Thursday, January 20, 2011

Forgotten history: the harvest of the steppe

Roxelana
I watched a very interesting documentary the other night. It was about the love affair between Suleiman the Magnificent and Roxelana.

Why so interesting? Because it unavoidably made reference to aspects of history that most Westerners never learn about.

The history Westerners are presented with today always puts us in the position of "powerful oppressors". The assumption is that humans are naturally oriented toward "equal freedom" but that Westerners have perversely denied this good to humanity by asserting their dominance over everyone else through acts of racism, sexism, colonialism etc.

So history becomes a parade of white men oppressing Aborigines or black Americans or some other group and the acts of resistance by these oppressed groups to secure a human future for all.

Whites come to be seen as exceptional in history, a dominant group inventing categories of oppression from which humanity is struggling to be free.

The real problem for Westerners is that our period of ascendancy lasted just long enough for us to be tagged this way by the liberal left. We were still dominant in the mid-twentieth century, so we got to be the ones tagged as uniquely responsible for the absence of a leftist utopia.

So let's go back to Suleiman and Roxelana. What does their love affair teach us about the past?

Roxelana was born in the early 1500s in what is now Western Ukraine but was then part of the Polish kingdom. She was captured by the Crimean Tatars in the 1520s, taken to the city of Kaffa, a centre of the slave trade, and then selected to be part of the harem of the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent.

Roxelana was part of what is called the "harvest of the steppe". In the 1500s, there was a struggle on the eastern borders of Europe between the Islamic Tatar warriors of the powerful Crimean Khanate and the Cossacks of the Russian and the Polish-Lithuanian kingdoms. The Tatars launched raids into the European territories, taking slaves back with them to be sold into the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Some historians have estimated that up to 3 million Europeans may have been enslaved.

The Khanate was under the protection of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were a powerful force for hundreds of years. It was the Ottomans who destroyed the Byzantines and who captured Serbia and Bulgaria. In the 1500s, Suleiman led his armies deeper into Europe, defeating the Hungarians and laying siege to Vienna in 1529.

Tatar raids continued until Russia gained sufficient military might and forced an end to them by a treaty in 1699. Even so, the enslavement of Europeans by the Ottomans continued, with eighteen hundred Serbian women and children being sold into slavery in a single day in Belgrade in 1813. And the slave trade operating out of the port of Sale in Morocco was only ended in 1816 by the actions of a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet. It has been estimated that up to one million Western Europeans were enslaved over a period of several centuries by Muslim corsairs operating out of Morocco.

And what of Roxelana? She became the favourite of Suleiman, winning his love and being permitted, against the conventions of the palace, to bear more than one son. One of her sons inherited the throne after Suleiman murdered his own first-born son, Mustafa. The fate of other European slaves was very different: they became domestic servants, concubines, or soldiers for the Muslim population of the empire. The emperor maintained a palace staff consisting of up to 900 white eunuchs.

The enslavement of millions of Europeans by Muslim powers in the Middle-East and North Africa lasted for nearly a thousand years, persisting into the 1800s. And for many hundreds of years, various Muslim powers occupied large areas of southern, south-eastern and eastern Europe.

If you follow the leftist script, you're unlikely to think in terms of possible dangers to the West. The assumption is that Westerners are the powerful ones preventing the expression of humanity's true free and equal nature. In fact, there is a double distortion in the leftist way of thinking. First, it is assumed that Westerners must be powerful, as it is the power of white males which is thought to be blocking the further progress of humanity. So the focus isn't on possible dangers, but on the need to further cut down the position of Westerners. Second, even if the balance of power were to change, and Westerners were to lose power, the non-Westerners aren't associated with structures of dominance and so aren't held to be a possible threat or risk.

This leftist view is based on a limited reading of history, on a snapshot of history at a particular moment of Western ascendancy, rather than on a longer-term understanding of the rise and fall of empires and civilisations. 

48 comments:

  1. I'm not quite sure what the left's position on this is. They're opposed to "dominance", so that means that in theory they're opposed to the Ottomans etc, but in practise they're opposed to the West.

