Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

From Russia with Love

Posted: February 3, 2015 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Lots of police-on-civilian violence in the news coming from within the USA recently. I thought I’d share my Russian version of things.

My mother, my little brother and I were living in Vladivostok, Siberia. We had just gotten up to our apartment, through the locked exterior door, up the key-activated elevator, and past the locking hallway door of our floor as well. We walked up to our steel barricade of a personal door and my mother began punching in the code. Between carrying bags of groceries in one hand and my little brother in the other (I have no idea what I was carrying), she still managed to get the massively heavy door to swing open, as she did every day, then proceeded to unlock the wooden interior door.

Vault112Only a hundred or so doors to go!

Maybe by now you have noticed two things.

1. We must have been fairly well-off to have had all this security.
2. Holy shit, that is a lot of security for a crummy two-bedroom apartment in a part of town where serial murderers were a monthly occurrence!
Just the other week, a woman was strangled to death with her leggings in one of our building’s elevators. Apparently, the current serial rapist was a ‘leggings fetishist’, so women were advised not to wear any lest they tempt him with their womanly wiles.

19evq452e55g3jpg                                                                     SO asking for it

At this point, stumbling into our ‘stylishly undersized’ apartment, she went about prioritizing between the placement of her children and the placement of the groceries. That is when the alarm went off.
Spinning about, my mother rushed to the door — it had stayed ajar too long and triggered the siren.
Fumbling with her keys she yelled (over the noise) for me to watch my little brother as she rushed through the door to get the land-lady down the hall to turn off the alarm, closing both home doors behind her.

The alarm soon died and I went back to putting away the food. My attention was sparked, however, when I heard a thump against our door. Walking back over to it, I found my little brother standing there, looking at it with his hand in his mouth — he had heard it too.
I stood next to him, a few feet away from the door, staring at the flimsy but pretty inside door. There were then a series of small popping explosions and the metal exterior door came crashing inward, taking the wooden one with it.
Six men in military camouflage gear, wearing helmets and ski masks, wielding automatic rifles and strapped with grenades, piled into our living room.

24a                                    Welcome to adulthood! I think puberty just hit all at once!

To put this surreal situation another way, I just had the SPETSNAZ breach my steel front door with explosives and point their AK-47s at me and my 2 year old brother while screaming at us to identify ourselves. I was 10, starting down the barrel of (into the barrel of?) a rifle. I think its right around then that I came to terms with the fear of death – saving my little brother was more important than worrying about mortality.
Everything seemed to slow down and it appeared to me that I had all the time in the world to decide what to do (I later learned that this is called an ‘adrenaline rush’ and can take years to master willingly in stressful situations).
Having had this ‘time’ to consider, I pulled my brother behind me, puffed out my chest, and answered that ‘we live here’.
The lead-man hesitated and pulled down his mask without lowering his rifle.
“What did you say, boy?” he asked.
“WE LIVE HERE,” I repeated, matter-of-factly. The strangest sort of calm had come over me and it seemed to stun this soldier.

Its_13e715_238988                   This isn’t actually funny. Brazilian cops are paid to beat street urchins to death.

Why soldiers were responding to a police alarm in the first place, I still do not know. Maybe SWAT was occupied elsewhere. Maybe the bribes were better working street. Maybe they were just passing through.
Whatever the case, at this point, my mother rushed in swearing and screaming apologies, shoving past the armed men as she threw literally handfuls of money at each of them (“for their trouble”) before finally getting to the point-man and handing him the rest of the considerable amount of cash she had with her.
As they happily filed out, the leader sternly reminded her to promptly keep her (detached) door closed at all times to avoid this in the future.

Now, imagine if she did not have a lot of money. Or that the SPETSNAZ man didn’t hesitate to blow away some ten and two year old professional burglars/terrorists. Or that we weren’t well-off by their standards. We would have been entirely at their mercy (as opposed to just being able to bargain for it).
That is the situation for 99% of the people on the planet who have to deal with overzealous police-departments. Instead of sending well-manner police officers, or — I don’t know — just a regularly lethal strike team, they might send FUCKING SOLDIERS.
Don’t we all feel safer?

“It is the job of the police to protect the people, and the job of the military to fight the enemies of the state. When the military are the police, the people tend to become the enemies of the state.”

~From Russia with Love


I have put off writing this for quite some time now. I have done the research, I’ve been plenty-inspired by real-life examples of why something like this needs to be written, but each time I thought to begin, I considered the scope of everything I would need to address and became overwhelmed, inevitably putting it off for ‘next time’.

That time is now.  No more excuses.

This is a rebuttal to every man that scoffs at the idea of a woman being better then a man at ‘man-shit’ and every socially indoctrinated woman who agrees with that man because she was never taught about (or sought out of her own initiative) the women of note throughout time that men swept under the historical rug.  Many of these misogynists are women themselves. It is called internalized oppression. Do not ever think that because someone is in a marginalized group, they can’t rather amusingly (or tragically, if you prefer) find ways to identify with their oppressors to avoid recognizing their own oppression – or just to make their lives more comfortable. Despite innumerable contributions to humanity, women — to varying degrees, but in ALL parts of the world — continue to suffer prejudice as historically the single most oppressed group, despite being in the majority on the planet.

This is a list of women philosophers, scientists, leaders, rulers, artists and warriors throughout history (before and after the rise of patriarchal monotheistic religions up to and including modern-day) the records of which have survived in-spite of rigorous attempts to erase their accomplishments from memory. All of these women, including many that are not yet listed, are legendary and invaluable to the progress of humanity in their own right.

