Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

On January 29th, 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette implemented a Lone Wolf attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Regardless of your opinion of Islam, in a country like Canada, this kind of thing should not happen yet it does.

I look at these kinds of events, as horrific as they are, and I am reminded why I teach Krav Maga for a living. The reality is that no matter how safe you think you are, it only takes one person to rock the boat and remind you that humans can be violent regardless of societal norms or laws.

So one may walk in peace.

The other thing I am reminded of is how little the general public seem to know about, well, a lot of things. I also knew that Canada’s media would immediately, or soon after the attack, take a strike at the already strict gun laws in Canada. In this particular event, the amount of BS I have seen on the internet within hours of the attack were quite shocking. Generally, I give the Canadian media some more points than the American media, for the Canadians tend to wait a little longer for facts to come in the midst of such chaos before spewing out nonsense. However, in this case, they also get the initial details wrong.

Not all terrorist attacks with a single attacker are Lone Wolf attacks, but all Lone Wolf attacks are considered terrorist attacks (most of the time)

Right away, I started seeing politics thrown around and read several articles about the topic of Lone Wolf vs terrorist attacks, with many claiming this attack to be purely terrorist and not Lone Wolf. This tells me that writers of such articles know little about conflict, violence, and terrorism. Aside from the fact that the perpetrator will most likely be charged with terrorism, his attack was most definitely a Lone Wolf attack. The distinction is very important.

As stated, a lone attacker does not signify a Lone Wolf attack, but a Lone Wolf attack is usually terrorism in nature (but not always). To me, a clear distinction is whether or not they had help. If they had help, it is most likely part of a larger terror network, such as Al-Qaeda or some nefariously well-hidden Muslim brotherhood affiliate. Or, to be fair, could also be  is part of some right-wing Neo-Nazi group planning their “big return.” If they did not have help, it is most likely a random guy who woke up one morning and decided to go on a rampage (of course, this is an understatement).

If your general definition of terrorism is simply “to cause terror,” then any violent attack such as a simple murder in a home could be called a terrorist attack since it definitely causes terror in a community. But does this now make such situations terrorism? I am not a big fan of word policing, but sometimes definitions matter, especially when there is so much confusion about specific things.

When a Lone Wolf attack becomes terrorism

Attacks targeting these groups can be considered terrorism:

  • Cultural
  • Ethic
  • Political
  • Religious

Also, if the attack was premeditated in any way, it can also be considered terrorism.

Definitions are important because the right or wrong word can be the difference between accurate or misleading information. Attacks that come from a single person who just snapped one day would be more appropriately termed “mass murder” which is an attack resulting in 5+ deaths depending on the regional definitions. If the media calls a mass murder situation a “terrorist attack,” it would most likely cause public terror since there could be the potential for another attack. However, in the case of the attack in Quebec, while the attacker turned himself in later, it is fairly safe to say it was a terror attack.

Another important reason for distinguishing the concept of a Lone Wolf attack is that it tells you whether or not law enforcement could have done more to stop it. Whenever a terrorist attack is not Lone Wolf and there are links to larger networks, it shows a failure in law enforcement agencies to do their jobs effectively in that particular case. However, in the case of a Lone Wolf attack, it is often unreasonable to blame law enforcement for lacking effort in prevention regardless of whether it is deemed terrorism or mass murder. The fact is Lone Wolf attacks are not on the LE radar and incredibly difficult to predict, especially when it’s by an individual with no criminal records like the Quebec case. Of course, the community could take responsibility to notice the behaviour of those close to them and recognise erratic behaviour in days leading up to an event. For example, family members should pay attention to each other and teachers should pay attention to their students, react appropriately, and possibly report to LE. However, sometimes Lone Wolf attacks can happen without warning.

 

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Alexandre Bissonnette

 

The only thing people can do to prepare for the unexpected situations like a Lone Wolf attack is to acquire the skills to protect themselves. The goal of getting people home safely every day is why I’ve dedicated my life to Krav Maga and training people how to avoid fights and how to end conflicts. In the moment of an attack, the people who can really do something to stop the violence are the people hiding in the building. The unfortunate truth is that waiting for LE to show up can be too late.