    If the West is the most dominant power, as the left assumes, then what they do matters far more than what other nations or civilizations do. Their argument seems to be "how can we take the moral high ground when we have this or that in our history". Also they'd say pointing out the savegery of the Ottomans or whatever is a way of blinding us to our own faults.

    It seems to be an attitude based on the reliance of our continued dominance. To fully understand it though you'd have to understand how left wing morality works, and to be honest I don't.

    Also the "crimes of the west" argument seems to be taken up by our actual or supposed "losers", women, minorities, the poor. They'd say, "look at those guys in charge they think they're good etc, but look at what they've done". If you consider that this is a way for our "losers" to criticise us it follows that it doesn't really matter what the Ottomans did or others do.

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  2. This is entirely correct. The leftists are both incredibly ignorant and determined to ignore all historical facts which don't fit their script.

    The idea that non-Westerners don't create structures of power is just laughable. When I object to it I tend to find that leftists are too embarrassed at its idiocy to really defend it, they just give me a 'don't say that' look.

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  3. It can be argued that the West (no single entity) was not so dominant at the time. Only a coalition of Europeans managed to defeat the vast armies assembled by the Ottomans at Vienna in the second Vienna Siege (1683), especially the enthusiastic help of Poland, and the Western coalition dissolved within days of the Ottoman defeat (there were still wars in the North, but states such as Prussia set aside their grievances against the Holy Roman Empire to unite against the Turks). My main argument here is that, to the extent we can consider the West to have been united (which is dubious, let us remember France had a tradition of allying with the Turks against Vienna after the precedent set by Francis I), it is debatable whether it was dominant in terms of manpower or even technology at the time. Of course, the gap closed as Europe entered the First Industrial Revolution while the Sublime Porte gradually foundered and descended into decadence and stagnation.

    It is unsure how many Europeans were enslaved by the Ottomans, estimates greatly vary. However, if you lump together the people they enslaved as well as the trade of black slaves within the Islamic world and the precedents in Spain and Zoroastrian Persia, the numbers of slaves traded, regardless of race, may very well dwarf the Triangular Trade. We should also bear in mind that the European trade of black slaves was made with the support of local West African tribes who gladly surrendered some of their men (or, frequently, captured enemies) in exchange for European manufactures and baubles. The West Africans do have their share of responsibility in this as it has been established the Europeans could not have settled Africa as easily as America at the time, because Africa was familiar with European diseases and its inhabitants possessed immunity while some kingdoms (Benin) were strong enough to stave off any onslaught. I repeat; they SOLD their OWN men in exchange for TRINKETS. There would also be a lot to say about the massacre of civilians by Islamic hordes when they poured out in Egypt, Northern African (then largely Christian), Spain and France (in my native region, Languedoc-Roussillon, in southern France, it has been estimated that up to 1 million locals could have been enslaved during the eighth-century invasion stopped at Poitiers and Tours by Charles Martel). So much for Western oppression and the natural goodness of non-Western peoples.

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  4. Whites come to be seen as exceptional in history, a dominant group inventing categories of oppression from which humanity is struggling to be free.

    Precisely, but as Jesse suggests, it's a mystery why some white people adhere to such a belief, which presupposes a profound ignorance of history. That some products of our schools really are that ignorant explains some of it; that non-whites cling to it either dishonestly or honestly (ignorantly) is also comprehensible.

    But those who really aren't that ignorant? Some of them, I think, really are deeply "racist", in that they are convinced of the unassailable ascendancy of Europeans. Whitey will always be pre-eminent, and they will always be safe, so they can play Great White Liberator, generously lifting up the oppressed. (Generally with money extorted, and institutions usurped, from other white people.) The others, aside from the quislings and hustlers (who are understandable if despicable), who knows?

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  5. Some of my older female Macedonian patients(FYROM) have little crucifixes tattooed on their arm. I never understood the practice till I asked one of them. Apparently having a prominent crucifix meant that you could not be assimilated into Muslim culture, hence these girls would not be kidnapped. It was a preventative strategy.

