kaur: The Poet’s Voice

The writer who flourished from the Sikh diaspora and become one of the best known contemporary poets.

‘Milk and honey’, the New York Times best-seller is a first book written and published by Rupy Kaur who is now one of the most popular poets in the world. This writer emerged from the internet world. She is, as per Rolling Stone, the ‘Queen Of The Instapoets’.

It started in 2015 with an Instagram post in which she decided to open up and share a part (struggle) of being a woman. This was unconventional and was censored by Instagram. But Kaur didn’t stop and came to defend herself with the following response.

As a result, Instagram allowed the post to reappear on its platform but this rift brought a lot of attention to Rupy. She has been addressing a theme that, despite being a natural side of femininity, is considered a taboo.

Kaur’s writing often touches the intense themes: love, sex, heartbreak, abuse, trauma, race and gender dynamics.

Her life, as a child of the immigrants, along with her Sikh background influences her writing immensely. Her choice to use the lowercase and periods only is an ode to her mother tongue (Punjabi) and an effort to preserve the equality and symmetry it creates.

She talks about the pain and struggles that Sikhs endured during the 1984 genocide, that pushed his father to flee to Canada as a refugee. The trauma and the assault about which Rupi Kaur writes traces back those women who have been violated and left behind bereft in that period.

Her poetry reflects the lives of those South Asian girls who are expected to be conservative and quiet. Girls who are supposed to be pure and purports the dignity of their families.

Rupi challenges this idea of the tranquil woman and writes about her longings. The love she craves and the mistakes she made. The ache that the lost love induces and the wounds that a strong soul heals.

Poets like her challenge the silences and express their beliefs, thoughts in a way that makes the other forms rather unconvincing.

There are criticisms of course, but I wanted to write this just to appreciate one voice that excites the society to delve deep into the issues that we often ignore.
And pay my regards to another woman who inspires to search our soul with the art of poetry and encourage other people to create their own authentic masterpieces.

Delicious food stuffed with terror

Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal.

Margot Wolk was a member of Hitler’s ‘Prison Brigade’, one of the 15 women to test Fuhrer’s food and ensure it is free of any harmful toxins. She was the only one to survive and share her story with the rest of the world.

Margot was a Berlin girl, daughter of a man who was condemned for refusing to join the Nazi Army. She moved to Gross -Partsch, now in northern Poland, after her parent’s apartment was bombed-out by the allied forces. Her husband went to war. Having no other option at avail, she decided to reside at her in-law’s place but little she would have thought what future awaits for her.

She has just arrived at her new house when she got drafted by SS and was assigned as a food taster for the dictator. She was paid around 300 Reichmarks for swallowing this terror-filled food.

So, each morning, she drove off in a bus with other food tasters to eat his lunch. She described, “We boarded a bus with these S.S. thugs on board and drove to house 11 km away and there were 14 other young women around my age there, all from the locality, all Germans.” The women were forced to eat the food and wait for the poison to take its course before it gets served to Hitler.

Being hunger-stricken by the brutal war, the food they ate was satisfying.

“Well, the food was simply wonderful”.

Despite being sacrificing her life, she never got to see the dictator. She only saw her dog Blondi which was later killed by the same cyanide which the Hitler and his bride took for the suicide.

On July 20, 1944, Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg’s bomb exploded but the plot got failed and the women were forced to board in an empty school building nearby. The security tightened further.

‘We were guarded like cage animals’.

After some time, the Red Army was advancing in the area.

By the autumn, rumors were swirling that things were not going well on the eastern front. The Red Army was on its way. And there were stories of atrocities….

Margot knew it won’t end up good for anyone who worked for Hitler. A lieutenant, Oberleutnant Gerhard La Grange, arranged for her escape to Berlin. Other women are believed to be shot dead by the Soviet army.

But the hardships didn’t last there. In the last months of the war, she got caught by Red Army. They made her suffer for Hitler’s crime by captivating and raping her repeatedly for two weeks.

I tried to say I had TB, that I was infected. It did no good. They held me for 14 days and nights and raped me.

At that time, many women and girls suffered intensely from the sexual violence by Red Army soldiers. A report state that ‘ many Germans declare that all German women in East Prussia who stayed behind were raped by Red Army Soldiers’. Violated by the forces, Margot was never able to have any kids.

She was finally reunited with her husband Karl, she said: “On March 27, 1946, I opened the door to a man in uniform with a bandage on his head I didn’t recognize”.The couple lived together until Karl’s death in 1980.

She didn’t share her experience for decades but the memories kept coming to her in dreams. Finally, on her 95th birthday, a local Berlin journalist paid her a visit and she started speaking about her experiences.

I just wanted to say what happened there, she said.