The political nature of attacks and terrorism

The word “terrorism” in modern times usually refers to Islamic terror, but it isn’t always the case. It is undeniable that Islamic terror is one of the biggest problems in the world, and people who refuse to believe it are incredibly naive, but it is also wrong to think that Caucasian people and Christians don’t participate in terrorist activities. However, there is a difference between the two. By and large, terrorism from Caucasians and Christians nowadays are Lone Wolf attacks by disgruntled and, sometimes, racist people. On the other hand, Islamic terrorism is usually more systematic and linked to large terrorist groups capable of repeat or other attacks.

Again, if you are going to pick a side, then you must understand the distinct and general difference. If you want to get into history, there was a time in which Caucasians had large organized terrorist groups, such as the IRA in England or the Basque in Spain. However, to be realistic, these groups are not a problem at the moment and the immediate threat is Islamic terrorism.

To the left-wing people in Western North America, please stop pretending that Islamic terror is not a problem.

To the right-wing people in Western North America, please stop pretending that Caucasians do not sometimes create plans to cause terror.

 

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Oklahoma Bombing

 

A perfect example of the latter is the Oklahoma City Bombing, one of the largest domestic terrorist attacks in American history. One April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up a Federal building, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more (which combined with the 9/11 are the largest terrorist attacks on American soil in modern times). This shows how Caucasians can be as dangerous as Islamic terrorists. Over the last several years, there have been numerous attacks in America, such as the Sandy Hook shooting, San Bernardino shooting, and the Charleston S.C. shooting. Notice the trend?

Terror attacks, mass murder, and guns

The anti-gun bandwagon becomes more popular after such attacks, especially when the people with a political motive and the media, for numerous reasons, often jump on the opportunity to blame these attacks on guns. However, the important point to remember is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The weapon is nothing without a wielder. If you think about the two largest terror attacks that were just mentioned, they were not perpetrated using guns but with explosives: a massive fertilizer bomb and giant planes.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

While the option of using planes as weapons has now become considerably harder with increasingly strict post-9/11 security measures, it is certainly still possible. The option of using IEDs is even easier and more effective for doing greater damage in a shorter amount of time because anyone with a little bit of chemistry knowledge can create an explosive. As such, firearms as a weapon of terrorism should be the least of people’s concerns. Immediately jumping to the anti-gun rhetoric post-terror events simply shows how little people truly know about violence, conflict, and firearms use.

In addition, Canadians and Americans forget how lucky they are to live in such relatively peaceful countries. In other parts of the world where the violence rate is high, the average person uses guns to defend themselves and the gun culture is very different. People living in North America easily become complacent about safety and security.

Gun laws in Canada

It drives me nuts when Canadians talk about gun laws as if they are living in America, which they are not. In Canada, if you would like to own a gun, you must pass a firearms safety course for non-restricted (rifles) and/or restricted (pistols) firearms, submit your test results to the RCMP, and wait for them to complete a criminal record check on you. If you have no criminal record and have never been committed for a mental illness, then you should receive your license soon after.

In addition, restricted firearms such as pistols are governed by mandatory safe storage laws, which usually require a trigger lock and a locked storage container. While bureaucratic in nature, these gun laws have drastically reduced accidental firearms-related deaths in Canada. (Notice I said “accidental” deaths. Due to these laws, suicide using firearms and death involving children gaining access to firearms have dropped.) Specifically, according to all the data I have seen, the two parts of the laws that have helped reduce firearms-related death are the background checks, including the mental health aspect, and the safe storage regulations. In the case of the Quebec shooting, Bissonnette had no criminal record and had not been committed for mental health issues and have not been reported for unusual behaviour.

With that being said, it is clear that the Brass at the RCMP and many politicians have an anti-gun agenda. They also regularly target the law abiding citizens who own guns (ie. Alberta’s High River Gun Grab in June 2013), so please do not say that gun owners are paranoid about getting their guns stolen and taken away because they are not.

Getting rid of guns would have stopped the Quebec attack, right?

 

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Lorry used in the Nice attack

If someone is truly committed to performing an attack, they would find a method. Remember the Nice, France attack on July 14, 2016?  Firearms were not the primary method for death, instead, a truck was used. Bissonnette could have just as easily taken a vehicle and driven into the mosque potentially killing and injuring even more people. Guns are not the problem.

