Defenestrations and God’s Warriors
By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden
Note: You are encouraged to observe the themes of music, art, reenactment, documentary at the end of this reminiscence about man’s acceptance, glorification, and support of acts of violence in memory at the end, i.e. where YouTube readily provides such a collection of linked ideas. Usually, good ideals are chosen but a bad means of acting is also chosen—leading to wars and endless violence.
REMISCING of SPREAD of COMMON NARRATIONS of Heroism/Violence
I was reading up on the history of multicultural Europe this weekend. The text I was reading was a summary of the recent centuries within what is now known as the Czech Republic. Prague is the capital and was where the 30-Years War was kicked off when two bodies went flying out the windows to their deaths far below. The event occurred on May 23, 1618.
At that time, Prag and surrounding Czech, Sorbian, Slovak, and German communities were dominated by the Habsburg family. The Hapsburg’s seat of Empire was in Vienna and their power-laden marriages had already long allied them with families across Europe and into the Americas. The Habsburg, being strong Catholics and supporters of Inquisition in parts of the Old continent, had decided around 1617 to close down protestant chapels in many places under their dominance, such as in the Czech towns of Broumov and Hrob.
Bohemian resistance was allowed to boil over quickly because this action by the younger Habsburgs clearly violated “the guarantees of religious liberty laid down in the Letter of Majesty (Majestätsbrief) of Emperor Rudolf II (1609).”
“In response, the defensors, appointed under the Letter of Majesty to safeguard Protestant rights, called an assembly of Protestants at Prague, where the imperial regents, William Slavata and Jaroslav Martinic, were tried and found guilty of violating the” agreement between people and the late Emperor and subordinates. The two were unceremoniously tossed out the window of the meeting place to hundreds of meters below.
DEFENESTRATIONS IN PRAGUE
According to Wikipedia and most European historians, “Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.” The term quickly came to mean the act of violently hurling an adversary away from hollowed or sovereign territory. In Prague there had also been a precedent of hurling a king’s or an emperor’s supporters out the same window above the city dating to 1419.
The First Defenestration of Prague had involved the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of Christian radicals on July 30, 1419. This act was undertaken by Hussite priests. John Hus had been a follower of John Wycliffe in his belief that “people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny
of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415.”
“The procession [that led to the attack on the City Council in 1419] was a result of the growing discontent at the inequality between the peasants and the contemporary direction of the Church, the Church’s prelates, and the nobility.”
The Hussite Priest, Jan Želivský, also a follower of Wycliffe, saw the “Catholic Church as corrupt. . . . . [Such Hussite] preachers urged their congregations to action, including taking up arms, to combat these perceived transgressions.” The first defenestration of Prague led to over 15 years of war in the Czech regions.
There have been many similar events in Prague over the centuries. In the 20th century, Jan Masaryk’s body was found on the grounds below Prague’s great castle where other bodies from high above the city had landed in 1483. “On March 10, 1948 Masaryk was found dead, dressed in his pajamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial ‘investigation’ stated that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although for a long time it has been believed by some that he was murdered by the nascent Communist government.” Masaryk’s father, Thomas, had been the country’s first president in 1919 and Jan was seen as the strongest opposition leader to the communists in the country after WWII.
IMAGERY OF BEING PROPELLED THROUGH WINDOWS
In many action thrillers films, one observes characters breaking through windows of high buildings only to fall to their deaths below. Similarly, far too often we also observe that modern terrorism–and those who want us to fight endless wars on terror—replay images of the victims of 9-11 falling or flying from their windows of the Word Trade Towers in the last minutes of their lives.
There were two-fold defenestrations that fateful day, September 11, 2010. First, there were the hundreds of victims in two planes, which crashed separately into the 1000s of windows of the Twin Towers that morning.
Later, there were people falling and flying out of those windows, one, two or three at a time as the world looked on hopelessly.
Just as in the time of John Hus in the 15th Century and later in the time of the Inquisition in Europe 100 to 200 years later, the lead actors, their followers, and perpetrators (and some victims) saw themselves as “Warriors of God”.
WARRIOR GOD’S AND KAMIKAZES
No one has a copyright on the title of “Warriors of God”. Hezbollah sees itself as such Warriors at times.
The crusaders saw themselves as God’s Warriors.
There are Punjabi warriors of God.
There are Jewish Warriors of God.
There are American Military Warriors of God in the Middle East.
There is BLACKWATER warriors of god-for-profit.
There were the famous Kamikaze or God of the Wind Warriors from Japan in WWII.
Kamikaze means in Japanese: “Gods of the Divine Wind”.
We even call suicide bombers today: Kamikazes even if they don’t attack from the air like those in 9-11 atrocities. Reebock even used to produce Kamikaze Shoes.
Long before WWII, kamikazes were called the Heroes Ninos in Mexico. These were young cadets who refused to surrender to USA invaders in 1848 as the U.S. rolled into Mexico City. These Warriors of the God of Mexican Nationalism are still honored to this day.
Coming full-circle, Japanese anime returns to European music in Latin to share of the concept of young Kamikazes in our day.
All religions, including Islam, condemn such violence.
We need to stop glorifying violence in film, fiction, non-fiction and computer or video games.
Meanwhile, rewriting of history continue in video games as well as our other media.
Is this rewriting history?