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Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic and spiritual advisor to the Romanovs and a highly influential figure in the court of Tsar Nicholas II.
Reportedly, Rasputin’s first assassination attempt occurred in 1914, when the prostitute Khioniya Guseva stabbed him in the gut with a dagger in what was thought to be a mortal wound. Eyewitnesses claim that as Rasputin’s entrails fell from his stomach Guseva shouted, “I’ve killed the antichrist.” Though Rasputin survived the attack, his demeanor changed permanently.
In 1916, the country’s distaste for Rasputin hit an all-time high, and a group of conspirators including Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and Prince Felix Yusupov set out to kill him. Using Yusupov’s wife to lure Rasputin to their home, the conspirators fed Rasputin wine and cakes laced with cyanide. Though it was reportedly enough poison to kill five men, Rasputin was unaffected.
Unperturbed, the conspirators continued their attack by beating him repeatedly, then shooting him in the back and causing him to fall to the floor. Yet Rasputin, much like antibiotic-resistant pathogen, still wasn’t dead. According to some, Rasputin jumped up violently, only to be shot several more times. The men then wrapped the body in a sheet or carpet and tossed him into the Neva River.
Rasputin’s body was pulled from the water three days later. Though autopsy reports differ, most attest that he was still alive when thrown into the water and that from the positioning of his body, he had tried to break free before either drowning or dying from hypothermia. The exact cause of death has been debated for decades.
Judy, a purebred English pointer who would often jump in to protect prisoners from beatings in a POW camp during WW2. A British Naval pilot bargained to have her officially considered a POW so the guards could not kill her. (article)
Eventually, they made it home to England together, where they were met with fanfare and fame. Judy was awarded the United Kingdom’s Dickin Medal, which honors the wartime service of animals. In February 1950, she contracted cancer and died at age 13. Williams buried her in a specially made RAF coat. Williams said that every day in the prison camp he thanked God for Judy because she gave him a reason to keep living. “All I had to do was look at her and into those weary, bloodshot eyes,” he said, “and I would ask myself: ‘What would happen to her if I died?”’
Anybody can walk into a Sikh temple after prayers and partake of the free communal meal called langar. The meal, a symbol of equality and community is given to anybody who wishes to partake, without any expectation of payment.
One of the most obvious signs of caste inequality in traditional Indian society is the taboo against eating with those outside one’s caste group, of a lower caste, or of a different religion. Rules for the sharing of food and water are many, especially among high caste Hindus. From the beginning, the Sikh Gurus explicitly rejected this inequality by asking that all Sikhs and all visitors to the Sikh gurdwaras partake of common food in the company of one another. In the langar hall, women and men, rich and poor, high and low sit together. The langar meal thus assails the inner core of inequality and symbolizes a Sikh’s personal rejection of prejudice.