Saturday, September 30, 2006

Nobody knows their history

The rules of engagement for jihad are flexible. According to Khadduri, anything is possible, from mercy to mass enslavement to mass killing, just like with Greeks and Romans. This is a fundamental difference between the holy war of islam and of Old Testament Judaism, which prescribed the killing of all males outside of Israel, and the killing of every living thing within Israel (Deuteronomy 20, 10-20). We usually are outraged at what the Crusaders did in Jerusalem in 1099. Yet, the Crusaders acted in accordance with the ius bellum of the times, Muslim conquerors did the same all the time and everywhere: 698 they hit Carthage, in 838 Syracuse; the notorious vesir of the Cordoban Caliphate, Al Mansur, led 25 wars in 27 years against the Christian realms of northern Spain, enslaving, destroying, laying waste. They hit Zamora (981), Coimbra (987), Leon, Barcelona twice (985 and 1008), then Santiago de Compostela (997).

The worst destruction was wreaked by the jihadis on Byzantine Anatolia, which was then still full of cities; the massacre of Amorium (838) has remained a symbol for a long time; the urban culture of Anatolia never recovered from it.

The Seljuk Alp Arslan had entire Armenian cities massacred, the worst being the capital Ani in 1064. Bat Ye'or's evaluation therefore is more than justified: "Its lack of measure, its regularity and the systematic character of the destructions, which Islamic theologians had decreed to be law, make the difference between jihad and other wars of conquest".Certainly, mass enslavement remained the favourite aim of the wars. That was the way in which, as early as the eight century, the biggest slave-holder society developed that world history has ever known; it demanded a permanent influx of new slaves, transformed the African continent into the biggest supplier of slaves, a destiny which Europe narrowly avoided.

Professor Egon Flaig (quoted from Michelle Malkins blog).

I was struck today by a story on the front page of the BBC website, saying that more than 50% of Britons want British troops out of Afghanistan. I couldn't help wondering why. An incidental comment on a news bullitin today about that war went along the lines of "... and the Afghan government controls very little of the country." At what precise point in history did an Afghan government control more than 'very little' of Afghanistan, pray tell? Nobody knows their Afghan history.

The information in the quote from Egon Flaig about the Islamic way of war brought to mind floods of comments, vox pops, articles in the newspapers and conversations I have had with people about the nature of islam and the threat (or not) it poses to the rest of the world. Unsurprisingly (as humans seem designed to argue this way) prior behaviour often gets dragged into the mix. But the history reported by both muslims and non-muslims never seems to get much further than a few 'highlights'.

1. The crusades. These prove that the evil Christians are always the aggressor, and that the muslims are the victims

2. Muslim scientific and mathematical brilliance

3. The wonderful treatment of non-muslims in muslim societies historically

4. The great imposition of Israel onto the Arab (read muslim) world by the west.

And thats about it. The conquering by force of the north African and central mediterraenian Vandal and Goth states by muslim armies? Forget about it. The invasion of Spain? The attempted invasion of France? The conquering of the Asia by muslim mongols? Nah.

There are nested problems here. First, many people don't know the history. Second, many of those who do for political reasons won't interpret it in its most obvious ways. For instance, how many left-wing wacademics in the US tout the Arabs as the biggest slave owners and creators of all time? Not a lot. And third, muslims as a whole deny ANY facts that would intrude into their fixed world view, so you won't get much useful info out of them.

So where does that leave us? With a population who can't be educated by the media because not only don't the media know themselves, they want the muslim version of world history to be true, because they hate George W Bush more than Osama Bin Laden. Why don't British people want to extend the civilised world to encompass Afghanistan? Why don't the British people want our superb soldiers to act as guarantors for an Afghan government who DO control their own borders? Why don't British people feel that without the 32,000 Nato contingent in Afghanistan, a horrible domino effect would occur emanating from the new Talibanistan on the North West Frontier that would destabilise Russia, China and India? Why don't they recognise the amazing prospect that young Afghan girls and boys may actually go to school for pretty much the first time in Afghan history because our squaddies are killing the men who want to burn down the schools and get the girls back in the house where they can become ignorant baby-machines? Why don't the British people see that the Taliban ARE Al-Qaeda ARE the Mujahadeen ARE Hamas ARE Hezbollah to each other? Names are different, goals are the same.

How have British people NOT got those facts sorted out? By themselves, or with the help of the BBC, the Broken Broadcasting Corpse?

If you are going to give people the mandate, you must also demand that they consider the world their choices affect. With power comes responsibility. People should know their damn history.

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