The Malleus Maleficarum was not an isolated event that is relegated to ‘the past’. Its likeness can be seen in varying degrees depending on region around the world today. How many women were silenced or outright murdered for their works besides the ones on this list, thereby stemming not only woman’s contributions to our species but humanity’s progress as a whole?

That list will never be complete, and as such I will continue to add to this one and adjust it as best as I am able. Each of the women I added to the list gifted something to humanity as a whole that had not been there before. That is my general basis for choosing, as I see them, ‘the best’. Not just the best of their region, or even the best of their gender. But the best of All Time. Please aid me this never ending quest by providing examples of women I have missed or have not yet found myself. I may or may not add them immediately upon suggestion so feel free to write about them yourself in the comments section. These are the women that I feel are most noteworthy:

En Hedu’Anna – a few thousand years before Pythagoras (the “Father of Philosophy”) the moon High Priestess of the ancient Akkadian Empire (also known as Babylon–modern day Syria/Iraq) was doing philosophy. She definitively wrote 42 hymns known as the Sumerian Temple Hymns that are regarded as the first systemic theology. She was also an early mathematician, governess and astronomer. 2285-2250 BCE


Aspasia – of Miletus, Greek rhetorician (or orator/public speaker) was named by Socrates as his teacher of rhetoric. She was further recognized and honored for her craft by Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus, Pericles, and Cicero. Cicero in particular wrote a chapter on argumentation that he based on Aspasia’s lessons of induction. Her speechcraft was viewed as thoroughly important to philosophers and statesmen because of the need to effectively communicate their intent. It was taught that belief and truth were not alike and therefore rhetoric had the potential to deviate from the truth and be deceitful to the audience or enlighten them as the orator saw fit. Understanding the craft was therefore important to both teach and to not be deceived. 470 – 400 BCE

Cleopatra VII Philopator – descendent of the Ptolemies  (the late general to Alexander of Macedonia) she was a renowned stateswoman, beloved Egyptian leader and consort to two of the most brilliant Roman generals of their time. She first convinced Gaius Julius Caesar to support her in the civil war for Egypt between herself and her siblings. With Rome’s backing, Cleopatra brought an end to her sister and child-brother-husband king. Further, she had a son by Caesar, hoping the boy would allow her access into the elite of Roman society. However with Caesar’s assassination, her claim was ruled illegitimate. She saw another opportunity in the power struggle between the beloved general and famed orator Mark Antony and Gaius Octavian (made Caesar’s son by will). Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s love affair is legendary, so too is their death (theirs is the most famous romance in history). Octavian manages to turn the love of the Roman people against Antony by proclaiming he had lost his Roman way to the ‘foul enchantress’ Cleopatra. Open war followed. At the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra took fright and fled, taking 60 warships with her. Antony, though beloved by his soldiers as a legendarily brave soldier and veteran of countless battles is heartbroken to be abandoned by the woman he saw as his soul-mate in his most perfect time of need. Antony leaped into the water and swam after Cleopatra, deserting his army and armada. Now on the verge of defeat, the two retreat to Alexandria to await the end. Perhaps as part of a pact with Octavian, Cleopatra tricks Antony into thinking her dead and in grief Antony kills himself with a gladius sword. Finding that Octavian only wanted her alive to be paraded in chains, Cleopatra famously committed suicide by Asp on her throne next to the armor-clad body of Mark Antony. 51 – 30 BCE

Boudicca – of a British Iceni tribe, she is renowned for swearing and then claiming vengeance on the Roman Empire. After being betrayed by Rome, having her land annexed, being publically flogged, and having her daughters raped, Baudicca was…irate. She demonstrated her dissatisfaction by leading a vicious rebellion against Roman rule in Britain. Under her leadership, the rebel forces destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), defeating the forces sent by Catus Decianus to thwart them. Boudicca led from her chariot, her daughters beside her at all times. Boudicca’s army then defeated a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, under General Quintus Petillius Cerialis, like-ways unsuccessfully sent to quell the rebellion. The Roman general, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, fearful of the rushing odds moving toward him, abandoned Londinium (London), leaving it to be burned to the ground. Next followed the sacking of Verulamium (St. Albans). An estimated 70,000 – 80,000 civilians were butchered in brutal fashion in these cities by Boudicca’s army. Suetonious, however was not wasting time, and despite the Emperor Nero‘s impulse to abandon Britain entirely, Suetonius led his outnumbered Roman legions to victory against Boudicca’s rebels, resulting in her suicide in lieu of capture. Boudicca is honored for her ruthlessness in vanquishing invaders with a statue on the Thames at Westminster Bridge opposite Big Ben. 30 -61 CE

Septima Zenobia –  was a Syrian warrior queen who with the help of 9 other martial queens of the region repeatedly defeated Roman invasion and conquered strategic Roman territories in order to enhance her own Palmyrene Empire. She reportedly marched with and fought along side her footsoldiers. She is well known for leading the charges into battle, her femininity being viewed by that time as the personification of any number of Goddesses and gave heart to her troops. She conquered Egypt, expelling a Roman general,  in the process, then later killing him when he returned in force. Zenobia claimed to be descended from both Cleopatra and Dido of Carthage., while simultaneously proclaiming herself Queen of Egypt. Besides conquering territory she was a renowned stateswoman, inviting many prominent scholars into her Queendom. When she was finally defeated she was made to participate as part of a triumph as a means of humiliation. Unlike her supposed ancestors, Zenobia profited from the respect she garnered fighting Roman rule and bargaining to be given a villa in Italy’s Tivoli, eventually marrying a Roman Senator and becoming a well-respected socialite. Her bloodline too was highly valued by Roman aristocracy long after her natural death. 240 – 274 CE