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  6. Isn't this just basic European history? Although, I must admit that we didn't have much European history in American high school. I read a lot of biographies and German historical fiction, so I'm perhaps more well-versed than most Americans.

    In high school, they seemed to be trying to give us the impression that Eastern Europe doesn't exist, that Germany history is all about Nazis, and that Britain is both the source of all the world's greatness and the source of all of the world's greatest villains. Their coverage of WWII is also completely skewed, with the Eastern Front barely getting a mention, and the entire study focused on how Americans rescued Europe.

    Funny that you should pick this particular period, because I actually just read a book about a Germanic woman who was kidnapped and sold into slavery to the Tartars, by a German slave trader. The town I am from in Germany used to be a major slave-trade hub. The book involved the Byzantine empire, as well. I know a bit about Byzantium because of the Catholic-connection, but I suppose Novaseeker is the resident expert on that.

    Southern Cross,

    I always thought the Triangular Trade is considered so uniquely horrible because of the way the slaves were treated. The horror of the Atlantic passage, for instance, or the suicidal sugar cane fields of the Caribbean. The climate and the work was so harsh that the slaves lived short, brutal lives. That's why they had to constantly be replaced.

    Although it might simply be that it is because it wasn't that long ago, so there were still people alive to recount their stories until fairly recently. My generation is already starting to lose interest in it, and I think for my children's generation it will no longer be a topic of such import. A lot of young American blacks are now non-natives like Obama, so it's not really their history anymore. They're just trying to milk the guilt-trip a little longer, while they can.

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  7. Very true; and it should be added that Western civilization is the only one to have abolished slavery, the only one to have invented human rights, which of course makes this ludicrous revisionism all the more ironic. In fact it should be stressed that nothing is more profoundly typical of Western civilization – in its actual agonizing state – than the habit of casting Western civilization in the role of the villain. Interesting to note also that according to French philosopher and ethnographer René Girard, this kind of self-depreciation is deeply rooted indeed, since he traces it back to the founding myth of the West, namely the crucifixion. Girard claims (quite convincingly) that the story told in the gospel has had a very profound impact on mankind; for the first time in history, the point of view of the victim of an execution becomes more valid, more reliable, more legitimate than the point of view of the collectivity responsible for the execution. Christianity can thus be considered “the religion that ends all religions” (the phrase is not from Girard, but from Marcel Gauchet, another French author). From there stems individualism, human rights, romanticism, modernity, all of which of course can’t be completely discarded; but from there also stems the perverse distortion of history you so justly try to debunk here. I don’t know if you are familiar with René Girard; his views on the mimetic origin of all desires is to me the most profound and decisive argument against the liberal autonomy theory. Let me try to put it in a nutshell. If the subject can’t imitate cultural models – gods and archetypes, limited in number and separated from his own life – he will unavoidably imitate his neighbors. But since those neighbors are close to him, they will end up being not only his models, but his rivals, hence chaos. Interesting stuff. If you can, try to read THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, a book that lives up to its ambitious title.

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  8. History is never written without bias, but the hatred of Western civilization by its ruling elites is a prejudicial factor which constrains almost every historical inquiry these days. Past times are judged against the sentimental benchmarks of current ideological concerns.

    The liberal project aims to cancel out all socio-economic variation by blaming the West for the woes of the world and making us pay for them - in remorse and cash.

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  9. For liberals, at least in America, history started in the 1960s.

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  10. Anonymous,

    There is a fair bit of truth in that statement. If society is about "progress" then everything that happened earlier is to be discounted or ignored.

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  11. Alte wrote,

    "I always thought the Triangular Trade is considered so uniquely horrible because of the way the slaves were treated. The horror of the Atlantic passage, for instance, or the suicidal sugar cane fields of the Caribbean. The climate and the work was so harsh that the slaves lived short, brutal lives. That's why they had to constantly be replaced."

