Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Church Street Bombing

This is an excerpt of an on-line discussion with a fellow who was not aware of Nelson Mandela's violent past.

Hi Richard

I too opposed Apartheid and I do not agree with the sentiments of the Springbok club at all. They do not represent my views, however I used their website as a reference as this 'event' from Mandela's life seems to have been downplayed or glossed over in the traditional history of the Anti-Apartheid struggle. The sources are very scarce.

However the fact of the matter is that the Church Street Bombing did occur - Mandela did consent to it - (he mentions this in his book). I was living in Pretoria at the time and my father's office was a few blocks from the site of the bombing. I remember this event very clearly. Church Street is the Yonge Street of Pretoria - the bomb went off at rush hour on a Friday afternoon to ensure maximum civilian casualties. The carnage was awful. There were many people (both black and white) who were cut to shreds by the falling glass from the surrounding buildings. Regardless of how one wishes to justify this act, it was terrible atrocity and probably didn't do much to advance the anti-apartheid struggle.

I do not believe (based on their life actions and philosophy) that neither Gandhi nor King would have consented to such violence. One does not hear of this bombing as it does not fit in with the current image of Mandela as a voice of peace. But we cannot deny the facts - it happened. Even Amnesty International would not endorse Mandela as he refused for a very long time to denounce violence.

Having said this I do respect Mandela's policy of reconciliation which seems to have temporarily healed some of the evils of the Apartheid Era (at least for now). But lets not forget history in our rush to embrace the future.

Your comparison with the King David Bombing, while on the surface comparable, does nor accurately reflect the same moral equivalency as the Church Street Bombing. The King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British forces in Palestine. The bomb threat was called in and many civilians left well in advance as did some of the military. However there were those who chose to stay (they were guided more by arrogance than anything else) and therefore paid the price. The King David Hotel was a justifiable military target.

I would have no complaint with the ANC attack on Church Street if the perpetrators had warned the civilian population ahead of time and chosen a military target instead. After all like the Irgun their struggle was legitimate.

Thanks for the opportunity to indulge.


Arab-Israeli Conflict Quiz #1

The Arab-Israeli Conflict I

1. At which International Conference after World War I was the Palestine Mandate granted to Britain?
2. This area was separated from Palestine and given to the Emir Abdullah in 1921. What was it named?
3. This declaration promising Palestine as a Jewish homeland was issued in 1917. Which Declaration was this?
4. What did Britain issue on May 17, 1939 to restrict immigration into Palestine?
5. Which Country had a mandate in Syria after the First World War?
6. What was UNSCOP?
7. What was the name of the Arab village that was attacked by the Irgun and Stern Gang on April 9, 1948 in order to end the blockade of Jersulalem and attacks by Arabs on Jewish convoys?
8. Jews from this ship that were denied entry into Palestine by the British were eventually interned in the British-occupied zone of Germany. Which ship was this?
9. This man, the Mufti of Jerusalem, collaborated with Hitler during World War II. Who was this man?
10. Of 8, 10, 12 months how long did the War of Israeli Independence last?
11. According to the United Nations Partition Plan, approved by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 33 against 13 with 10 abstentions on the November 29, 1949, what was to become of Jerusalem?
12. Which four countries did Israel sign armstices in 1949 with?
13. This man was Israel’s Ambassador to the UN at the time of the Suez Canal Crisis. Who was he?
14. Which Gulf did the Egyptians blockade on May 22, 1967 cutting off the Israeli port of Eilat?
15. This party seized power in Syria in 1967. Which Party was this?

Answers to The Arab-Israeli Conflict I

1. The San Remo Conference of 1920.
2. Transjordan. It would gain independence as Jordan in 1946.
3. The Balfour Declaration.
4. The White Paper.
5. France
6. The UN Special Committee on Palestine.
7. Deir Yassin.
8. Exodus 1947.
9. Haj Amin el Husseini.
10. Eight months.
11. It was supposed to an international zone. The rest of the region of course was split into a proposed Jewish and Arab state (this does not include the East Bank of the Jordan which had already become a separate entity ‘Transjordan’ earlier).
12. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria with Ralp Bunche, who would later win a Nobel Peace Prize serving as Mediator.
13. Abba Eban.
14. The Gulf of Aquaba.
15. The Ba’ath Party.