Hypatia – a Greek mathematician, philosopher, inventor, astronomer, and teacher, she was the head of the Platonist school in Roman Alexandria. She wrote numerous volumes charting celestial bodies and invented the hydrometer (used to determine relative density/specific gravity of liquids). She was tortured and killed by a Christian mob on charges of witchcraft, this at the fall of Roman secular thought and the rise of patriarchal monotheistic theology. After the murder of Hypatia the stature of women was significantly diminished. Kathleen Wider proposes that the murder of Hypatia marked the end of Classical antiquity, and Stephen Greenblatt observes that her murder “effectively marked the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life“. Supporting these assertions is the fact that no more mathematical advancements would be made in the Western world for the next 1200 years (the Chinese and Arab civilizations continued to move forward in this science). 350 – 370 CE

Mavia – Also of Syrian descent, this martial queen is often compared to Zenobia. She too fought an effective war against the Roman Empire, like-ways personally leading her armies into battle. However unlike her predecessor she never lost, even after Roman generals received considerable reinforcements in the form of the Roman Commander of the East himself. Instead Rome lost repeatedly in battle to her, and unlike in the time of Zenobia, the Romans had no allies to call upon and so capitulated to Mavia’s demands and Mavia and Rome became allies once again. Later, Rome remembered the devastating effectiveness of Mavia’s forces, and asked for her assistance in their war with the Goths. 375 – 425 CE

Hildegard – of Bingen, a German abbess, Christian saint, musician, composer, mystic, philosopher, and writer of several texts, including medical works. Hildegard left behind over 100 letters, 72 songs, 70 poems, and 9 books. Aside from her renowned musical works (audio sample here) and controversial visions, Hildegard proposed a heliocentric universe 300 years before Copernicus and wrote of universal gravitation 500 years before Newton. Her then-outrageous theories were not recognized however, she being just a nun–a woman. 1098 – 1179 CE

Yim Wing Chun – A Chinese legend and founder of the martial art style Wing Chun (literally translated to ‘eternal spring’), a style famously used by Chinese war hero Yip Man — martial teacher of the Hollywood star Bruce Lee. Yim Wing-Chun was saved from sexual assault by a passing Shaolin monk, Ng Mui (herself a woman), who was one of the legendary Five Elders of the Shaolin before the destruction of their temples by the government. Ng Mui taught Yim Kung Fu allowing Yim to constructed her own  martial style (Wing Chun).


Joan of Arc – French national heroine and Christian warrior-saint. A peasant girl who garnered great acclaim through her divinely inspired visions and martial bravery, Joan led the French army to many victories against their English occupiers in the Hundred Years’ War. Joan is characterized as a fearless leader able to inspire her soldiers with both words and acts of valor including continuing battle even after multiple serous injuries. She was captured, tortured (including rape), and executed by fire by English Church officials in violation of many legal statures of the day. Her body was burned multiple times more to reduce it to ashes. Twenty-five years after, she was deemed innocent, declared a martyr and canonized. She is a renowned historical icon, with many people of import throughout history mentioning her as inspiration including Napoleon. Countless renowned artists and poets wrote extensively about her life and deeds including William Shakespeare  (Henry VI, Part 1), Voltaire (The Maid of Orleans), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (The Maid of Orleans), and Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc), naming just a few. 1412 – 1431 CE

Augusta Ada Lovelace – an English countess and mathematician, the next great student of that science after Hypatia of Alexandria. She created what is considered the first algorithm ever, specifically tailored for implementation on a computer. For this reason Ada is often cited as the first computer programmer. She created the computation to operate Charles Babbage‘s early mechanical general-purpose analytical engine. Further, unlike Babbage who only focused on the device’s ability to number-crunch, Lovelace foresaw and predicted the capability of computers to go far beyond just those tasks and wrote a paper outlining potential for the development of computer software, artificial intelligence and computer music.. The computer language “ADA“, created by the United States DoD was named after Ada Lovelace and categorized by the date of her birth. Further, several awards in computer science and initiatives to intellectually uplift women bare her name. 1815 – 1852 CE

Qiu Jin – a militant revolutionary for women’s rights, author that encouraged the shedding of archaic and oppressive traditions, Kodoken Judo martial artist, feminist qiu-jinpoet, cross-dresser and as a member of the Triads worked toward the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. She secretly ran classes training women of the local undergound chapters in military tactics. She carried a sword in public and dressed as a western man to openly venerate Hua Mulan and her martial background. The revolutionary plans failed when her cousin and his cadre of rebel police officers (also part of the planned uprising) were captured and tortured for information by the government. Knowing their plans had failed, Qiu Jin and her followers opted to stay and fight but ended up being overwhelmed, captured and tortured before being executed. Their deaths brought public attention to the inequities and brutality of the Qing Dynasty. Ever the wandering-swordsman Qiu Jin’s final act was a silent indictment of all of those who did not rise up against their oppressor. To China’s revolutionary students she became an icon, a saint and an inspiration for several films and much literature following the stories of sword-maidens. The People’s Republic of China honors her with the The Monument to Martyr Qiu Jin. 1875-1907 CE