    From the article on Turkish treatment of enslaved African boys:

    "Sandali, or clean-shaven: The parts are swept off by a single cut of a razor, a tube (tin or wooden) is set in the urethra, the wound is cauterized with boiling oil, and the patient is planted in a fresh dung-hill. His diet is milk, and if under puberty he often survives."

    Compare and contrast.

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  12. One more thing, Alte:

    America has a large population of the descendants of those slaves.

    How many Africans live in Turkey? How large is even the African share of the Turkish gene pool?

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UOHFTxL-bOA/TQKOBi94S8I/AAAAAAAAAQM/53U_glW2Ivs/s1600/ADMIXTURE_10.png

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  13. Point taken. Then it must just be that it was so recent. I'm a bit ambivalent about it all, as we did quite well out of it. In my father's family, the bitterness seems reserved for the Jim Crowe Era, when we lost all of our property and were reduced to sharecropping.

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  14. This happened to all Africans? This explains why there are no decedents.

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  15. Alte wrote,

    "Then it must just be that it was so recent."

    Maybe. Or maybe it's because the demonization of Europeans is much more conducive to leftist goals than the demonization of Turks and Arabs.

    Actually, when you recall whom the Left is even now telling Europe it must embrace as "new Europeans" (the Turks), it's easy to see why the academics are so quiet about the old Turkish penchant for castrated African boys.

    None of that is to say that Jim Crow was the paragon of justice. Some blacks really suffered (apparently like your family). Of course, the present Affirmative Action regime is no paragon of justice either. Some whites are really suffering under it too.

    The point is that neither blacks then nor whites now can quite swap stories with the poor, castrated victims of Islamic salaciousness. Islamic depravity is simply on a whole other level.

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  16. Jesse wrote,

    "This happened to all Africans? This explains why there are no decedents."

    I wondered that too. It seems hard to believe that every or even most African men imported into Turkey were castrated. And what about African women? Didn't they ever have children?

    But the Turkish genetic map doesn't seem to leave room for that possibility. Who knows?

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  17. I always thought the Triangular Trade is considered so uniquely horrible because of the way the slaves were treated. The horror of the Atlantic passage, for instance, or the suicidal sugar cane fields of the Caribbean. The climate and the work was so harsh that the slaves lived short, brutal lives. That's why they had to constantly be replaced.

    Read "Islam's Black Slaves" to appreciate the genocidal brutality of the process:

    http://www.amazon.com/Islams-Black-Slaves-Other-Diaspora/dp/0374527970/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295660862&sr=8-1

    If society is about "progress" then everything that happened earlier is to be discounted or ignored.

    The past must be represented as positively evil in order to demonstrate the "progress" we have achieved. This is easily done - the Left controls academia, and thus they control the past!

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  18. ''The past must be represented as positively evil in order to demonstrate the "progress" we have achieved. This is easily done - the Left controls academia, and thus they control the past!''

    I once went to a liberal school and I was taught that America was evil and imperialist in attacking Japan. That was made in the context of how language affects everything and what not. Every time I am in a liberal school I simply tune out everything in my mind and in my memory (it's probably influenced by liberalism so I reject it).

    Like I said for my children either homeschooling or private Christian schools.

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  19. We were still dominant in the mid-twentieth century, so we got to be the ones tagged as uniquely responsible for the absence of a leftist utopia.

    I'm not sure that follows. The Soviets were very powerful in the mid-twentieth century, and they have been entirely spared the sort of hatred that the left reserves for us. It would not have taken anyway, since a lot of modern Russians simply deny many of the CCCP's crimes.

    I don't think dominance can be the prime mover here. Leftists love dominant countries, so long as they are communist or non-white.

    Interesting to note also that according to French philosopher and ethnographer René Girard, this kind of self-depreciation is deeply rooted indeed, since he traces it back to the founding myth of the West, namely the crucifixion.

    Though your premise is intriguing, the West had existed for centuries when Christ was crucified. Our true founding myth would have to be the story of Achilles.

