Remember: prior to the Mufti’s intervention, Hitler’s policy was to send all Jews to Palestine, their ancestral homeland.
Yes, he wanted to steal all their stuff, but he was willing to let them emigrate with very limited amount of their property.
Back then, the word ‘Palestinian’ was synonymous with ‘Jew’ – the Arabs were simply called ‘Arabs’.
It was not until the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem came to Hitler, began living as his honoured guest, and convinced Hitler that sending Jews to Palestine was ‘bad’ and that it was ‘better’ to just kill them that the ‘final solution’ had been drafted…and the Grand Mufti had been one of its chief architects.
Not only that, the Grand Mufti was also responsible for Hitler’s infatuation with Islam that had lead to his famous lament of mow much better it would have been, how much powerful the German race would have become, if ‘strong Islam’ instead of ‘meek Christianity’ had been the heritage of Germany…
…I suppose Frau Merkel is trying to correct this error and set Germany on the path Hitler had only dreamed of…
And the Grand Mufti was responsible for the creation of numerous SS units made up entirely of Muslims, active in the Balkans and nearby regions. If only our children were permitted to learn the truth about WWII history!!!
Well, here is someone who clearly does know history and the lessons it ought to teach each and every one of us – even if diplomacy constricts how he may phrase his words:
Yes, I usually post my never-humble-opinions.
But this time, I know I would be out of my depth had I offered one….
Still, the question itself has kept me up on more than one night.
Granted, my early schooling came behind the Iron Curtain – so, perhaps the very premises of my question are flawed. Yet, I have read enough (among the little bits of ‘H’istory that I have indulged myself in) here, in The West, that suggests to me that this question may, indeed, be more valid today than it has been in, well, almost a century.
Therefore, my dear reader, I beg you to indulge me in asking my question and, if you can, in enlightening me with the answer.
Now, for my long-winded question:
Before World War 1, the movement of peoples between nations was not regulated.
At least, it was not regulated in the manner in which it became regulated later on in the 20th century.
Yes, of course, there were border controls: but these were meant mostly for economic purposes (import/export taxes) and to apprehend criminals.
After all, it was not so long ago that mainland Europe was still using the Feudal System of governance, where the freedom of movement of country folk was under complete control of their landlords.
And the aristocracy was not limited by borders: crossing them freely and unencumbered to pursue political marriages. The land they held was their only anchor to the kingdom in which they held it.
The craftsmen were also not anchored in place by ‘kingdom-governance’ (I cannot think of a proper term for this), but by the self-regulated guilds of their region, under which they were permitted to practice their craft: guilds were built upon the apprentice-based artificially created scarcity of their products within various regions, calculated to ensure higher-than-market value of their work and thus inflating guild-members standard of living and social standing.
Similarly, scholars and artists moved freely between kingdoms, based on where they could find private patrons willing to fund them and their works. (Note: painters may be regarded as ‘artists’ today, but, prior to accessible photography, they were considered craftsmen and thus subject to the guild system.) For example, consider the alchemical court of Rudolph the Second.
After centuries of feudalism, it took a bit from when the shackles were shattered to when people gathered the courage to reach for freedom and travel to far-away lands – not just to learn, or as a right of passage, but to settle for good.
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the human migrations truly became unfettered and populations began to migrate.
From my own cultural background – this is where the huge exodus of Czechs into Texas began: so great was this migration that it was not until the 1970’s that Spanish overtook Czech as the second language of Texas. The University of Austin still has the largest Czech Studies department outside of the Czech Republic… And don’t even get me started on ‘Miss Czech Texas’..
Yes, I realize that I am providing just one example here, but, I am no historian: which is why I hope to get responses which will enlighten me.
Now that I have set the stage…
It has been suggested that one of the most important ‘behind-the-scenes’ reasons for the First World War was the absence of proper regulation on
the migration of populations across political borders.
Yes, of course – there were the ‘obvious’ reasons: but I have heard the claim that these ‘obvious’ reasons were, in fact, brought about because of the cultural instability and tensions brought about by, in practical terms, unregulated migration of populations across culturo-political borders.
It would be difficult to argue that what we are seeing now, in the EU in particular and in all of Europe in general is exactly the same type of unregulated migration of populations across cutluro-political borders!
But, it is even more pointed now than what it had been prior to WW1: at least back then, the migrations did not tend to cross religio-cultural borders – something that is most definitely happening now. The new migrants flooding Europe, without any true governance, are not just politically and culturally different, they are also religiously different: subscribing to an intolerant, supremacist religion that permits exploitation and violence against non-members of said religion and refuses to recognize any culture other than its own…
Finally, the question:
Are the current, practically unregulated migration conditions into Europe as dangerous, if not more, than the ones that sparked World War 1?
Stefan Molyneux has done a series of these ‘the truth about…’: they are a bit long, but very informative. So, next time you’ll be doing some house chores, put it on full blast and listen!