 

People think that firearms are the most dangerous way bad people use to take out large groups. This is a myth that people believe because they do not get enough knowledge about violence and conflict. Shooting people in large groups is not the most effective way for mass murder. People have this idea simply because they are fed so much anti-gun propaganda that they believe it. If guns inherently make people wake up and decide they need to cause terror, then death rates would skyrocket in most Western countries because, well, there are a lot of guns there. The average person doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to commit murder.

People are fed so much anti-gun propaganda that they believe it.

Another issue that is more problematic than guns is mental health. It’s hard to deny that majority of the individuals who have committed mass murder in America since 9/11 had some kind of serious mental health issue. Either that or they were part of some gang violence, criminals shooting at other criminals, and thus the media never picked it up.

Finally, one more point about weapons is that people underestimate knives as a danger. I, on the other hand, am more wary of knives than firearms. Any idiot can pick up knives and use them as weapons. Only people with some kind of training can operate firearms to do significant damage. Bissonnette could easily have entered the mosque with a knife, locked the doors, trapped people inside, and started stabbing away. Firearms run out of ammo fast. Knives do not need ammo. He would have had an unlimited method of killing with a knife. For example, the Kunming knife attack in 2014 is a reminder of how quick and easy it is for a knife to yield significant damage. I emphasize this every time I teach knife-related self-defense.

The only one who can protect you is you

I wish that one day, humans would all decide they don’t want to hurt each other and then live in peace. Unfortunately, we are far from that as a species, and people attack each other all the time. What I hope for more is that, more importantly, people would wake up and recognize that humans are humans. You cannot use laws to regulate human nature and fix people’s desire to hurt others. Thus, the thing that people don’t seem to be able to grasp but need to understand is that the real weapon is the human being. The person committing the attack is the real threat and real danger, not the weapon they use. It doesn’t matter if they hold a knife, a gun, a bomb, or drive a vehicle. If a person wants to do something big and bad, they will find a way.

walkinpeaceThe best thing people can do to take real action against this issue is to acquire the skills needed to protect themselves. Whether it’s a mugging, a terrorist or Lone Wolf attack, or a school shooting, only you can protect yourself. To start, practice being alert, vigilant, and aware of your surroundings and situation (aka situational awareness), learn to identify threats immediately and get away (aka avoidance). Otherwise, you would always find yourself as a victim. Situational awareness and avoidance are tactics that people in fairly peaceful places like North America tend to forget. Just because we don’t have drug wars or tribal warfare or civil war doesn’t mean it is safe and that we shouldn’t be wary of danger.

You truly only have yourself.

It doesn’t matter what the media tells you, what you hear, and what you read about terrorism and mass murder. The most important thing you need to know is that in the moment of an attack, you truly only have yourself. Denying yourself the skills to survive is a risk. Are you willing to take that risk?

 

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WIPEOUT-Charlie-Hebdo-shooting“We heard two pops … we all wondered what it was,”

 “He said ‘Don’t move’. I threw myself on the ground … I knew it wasn’t firecrackers.”

 Vinson crawled towards some offices when the door of the editorial office burst open and a man cried: “Allahu akbar … where is Charb?”

 “I heard gunfire. I didn’t look back, I didn’t want to stare death in the face and I was sure I was going to die,” she said.

 She joined other staff hiding in a colleague’s office where they could hear but not see the killing spree.

 “They didn’t fire in bursts, they shot one bullet after another. Slowly. Nobody shouted. Everyone must have been taken completely by surprise,”

 Vinson heard footsteps and more gunfire. One of the gunmen, later identified as Saïd Kouachi, looked around an office wall and took aim.

 “I looked at him. He had big dark eyes, a gentle look. I felt he was slightly troubled, like he was searching for my name,”

This is the chilling account of Sigolène Vinsonh from the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Even with data showing that there are less deaths in modern day conflicts compared to the past, the psychological impact on normal citizens is very different.  In the past, there were front lines, rules of engagement, young men made up most of the casualties in those conflicts and, if it was not a total war, home was a place to de-stress and be relatively safe from attack.  Now, all rules are off and everyone and anyone can be a target in any place.  Terrorism is nothing new in modern history.  From the religious radical, leftist movement to separatism, few movements can claim that they have achieved their goals though terrorism.  However, the frequency and randomness of what we are seeing in the Western world is a completely new threat.

