Monday, August 25, 2014

Lepanto, ISIS, and America

by guest contributor, Harold Koenig

Sobieski's Hussars
In the battle before Lepanto, the Turks had captured the admiral of the European fleet. They flayed him alive (at least, he was alive when they started) and hoisted his skin, stuffed with straw, to the masthead.

This is important. There is the myth of Andalus, this urbane and tolerant Muslim society. But the reality of Islam as an aggressive fighting force trumps the myth.

One must not underestimate the effect of the Protestantism of England on the stories we tell ourselves. When Spain was Catholic AND the enemy and rival of England, it suited the needs of a great many to paint both Spain and Catholicism in the worst possible light. Thus "THE" Inquisition, as though there were only one, becomes an historical bogey to frighten children with, while hanging and drawing (eviscerating -- while alive) Catholic priests in England does not get much space in the legends of our culture.

So Lepanto and the Siege of Vienna are awkward, while Roland is quite forgotten. But the facts of the past are being thrown in our present faces, and our enemy flaunts his brutality while he sells our daughters to the seraglio of some unwashed thug. Had not Roland and Don Juan of Austria fought so well, had not Sobieski and the glorious Polish hussars come to the relief of Vienna, our history would have been sadder and more tawdry than it is.

Fools, and I do not throw that epithet lightly, thought that the momentary weakening of what was the USSR signaled the end of history. NOTHING in history yet has supported the belief that there would not be struggles between and among empires. And now the IS hurls defiance at the rest of the world. Stronger than anyone expected, they lay claim to a future of empire and imperial domination.

And the United States? In theory at least, we the people are sovereigns whose ministers make our government. But too many of the soi-disant wise tell us that these matters are too high for us, that we are common people beset by vengeful passions. And, they are not utterly wrong, because too few of us have cultivated either virtue or wisdom.

But currently in the face of the threats of a new Kara Mustafa, our government tells us this has nothing to do with Islam or with the United States. Yes, they killed one of our citizens -- with remarkable brutality, and in accordance with their scriptures. But, have no fear, our daughters are safe. And, on wouldn't want to be bigoted or, God (if there is one) forbid, blunt in the face of a highly multi-culti enemy.

They kill adults and children. They FILM the killing of children. But, wait, there's anew boutique brewery. Surely the Muslims will wait while I sample this exquisitely hopped ale.

No comments:

Post a Comment