While the current geopolitical events are focusing our attention on the previous clashes between Islamic cultures and ‘the West’, it may be of interest to take a look at some of the factors which contributed to the decline of the Ottoman empire.
This following video, while acknowledging the external pressures, highlights some internal developments which affected the decline of the Ottoman empire – developments which we ought not dismiss out of hand:
…of the resolve we used to have….
…when we had no trouble in identifying who our enemy was…
When the practice of ‘serfdom’ was first introduced, it was nowhere as oppressive as it grew to be later on. In some instances, at the beginning, the ‘serfs’ had to provide as little as 3-4 days of service to the ‘lord’ per season – in return for the ‘lord’ being responsible to maintain peace and order in his domain..
Gradually, the amount of work required of the serfs kept creeping higher and higher, the responsibilities of the ‘lord’ to the serfs kept getting smaller and smaller and the powers of the ‘lord’ over the ‘serfs’ kept getting bigger and bigger as the ‘lords’ increasingly used their powers against the ‘serfs’ instead of in their protection.
By the end, things were not so good…. People were compelled – often forced by armed guards – to work for their ‘lord’ from sun-up to sun-down 6 days a week, every week…
These days, we pay so much of our incomes in taxes – it can reach more than 50% of a family’s income. The State sets the level of taxation one-sidedly and The State has usurped for itself extraordinary powers to compel you to pay these taxes, even suspending your innate civil rights as irrelevant in the process!
Indeed, the parallels to serfdom are increasingly undeniable!
Which is why I’d like to tell you a story about a peasant who refused to become a serf (in the original, ‘robotnik’ – this is the root of the word ‘robot’). His name was Jan Sladky Kozina.
This narration is not exactly the way the story is written up in the history books. Nor does it match the ‘official’ or even ‘semi-official’ narratives put on the internet by people who claim (probably rightly) to be the genetic descendants of the Dogheads. I am not re-telling the story with any claim to ‘factual accuracy’.
Rather, here and now – to us, this version of the story has great archetypal relevancy!
Like Kozina, this storyteller (who was in his 90’s when, I was a child,) was a Chod, born and raised as a ‘Doghead’ – but a ‘few’ generations too young to have lived through these events himself. Still, he was not so young as to not have heard the story from the grandchildren or great-grand-children of the actual people who lived this story! (While there are many guesses – some of them more educated than others – there is no definitive answer as to who the Chods were, where they came from or what their mythology truly was.)
OK – to the story, as I remember it having been told me by an ancient story teller:
The ‘Dogheads’ were not your ordinary peasants. They were a people of their own, with a proud and ancient heritage.
One of their unique skills was in animal communication and training – especially training dogs (hence they had the head of a dog in their clan symbol (is it a coat of arms when it refers to the clan and not a specific person?) – and the nomicker ‘Dogheads’). The Dogheads were the only bunch of people in feudal Europe to have a document officially exempting them from serfdom.
That was the ‘outside’ story.
Our ‘inside’ tradition says that the papers GIVEN to us by John of Luxembourg were simply his acknowledgment of much older and more powerful claims/documents (depending on who told the story, it was either ‘ancient claims that everyone acknowledged’ or a chest full of very ‘ancient documents’). (A few old Dogheads actually claimed these ‘even older’ documents put the Dogheads outside the jurisdiction of even the Inquisition – but that is hard to believe…)
For centuries, all the kings respected this.
Until a bad, greedy king came to power.
He refused to recognize the Dogheads innate freedoms and documents ordering all kings to recognize our rights to these freedoms. This bad king deeded their land to a nobleman who paid him off – effectively turning the Dogheads into this man’s serfs (this was a little over 3 centuries ago).
The Dogheds were not keen on this. They refused to submit to serfdom (‘robota’) and petitioned the king, but the king refused to hear the petition.
The Dogheads did not know what to do.
Many wanted to take up arms and die fighting rather than submit to serfdom – but taking up arms against the king was abhorrent, because it would be an open rebellion against the position and not just the evil man who occupied it.
They could never justify such violent means to achieve any good end.
So, Kozina (that is how he was referred to commonly by his clan) chose a different way: He publicly displayed the documents guaranteeing the Dogheads freedom from serfdom in perpetuity, proving to everyone that the king was indeed the one who was breaking the laws!
This cost the king dearly, because all the noble houses and all the people saw him for what he was…. a criminal thug! An usurper! An unfit king!
But, he still had a big army…
Embarrassing the king publicly was not so very good for Kozina’s longevity. The king had Kozina tossed into jail and sent in his army to install this nobleman (whatever his name was, we called him Lomikar) as our overlord.
Then, the king permitted Lomikar to have Kozina tortured and publicly hanged.