    Whenever this subject is brought up, I always think of the Turkish Abductions, where the Moslems went all the way to Iceland for white slaves. I'm sure the Icelanders who actually know about the raid think it's no big deal, but Iceland's Moslem population is on the increase, so perhaps that will change.

    Otherwise, excellent article. I guess Whitey didn't invent evil in a secret lab after all.

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  20. And what about African women? Didn't they ever have children?

    From a report in the New York Daily Times 1856:

    In Constantinople it is evident that there is a very large number of negresses living and having habitual intercourse with their Turkish masters—yet it is a rare thing to see a mulatto. What becomes of the progeny of such intercourse? I have no hesitation in saying that it is got rid of by infanticide, and that there is hardly a family in Stanboul where infanticide is not practiced in such cases as a mere matter of course, and without the least remorse or dread.

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  21. Mr. Richardson wrote,

    "I have no hesitation in saying that it is got rid of by infanticide, and that there is hardly a family in Stanboul where infanticide is not practiced in such cases as a mere matter of course, and without the least remorse or dread."

    That's incredible. It's a wonder the slave women didn't lose their minds.

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  22. Oh, that is absolutely horrendous. What monsters, to murder their own children. If the women did lose their minds, they were problem put out of their misery and replaced. That would be in keeping with the general pattern.

    Bartholomew,

    I am against AA, because I think it is wrong to promote people for reasons other than merit. I was regularly accused of being an "AA hire" myself, which is one of the reasons leaving America and working in Germany was so satisfying for me. No AA there.

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  23. I was regularly accused of being an "AA hire" myself, which is one of the reasons leaving America and working in Germany was so satisfying for me. No AA there.

    Wherever "diversity" is held up as an unequivocal good, you will find some amount of affirmative action. It may not be official, it may not even be conscious, but it will be there. When there is pressure for the workforce to reflect the makeup of the population, you will find de facto AA if nothing else.

    Some companies practice their own versions of AA for no other reason than to improve their images.

    It looks as though Germany does have some official AA.

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  24. Mark, check your spam folder.

    Is there no way to disable or otherwise "opt out" of that particular feature?

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  25. Van Wijk,

    I released your comment from its little spam prison.

    No, there's no opt out feature. That's the first thing I checked.

    What the blogger people want us to do is to "train" the spam filter by releasing the non-spams. Supposedly over time the filter will learn what it's meant to do.

    James,

    Thanks!

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  26. When there is pressure for the workforce to reflect the makeup of the population, you will find de facto AA if nothing else.

    That's true. Although, there will always be reasons someone is hired beyond their pure merit. Perhaps they are tall or good-looking, they know somebody, they come from a nicer area of the country, etc. My main beef is with official, institutionalized AA.

    It looks as though Germany does have some official AA.

    After my time. I was working in the early naughties, before that was implemented. I'd never heard of that before.

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  27. What the blogger people want us to do is to "train" the spam filter by releasing the non-spams. Supposedly over time the filter will learn what it's meant to do.

    I've noticed that only the comments containing hyperlinks have been marked as spam.

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  28. I don't see how highlighting the misdeeds of the Ottomans somehow justifies (or nulifies) the colonial crimes of the "white man" which continued well into the 20th century? The powerful always created empires and subjugated the weak, regardless of whether they were white, black, Christian, Muslim etc. You may try to downplay the liberal left "black armband" view of history if you wish, but as supposedly "enlightened" westerners I hold our past behaviours to a higher plain. Without rehashing colonial era crimes, all I'll say is that we need to be honest with our history, come to terms with our crimes, reconcile where required, and move on. But as an aside, how do we expect the Turks (as an example) to confess to their early 20th century genocide against the Armenians, when we (despite all our enlightened education) can't fess up to our own? THEY were just as bad as US is not much of an excuse!

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  29. Nikita,

    Well as someone coming from a place that used to be controlled by the Muslims I guess you're happy they're not there now. At least officially.

    "but as supposedly "enlightened" westerners I hold our past behaviors to a higher plain."

