21 August 2012

An Own Goal


An excerpt from the preface to the second edition (2000) of Borderlands of Western Civilization (Oskar Halecki, 1952), by one Andrew Simon, professor emeritus of University of Akron:
"Nations of Orthodox Christianity never experienced the great intellectual movements that define Western civilization. Peoples who were subjected to the oppressive Ottoman rule for 500 years learned to accept corruption, intolerance and despotism and appeared to be quite willing to live under Communism to its end, without a trace of resistance. These countries needed no occupying Soviet armies to keep them in line."

"Ethnic or religious intolerance and despotism led to systematic rampages of genocide: the slaying of 8,000 Jews in Jassy on June 29 of 1941 by the Romanian authorities, the murder of 7,000 Bosnian Moslems in Srebrenica by the Serbs in July of 1995 were driven by the same hyper-nationalistic and xenophobic mentality characteristic of the east."
I'm highlighting this because of how dumb it is. So a retired professor from the United States will write, without a hint of self-consciousness, that a massacre in Romania in 1941 in which 8,000 Jews were killed defines the mentality of the east. But wait a minute, wasn't the Iaşi pogrom only one incident in a much larger event known as the Jewish Holocaust? And isn't it the case that as Romania authorities murdered up to 400,000 Jews in the Holocaust (just over one half of the Jewish population under their control), the German authorities murdered the other 5.6 million (virtually the entire Jewish population under their control)?

So if the Iaşi massacre tells us something very important about that east which lies beyond the "borderlands of Western civilization", then why would it not be the case that Auschwitz-Birkenau should tell us something very important about the Western civilization itself? Why wouldn't it be the case the (greater) German role in the Holocaust would be equally revealing of mentality that is characteristic of the west, just as the (smaller) Romanian role can supposedly define the east?

It's stupid. If one wishes to highlight the East Europeans' comparative moral inferiority it's probably a good idea to, at the very least, leave aside such crimes in which the greater part of the killing was actually carried out by Westerners.

The actual value of the passage is in succeeding to showcase perfectly the characteristic xenophobia and the dimwitednes of academics who wish to make Western civilization into a moral category and assign it moral mastery over the lands to its east.

7 comments:

  1. So much as I have noticed, the goal of Western "academicians" is not to represent the lands of Eastern Europe and its inhabitants as primitive, but Orthodox Christianity, which a relative majority of Eastern European peoples confess. That being said, its nothing new, as this is an old Jesuit tactic which, basically, is nothing more than childish taunting and pointing of fingers. We should just look at them completely unperturbed and ask them about their own crimes and scream how genocidal they are. Put the ball in their side of the court.

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    1. So much as I have noticed, the goal of Western "academicians" is not to represent the lands of Eastern Europe and its inhabitants as primitive, but Orthodox Christianity

      It depends, in recent times there are many who see the division along Huntington's lines, but historically speaking the primitive Pole was the quintessential East European even more so than the backward Russian.

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    2. I have had a chance, as yet, of reading Huntington's work, though I possess it. I do remember when I was studying the Chinese language at the University of Belgrade, during a Sinology class, that the professor told us what was the original scope of Orientalist studies in the 17th century, namely all of Eastern Europe and Asia, including European Turkey.

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    3. I also remember quite recently, when I was in the US at ASU, attending a course in Modern Balkan historiography, I went to a symposium on Ukraine, where my professor lectured something about Orthodox Christianity and he and his fellow lecturers started snickering at the very mention of Orthodoxy.

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  2. Andrew L. Simon was a professor of civil engineering at the University of Akron in Ohio. He died in 2009. Simon was an engineer writing about history and religion. He has been consistently anti-Orthodox and anti-Serbian. Here is his preface to The Annotated Memoirs of Admiral Milklós Horthy, Regent of Hungary: http://historicaltextarchive.com/books.php?action=nextpre&bid=9&pre=2