At the gallows, Kozina looked at Lomikar and said:
“Lomikare, Lomikare! Do roka a do dne, zvu te na sud Bozi! Hync sa hukaze – “
Kozina spoke in the old Chod dialect…..and the way the words are put together is said to have the quality of a magical incantation. Roughly translated:
“Lomikar, Lomikar! In one year to the day, I challenge you to God’s judgement! Then it shall be shown – “
He never got to say any more, because Lomikar was wildly gesticulating to the executioner to ‘get it done’ and not let Kozina talk, because he feared he himself might get lynched by the people watching the execution, as the Czechs were rather empathetic to the Chods.
One year later – on the day which was the anniversary of Kozina’s execution – everyone expected Lomikar to be judged by God. Lomikar lives – Lomikar (and, by extension, the king) was right.. Lomikar dies (and stays dead) – Kozina was right.
To show just how ‘not worried’ he was, Lomikar put on a bit of a feast to which he invited his friends (but not the Dogheads).
Just as he was about to make a toast – to mock Kozina’s last words – Lomikar grabbed his chest, fell over and he breathed nevermore…
Nobody else wanted to be the overlord who turned the Dogheads into serfs. The king was told unceremoniously to stuff it and leave the Dogheads be, because God would punish ANYONE who tried to oppress us.
So, after one year of serfdom, the Dogheads were free people once again!
I do hope you liked the old storyteller’s tale. We still can learn from Kozina!
I have never done a book review before. I don’t know how to go about it, so, please, indulge me.
Where to start…
Being the opinionated person I am, the best starting point seems to be the conclusion:
The book is brilliant. Everyone should go out and read it! NOW!!!
(Is that too direct?)
Political junkies in particular (and, I suspect a few of my readers do have at least a tiny interest in politics) will have fun with the quirky interpretation Mr. Green throws on some of the background events in the shadows of perhaps the most important cultural event of the second half of the 20th century – the start of the Cold War and descent of the Iron Curtain!
It is well written.
It is well researched.
There are no internal inconsistencies (at least, not that I noticed on a first read – and, that one’s a biggie for me!).
The characters seem very human, very real. They get inside your ‘monkeysphere’.
The writing style is particularly effective in making this historical novel ‘come alive’!
What am I talking about?
Imagine an established journalist and blogger (!) is contacted by a mysterious man, who has followed his the journalist’s work and now trusts him to tell ‘his story’ – his time is short and he does not wish to take it into the grave with him. Then, ‘mystery man’ sends our narrator a set of recordings in which he recounts his life (yes, a narration within a narration – it is symmetry, as the story contains mystery within mystery…).
His story starts in pre-WWII Belarus (White Russia: our protagonist is White Russian, just like Marko Ramius) and skillfully paints the atmosphere of fear and despair as Stalin’s ‘black crows’ terrorize the population. I have grown up behind the Iron Curtain, but in a much, much ‘milder’ time. Nothing as intense as what was happening in Belarus then. But, during the description of the ‘dreaded knock’ on the door (the secret police never rang the bell – they knocked) – I was transported back into my early childhood, where I feared ‘the knock’. I was too young to appreciate the full meaning of it, but, growing up a child of a dissident, I could taste the fear. OK – you may think me a wuss, but… now, safe for decades, I still have an unreasonably high level of adrenalin pumped into my veins whenever a neighbour (thinking it less disruptive) knocks on my door instead of ringing the bell. The description of this atmosphere is exactly right on – even if my experiences pale in comparison, the dread he describes is real.
Then, the Nazis invade. Our ‘mystery man’ gets stuck in a nightmare. His appearance (pale, blond and blue-eyed) and education mean the Nazis don’t target him for extermination and turn him into their slave, instead. As he witnesses the genocide – with horrible, unbelievable cruelty, he grew numb. But, he was the archetypal survivor – so he found a way to survive, and more.
Again, Mr. Green’s narrative captures the atmosphere so well, it is frightening. Without going into long-winded personal tangents, let me just say that the narrative of this part of the story is so gripping, his protagonist so believable (without crossing over that ‘manipulative’ line), I am completely ‘sold’ on the veracity of the story! Of course, the ‘journalist’s’ frequent footnotes (something he employs throughout the novel) which verify (or not) the facts, as presented in the narrative, is a mightily effective tool in making you identify with the ‘journalist’ narrator: hearing the story, checking the facts, slowly but surely becoming convinced that the recordings are ‘the real thing’.
The move from Belarus to the Canadian Embassy is a little abrupt – actually, it is perhaps the ‘weakest’ point in the story. But, the narrative style saves the day: our ‘journalist’ may doubt the narration here, but it is within the realms of what could be explained by ‘mystery man’s’ human weakness and potential ‘fibbing’ to hide something personal…
Once in Ottawa, the ‘real action’ takes place: espionage, Hoover, Mackenzie King, beautiful women, murder, flight… a ‘historical mystery’ interpreted in a new, radical way!
I dare not write more, for fear of giving it all away and spoiling the fun. Let me just say that, up to and including the epilogue, I am left baffled as to (and eager to figure out) how much of this IS true, and how much is fiction.
I think it’s time for me to follow up on some of the footnotes – and other things!