    I hear this a lot. So because of our past colonial crimes we need vast change, perhaps a revolution. Then the revolution happens, the crimes become much worse and again we hold those crimes to a lower standard, because they're not the "white guy" crimes.
    We lead and because we lead we must whip ourselves for a lack of perfection. Well strength is good when you have it. Economically we're in a much stronger position and these things have faded. Before that though we took the moral lead on abolishing slavery and in many other areas. Do you even know about some of the crimes of other societies? You mentioned the turkish genocide, do you know of any others?

    This history was highlighted precisely because it's "forgotten". Its not known to the average person in the West. What is known? The great cavalcade of crimes. Which helped secure the world and improve its prosperity and leaves you now in a strong position to argue for perfection.

    If we don't know what we've done, positively, we'll beat ourselves up in an undeserved fashion, which will leave us in a weak position for the future. Suddenly then you won't be surprised when all the positive things we've done start to unravel. You also won't be surprised when other societies see themselves as faultless and feel empowered to act in barbarous fashions.

    With a name like Nikita does that mean you're a man or a woman? Assuming you're a woman living in an area populated by muslims, how would you feel about being raped by a group of self righteous muslim "youths"? Would you say, "Oh if only we hadn't provoked them in the past" or would you say, yep they're barbaric. A little look into their history might help.

    On the other hand lets say you're a man. Enjoy doffing your hat to the Imams in the future.

    Whether the Turks confess or not for the genocide is their business. However, we know what they did and we're not forgetting.

    Enjoy arguing for moral perfection, but while you're at it watch out for the basic gears that make a society work, because they might start to seize up.

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  30. "I hear this a lot. So because of our past colonial crimes we need vast change, perhaps a revolution. Then the revolution happens, the crimes become much worse and again we hold those crimes to a lower standard, because they're not the "white guy" crimes."

    That's taking a bit of a leap from what I said, I mean excuse me for thinking that we of European stock with the best available education and knowledge should have the intellect to see that invading other established communities, then slaughtering them when they dare oppose the invader was a bit of a cheeky thing to do. But if it's asking too much for 18th century colonials to see what they did was wrong, surely we in the 21st century should be able to acknowledge that? It's not about arguing for perfection Jesse, it's about acknowledging the truth, and reconciling with the descendants of the victims. If there's one thing victims of crime want more than anything (especially when a State in involved), it's acknowledgment from the perpetrator that the crime occurred. Otherwise we're no better than those "rotten" Muslim Turks (who were the actual focus of the blog).
    And as for knowing of "crimes of other societies"...are you kidding? Well off the top of my head, how about the virtual extinction of the Aboriginal race, Britain's dirty war in Kenya where almost the entire Kikuyu population of over a 1 million were detained, Belgium's crimes in Congo, the French brutality in Algeria, Israel's daily subjugation and humiliation of the Palestinians, and while not strictly Colonialism per se, how about we throw in America's destruction of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan...and not to mention their constant meddling in the affairs of their Latin American neighbours? I'm sure you don't need any citations for the above? There's truckloads of reference material in the public domain.
    Since you're so interested in my sex, it's actually a Hellenic male name, so your attempt at using emotion (which is usually done when the argument is weak) falls a bit flat here. And as for the barb about "doffing your hat to the imams", to this day I still don't get this almost pathological hatred of alot of conservatives have towards Muslims? If you're worried about the demographic issue of Muslim breeding in western Christian countries causing a gender "imbalance", well historically the economically oppressed tended to have more offspring, while the affluent concentrated on other pursuits. And this is not unique to Islam, my grandmother from a poor Greek village gave birth 17 times (which was not that unusual). So perhaps (it could be argued) if we hadn't meddled so much in the Islamic world and ensured their subjugation, perhaps today they wouldn't be living in "enclaves" in the west and breeding at a menacing rate.....which seems to terrify you so terribly?

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. I asked you to come up with crimes of other societies and all you came up with was allegations leveled at the West. Yes the Aboriginal population is very much alive thank you.