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What happened in Paris and Sydney is merely a start.  We will face more and more attacks like these in our streets, coffee shops, theaters and schools.  There is no front line and radicalization will only get worse as time progresses.  Terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda, with its own online publication such as Daqib (struggle), have successfully “inspired“ young people in the Western world to commit atrocities like attacks on Charlie Hebdo.  This magazine’s quality of images and arrangements can put most commercial publications to shame.  Articles on how to make car bombs and justifying the killing of innocent people can provide tools on both the spiritual and tactical level for radical young people. Now anyone with the will can be a terrorist and this is why this new type of terrorism is abhorred and feared by all. In the past, you could stop a terrorist organization by killing its ringleaders, bomb makers or suppliers. Now, anyone can be a ringleader, bomb maker and executioner all at once, and the time from planning to execution is very short.  The authorities have very little time to gather evidence and arrest suspects with no past history or connection until the attack has already happened. These types of attacks do not have to be specific.  The murder of British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013 is an example of these types of random terror attacks.  Two of the attackers, Michael Olumide Adebblaio and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, pulled off the attack with only cars, knives and a meat cleaver.  A terror attack does not have to be on a massive scale like 911 but simply needs to strike fear into the general public’s psyche.

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Solution:

There is not much we can do regarding radical ideology.  Radical ideology is radical because it is based upon emotions instead of logic.  The root of these emotions can be traced back centuries.  What we can do is for everyone to be mentally ready for the attacks and be prepared to handle them physically.

  1. Mentally Ready

Since the dawn of the age, men and women understood that they need to defend themselves from other humans, natural elements, etc.  The right to defend one’s life is as inherent as life itself.  The right to defense of self is as natural as breathing; however, in the modern day with all the comforts and security of Western civilization, people tend to forget their duty and their right.  We’ve become comfortable and we’ve become complacent.  Western society takes a much more liberal approach within its own society and castrates our ability and mentality to fight for our lives.  Ironically, Western society has a very different approach in its state-to-state affairs.  This diverse difference domestically and externally of Western society gives us the Wolf, Sheep and Sheepdog.  In this society, you are either a Wolf (bad guy), a Sheep (civilians who cannot fight back), or a Sheepdog (police and military).  This idea creates two different classes within a country’s citizens: Sheep and Sheepdog.  An average untrained civilian (Sheep) relies on the professional (Sheepdog) for his or her life, safety and well-being and, in return, the Sheep pays taxes and becomes a good citizen. This type of system was only made possible in the last 30 years because we were not in any major conflict, our society was not under constant threat, and we’ve had a relatively low crime rate. This was not always the case.  After all, nations did not mobilize Sheep in the last two major world wars, but strong proud citizen soldiers. In addition, nowadays, Wolves are hidden among the Sheep and they strike whenever and wherever. The very idea of Sheep and Sheepdog is a very lazy way of thinking.  We do not entrust others to eat our food or drink our water for our own bodies, so why would citizens rely on others to protect their own lives.  One may argue that it is because a Sheepdog has training, etc., but that’s the key point – the only difference between an average citizen and a professional is “training“ and “will to act.“  The second should be inherently built into our human DNA.  When our ancestors picked up the first stick, they made the conscious decision that they wanted to live and that’s the “will“ itself.

sheep-wolf-sheepdogIn almost every terror attack in the past few months, there were instances when untrained and unarmed citizens seized the chance to fight off terrorists, and some perished during the process, such as the two people in the Sydney cafe shop in December 2014, and one man in the Kosher Supermarket in Paris in January 2015.  These instances prove that ordinarily citizens will act in extreme circumstances.

2.Physical Training:

1. Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is the foundation of everything, including your mental health.  The fitter you are, the quicker you can react and the more stress you can handle.  Fitness is directly related to the fight or flight response.  The relation between fitness and fight is self-explanatory and, of course, the fitter you are the faster you can run away from danger.