Ancient Egypt Quiz #3

Ancient Egypt III

1. What were the names of the two store cities the Hebrews built?
2. How many pharoahs were called Ramases (to the nearest 2)?
3. What domestic animal was held up as sacred by the Ancient Egyptians?
4. Who was the God of the Nile?
5. Who was his wife?
6. During which Dynasty were the Great Pyramids built?
7. What did Ramses II three last wives have in common with respect to their burial?
8. Which European country was responsible for establishing an Egyptian Dynasty?
9. Which kingdom ruled Egypt during the 7th Century BC?
10. Who was the last ruler of Egypt?
11. Which people dominated Egypt between the Middle and New Kingdom?
12. How did Cleopatra die?
13. What disease identified from mummy investigations is thought to have caused high death rates in Ancient Egypt?
14. Who were the Hyksos?
15. To which entity was Ra united with in later Egyptian mythology?

Answers to Ancient Egypt III

1. Pithom and Ramases.
2. 12
3. The cat.
4. Osiris
5. Isis
6. 4th Dynasty.
7. They were all buried in the Valley of the Queens.
8. Greece -Ptolemaic dynasty. Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great’s generals.
9. The Saite Kingdom.
10. Cleopatra
11. Libyans
12. She allowed herself to be bitten by an asp (a type of snake) in order to commit suicide.
13. Tuberculosis
14. An invader race who dominated Egypt during the period between the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
15. Ammon to create Ammon-Ra.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

100 Great Military Figures

In order:
Taken from my website:

Name-Description-Key Wars/Campaigns

1. Alexander the Great - Macedonian/Greek king. Persian Wars and the Alexandrian drive for Empire in the 4th century BC.

2. Napoleon Bonaparte - French Emperor. Napoleonic Wars late 18th century to 1815.

3. Julius Caesar - Roman General. Roman Wars against the Barbarians in particular the Gallic Wars.

4. Tamerlane - Tatar leader. Tatar conquests of the 14th and 15th centuries.

5. John Churchill - aka Duke of Marlborough. English general in War of the Spanish Succession.

6. Sun Tzu - Chinese Philosopher. Wrote the Art of War. A timeless bible on warfare strategy.

7. Genghis Khan - Mongol leader. Mongol conquests 12th and 13th century.

8. Karl Clausewitz - Prussian General and influential military theorist.

9. Erwin Rommel - German General. North African Campaign of World War II.

10. Saladin - Kurdish Warrior. War of the Crusades. Led Muslim resistance.

11. Lord Nelson - British Admiral during the Napoleonic Wars.

12. Richard the Lionheart - English king. 3rd Crusade.

13. Heinz Guaderain - German General. Second World War. Proponent of the Blitzkrieg.

14. Frederick the Great - Prussian king. War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War.

15. Helmuth von Moltke - German General and master strategist. World War I.

16. Gustavus Adolphus - Swedish king. The Thirty Years War.

17. Ariel Sharon - Israeli General. Yom Kippur War.

18. Marshal Zhukov - Russian General. Second World War.

19. George Washington - American Revolution.

20. Peter the Great - Russian Tsar. Northern Wars between Russia and Sweden.

21. Robert Clive - British general led conquest of India.

22. Shaka Zulu - Zulu Chief. Wars leading to the formation of the Zulu Empire.

23. Justinian the Great - Byzantine Emperor led campaigns against the Vandals and Barbarians.

24. Hannibal - Leader of Carthage. Second Punic War against Rome.

25. David - Hebrew King. Campaigns against the Philistines.

26. Scipio Africanus - Roman General. Second Punic War against Carthage.

27. Edward I - English king. Crusades and the war against the Scots and the Welsh.

28. Menelik - Abyssinian leader. Defeated Italians at Adowa in 1896.

29. Douglas MacArthur - American general. Second World War (Far East Campaign) and the Korean War.

30. Charlemagne - French king. Wars against the Moors and other 'pagan' forces in creating a French super state.

31. Prince Eugene of Savoy - Austrian General. War of the Spanish Succession.

31A. Francis Drake - English Naval figure/pirate. Shipping Wars against Spain.

