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Can A Song Take Down ISIS?

A few months ago the New York Times ran an article about the USA's struggle to combat ISIS as a brand. It emphasized the failure to coordinate communication effectively, but I didn't see that either as the problem or the cure.
To me it's a matter of military strategy, and policy.
I would blow their freaking heads off.
There was a lot of debate in the comments section. Some people blamed the U.S. for creating the problem in the first place. Others thought the communication actually did play a role. Here's what one person had to say (excerpt):
The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications would do best to contract with small groups of nimble marketers and hackers: recent college grads who wear baseball caps and hoodies and who are perpetually two steps ahead of social media.
It is precisely such American young people, who watch and intelligently criticize "Girls" for its waning significance, that can take down the incompetent goons of ISIS Public Relations. I'd match the wits of our motley band of digitally-obsessed American youth, with their coffee and pizza, against the motley stooges called ISIS any day.
Perhaps coincidentally, today the Drudge Report had a headline about this anti-ISIS anthem, "Revolution," from Kurdish pop singer Helly Luv. I watched the video and thought to myself - "Blumenthal, maybe you're wrong after all!!"
Maybe communication can be the beginning of the answer, even if it's not the answer in and of itself.
The AFP reports that Luv is "the most popular cheerleader for the Iraqi Kurds' war against jihadists."
Her music video is powerful because it "hits on many themes that the peshmerga have sought to emphasise since the anti-IS conflict began last June, showing them as the brave, secular defenders of the innocent threatened by jihadist brutality."
Her message is simple: End war.
I had never heard of this singer, but her video and lyrics sure inspired me. She shows in stark terms how these violent animals are invading the lives of peaceful people and destroying them. Her words are stirring, and she repeats them over and over to drive the message home:
Stand up, we are united
Together we can survive it
Darkness will never take us
Long live to every nation
Rise up cause we're so much stronger as one
Breaking the silence as loud as a gun
Brothers and sisters we all come from one
Different religions we share the same blood.
Here are some screenshots from her video, via Vevo.
These are two people enjoying a cup of tea, before ISIS invades.
This is a young boy screaming when the bombing breaks out, the ISIS trucks roll in and they start shooting.
This is the singer standing before a bombed-out scene, in front of a car spray-painted with the word "peace."
Here she imagines herself leading an army to defeat these killers.
She visualizes the nations of the world uniting to do what is right.
I hope that you will watch the song and help bring views to 3 billion -- the number of people in the world with an Internet connection.
Maybe this would help us all gain some strategic clarity about the need to eliminate these villains -- wherever they came from, no matter whose fault it is --  from the face of Planet Earth.
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All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole. Photo of Helly Luv visiting Kurdish Peshmerga troops in Dohuk, July 5, 2014 via Wikimedia (Creative Commons). Photo credit: G2musicgroup.

Jewish Fundamentalism is NOT The Jewish Religion


The child who is strong enough to run away is actually the one who is healthy.

They recognize that Jewish fundamentalism is a killer of the mind. Of the soul.

It's fine to have principles. But it is not fine to redefine a very worldly faith as a bastion of right-wing, nit-picky, obsessive-compulsive mental mind games.

It is not fine to to try and control every aspect of a person's life.

Whenever that kind of repression happens, the issue is insecurity on the part of the cult that members will leave what is basically a weak system.

Judaism has survived for many years. It is not weak at all. Real expressions of the faith don't make you feel ashamed or threatened.

Fundamentalists try to steal the soul of every person they come into contact with, quite literally.

They say, "either you fall into line or we will throw you out of the community."

Gone is the happiness, the community, the celebration, the diversity. As problems and abuse are swept under the rug.

What is tragic about fundamentalist Judaism is the fact that it is ever defined as Judaism at all!

There are 613 mitzvos in the Torah, not a million commandments. And it is impossible to keep them all - let's be honest. Nobody even knows for sure what the boundaries are.

Since we are flawed human beings by nature and not angels, it is not our place to judge. Even our forefathers and foremothers, spiritual giants, were clearly shown in the Torah to be far from perfect people.

If you are a turned-off Jew who grew up in a repressive religious environment, please read this and know you're not alone. And that by leaving the religion behind, you're giving it all to fundamentalists.

I am reaching out to tell you what a beloved family member told me: "It is YOUR faith, your heritage, your birthright. NOBODY has the right to take it away."

Yes, it's true: Some wrong-headed ignoramus or a bunch of bullies messed with you, they did what they shouldn't, maybe once or maybe for many years.

Take the time you need to take care of yourself. But then I hope you get back in the ring and fight.

Every Jew deserves a place in the community.

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Photo by Chris Ford via Flicker Creative Commons. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or the federal government as a whole.