Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


This is coolbert:


A religious ritual in the modern world.

Also thought to have origins that had a warfare context.

Like tribal scarring and tattooing seen among tribes throughout the world today, circumcision marked an individual as a member of a specific tribe. In time of war, at the behest of your tribal leader, you could not deny your membership in the tribe and refuse a call to arms. And, if captured, you could not deny to your captors that you were a member of the opposition. So thought by some experts.

There is indeed mention of this in the Bible. Saul makes mention while during battle of his not wanting to "fall into the hands of these uncircumcised men". Referring to the Philistines as the uncircumcised men. The ancient Israelites practiced circumcision of course, as a commandment from their GOD. The Philistines, the "uncircumcised men", were Indo-European invaders called "Sea Peoples". The Philistines, from which the world Palestine comes from, did not practice circumcision, were not Middle Easterners by origin, and were recognizable as such.

There are modern accounts of how circumcision plays a role in identification of a person as a member of a group at war, during capture by the enemy.

Wolfgang Lotz, the Israeli "Champagne Spy", spied for Israel in Egypt during the 1960's. Was very successful as a spy and an agent of espionage. Upon capture, he was given a close physical exam by an Egyptian doctor to see if he was a Jew or not. If he was a Jew, he would have been subject to very harsh interrogation [torture]. Luckily for Wolfgang, even though he was a Jew, for some reason his secular parents had not had him circumcised. Not being circumcised, Wolfgang was able to pass himself off as a German and survived.

When a man called Israel Beer was captured while spying for the Soviets in Israel also in the early 1960's, the first thing his Israeli captors asked him was, "tell us Beer, if you are a Jew, why aren't you circumcised"? [Beer evidently had also had a physical exam] [it is believed Beer was a Soviet passing himself off as a Jew, and doing so very successfully].

When Morocco a few years ago was fighting off an insurgency in what used to be Spanish Sahara, the bodies of dead insurgents were examined for circumcision. It was found that some of the dead were not circumcised, leading the Moroccans to believe that foreigners were involved in the fighting. Foreigners, non-Muslim, perhaps of communist origins [Muslims too now practice circumcision].

And in the early 1970's, Pakistani troops attempting to supress an insurgency in what was to become Bangladesh routinely pulled the sarongs off local men to look for the mark of circumcision. If the mark was not found, the Pakistanis knew this was a Hindu and would shoot the man out of hand.




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