2. Hand-to-Hand Combat

Here I mean a hand-to-hand combat discipline and not a martial art.  Such disciplines include boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, grappling and, of course, Krav Maga (if taught in the right way).  There is nothing artistic and spiritual about conflict and violence.  It is both physical and emotional.  A lot of hidden emotions; fear, anger and regrets will surface in a fight.  A good hand-to- hand combat training session will help you reveal , and then condition, those feelings and thoughts.  Physically, you will be bruised and injured.  Last, but not least, you will be punched in the face.  The training is tough and unpleasant, but this type of training will condition both your body and mind to be tough in response to dangers.

3. Technique

As time progresses, after you have a strong base of rigorous training, it is time to learn techniques.  Of course, these techniques have to be relevant to real life situations and be practical.  Many systems like Krav Maga, Defendo, Systema, Combat Sambo and even modern Kung Fu has great techniques if you can find a legitimate school with qualified and progressive instructors. 92162eaff8560ed6a3bc7eb6476239c1

4. Firearm Training

Whether or not you are allowed to carry firearms within your country, learning about firearms is vital when it comes to dealing with the type of terror attacks seen in Paris.  In both Paris’ Kosher supermarket and Sydney’s coffee shop attack, hostages attempted to take terrorist’s firearms out of their hands or out of secondary storage.  In both instances, unfortunately, the hostages failed and paid dearly with their lives. The Kosher supermarket was especially tragic when the hostage failed to fire the terrorist’s pistol.  Like it or not, firearms are something people need to understand and have training with in the event of terror attacks.  First of all, not all firearms are the same.  It is not like the movies, when a good guy can simply pick up guns off the ground and start firing.  Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc weapons have different safety switches on the weapon’s body.  For example, a semi-automatic pistol works slightly differently from a revolver.  Knowing how a firearm functions and the ability to potentially use it will ensure your life and others.

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Secondly, the sound of gunfire is something one needs to understand in order to survive active shooter types of terror attacks.  This part of firearm training is neglected by both government and civilians.  Gunfire sounds different up close, far away, outside a building, inside a building, etc.  By knowing the differences in gunfire sounds you can potentially determine the distance of gunman, how many of them there are, and maybe, the type of weapon they are using.  All of this information can help you escape in an active shooter type of terrorist attack.

  1. Defense Shooting Training

Here, defense shooting training means the actual shooting portion of firearm training, whereas, firearm training itself does not necessary need to involve shooting. Whether or not to allow citizens to arm themselves with firearms is debatable, but many experts such as secretary general of Interpol would agree that armed citizens do have the ability to prevent further damage from active shooter type terrorist attacks. The Canadian Parliament Hill attack was a successful case of a determined person with a firearm stopping further slaughter.  After shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who had already shot a soldier outside, broke into Parliament Hill in an attempt to commit further killing inside, Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers was able to prevent further attacks.  Mr. Vickers was an RCMP police officer for 29 years before accepting the ceremonial position of Sergeant-at-Arms. At the time he was not entitled to carry a duty firearm and Mr. Vickers had to retrieve his pistol from his office to engage the shooter.

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The idea of conceal-carry and open-carry frightens common citizens and excites those who are pro-gun and self-defense right folks.  However, the key lies within training and regulations.  The “average” avid shooter’s shooting training is not comparable to the military and law enforcement’s.  Some States like Iowa have slightly stricter training standards when it comes to getting a carry license, but one always wants to ask oneself, “Do I have enough training to use this firearm and am I confident to defend myself and others under pressure.“   The answer to the first question should always be “No.“  There is never enough training to prepare a person for a gun fight.  Shooting in a range, inside a facility with ear plugs on is very different from being scared and pressured while engaging potential enemies.  Well-known firearms instructor Chris Costa and Travis Haley once said “Amateurs train till they get it right, Professionals train till they get it wrong!“  Professionals like the police or military (combat arms) train and train until they experience all kinds of failure (muscle, mechanical , etc .) and when it comes to defense shooting training you need to be a professional for the sake of both the public and yourself.

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In today’s world, attackers come from within the people and the solution lies within the people as well. Normal citizens have to take on the responsibility to protect themselves against dangers in the immediate proximity. The luxury of having “sheepdogs“ risking their life is no longer viable against random terror attacks. Some people might say it is not possible to have the normal citizens be prepared and ready for such attacks, but there are plenty of cases when normal citizens stand against criminals successfully. Israel as a nation has been doing this since its creation in 1949. In this new world, people need to use their free time to exercise and train for possible threats, instead of  sitting in front of the computer and watching the latest reality TV show. This might come as a tough pill to swallow, but after all, we all know vegetables do not taste the best, but are surely good for you.