    This so called pathological hatred for the Muslims might stem from the fact that we've had repeated conflicts with them, but more significantly its because they pose a threat. And guess what that's what they're willing to admit to. You stated in the other comments thread that the guys statements were just "ravings", unfortunately they're all too common. Attacks on the West and the continued promotion of Islamic policies in the West are common fair in mosques. We no longer have the luxury of the C19th Europeans of looking down our noses at the curious "orientals", nor of seeing them with rose tinted glasses. Their blood is up and they want a bigger share of the world. Why? Because they're muslims and superior don't you know. You should know that there must be a sizable muslim population in Greece.

    I've already told this story but I was in Malaysia and I gave some money to a muslim beggar. He almost physically started at the prospect of taking alms from a Westerner. Why? Because he may have been a beggar but he was still a muslim and the prospect of being in a submissive position to a hated/distrusted/degenerate westerner was not what he wanted.

    We in the west have been strong, and wherever there is strength there is the potential for injustice. The solution however is not to embrace weakness. Nor to castigate our own societies single mindedly.

    Speaking of Greece how are the communist/anarchist riots going?

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  33. If there's one thing victims of crime want more than anything (especially when a State in involved), it's acknowledgment from the perpetrator that the crime occurred.

    It's been acknowledged. Over and over and over. The Germans even paid reparations. Notice how nobody gets on the Japanese about what they did to the Koreans? Or the Russians about what they did in the Bloodlands?

    The difference being that in those countries, the people who did the crimes don't care, so nobody bothers trying to make them feel guilty. No point in trying to make someone feel guilt if they don't think what they did was wrong, and if they won't even admit it happened. It seems Western white people are mostly being punished for having a conscious, telling the truth, and trying to repair the damage they've caused.

    If they had just "lied and denied" rather than acknowledging, it wouldn't even be a topic anymore. It's a topic because they allowed it to be discussed.

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  34. "Yes the Aboriginal population is very much alive thank you"

    Tell that to the Aborigines of Tasmania! There were between 3000-15000 Aborigines there before colonisation in 1803, and only 200 in 1833! Even conservative historian Geoffrey Blainey states " “Disease had killed most of them but warfare and private violence had also been devastating.”
    We can go backwards and forwards with curt comments, but I just don't see why there's been such historic reluctance to acknowledge past misdeeds by "our side"? And as for the "evil" Muslims, I guess we Greeks having straddled the east and west, and been dealing with Islam since the 7th century see these people in a different light, whereas you guys seem to see them as the devil incarnate?

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  35. Nikita,

    "I guess we Greeks having straddled the east and west, and been dealing with Islam since the 7th century see these people in a different light, whereas you guys seem to see them as the devil incarnate?"

    I suppose you're neutral about going back under Muslim control then.

    It's good to see you've done your history. However, the Aborigines of Tasmania, what were they a whole over 3000+ of them? Were an unfortunate but predictable (ie when cultures clash and new diseases are introduced) example and as you said the majority of them died because of disease. There was also fighting on the Island and many colonists were killed which was where the warfare came into it.

    We're not doing Aborinies today we're doing Muslims, yes the Aborigines get their turn too. So perhaps we might not reflectively change the subject?

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  36. "There was also fighting on the Island and many colonists were killed which was where the warfare came into it"

    And why was there "fighting"? Because the white man colonised their lands and slaughtered them! What's so hard about acknowledging that?

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  37. It's always amusing when some innocent lefty stumbles upon a blog like this one, then begins making comments without having any idea where his interlocutors are coming from.

    So go ahead, Nikki. Keep peddling White Guilt here and see how many takers you get. Ra ha ha.

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  38. Well the "slaughter" was a pretty gradual thing, mostly with farmers and aborigines fighting over destruction to farms which occasionally escalated. There was no systematic attacks or war. Was the land colonised? You bet. The human population of Australia was very small and if we hadn't taken it someone else would have. Were stone age indigenous people left in control of any country in the world anywhere? No need to say no because the Europeans conquered them all. The Chinese conquered, the Middle east empires and arabs conquered and Africans conquered too.