32. Atilla the Hun - Terrorizing of Europe toward the end of the West Roman Empire.

33. Robert the Bruce - Scottish King. War against the English in the 13th century.

34. General Giap - North Vietnamese General. Vietnam War.

35. William Sherman - American Union General. American Civil War.

36. Moshe Dayan - Israeli General. Six Day War (1967)

37. Earl Kitchener - British/Irish Field Marshal. Campaigns against the Mahdi in Sudan.

38. Sulamein the Magnificent - Wars for the Expansion of the Ottoman Empire.

39. Paul von Hindenburg - German General . World War I.

40. Lysander - Spartan Naval Commander during Pelopennesian Wars.

41. George Patton - American General. World War II.

42. Chi Huanghdi - Chinese Emperor started dynasty after which the country is named. Campaigns against the Barbarians in the 3rd century BC.

43. Louis IX - French king. Crusades and the War against the English.

44. Mikhail Kutuzov - Russian Field marshal. War against the Turks and the Napoleonic wars.

45. Oliver Cromwell - English general/politician. Lead forces of Parliament in English Civil War - 17th century.

46. Fabianus - Roman General. Pioneered delaying strategy during Second Punic War.

47. Stonewell Jackson - US Confederate General. American Civil War.

48. Pompey - Roman General. Defeated Spartacus, Mithridates VI and the Marians in the 1st century BC.

49. Mosheshoe - Basuto king. Father of Lesotho. Wars against the British and the Boers.

50. Mikhail Tukachevsky - Russian General. War of the Reds and the Whites. War against Poland.

51. Henry V - Holy Roman Empire. Wars against the French and Protestant forces.

52. Philip of Macedonia - Wars for the Unification of Greece.

53. Geronimo - Apache leader. Waged war against internment on reservation in the

54. Arthur Wellesley - British/Irish General aka Duke of Wellington. Peninsular War and the Napoleonic Wars.

55. Joshua - Hebrew leader. Conquest of Canaan.

56. Hernando Cortes - Spanish soldier. Defeat of the Aztecs.

57. William the Conqueror - Norman king. Invasion of England in 1066.

58. Jan Smuts - South African general. Boer War. Important figure in World War I and World War II allied planning.

59. Robert E. Lee - Confederate General. American Civil War.

60. Marshal Blucher - Prussian General during Napoleonic War.

61. Dwight D. Eisenhower - American Supreme Allied Commander. World War II.

62. Marshal Radetsky - Austrian General. Revolutions of 1948-49.

63. Otto the Great - King of the Germans. War against the 'pagans' in the 10th century BC.

64. Count Bernadotte - French/Swedish General/King. Napoleonic War.

65. Mao Zedong - Chinese Communist leader. War against Japan (WWII) and the fight against the Nationalists.

66. Francisco Pissaro - Spanish conquistador. Conquest of the Inca.

67. Henry of Navarre - French King. War of the Three Henrys.

68. Robert Blake - English Admiral. Anglo-Dutch Wars.

69. Ho Chi Minh - Vietnamese leader. Wars against the Japanese, French and Americans.

70. Akbar - Mughal Emperor. Conquest of India the 16th century.

71. Hulagu - Mongol warlord. Grandson of Genghis Khan. Led drives that exterminated the Assassin sect. Waged War against the Arabs and Persia.

72. Albrecht Wallenstein - Austrian General. Thirty Years War.

73. Charles XII - Swedish King. Northern European Wars.

74. Maarten Tromp - Dutch Admiral. Anglo-Dutch Wars.

75. General John J. Pershing - US General. World War I.

76. Alphonso VIII. - Spanish King. Wars against the Moors.

77. Simon Bolivar - South American revolutionary. War of Liberation against Spain.

78. Louis Faidherbe - French General. West African campaigns in the 19th century.

79. Babar - Mughal Emperor. Wars for Empire Expansion.

80. Cyrus the Great - Persian king. War against the Babylonians.

81. Erich von Luddendorf - German General. World War I.

82. Marshal Tito - Yugoslav Partisan leader - World War II.

83. Alfred Von Tirpitz - German Admiral. World War I.

84. Bernardo O' Higgins - Chilean Revolutionary. Chilean War of Independence.

85. John Paul Jones - American Admiral. American Revolution.

86. Harun Al Rashid - Arab leader. Wars of Arab Conquest.

87. Jahangir - Mughal Emperor. Wars of Mughal Expansion.

88. Jose de San Martin - South American Revolutionary. War of Independence from Spain.

89. Ulysses Grant - Union General. American Civil War.

90. Ferenc Rákóczi II - Hungarian prince. Led revolts against Austrians in 18th century.

91. General Wolfe - British General. Seven Years War - north American campaign.

82. Frederick I Barbarossa - German King. Crusader wars.

93. Darius I - Persian Emperor. Greek-Persian Wars.

94. Gerd Von Runstedt - German general. World War II.

95. Ferdinand Foch - French military leader. World War I.

96. Murad I - Ottoman sultan. Wars of Ottoman expansion - 14th century.

97. Ahmad Shah - Central Asian Warlord. Wars of Afghani expansion - 18th century.

98.Nebuchadnezzer II -Babylonian King. Drove Babylonian expansion. Captured Jerusalem.

