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View Diary: St. Vitus Day: a brief history of Kosovo (30 comments)

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  •  'gradually transformed' (0+ / 0-)

    The organized stealing of children from their families and then brainwashing them into the religion and ideology of their conquerers... no, I simply can't understand why the Serbs and other conquered Christians would resent that.  

    What exactly do you think the response of Iraqis would be today if the American army stole thousands of Iraqi children, forced them to become Christians, and then set them up as the new overlords of Iraq?  Do you think they would consider it "progress", as you claim?

    •  Yes, that's an obvious aspect of it. (0+ / 0-)

      Whether or not the children would grow to benefit from the abduction all things considered -- and far from all rose to high administrative positions in the Ottoman state -- their parents and kin could be excused for not regarding it a favor.

      Also, the fact that the abductees didn't forget where they came from was a two-edged sword: many of them felt a need to prove their complete allegiance to their new religion and masters by being even harder on Christians than native-born Ottomans were.

      •  I worked civil affairs in Kosovo in 2001 (0+ / 0-)

        I found the Albanians to be very religiously tolerant due to (from their oral tradition) them being "forced" to be muslims by the turks.  I seriously doubt the KLA involvement with radical muslim groups.  I did not meet one person (Serb or Albanian) who viewed this as a religious conflict.  While I was there they were still trying to (and sometimes succeeding in) killing eachother.  It was sad.  There was whole towns of nothing but burned out homes.  It was eerie.  There was so much mistrust that it will take generations before we can take NATO peacekeepers out of there.  It is such a beautiful area and the people were very friendly.  I hope someday they can live in peace without armed troops having to patrol their country.

      •  Two-edged sword (0+ / 0-)

        Sure, many parents didn't like having their children drafted into the imperial machinery.  However, many others were proud of their son the Ottoman Pasha (General), Grand Vizier (Prime Minister), Reisulkuttab (Foreign Minister), etc. Those sons that rose that high usually showered patronage on their home village (as depicted in Ivo Andric's famous novel, where the hometown son financed a bridge), just like politicians everywhere fight to "bring home the bacon."

        As for those who were even "harder on Christians than native-born Ottomans were?"  In some cases you might be right, just like Hispanics who work the Mexican border for DHS are today.  However, in the 15-16th century, there weren't that many "native-born Ottomans" -- the devshirme graduates over 2-3 centuries BECAME the "native-born Ottomans."  Thus, the melting pot analogy.

        As an Iraqi-American academic born and raised in New Orleans, this voter is not pleased.

        by naltikriti on Fri Jun 30, 2006 at 11:24:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The correct analogy is one of a melting pot (0+ / 0-)

      and a draft.  Only, instead of drafting all young men into a national military, the Ottomans were only interested in those they perceived as being the best ca. 10% -- male and female -- for comprehensive imperial service.  

      They were no more "brainwashed" than immigrant children in the US are concerning their root identity, and they were far more able to rise to the very top of the hierarchy than African-Americans or Hispanics have yet been able to in the US melting pot context.  

      The reason it was considered "progress" was not simply because the rulers considered it so -- many Balkan villagers saw it that way as well.  Although there are certainly stories of those that did not want to participate in the devshirme process, for every one of those stories there are other stories of parents asking imperial officials to choose their children in order to give them a chance to rise through the ranks.  

      Your right about what Iraqis would consider it if the US stole children and forced Christianity on them.  However, many Iraqis would love to immigrate to the US, be treated as equals, and be given a chance to rise through the ranks of US hierarchy.  That would more closely parallel the (16th century, not 19th century) Ottoman example than the example you've given.

      For those who wish to read more, try:

      Colin Imber: The Ottoman Empire
      Caroline Finkel: Osman's Dream
      Leslie Pierce: The Ottoman Harem

      As an Iraqi-American academic born and raised in New Orleans, this voter is not pleased.

      by naltikriti on Fri Jun 30, 2006 at 11:18:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ask Australian Aborigines about Stolen Generation (0+ / 0-)

      Or for that matter, ask those Hawaiians who still resent the U.S. having annexed their country against their ancestors' will. (Because of this history, Senator Akaka is still trying to get federal recognition of some sort of Indian-tribe-like entity for native Hawaiians.)

      Taking people's kids and turning them against their ancestral traditions is of course what empires do. Not just the Ottomans.

      Remember the old Firesign Theatre sketch, Temporarily Humboldt County?

      The dad: "Soaring Eagle! It's so good to have you home..."

      The kid: "Aw, gee, call me Eddie -- I'm an American now!"

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