Monday, October 02, 2006

The Forgotten Christian

Here's an issue that you won't find in the popular press, or even discussed in most blogs...Christianity is being "cleansed" from the Middle East. Ironic that actions that resulted in The Crusades so long ago are ignored in today's world...either Christianity has made great gains, or suffered the loss of relevance.

What say ye?

Sir Chuck

4 comments:

  1. In that part of the world Christians have been treated for centuries much as Europeans treated Jews. Marco Polo is said to have had a distaste for Moslems despite his normal ability to get along with other cultures. I suspect he did a doubletake on being from a conquering people and suddenly facing the stress of being temporarily part of a subject people while he travelled among Moslems.
    During the early modern era several powerful Christian nations took it upon themselves to mediate for Christians in Moslem territory partly for the sake of the splendid public relations oppourtunities. The Czar naturally interceded for Orthodox Christians, and France for the Maronite sect in Lebonon. Unfortunatly sometimes the local Christians naively took that to seriously and revolted not realizing that they could only expect support if it was in their protecter's interest.
    Christian's in Ottoman countries gradually suffered generations of cultural degradation from the difficulties which included incompetant or corrupt governers*. Also by the Jannisary tax-in which an official would go through villiages and press youths as soldiers, give them a training course that combined severity and indulgence into producing extremely efficient and loyal soldiers. The effect of this Orwellian system until it broke down was to provide troops, repress potential rebellion by taking away the most spirited villagers, and proselytise for Islam all at the same time.
    When European military expertise caught up to the Ottomans, the Empire started rotting. It's whole revenue structure was built on conquest and when no conquest was available there was an effect analogus to an aging lion who is no longer capable of hunting. In the ninteenth century the worry was not that the Turks were to strong but that they were to weak-their collapse was inevitable and it was feared competition for the pieces would touch off catastrophe. In it's weakness the Ottoman Empire was probably harder on Christians then in it's strength.
    In the Meditterranean for about a thousand years there was a constant naval war varying in intensity from large campaigns, to mutual piracy. A number of Christians were taken captive and sold for slaves in Moslem countries. Curiously we don't often hear of the reverse until new systems of rowing permited serville galleys. One of the first great philanthropic projects in Europe was the movement to collect ransoms for Christian captives.
    Slaves were often held in horrible conditions. One lord of a Barbary State deliberatly built a bodyguard of "converts" to Islam. Dispised as dishonorable betrayers by the Christians, the Jews and even the Moslems their loyalty was assured as long as they didn't get a chance to escape. One of them managed to steal a boat once and row to Gibraltar. His decendant Sir Edward Pellew was to arrive after Waterloo and bombard the city into submission in a display of sublime poetic justice.
    It is extremely difficult to be a conquered people without being demoralized. Several travellers through the areas once controlled by the Moslems have noticed this among the Christian inhabitants. They had a tendancy to become either spiritless or barbaric and the results continue to this day in such places. A large part of the notoriously labyrinthine feuds of the Balkans is related to these times.
    The history of Christians in Moslem countries is a sad one. While we concentrate are attention on Western Europe, their have long been a considerable number of Christians in Moslem countries and their lot was not a happy one.


    *the corruption was partly due to the fact that inheiratance did not exist in Moslem countries and a noble had only the incentive of his own integrity not to rule in a parasitical manner.

    Sir Jason

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  2. The Maronite sect suffered less then some. By a mixture of diplomatic skill and geographic advantage in the Lebonese mountains, they managed to barely keep some degree of semi-independance.
    In time gone by they were allied to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. At present they are allied to the State of Israel. The alliance is informal rather then formal in each case.

    Sir Jason

    Sir Jason

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  3. Sir J, I had the sense from this article that the historical tolerance of subverted Christianity by the Muslims is now evaporating. Could this be because the Muslim hordes are no longer under direct supervision of official strong, leadership, but rather, left to exercise Islamic judgment for themselves?

    Sir C the concerned

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  4. Sir J, I had the sense from this article that the historical tolerance of subverted Christianity by the Muslims is now evaporating. Could this be because the Muslim hordes are no longer under direct supervision of official strong, leadership, but rather, left to exercise Islamic judgment for themselves?

    Sir C the concerned
    ------------------------------
    There are in fact many who have remarked on that, Sir Chuck. In point of fact there was never tolerance in the western sense. There was certainly not pluralism and gentlemanly behavior did not necessarily include those of other faiths in Moslem countries. There was not always erratic violence though. And a number of Moslems could get along with Christians reasonably well.

    Sir Jason

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