Tuesday, November 18, 2014

History of another corner of the field

Having been cable-cutting a bit lately, we don't actually get Al Jazeera English TV chez nous, but this does sound kinda interesting, not least as an antidote to all the relentlessly uplifting WW1 commemoration that seems to be in the air here.  Update: online here, you techno-peasant.

World War One through Arab Eyes 

In this series, Producer Journalist Malek Al Tureiki, provides a political and cultural reading into World War I from an Arab and Islamic perspective, citing the commencement date of the war as November 14th 2014, when Arabs were involved in the “jihad” against the Allied troops upon the call of the Mufti of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul. This is in juxtaposition to the date Britain commemorates the war on August 4th, 2014 – the day it entered the war. The series sheds light on how colonized nations, which had no say in their own fate, ended up being forced into wars which resulted in enormous sacrifices. As a result of this, the number of victims within the Ottoman population, including Arabs, is in fact much higher than that of the Europeans. While the percentage of victims in Germany was 9% and 11% in France, it reached between 14-25 % in Turkey and the Levant.
I was reading a little about "Chanak" recently, the incident in 1922 when Britain wanted Canada to help it maintain the "neutral zone,"  namely, its occupation of Constantinople and the straits between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, so as to "keep the Turk out of Europe."

Update, November 19:  Meanwhile, in other news of Middle Eastern perspectives on history, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Muslims preceded Christopher Columbus to the Americas.  Well, maybe, but Erdogan works from the statement that Columbus saw a mosque in Cuba on his first voyage. That seems to depend on this passage from the record of that voyage:
Remarking on the position of the river and port, to which he gave the name of San Salvador, he describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful, like the Pena de las Enamoradas, and one of them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque. The other river and port, in which he now was, has two round mountains to the S.W., and a fine low cape running out to the W.S.W.
So, maybe not proven

(H/T Jason Colavito, who has a little history of the claim's origins.)

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