99. Bayezid I - Ottoman sultan. Led Ottoman advances into Eastern Europe

100 Most Critical Battles in World History

Taken from my site:
(Western Perspective of course)

Stalingrad - World War II
The Somme - World War I
Kursk - World War II
Austrelitz - Napoleonic Wars
Jutland - World War I
Poitiers/Tours - Arab Conquest Wars
Passchendaele - World War I
Agincourt - Hundred Years War
Trafalgar - Napoleonic Wars
Kadesh - Egyptian-Hittite War
Tannenburg - World War I
Lepanto - Turkish Wars of the 16th century
Salamis - Greek-Persian Wars
Adrianople - Roman-Visigoth Wars
Lutzen - Thirty Year War
Cannae - Punic Wars
El Alamein - World War II
Waterloo - Napoleonic Wars
Midway - World War II
D-Day - World War II
Port Arthur - Russo-Japanese War
Blenheim - War of the Spanish Succession
Jena and Austadt - Napoleonic Wars
Leningrad - World War II
Marathon - Greek-Persian Wars
Gettysburg - American Civil War
Thermopylae - Greek-Persian Wars
Borodino - Napoleonic Wars
Siege of - Turkish-Byzantine War
Crecy - Hundred Years War
Siege of Alesia - Gallic Wars
Plassey - Seven Years War ( English-Indian Campaign)
Gaugamela - Alexander the Great's Persian Wars
Issus - Alexander the Great's Persian Wars
Granicus - Alexander the Great's Persian Wars
Ramillies - War of the Spanish Succession
Somme - World War I
Coral Sea - World War II
Leipzig - Napoleonic Wars
Saratoga - American Revolution
Monte Cassino - World War II
Poltava - Great Northern War
Marne - World War I
Spanish Armada - English-Spanish War
Ardennes Bulge - World War II
Britain - World War II
Antietam - American Civil War
Yorktown - American Revolution
Inchon - Korean War
Fredericksburg - American Civil War
Toleso - Spanish-Muslim War
Sedan - Prussian-French War
Aegospotami - Peloponnesian War
St Mihiel Salient - World War I
Adowa - Italian- Ethiopian War
Actium - Roman Civil War
First Battle of Ypres - World War I
Chancellorville - American Civil War
Cambrai - World War I
Dien Bien Phu - Vietnam War
Guadalcanal - World War II
Mediggo - World War I
Plains of Abraham - Seven Years War (in Canada)
Vicksburg - American Civil War
Naseby - English Civil War
Zama - Punic Wars
Verdun - World War I
Marston Moor - English Civil War
Boyne - William's War against James II
Teutoburg Forest - Roman-Goth Wars
Sadowa - Prussian- Austrian War
Sinai Campaign - Arab Israeli War
Pearl Harbour - World War II
New Orleans - War of 1812
Solferino - French-Austrian War
Manzikeret - Byzantine-Turk War
Chalons-sur-Marne - Roman-Huns War
Pharsalus - Roman Civil War
Siege of Syracuse - Peloponnesian War
Nile - Napoleonic War
Masada - Roman Campaign in Palestine
Alamo - Mexican-American War
Malplaquet - War of the Spanish Succession
Baltimore - War of 1812
Gallipoli - World War I
Siege of Sevastopol - Crimean War
Acre - Crusader Wars
Leyte Gulf - World War II
Balaclava - Crimean War
Tunis - World War II
Amiens - World War I
Boyaca - South American Wars of Independence
Shiloh - American Civil War
Siege of Vienna (1683) - Austrian-Turkish Wars
Battle of Narva - Great Northern War
Poitiers - Hundred Years War
Valmy - French Revolutionary War
Pyramids - Napoleonic Wars
Salamanca - Napoleonic War (Spanish theater)
Isandlhwana - Zulu War