Mary Edwards WalkerMary Edwards Walker – Nowhere is the distinction of gender roles more sharply drawn then in the question of armed combat. Walker was an Army Surgeon during the American Civil War and another example of men ‘forgetting’ the accomplishments of women of the past and reacting with disbelief when they meet the challenge…then punishing her for playing their game better then the boys. She was the first woman to be commissioned by her country for her work and the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor by recommendation from Generals Thomas and Sherman. After she endured captivity Walker was awarded the medal by her president, Andrew Jackson on grounds that she, “has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war.” American Congress later rescinded her award of the medal on grounds that she did not fight in a combat unit (and indeed to this day American women are prohibited from fight in combat units. Although it is estimated that at least 500 women did just that in disguise during the American Civil War alone). President Jimmy Carter reinstated Walker’s Medal of Honor, recognizing her “distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice, patriotism, dedication and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex.” 1832 -1919 CE

Amalie Emmy Noether – German mathematician and physicist known for her legendary contributions to mathematics and physics. In maths she revolutionized abstract algebra. In physics she is famous for her theoretical work, specifically Noether’s theorem. Described by Albert Einstein and many other renowned scientists as the most important woman in the history of mathematics, her work is hailed as guiding the development of modern physics. Noether fought fiercely to be recognized in her field while facing intense gender-prejudice. Being of Jewish heritage and with the rise of the Nazi party, she moved to the United States to continue her work. Though she eventually succeeded in being recognized for her work (though never promoted to ‘full professor’ status), it begs the question how much effort was used just to be heard and how many other women were not so fortunate.  Truly she was a benefit to her country and to to all of humanity. 1882 – 1935 CE

Marie Sklodowska-Curie – Polish physicist and chemist. First person (woman or  man) to win two Nobel Prizes for her work in radioactivity. Her work with the Theory of Radioactivity, the concepts of Conservation of Energy, and techniques for isolating isotopes (and the first to use them to treat tumors) placed her forever in the annals of the greatest personages of human history. She discovered the elements Polonium and Radium. Despite the risks associated with experimentation of radiation (since radiation shielding equipment had not yet been invented) she continued her dangerous work and as a result died of radiation exposure. Curie had a monumental impact on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Curie’s work shook the foundations of both the scientific community and social axioms of the day. Her discovery of Radium fundamentally enhanced mankind’s ability to interact with the world, reconstructing our understanding of physics and allowing the mapping of the structure of the atom and medically leading to means to combat cancer. Socially, she is considered a feminist precursor, having overcome barriers imposed by her society in regards to her gender. Further, though of modest means she was a philanthropist, giving away her Nobel money to fellow scientists and friends and refused to patent the radium-isolation process, so that the scientific community could do research unhindered. Albert Einstein once commented that she was the only person uncorrupted by fame. 1867 – 1937 CE

Zina Portnova – Russian Partisan responsible for the deaths of over 100 Nazi soldiers through sabotage, infiltration, assassination, and gun fights. Part of a children’s branch of the resistance, she belonged to the ‘Young Avengers‘. She famously poisoned herself in order to maintain her cover in one such operation, falling severely ill afterwards. Portnova was captured and tortured to death without revealing any of the information she held about the resistance fighters. She was proclaimed a Hero of the Soviet Union (the highest distinction in the USSR) as well as posthumously awarded the Order of Lenin. Two monuments and an obelisk are erected in her honor.
1926 – 1944 CE

Violette Szabo – French-British Special Operations Executive (SOE) spy and assassin. After being air-dropped into enemy territory, she led French resistance fighters, the Maquis, in sabotage, assassinations, intelligence gathering, and painting targets for allied bombings. She is personally responsible for assassination of several high-profile SS officers and collaborators. Szabo also personally sabotaged a Nazi fuel refinery, railways, and communications during the Normandy invasion. After a gunfight in which she killed several SS soldiers, she was captured, tortured and executed in the concentration camp Ravensburck, where over 92,000 women died.
Denise Bloch, Cecily Lefort and Lilian Rolfe were also SOE deep-cover operatives  executed by firing squad in Ravenburck. Before her execution, Szabo managed to assist in the escape of the Allied war-heroine Hortense Clews. Szabo was posthumously decorated by both Britain and France.
1921 – 1945 CE

Roza Shanina – Soviet sniper with 54 confirmed kills, including 12 enemy snipers. She also personally captured 3 enemy soldiers. Unlike many conscripts in the Soviet army who were threatened with the deaths of their family in order to make them fight the much better equipped Nazis, Shanina volunteered for the front lines. Graduating from the sniper academy with honors, Shanina was renowned for her ability to quick-shot two targets, or ‘double-hit’, with a lever action rifle. The Soviet Union deployed numerous female snipers, because of superiorly flexible limbs, and a belief that they were both patient and cunning. Women were also thought to be more resilient under combat stress than men, and more resistant to exposure to cold climates. Shanina refused orders to be transferred to safety (she was offered this on account of her hero status) and instead died along with the other less-renowned women of her command while protecting a heavily wounded artillery commander after 72 of 78 of her battalion were already killed in combat action during the East Prussian Offensive. She herself was at that time a squad commander. Shanina was hailed as “The Unseen Terror of East Prussia” and became the first Soviet female sniper to be awarded the Order of Glory, the highest of her multiple awards. According to a nurse, her last words were in regret to having ‘done so little’. 1924 – 1945 CE