For those who make a claim to pacifism and take a very liberal approach regarding self defense, this is all I will say to them: “A pacifist is just someone who has not had someone they love or care murdered in front their eyes“. We are all capable of using force (violence when it is unjustified). Here in the western world, we have become soft and complacent because of modern technology; whereas in many parts of the world people live by a more original rule of humanity. As the world gets smaller and smaller with due to improvements in global transportation, people with different upbringings and beliefs live alongside each other. Believing we should not solve problems with violence may be a noble ideal, but not prepare for a potential fight is naive and to believe you are not responsible for your own safety is a lazy and irresponsible way of thinking.

Reference

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/london-attack-lee-rigby-identified-british-soldier-hacked-death-article-1.1352671

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/14/charlie-hebdo-killings-survivor-story

http://10news.dk/interpol-allowing-citizens-to-carry-guns-in-public-is-most-effective-way-to-prevent-terror-attacks/

http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/iowa.pdf

Written by: Borky Y

Edited by: Warren C & Josh H

Ottawa Shooting 20141022For those who do not live in Canada, last week there were two separate attacks against Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec. The one in Ottawa especially hit home for me. The death of Cpl Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Hamilton upset me deeply.

I have worked in a similar position as Cpl Cirillo at Parliament Hill from 2005 – 2007 as I was a member of the Capital Ceremony Gun Detachment. We provided ceremony gun salutes for diplomatic occasions and important events such as Police Memorial day on the right side of Parliament Hill.  For three years, I did that about twice or three times a month on top of my regular army duty as an army reservist. All of the soldiers who work at the Parliament were unarmed and the most dangerous thing to us was the chilly wind of Ottawa during the winter, or the hot sun during the summer. Life was good and peaceful. You felt pride and sense of duty wearing your uniform representing Canada. The dying and pain of our brethren in Afghanistan seemed very far away from where we stood.

The death of Cpl Cirillo changes all that.  A terrorist hits home and we were not prepared; not at our home, not at our nation’s capital. Canada is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Except for the War of 1812, almost all of our military operations were launched on foreign soil instead of against foreign invaders on our soil. We Canadians do not know what the meaning of being scared is. We do not worry if the bus is going to blow up or if there will be a rocket landing on our roof. We are naive and innocents We live our lives not worrying if someone will deprive us of our lives in the next few seconds. Canadians who dare to venture outside of our comfortable nation know that we Canadians are fortunate and blessed. We live in Elysium.

Everything has changed now, and I have to admit that I am scared. We are facing a new type of enemy who do not wear uniforms and they live among us. They are not criminal. They are not cowards and they have very little regard for other people’s lives. How do you combat that?

 By not giving in, we can be fearful of the events but we do not fear those who wish us harm. If we are fearful of the event then we are aware of the situation. Emotion is normal and those who say they have no fear are either ill-informed or lying. As living creatures we fear death, but that makes us more careful or  allows us to cherish our time on Earth more. Those who train will train even harder and be thankful for everyday we have on Earth. Now we have a purpose for why we train Krav Maga. We do not rely others to protect us and we are the guardians of our safety and captains of our fate. We are not lambs but lions. We fear for our lives but fear will only drive us to move faster, scan wider and punch harder. We want to live, and we want to save lives. That is why we will triumph over terrorism by doing exactly what terrorists expect us not to do; to live under the sun with our chin high. 

Written By: Borki Yony

Edited By: Warren C

Never Again

Krav Maga is a system meant for individuals to know that they can walk safely because they know how to defend themselves. When talking about why Krav Maga was created, Imi Lichtenfeld once said, “so one may walk in peace.”

Whether you are a Jew, Christian, Muslim, American, Israeli, Serbian or a person from any other religion or culture practicing Krav Maga, you must never forget the reason why Krav Maga was created. Imi originally began to develop the system prior to WWII to help himself, his friends and other Jews find a way to fight Nazi thugs and Anti-Semitic aggressors. Why? Because unfortunately for Jews, we have always faced great hatred and animosity no matter what we do.