    Its funny if we find the remains of some po dunk slightly elevated civilisation in Africa, this is viewed as a matter of great pride and advancement, not as evidence of a conquering nation, which of course they were. Additionally the Aborigines fought amongst themselves and even you lefties like war when it suits you, revolution brother.

    Castigating yourself is a bit of a luxury. You sit in your house, put your feet up and say "aren't we awful", nonetheless there you are, benefiting from living in a nation and culture which still dominates the world. And a culture (which you won’t fully admit) you hope and expect will continue to dominate. I can assure you the muslims don’t think exactly like we or you do.

    How did we get to dominate the world again? Not solely by moral enquiry. Especially not one sided moral enquiry. And what have we done with our power? A hell of a lot more for the world than the muslims. There’s no point in listing the white or British atrocities again, because of course you’re not comparing them to anyone else and you become outraged if anyone else should.

    Finally, if the point is that we’ll all put down our historical grudges, the muslims and the west, and buy starbucks and mow lawns, presumably if we in the West lead the way and bend over backwards to accommodate everyone else. Well I don’t think it will work out that easily.

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  39. "You sit in your house, put your feet up and say "aren't we awful", nonetheless there you are, benefiting from living in a nation and culture which still dominates the world. And a culture (which you won’t fully admit) you hope and expect will continue to dominate"

    I guess this really seems to be the crux of the angst between the back and forth of the left and right when you break it down? The progressive's view of acknowledging our past wrongs while enjoying the fruits of those conquests, and the conservative hostility to the "black armband" view of history. All the back and forth reparte will probably not change anyone's ingrained belief system on this point, but can I just ad to Van Wijk's barb about me stumbling onto this blog, I was referred to it by someone because I seek out alternate viewpoints, as I don't think the left or right has the exclusive answers to all the world's problems. Now you can either have a mutual admiration society where every body agrees with everything and pats themselves on the back, or you can be challenged by alternate views, process the information, and provide a well thought out counter argument? I think everyone wins that way?

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  40. "The progressive's view of acknowledging our past wrongs while enjoying the fruits of those conquests"

    That's the first time I've heard a leftie say that. It seems all too often they assume that prosperity springs out of the ground, or else we're not really prosperous but exploited by the "rich".

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  41. Now you can either have a mutual admiration society where every body agrees with everything and pats themselves on the back, or you can be challenged by alternate views, process the information, and provide a well thought out counter argument? I think everyone wins that way?

    Sounds fantastic. Unfortunately, that is not the liberal argument. The liberal argument is: Western history is one long list of crimes against saintly brown people (as propagated here by you, Nikki); conservatives stand in the way of all progress and all that which is good and righteous; conservatives are irredeemably wicked because they know they are wrong yet do not change course; conservatives should confess their myriad sins, beg forgiveness, and then sit in the back quietly, and if they do not, they should be robbed of their political and social influence by whatever means available. Failing that, they should die.

    They do all this while dishonestly projecting their own behavior onto their adversaries, and therefore are able to pretend that they merely seek "dialogue" and the free exchange of points of view, much as you've done here.

    Here in America, dissent was patriotic during the eight long years of G.W. Bush, yet it became a lot less patriotic the moment the Great Pharaoh ascended his throne in D.C. See, some of us have studied the script and can identify it for what it is when we see it. That knowledge gives us a rather dim view of you and your intentions.

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  42. Van Wijk said,

    "They do all this while dishonestly projecting their own behavior onto their adversaries, and therefore are able to pretend that they merely seek "dialogue" and the free exchange of points of view, much as you've done here."

    Left wing debate is about closing down opposition, not about fairly debating it. Why fairly debate the "evil ones" afterall?

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  43. I said all that did I Van Wijk? You must've used ESP to read my mind presumably?

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  44. Maybe you shouldn't end every sentence with a question mark?

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