Lyudmila Pavlichenko – Soviet sniper with 309 confirmed kills, including 36 enemy snipers, and is considered the most successful female sniper in history. Like Rosa Shanina, Pavlichenko volunteered for the front lines in a rifle unit. After her combat deployment, she was received as a dignitary into the White House by the Franklin Roosevelt in her diplomatic role to Canada and the United States. Major Pavlichenko was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. An American song was made in her honor. She died of natural causes. 1916 – 1974 CE

Elizabeth Lee Hazen – an American microbiologist who, in conjunction with Rachel Fuller Brown, created the antifungal drug nystatin, the first such drug safe for human use. It was used to cure many disfiguring fungal infections as well as balance the effects of many previously unstable antibacterial drugs. In addition to human ailments, the drug is now used to treat such problems as Dutch Elm Disease and to restore water-damaged artwork from the effects of mold. The two scientists donated the royalties from their patented invention, over $13 million dollars, to a nonprofit research group for the advancement of academic scientific study. 1885 – 1975 CE

payne10Cecilia Payne-Gopschkin – scientist who discovered what the universe is made of (mainly hydrogen) with the use of spectral emission lines. History is silent on her discovery and no plaque commemorates her achievements, the credit instead going to one of her superiors: Henry Norris Russell who himself admits to using her work. Not content with uncovering the stuff of the universe, she then took to studying variable stars, making over 3,250,000 viable observations that were later used to determine the paths of stellar evolution. 1900-1979 CE

Maria Goeppert-Mayer – German-American physicist second in eminence only to Marie Curie. She won the Nobel Prize for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. Further, she worked out the theory of two-photon absorption by atoms not possible in practice until the invention of the laser. An award in her name was established to honor young female physicists. 1906 – 1972 CE

Barbara McClintock – An American crytogeneticist and botanist who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of genetic transposition, the ability to not only map chromosomes within an active host but to change them at the genome level. A leader in her field she heralded groundbreaking discoveries including genetic recombination, a system by which chromosomes exchange information. She then produced genetic maps of her work to better demonstrate the regions responsible for the keeping of genetic information and the manipulation of physical traits. She is, in other words, responsible for the ability to not only map the human genome but also manipulate cells on a genetic level. Her accomplishments, reached as they were despite intense gender prejudice, are documented in the biographical work by Evelyn Keller.  1902 -1992 CE

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin – British chemist awarded Nobel Prize for the development of protein crystallography which led to the  mapping of three dimensional structures of biomolecules. Hodgkin used X-Rays to find the structural layouts of atoms and the overall molecular shape of over 100 molecules including: penicillin, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and insulin. Her technique became a widely used tool and was critical in later determining the structures of many biological molecules where knowledge of structure is critical to an understanding of function. 1910 -1994 CE

Rosalind Franklin – was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer (continuing the work of Dorothy Hodgkins) who made ground-breaking discoveries in DNA, RNA, and virology (including polio). Her work revolutionized our understanding of genetics. Franklin’s groundbreaking work was then showed to Watson and Crick without her permission by a jealous colleague, Maurice Wilkins. Franklin’s work was what enabled Watson and Crick to publish “their” theory before her. Even now she is is barely credited for her contribution to science, though Watson himself admitted to stealing her work. She died, missing out on a Nobel Prize that Watson, Crick and Wilkins received for a theory based on her work. Anne Sayre‘s book on Franklin’s work is cited as a exposition of the rampant sexism in science. 1920 – 1958 CE

Gertrude B Elion – American biochemist and pharmacologist. She received the Nobel Prize for medicine. Her list of groundbreaking inventions is large indeed, having invented 6-mercaptopurine, the first treatment for leukemia. She also invented Azathioprine, the first immuno suppressive agent for organ transplants. Further, she invented Pyrimethamine for treatment of maleria, used to kill parasitic infections. She also invented Trimethoprim for the treatment of meningitis, septicemia and urinary and respiratory bacterial infections. Elion invented Allopurinol, used to treat gout. Finally, she invented Acyclovir for the treatment of viral herpes. Her research would later lead to the development of Azidothymidine, an AIDs treatment. She was the first woman to be inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. 1918 – 1999 CE

Irena Sendler
– Polish nurse who’s heroism and sacrifice saved the lives of over 2500 children and infants during the Holocaust. She secreted the Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto in which roughly 300,000 people were murdered at the hands of their oppressors and thousands died from disease on a monthly basis. Irena established fake identities for the children and kept their original records buried in jars which at the end of the genocide would be recovered and used to reunite countless families with their children (the majority of the family members had been exterminated, however). Sendler was eventually arrested on suspicion of working with the Underground and brutally tortured. Her arms, legs and feet broken, she was relegated to crutches for the rest of her life, but amazingly continued her work for the resistance and then faced yet more hardships during the following Communist occupation. Among her many post-war awards, Irena Sendler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 1910 – 2008

Rita Levi-Montalcini – Italian neurologist who received the Nobel Prize for for the discovery of the Nerve Growth Factor, a protein allowing the repair and maintenance of neurons (nerve cells). At the age of 97 (now 103), she was appointed Senator-for-Life by the President of the Italian Republic. As recently as 2006 she has suffered verbal assaults for both her gender and Jewish heritage. 1909 – Present