It is July 2014 and you would pretty much have to be living under a rock to not be aware of Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Or, in layman’s terms, the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The Current Conflict

I say very specifically Israel vs. Hamas, because this time it is NOT Israel vs. the Palestinians; if this was true, there would also be massive military operations in the West Bank and not just Gaza. In order to understand the difference, let’s look at a map.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE-WEB-MAP

 

As you can see, the West Bank, (called that because it is on the west bank of the Jordan River) and Gaza are completely separated by land. Internationally speaking, they are usually recognized as the same entity, but now unfortunately they are not. What is the difference?

First, we must discuss a little history in this regard. In 2000 a conflict known as the second Intifada (1) began. This was a period of extreme violence and terrorism in Israel which led to two things.

Firstly, Israel decided to completely and unilaterally move out of the Gaza strip (2). Prior to 2005 the IDF did in fact, have a presence in both Gaza and the West Bank. However, all military, Israeli and Jewish Civilians were removed during the same year. Yes, that’s right. Israel physically removed Jews from the Gaza strip in order to hand it all back to the Palestinians. Secondly, Israel began to build a security barrier that now runs along the borders of the West Bank only about 4% is an actual wall, the rest is simply a fence (3) . This fence actually reduced, theft and terrorism by as much as 90%, though you will rarely hear that part in the media.

After this occurred, a power struggle arose between two factions in the Palestinian authority, those being Hamas and Fatah. This escalated into a semi-civil war between the two parties, with the result that Hamas completely took over the Gaza strip and, as such, was pushed out of the West Bank by Fatah. (4)

What is the single biggest difference between these groups? Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist organization (5)(6)whose sole purpose is to destroy Israel and not the protection or governance of its people.

Hamas quickly realized it was now isolated in the Gaza strip with no means to easily leave, or to commit acts of terror in Israel. In order to perpetrate new terrorists acts in Israel it needed to develop a new strategy. I will call it “The Missile Strategy”.  Hamas periodically fires rockets, and now missiles, into Israel which bypasses the security walls (7). These rockets are made in Gaza or supplied by other countries like Iran.

This recent conflict started like the last few years with Hamas launching missiles indiscriminately into Israel. This time, the difference is that Israel has the Iron Dome, a system which intercepts and destroys perhaps 80% of them while they are still in the air. However, it is not a perfect system and thus some still get through. If Israel did not have the Iron Dome the damage incurred would be catastrophic.

On July 17th, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge”, which was a ground offensive whose mission was to dismantle Hamas’ terror network of tunnels and missile launch sites, which had been proven to be located in schools, hospitals and civilian households.

The Shameful Global behavior

As usual, the media and the global community are obsessed with this conflict. Let us not forget that there is practically a civil war in the Ukraine that has resulted in the death of 300+ individuals travelling on a civilian air carrier that was tragically shot down. But to the world, that conflict, or any other conflict is not at all important any more, just the one in the Middle East. This obsession with Israel is Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic, and it only demonstrates the fact that history tends to repeat itself.

The fact is, Israel is fighting a terrorist organization (Hamas) that is not only attacking Israeli civilians but it is also oppressing its own people, using them as human shields (See video below) and as cannon fodder in order to achieve their goals. Israel is acting defensively because it is their right to do so, and freeing Gaza from the tyranny of this terrorist organization is in line with their objective.

The reality is that everyone seems to focus on the plight of those in Gaza. However, nobody seems to care about the facts. Yes, it is awful that civilians are dying, but they are dying in the numbers that they are because of Hamas. To me, if you have not been in the military, have not been in a conflict, or have no idea about strategy then you really have no right to criticize, as any military strategist will tell you that Israel is doing a brilliant job at reducing the civilian casualties. But again, no one considers that fact.

Why do I consider the global outcry shameful? Simply, the amount of global outcry in the form of Pro-Palestinian, or rather Anti-Israel rallies, is disgusting. Peaceful protests are fine, but unfortunately Anti-Israel rallies are turning out to be anything but peaceful. Normally peaceful countries like my own Canada are having problems with these violent rallies from Calgary to Toronto, much to the disgust of other Canadians.

