Saturday, April 23, 2011

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Constantinople 1453

Muslim toleration?

by Ferdinand III

In visiting Constantinople, now unfortunately known as Istanbul or The Polis (city), the sheer size of the remaining ancient walls is what should impress the visitor the most. I have walked along much of what remains of the western facing colossus and outer wall structure. It is hard to comprehend how they were built. Constantinople's medieval walls were simply enormous, some 40-50 feet thick, 50 to 120 feet high, layered in 3 perimeters, interspersed with 60 foot or higher watchtowers, and laced with highly defensible gates. The wealth, power and splendour of the ancient capital of Eastern Christendom is plainly visible. One's imagination is immediately stirred to conjure up images of men, machines, mules, horses, and an army of masons, stone cutters, transport workers and architects, all busy in their many thousands, engaged in the creative genius of establishing such an enormity. Now unfortunately, Constantine's bequest to humanity lies trodden under as the capital of Islamic Turkey, a state openly allied with Iran and Syria, and overtly funding the Jihad, including 'flotillas' of terrorists against Israel. It is one of history's great tragedies. One of the severest blunders in British foreign policy history [and there are a litany of such], was preventing Orthodox Russia under the Romanovs from retaking the city and the Bosporus in the 19th century. Indeed the British and French stupidly fought the Crimean war in the 1850s, allied with Turkey, in order to obstruct the Russian drive to the Eastern Mediterranean. The British in the 19th century had little comprehension about the true nature of Islam and in aiding Turkey, they were simply giving succor to a theology and a culture which was and is inimical to their own. Even today 160 years later the British are still largely ignorant about the threat Islam poses to their very civilisation.

The taking of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 is and always will be an epochal event. It signaled the dominance of Turkish Muslim power and the failed policies of both Western and Eastern Christendom, racked, bifurcated and worn out from internal rivalries, political greed, and interminable intra-Christian warfare. The Muslim states usually suffered from the same ills of course, the Ottoman or Othman genius was to unify the Turkish tribes under the banner of the Muslim Jihad, a prime motivating force in the Muslim assault against Constantinople. After all Mohammed the founder of the cult, promised his brainwashed devotees that Islam would conquer both 'Rums', eastern and western. Never underestimate the power of Jihad.

It is certainly unremarkable to state that had the Christians states properly united in a crusade, during the 14th century, the Turkish abomination which became the Ottoman empire would have been strangled and defeated. But the political jealousies and desires amongst Christian states made this impossible. When international armies were raised and deployed against the Turks, the leadership was insufferably awful. In the Balkans, Hungary and Bulgaria there were 'crusades' comprised of armies from a few states, but the inferior leadership quality, internal disputes, lack of cohesion, the polyglot tongues, and the lack of respect for the fighting Turk and his skill in the use of firepower, all conspired against them.

One of the best one volume books about the seemingly inevitable but nonetheless shocking sack, rape, pillage and enslavement of Constantinople in 1453, is by Roger Crowley a historian who now lives in Istanbul. His work is reviewed here. His depiction of the siege is peerless. His post-script is terrible. According to Crowley post-1453, Istanbul was a thriving multi-cult city, full of tolerance and inter-faith understanding. Please. Dhimmitude was immediately imposed on the remaining skeleton population which was not murdered or sold off into slavery. High taxes including poll taxes, production taxes and sundry other fees crushed the non-Muslim communities. Muslims did not pay any taxes. The Dhimmis paid all the taxes. Every eastern Mediterranean city since the times of the Hittites and Canaanites were poly-polis creations. They had to be. When the Turks took Constantinople, they needed a capital not a corpse. A capital needs trade, economic growth, skilled workers, a clean and healthy population and one free from oppression and brigandage. Common sense mandates some 'toleration' for the Infidel, if one calls the second-class status of Dhimmies 'toleration'. Muslims ruled and the rest obeyed. As long as that basic tenet was observed than of course the Dhimmies would be allowed to enrich the Muslim state. That was after all the entire point of the Dhimma contract.

When Mohammed II or Mehmet II [Mehmet is Mohammed in Turkish], assaulted, took, butchered and enslaved Constantinople in 1453 in the name of the Allah-thing and Jihad; the world became a much poorer place. 40.000 were slaughtered by the Muslims in the siege. Another 30.000 were sold off into slavery. The slave market price for whites plummeted for a few years after the bloody and awful Muslim sacking of the city. Few Western Marxists and ahistorical scribblers give a whit or a jot about the millions of white slaves taken by the Muslims over 1400 years [about 10 million in total]. In fact when the Muslims fired by Jihad took the great city of Constantinople, the usual 3 day rite of unfettered pillage, given to the victors who subdued a besieged city was cut short to one day by Mehmet II. The rape, butchery and theft was so violent that the city would have been completely and permanently disfigured and denuded if the Islamic fanatics had not been called to heel. For the record this destruction far surpassed the Fourth Crusade's sack of the city in 1204. In that event, thousands were killed but certainly not the 40.000 lanced by the Turks, and no one was sold into slavery. The Western Christians were more interested in gold, silver, statues and works of art. They had to be. Enormous debts were owed to the Venetians and this is one reason – and the main one – as to why the 'Franks' conquered the city in 1204 [other good reasons were Byzantine perfidy in aiding the Turk during the Crusades, the massacres of Western traders and townspeople in the 12th and 13th centuries by the Byzantines, the piracy by the Eastern Romans against Western sea traffic etc.].

It is trite and somewhat true to state that the Eastern Roman empire pre-1453 was weak, ossified and suffering from many rigidities in the political-economy, as well as from over-taxation, poor governance, orthodox fanaticism and a weak military. In fact if one reads the history of Byzantium the weaknesses are all too apparent and self-reinforcing. It would have been better for Christendom had the Venetians not been ousted in 1261 by the heir of Eastern Rome's monarchy, and the West had invested time, money, and brains in reorganizing the febrile remains of Justinians's former glory. But one point is worth emphasizing and it is made by Mr. Crowley – the Eastern Romans could have, and very well might have defeated the hordes of Mehmet if they had received more men from the West:

The most interesting aspect of this book, is just how unlucky the Byzantines were in not defeating the Ottomans and their young emperor Mehmet. It is clear that with a few thousand more professional fighting men, a few dozen more large Western galleys; and with a little more good luck on their side, the Byzantines would have prevailed; the Ottomans would have failed, and a failure of such a magnitude would have prompted an internal Muslim civil war. The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet was young and unpopular. In good Muslim fashion he would most likely have been deposed and a 'pro-peace' party elevated to party. How different would the world be if Constantinople was still Christian? How much better would the world be if the great city had held out in 1453?

Sometimes we give up too easily. As Churchill wrote, sometimes it is that one final push, that lasting perseverance, or that indomitable will to survive, which allows us to claw back victory from defeat. In today's world a lot of Western cities are under siege from Islam. Muslim demography, the stupidity of relativity, inane and frankly barbaric immigration policies, a lack of social awareness of what Islam truly means – all these and more make many Western cities the new Constantinople. Are we brave enough like the followers of the last emperor Constantine XI to defend ourselves? Or are we craven cowards who will meekly submit to the cult of death, slavery, and racist-supremacism?