Stephanie Kwolek – This American scientist is especially for the knuckledraggers who claim women’s contributions have been ‘negligible’. She is the chemist who invented poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide — Kevlar weave used in a wide assortment of modern-day military gear. Stephanie Kwolek’s research with high performance chemical compounds led to the development of the synthetic material (Kevlar) which is five times stronger than the same weight of steel. Kevlar, does not rust nor corrode and is extremely lightweight. Many police officers and combat soldiers owe their lives to Stephanie Kwolek, for Kevlar is the material used in the creation of bullet proof vests. Other applications of the compound include underwater cables, brake linings, space vehicles, boats, parachutes, skis, and building materials. 1923 – Present

Jocelyn Bell Burnell – British astrophysicist best known for the discovery of pulsars. Dr. Iosif Shklovsky was quoted saying, “Miss Bell, you have made the greatest astronomical discovery of the twentieth century.” Like many women on this list (and many more we will never know of because of gender-discrimination) Burnell’s work was taken credit for by her male supervisor Antony Hewish. Because of this misaccreditation, Hewish received the Nobel Prize for this discovery instead of Burnell, despite well-known facts that Burnell was behind the work, even having to convince Hewish of the existence of pulsars from the start in the face of strong skepticism and ridicule. 1943 – Present

Randice-Lisa Atschul – American toy-maker turned millionaire-inventor who conceived of the idea for a super-thin less than a half-a-centimeter thick circuitry disposable cell-phone. The credit-card sized disposable cell phone made of recycled paper is marketed as a way of replacing both pre-paid phone cards and phone booths. Atschul also created a programmable debit-card, and paper laptop computer which will sell for twenty dollars and serve as an internet access device. The technology has opened up the potential for creating a multitude of new electronic products and countless cheaper versions of pre-existing electronic tools. This technology should be considered a milestone in electronic innovation.  1961 – Present

Corporal “S”IDF soldier at the Israeli-Egyptian border who’s identity is hidden due to the very recent ooccurrence of this event. This is an example of all the women of war and law-enforcement who continue the feminine tradition of placing their lives at risk, taking the lives of their enemies, and saving the lives of their comrades throughout history and into this modern day. This is but an example I have chosen as illustration for all the others. In the case of Corporal “S”, her unit was ambushed, and soldiers died while others hid in fear. “S” saw Netanel Yahalomi killed in front of her. She persevered and returned fire, killing enemy combatants and dragged another wounded comrade, Mati Yalovski, to cover saving his life, and then holding her position against enemy forces until reinforcements arrived.
2012 – Present

This website features an extensive archive of woman theologists and pinnacles in furthering women as ‘worthy’ in the eyes of their male peers throughout various eras and regions.

This website includes a short but noteworthy list of female inventors.

This website provides a summary of several prominent female rulers from history.

This website hosts detailed current-day female political leaders of various countries.

This website lists several important military woman figures who saw direct combat as well as vital statistics regarding women in combat-roles.

Historically, and depending upon region, warrior-women were part-and-parcel in the same way that the worship of female deities was. The rise in patriarchal admiration via one-male-god religions resulted in the suppression of both.
In more recent history, while women have always served as support personnel, women have only taken part in combat itself when the country in question was in dire straights–literally requiring every resource (even though women have proven to be formidable combatants). This clearly demonstrates that misogyny is a luxury. The only country thus far in modern times to break the mold is not Russia in WWII (as they sent the women back to the kitchens after the battles were done), not Israel (since they are arguably ‘in dire straights’ at all times) but Australia, which under the guidance of their Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently lifted all gender sanctions for the military, and while at war right now themselves, do not have their own homeland in any immediate danger, making the decision a move toward true affirmation of women’s abilities.

*In 19th century, the Fon of Dahomey were a military collective of 6,000  warrior-women reminiscent of the semi-mythical Amazons of legend.  Yet they exist today as no more than footnotes in history. For 200 years they were the vanguard against colonial invaders, putting ‘the fear of woman’ into the best the French legions had to offer.

*The Onna-bugeisha were Japanese female warriors of legendary combat prowess in sword, spear, horseback riding, and archery, as well as the literary arts and They were disbanded when, in their final battle, one squadron of female warriors affected more casualties than three squadrons of men, only losing two women in the fighting. Serious tanglers...statescraft skill. They have been historically overshadowed by the more numerous and corrupt samurai caste. One squad of Onna-bugeisha were said to equal three of that comprised by male fighters due to their vicious approach to combat. Their existence in Japanese culture led to women’s right to inherit and bequeath property. Prominent Onna-bugeisha were the Empress Jingu, Tomoe Gozen, and Hōjō Masako, and Nakano Takeko. Their influence diminished significantly as Japan switched from war to bureaucracy and the role of women once again became restricted to child-bearing. Misogyny is a luxury.


*The Asgarda are a modern-day secretive all-female warrior enclave has cropped up in the Carpathian Mountains in the wake of sexual violence and slave trafficking in the Ukraine. The group formed in an effort to empower and educate young Ukrainian women. The Asgarda  girls are taught skills that range from martial arts, weapons training, and public speaking to traditional Ukrainian customs like folk dance and embroidery. “I joined the Asgarda because I wanted to protect myself. Then I saw that I was developing in confidence, and becoming a strong woman, and I don’t think I understood how much I’d been holding myself back.”

*In 1933 the USSR was the first to allow women pilots to fly combat missions. These produced 30 Heroes of Soviet Union and 3 fighter aces.

*The USSR used women extensively and to great effect as snipers, machine gunners, tank drivers, medics, communications and political officers.