In France the protests got so bad and violent that France has BANNED Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Israel rallies or protests.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2697194/Outrage-France-country-world-ban-pro-Palestine-demos.html

In Denmark, there are shops that have posted signs saying “No Jews Allowed”. If you know anything about history, this is exactly the kind of behavior that led up to the Holocaust in WWII.

These events remind me a lot of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass. For those of you who do not know, It was November 9-10, 1938 where the German SA and civilians terrorized the Jewish populous of Germany and Austria. The results: Up to 100 Jews were killed on the spot and over 30,000 were arrested and taken to the infamous concentration camps where most of them died, or were forced into hard labour. (8)

I have always thought that WWIII will start somewhere in Europe because of Islamic extremism. If extraterrestrials were to look at history documents and then watch the current news, it is likely they may come to the same conclusion.

Extremism Is the Real Enemy

So who is the real enemy in all of this? The uneducated on either side will say Israel, or the Palestinians. In this case, and in reality, it is Hamas. Or more to the point, fundamental extremists. Extremism, no matter what the cause, is the real enemy of humanity of the 21st century. It does not matter if they are Muslim, Jewish, European, White, Black, Chinese or purple, extremism is a sickness that must be cured. It is often the complaint of many Muslims that they are always the ones labeled as terrorists and while it is discriminatory and wrong, I would like to question this complaint with some basic numbers.

Currently there are approximately 7.5 billion people on this planet or, to give you a better idea, 7,500,000,000. Of that number, 1.6 billion are Muslim. Yes, that’s right, the latest estimates are that of 1,600,000.000. That’s approximately 21% of the world’s population. In contrast, there are only about 13.5 million Jews in the world; that’s 13,500,000. This is a number of which still has not recovered from the Holocaust where, prior to it taking place, the Jewish population was an estimated 16,000,000.

For you more visual people, here  is a graph:

Population of world by religion comparison

Or, let’s think of this another way. If only 1% of Muslims globally are extremists or terrorists, that is still 16 million people. That is a number that is larger than the combined forces of the world’s 10 largest armies. Now again, in contrast, if only 1% of Jews are extremists (yes, there are Jewish extremists), that’s only 135,000.

speculative comparison of 1% of population

On top of that, Jewish extremists are relatively limited in region to Israel and perhaps New York or Los Angeles. While in comparison, Islamic extremism since 9/11 has become a global problem.

Don’t, get me wrong, I have many Muslims friends, and have never had a problem with most of them. But my question is, if these are the numbers that they are, where are the moderate Muslims in all of this? why are they silent? why are they not standing up against those who wish nothing more to cause death and destruction and give your people a bad name?

It would be a shame if global outcry against extremism turned against Muslims.

Conclusion

The Jewish saying “Never Again” is a reference to the Holocaust. It should not however, just be exclusive to Jews. Never Again should mean that no person, no matter their colour or nation, should ever again face such hate and genocide. Yet it seems people’s memories are short and history forever repeats itself. Since the Holocaust there have been numerous unanswered genocides from Kosovo to Sudan. Once again, like pre-WWII, the world seems to be going mad with an Anti-Semitic fever and to that of before Hitler started one of the most at destructive, devastating and horrific wars of the modern era.

To you I say, are you going to let history repeat itself, are you going to let extremists win? Or are you, the moderate masses, going to stand up and do what’s right no matter what your culture. As Edmund Burke once said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

This is why Israel has the right to defend itself. This is why the world should be against Hamas, not Israel. This is why the global riots are disgusting and this is why you need to properly educate your children. And this is why Krav Maga was created. Remember that, at least for the Jews, Never Again means NEVER again and this should be the same for you…

 

Author: Jonathan Fader

 

1. Suicide Bombing as Strategy and Interaction: The Case of the Second Intifada Robert J. Brym and Bader Araj Page [1969] of 1969-1986

2. Ideological Change and Israel’s Disengagement from Gaza Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman Page 11 of 11-37

3. Dershowitz, Alan (2003). The Case for Israel. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-46502-X.

4.  Power or Justice? Rule and Law in the Palestinian Authority Hillel Frisch and Menachem Hofnung Page 335 of 331-348

5. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx (Accessed 23-07-2014)

6. http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm (Accessed 23-07-2014)

7. http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/ (Accessed 23-07-14)

8.  http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/323626/Kristallnacht (Accessed 23-07-1014)