    He quotes a "Serbian refugee from Croatia" as follows: "...[W]e deny what we did to the Croats." This is a classic case of projection. He doesn't seem to have any memory of the Jasenovac extermination camp and of the Croatian Ustasha role in the Holocaust and the genocide committed against Serbs, Jews, and Roma in the the NDH. He also has amnesia about the role of the Vatican and of Croatian Roman Catholic priests in that genocide. And nowhere does he talk about the ethnic cleansing of approximately 250,000 Krajina Serbs from Croatia, the largest act of ethnic cleansing since the Holocaust and World War II. That is a genocide he doesn't appear to know anything about. The Inquisition seems to be something he knows nothing about as well. No wonder they left off the fact that he is a professor of civil engineering.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:1BISr-XOvB8J:www.ecgf.uakron.edu/COENewsletterFall2010.pdf+andrew+simon+university+of+akron&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESh-unbXvlOaIgoUFXM0Tjp6-1ppxdQJiZ20Bfwc8hgrCyumBHV_GPCxKmk7lhpB2vAbtEoCh13x0xhAYdhnszdN2NpW8lrYTRRYvDj3rsECKNYPd4AnqSgUwQVwhJqfFbKw6zec&sig=AHIEtbS2v6_QB5eMiayrZ0N1LdZOzc6N2w

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    1. I did not know of his being a civil engineer. So for Andrew L. Simon incriminating "the nations of Orthodox Christianity" was not a profession, but a labor of love.

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  3. The second paragraph of what you highlighted obviously isn't true. I don't think that Slavic people, or Serbs in particular are intrinsically more xenophobic or anything like that than western Europeans, however I think the first paragraph actually is true.

    Focusing on Serbs specifically, while it is true Serbs have played a major role in the field of science (Nikola Tesla obviously being perhaps the best example), when it comes to intellectual movements, the guy making the claim is spot on. Remember, Nikola Tesla actually left his homeland and went to the west to achieve what he did.
    Over 500 years of Turkish Islamic rule did in fact ruin the intellectualism of the Serbian nation. While Serbia is not at all an Islamic nation, it does suffer the effects of, lets call it cultural retardation, something seen pretty much wherever Islam went.

    I absolutely agree that Western Europe has produced monstrosities, with Communism and Fascism/Nazism being at the very top of them (both are from the west, not the east), however the fact still remains that despite creating among the worst things the world has seen, it has also produced some of the best. Almost all of our 'enlightened values' came from Western philosophy, not to mention the amazing technology we have, capitalism, and so on. The west may have produced some of the worst, but they also produced some of the best too.

    Serbia is somewhere in the middle. It hasn't produced anything 'evil' like the west has, but on the other hand, it hasn't really produced anything of intellectual significance.

    This lack of intellectualism in Serbia and cultural retardation means that Serbia has became used to foreign rule, and lacks any sort of international ambition (Germany, the UK, Muslims etc all wanted and had empires -- Serbs never did), or even the confidence to rule itself, which is why Tito easily controlled the Serbs and is why out of all the former Yugoslav groups, only the Serbs actually like him, the rest were glad to be out of Yugoslavia and independent. The Serbs tried to keep it together, while the other ethnic groups grabbed independence the moment they could. Notice how today you have mainly two streams of thought in Serbia; one which seeks foreign rule again (this time to US/EU masters rather than Communist or Islamic ones), and an opposing group who are trying to 'revive' Serbdom by focusing on Orthodoxy, Kosovo, Serbian tradition etc. The problem is that there is nothing to revive because that is all a product of the 1990's wars (similar to Radical Islam's desire to revive the early days of the prophet which is nothing but a myth), and it is all ultimately rooted in the Orthodox Church, which itself is not even of Serbian origin, but a Middle Eastern import, and it is impossible to come up with any sort of serious intellectual movement until Serbs unchain their minds from the past and baseless faith. This is what the west did and they did some amazing things.

    Serbs have two things they can really in a sense call their own.
    1. A past full of oppression, persecution, violence and foreign domination.
    2. The Orthodox Church, and traditions grown around that.

    #1 has done nothing but retard Serbian culture, and #2 is out of date and has literally nothing new to offer that hasn't been heard before.

    If Serbs are as a nation to actually move forward and create something worthy, they need to stop regurgitating the same stories and ideas that we have had for the past few centuries. It is in dire need of an intellectual and cultural reformation.

    But it seems as if Serbs have made their choice, and are going backwards in search of a pure Serbian past filled with independence, and Orthodoxy, and tradition, and all the other good stuff.

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