*Australia allows women to qualify for all military roles, including full combat special forces.

*In the USA, the bloody rampage by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood in November 2009 was ended by civilian police officer Kimberly Munley. She rounded a corner, IDed the shooter and shot him four times. In return she was shot twice in the leg and once in the arm.

*Israel 1948 War of Independence women on full combat status.
*Israel 1949 – 1989 no women in combat roles.
*Israle 1990 – Present women in most combat positions, including male and female formations in:
Anti Aircraft SAM Corps, Combat Engineers ABC Corps, Light Infantry Karakal, Military Police Schlav, MAGAV SAMAG special infiltration unit, YASAM Israeli Police, Fighter Pilots, Naval Officers, Helicopter airborne mechanics, YAMAG combat unit, Unit 669 airborne paramedics, Oketz Combat Canine units
*Israeli women also hold positions in:
Officers in almost every army branch including Commanding Sniper platoons in Karakal (multisex infantry), General on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

In Israel, young men must serve for at least 2 years in the military alongside similarly obligated women, including in Krav Maga, their close-quarters-combatives. These men serve with and under women and when they leave to return to the civilian world, they take the experience with them, changing and influencing their society for the better because of it.

As a man, I am amazed by women like my grandmother who survived WWII in-spite of her own countrymen’s attempts to murder her family. I am simularily humbled by my friend Denaveria, who served as a scout sniper in the IDF. And I was constantly scared for fellow soldiers who are women when I served in the USA military, not because in their limiting support roles they would see combat regardless of the lower level of training afforded to them, but because of the intense hatred that so many of their predominantly male counterparts held toward them. With a rape epidemic in the United States military, it takes a special kind of courage to not only fight your country’s enemies but also to put yourself in the hideous position to be betrayed by your own comrades. It is the kind of courage that only other women can understand.
I feel there is no greater evil than that kind of betrayal–the betrayal of those who are supposed to watch out for you–your ‘comrades’. And yet those women do it and risk it. I will not speak for the Israeli or Soviet armies. But in the case of my first-hand experience in the USA military, the women risked their own good names and careers along with their bodies and minds in service to their country while guarding their backs against their own ‘battle-buddies’.
At the same token that men like the ones who inspired this compilation will jeer that women aren’t doing enough, other men (and women) will jeer that they ‘put themselves’ in those positions.
I can only marvel at the history of bravery of women world-wide.


             The 900 Day Blockade of St. Petersburg

                A WWII Survivor Tale

                 In Commemoration Of:

              Maya Peterson


               All the souls lost in WWII and Stalin’s Purges

            Told By:

                    Elena (Peterson) O’Donoghue

               Written By:

               Aleksandr Kolpakov


The following historical account was orally passed on to me by my mother. I wish to share with you the narrative as my mother recounted the heroic story of my Grandmother and her family during the terrible events of the Nine-Hundred days-long St. Petersburg blockade of the Great Patriotic War (WWII) as she, Maya Peterson, experienced it. I hope you the reader, can also learn something new and useful out of this most painful story of my heroic Grandmother.

 the-right-one1Stalin and Mao killed their own people, ‘domicide’. “And we’re sort of fine with that. Hitler killed people next door. Oh, stupid man. After a couple of years we won’t stand for that, will we?” — Eddie Izzard

Maya Peterson was born in the city of Pushkin to a family of Russian kinsmen in 1929, which was a residence for noble families. Maya’s mother’s name was Ekaterina and her father’s was Mikhail. They were both of noble Polish and Swedish backgrounds, but were Russian citizens (or more technically for the time, Soviet citizens). Andrei, her elder brother, and Marina, her little sister lived with them. The father was an army engineer–the mother, a house wife. Maya’s Grandfather, (my Great-Great-Grandfather) Major-General Sergei Nikolaevich Wojciechowski (veet-sa-hov-ski), PICTURED LEFT was third in command of the White Army who had to stop their fighting with the Germans in WWI alongside the rest of the world and turn to fight the communists at their backs that had overrun their homeland while they were away. During this revolution both of Major-General Wojciechowski’s commanding officers,  General Vladimir Oskarovich Kappel, as well as the head of the White Movement: Admiral Aleksandr Vasilyevich Kolchak were killed (as illustrated by the recent historical movie “Admiral“). Maya’s Grandfather therefore, was known to have for some time been the default commander of the entire anti-communist ‘White Movement’. Perhaps this is one of the reasons her family along with many others were targeted for extermination by their countrymen while the rest of the world stood unified against fascism.

Months before the Red Revolution of 1917 in which the German-paid communists under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin took control of Russian Parliament–the Duma–by force. Before the destruction of the 9 month-old Democratic Provisional Government that had been established when the czar voluntarily gave up all power. Before that same czar was nonetheless executed by firing squad along with his wife and children. Maya’s family had intended to flee to France where they could seek shelter with relatives. However, a child of the family caught a severe illness and could not be moved, thus the family stayed and watched as the borders were closed off by the new communist regime and as that regime made a pact with and was paid for by the Axis Powers.

