Joseph Trumpeldor spent some time as a prisoner of the Japanese, too, just like Marah Fallowfield. It was during the Russo-Japanese War Trumpeldor was on the Russian side at Port Arthur. He lost his left arm in that war, and he was taken prisoner. Interestingly, he had good things to say about the Japanese after that experience. The Japanese were very tolerant and allowed each prisoner to practice his own faith. Trumpledor printed a newspaper in captivity and plotted with other prisoners to start a Zionist collective farm in Palestine. Coming from Russia, Trumpeldor was impressed by the kindness of the Japanese.
Anyway, in time Joseph Trumpeldor settled in Migdal as a Zionist, where, according to reliable sources, he was a hard worker and a dedicated fighter, but kind of annoying in the way that all zealots are.
|A short except from http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3135845,00.html|
"Trumpledor, the Zionist military legend, held vivid conversations with the local members. To the men, he lectured in the evenings, while he insulted the women when he said they were not as willing as they should be to live on very little. About his Spartan diligence they said that with his single arm he was a better worker than three two armed laborers."Like all idealists, Joseph Trumpeldor had his good qualities and his not so good qualities. It is hard to ignore his dedication and his bravery, but at the same time, he probably was responsible for the failure of the collective farm at Migdal because he rode people too hard and did not take account of the limitations of human nature.
In time, his historic moment would come in another settlement, where he died defending the place. When mortally wounded, he uttered the famous words that every Israeli school child is taught: "It is good to die for our country."
It sounds a little insipid, but Trumpeldor was a scholar, and he was probably trying to think of a quick Hebrew translation to the old Roman standard, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, while he held his one hand over his guts to keep them for spilling out. There is no doubt that Trumpeldor was brave!
But what do people make of him today?
|This image comed from http://thinkjustdoit.blogspot.com/2012/07/inter-2103-johnson-vs-trumpeldor.html|
I think the meme represents a simplistic divide that we currently have in all of Western civilization. Either patriotism is stupid or evil or ... or we have to conscript men and send them to their certain death in order to defend all that is holy. (Or we can just use our poor as cannon fodder by promising them jobs and benefits, free medical care and college educations at public expense.)
But there is another way that no one is talking about. That way is the way of Jean Laffite, the famous privateer who saved America. War can be privatized.
Joseph Trumpledor was not a scoundrel. He was an idealist fighting for a homeland that did not yet exist. He was a man without a country, just like Jean Laffite, and he was willing to die for a place where he would really belong.
But Trumpeldor did have a blind spot: he did not understand that private ownership was one of the best motivators. Instead of lecturing to the women on his collective farms that they lived too lavishly, he should have challenged them to make as much money as they could for the sake of their own families. Jean Laffite understood that, and he offered every sailor on his ship a percentage of the prize to do with as he saw fit!
Private enterprise is the right way to achieve goals, even patriotic goals.
Is every patriot a scoundrel as Johnson suggested? I don't think so. Patriotism is merely love of country. It is not so different from other forms of love. Some men will tell a woman that they love her and then run out on her when it is convenient. But others are true to their love, just as Jean Laffite was true to America.