Before the second war, “Uncle” Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin’s secret police had Mikhail Peterson (Maya’s father) secretly arrested and abducted during the night. During Stalin’s early purges, all intellectuals (those having college degrees or professional jobs) and those of professed noble birth, were killed for fear of opposition of Stalin’s tyrannical rule (later, he turned against even the most loyal Communists, making the record breaking genocide numbers of his reign of terror from the time of the Revolution to the time of his death in 1954 an unholy, unspeakable, 62 million Russian lives not counting war and famine casualties which were always in the high millions.*
* these numbers were released by modern-day Oxford Scholars

Maya Peterson lived with the remnants of her family in St. Petersburg (then known as Leningrad) when the Second World War began. Once again, the world stood together to fight the Germans and once again the communists made a pact with them. It was not long however, before the fascists betrayed that pact and invaded an unprepared Russia. The Peterson family owned their own manor on the bank of the river Neva (the manor is still there, though our family does not have the documents to claim it as our own). When the Nazi blockade began, all the schools closed and Maya’s mother went to work, something unheard of for a noblewoman of her family’s stature. Ekaterina was paid with food stamps instead of money.

Transposition of time on the same street in St. Petersburg. Then and now.

Maya’s brother was drafted and killed in the first few weeks of the Nazi invasion. Andrei was eighteen at the time of his death. The cause of which was most certainly the preferred “method” of fighting by Stalin’s drafted young forces: to overrun the enemy position with sheer numbers, something that was purely suicidal when faced against the automatic firepower of Nazi trench warfare. These draftees were furthermore either armed with outdated muskets leftover from the First World War or with nothing at all. The combat motto was: “Go out and get a weapon”. And the response to hesitation was “We will kill your family if you don’t.”

During The Blockade there was nothing to eat. No light. And no warmth. The people that stayed alive that long had to go every morning at 03:00 to a store and stay in line in the freezing cold (-45ºC/-49.0ºF) for hours in order to obtain an inch-sized piece of bread per person each day (the “bread” was made of clay and paper). Nobody had any money that was of any use; they just had ration tickets to get the so-called ‘bread’. Maya’s mother sold all the good furniture, cloths, books, priceless relics revered as ancient family treasures, for mere pittances. Anything that could bring in some scraps of food, all so she could feed her two remaining children: Maya and Marina.
Maya’s little sister was two years old when The Blockade began, and she cried all the time as she slowly starved. Maya remembered one night very well. Maya had to go every morning across the “ghost city” to get the bread for her family since her mother had to tend to the ever-sick Marina and was herself too sick to walk long distances. Maya was twelve years old when one early morning she went for the bread and was attacked by a desperate man in the dark. She got away, but the glove that held the ration tickets was torn off during the struggle. The already starved family had to go for one whole week without any kind of food at all, until they were issued new ration tickets.
“In such a horrible time, people would eat dogs, cats, rats, even little girls…”

One night, Maya’s mother Ekaterina, died in her bed from hunger. She had been giving all her scarce food to the children for too long. The then thirteen year old Maya and the four year old Marina put their mother’s corpse on a sled in the middle of harsh winter, and dragged her through the famine stricken town to be dropped into the “Body-Hole”, were all those who died in The Blockade were dumped without ceremony. They were–from that moment on–all on their own.

A Soviet version of the Red Cross would go around the city and pick up stray children and pack them into military trucks, Maya and Marina were scooped up by one such truck. The Soviets then took lines of these trucks across the frozen Neva river, through The Blockade, and into public foster homes. However, trucks would often fall through the ice and the children inside would quickly die from exposure. To make the trek more hazardous still, the Nazis were also firing their long-range cannons on the column of ‘Red Cross’ trucks as they attempted to cross. Due to the cadence of their shelling, every odd-count truck was blown away by the missile-fire from across the river as they fled the city. Maya and Marina were in an even count truck.

While going across the lake, Marina no longer begged for food, but for a big doll she remembered seeing in a store before The Blockade had begun. Maya kept promising that just as soon as they got to safety she would get her one just like it. Halfway across the lake Marina died of hunger in Maya’s arms.

After she escaped the Blockade, Maya stayed in a foster home until she was eighteen years old. There was much fighting and drinking, and Maya endured every single disease and pestilence of that time. Yet still she survived. Afterward, she finished school and went on into medical college. In order to join however, she had to become an official member of the Communist Party. Having no other options, she joined the community that had caused her family so much suffering in order to continue her education. Maya lacked the money to finish however, and instead worked as a hospital nurse to augment her training. Afterward, she took up after her father and became an engineer. She eventually married, though it was not to last. Her husband left Maya and her two daughters PICTURED LEFT, leaving my Grandmother with no options but to take up two extra jobs, including grueling hours iron-working at a factory in order to satisfy the fiery woman’s desire to give her children the very best in cloths, toys, and especially food. In this, she succeeded with extraordinary grace.

Maya is pictured at center, crying at the ceremony

Recently, the modern-day Russian Federation held a ceremony officially recognizing Maya Peterson along with elderly citizens who had survived the events of the Blockade to present day, as Heroes of The Motherland, and even though she no longer resides in Russia, they were given the highest awards possible for civilians of the State. Furthermore, Maya was recognized as true owner of the old family home in St. Petersburg, however she did not wish to return to a place filled with so many painful memories, and instead donated the estate to a historical society.
To this day, Maya lives in the city of Tallinn in the country of Estonia in Europe (former USSR), and thanks to her children, and her own endurance, is not the sole survivor of her noble bloodline. I am very grateful that my Grandmother–the heroine of this story–related the tale to my mother. It would sadden me beyond compare if the valiant story of my Grandmother should ever be lost to time. We are the few who are privileged to know the truth, and I am proud beyond words that my own living Grandmother has made it so.