Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

BBC reading Moldbug

I didn’t set out to make a series on BBC snippets, but I feel that I must. I shouldn’t even be watching BBC documentaries. But somehow tricked by my love of their nature documentaries (which are just amazing) and some residual memory of their great series on Civilisation, I downloaded in bulk a series of recent BBC shows that looked interesting. But of course the BBC being what it is, basically the representatives of evil on earth, these recent documentaries I’ve been seeing are so jarringly and boorishly leftist, so in-your-face on their promotion of evil that I feel I must take something good from them. I’m that sort of man that hates wasting time on anything, I must always be able to rationalize any activity as having made learn something, or been the groundwork of some future productivity. I can’t say I learned much of this BBC show so I might as well make a blog post on it.

So the BBC makes this 3 part documentary on the Ottoman Empire. And it’s presented by this man who looks a lot like an old Egyptian waiter I knew from years ago. Why would they use an Egyptian to make a special on the Ottoman Empire? Beats me. Beats me more still when I check out the guy’s name and learn that he isn’t Egyptian, but Somali. He’s not a dark Egyptian then, but a light Somali. And a connected one by that. Name’s Rageh Omaar, public school and Oxford educated. Younger brother of the Somali Foreign Minister. Who’s also been to Oxford apparently.

Now this reminds me of Jim Donald’s latest post. He talks of Alassane Ouattara, which is some guy from Ivory Coast who’s educated in the US and gets a cozy fief  job in the international bureaucracy. Then for some reason he’s installed as president of the Ivory Coast, even though he doesn’t live there, has no local power base, and is married to a white Jew who probably has never even been to the place. As he has no power base, the locals rebel against his rule, only to be gunned down and replaced by foreigners.

For all the anti-colonialism and anti-imperialist rhetoric of modern liberalism, it’s clear that whatever the reason imperialism came to be in the first place, the reasons seem to continue existing today, and thus effective imperialism also goes on to this day. Now instead of having overt rule by European administrators, they have corporations doing whatever business needs to be done, and some plausibly local guy educated in the metropolis sent over as a figurehead. In exchange you give the figurehead’s younger brother a job in the BBC. And a white wife, of course. That’s indispensable.

Anyway what does all this have to do with the Ottoman Empire? I didn’t get it either, until they got to this point:

See what they did there? Look again. It’s such an bold-faced piece of bad propaganda, their Soviet ancestors must be crying in their atheist underworld. The BBC screenwriters must have felt so smart with all that covert symbolism. Ethnic nationalism. Stories of the war. An inter-faith choir. Modern-looking women. Did you hear what they’re singing though?

It sounds very strange to me that any self-respecting Bosnian Serb would join a choir with Muslims and chant Allah for a 100 times like in that clip. I bet you half the black stone in the Kaaba that Muslim Bosniaks don’t join Serbs in chanting Gregorian Chant and sing the glories of Jesus Christ.

And the poor Bosniak woman thought the war was hell. Oh war sucks so much when you lose. It sucks really really badly. She wouldn’t say that had her side won, and her brothers the ones gunning down Christian boys and raping their little sisters. That’s, you know, politics. It happens.

And all that talk about how we all got along so well back then. Respect! Multiculturalism! What’s infuriating is that this clueless kin of pirates had just 1 hour ago talked extensively about how Christian were taxed heavier, their children were kidnapped and enslaved into service to the Sultan, and their Churches were always made simple and down-run in contrast to the big and pretty mosques on the same town. Hey, but there was more respect! Funny that it’s the people in Sarajevo saying that. Why didn’t they ask the people of Belgrade or Athens?

My wasting-time-stop-this-now reflex was going overdrive listening to the Ottoman’s Empire multicultural respect, when I arrived to the end of the clip. Now that’s just priceless. Let me quote it in big letters:

In the case of the Ottomans, what is most impressive to us is that they were able to think through a system of government that did not depend on ethnic sovereignty.

No kidding? No fucking kidding? A Cathedral minion finally asks the right question. How did the Ottomans come up with a system not based on ethnic sovereignty? How did that happen?

Well, that system has a name actually. It’s called Absolute Monarchy. And that particular flavor was commonly called Oriental Despotism.

It seems the BBC has finally come up with the answer to how to make multiculturalism work in the modern world. What we need is Absolute Monarchy. And slavery. Heh. I didn’t see that one coming.


18 responses to “BBC reading Moldbug

  1. DJF November 23, 2013 at 00:05

    The BBC also showed its love for absolute dictatorship in in the Michael Wood series about India. Wood kept on talking about the wonders of various dictators who ruled over vast multicultural empires in India. Going on and on about their great laws and varied culture, but downplaying the fact that the dictator ruled because he had slaughtered any opposition.

    Sure you can have odds and ends of your culture, religion, language as long as you obeyed and served the dictator

  2. Bobbity November 23, 2013 at 12:25

    A Serb chanting Allah would be one mocking the defeated moments before executing the coup de grace.

  3. Red November 23, 2013 at 20:54

    I remember the BBC or some other propaganda organ talking about awesome it was when the Ottoman harem took control of the state for a period. They crowed on and on it about for and then at the very end mention that their period of rule was a total disaster but it wasn’t the wymens fault!

  4. hmm November 24, 2013 at 14:13

    “But somehow tricked by my love of their nature documentaries”

    gateway drug

  5. hmm November 24, 2013 at 14:23

    “they were able to think through a system of government that did not depend on ethnic sovereignty”

    It’s not true either. The ethnic nationalism was simply cryptic.

    The current mayor of London comes from that Donmeh background.

    • spandrell November 24, 2013 at 14:38

      I don’t know about that. You gotta admit that forcing Sabbatai Zevi to convert was a good call. You can’t have self styled messiahs running around undeterred. Most Jews didn’t convert.
      Of course Muslims had legal privileges, but that’s how it’s supposed to work.

  6. Hurlock November 24, 2013 at 23:50

    As a Bulgarian I almost died from laughter after watching the clip. I imagine anyone who is from a balkan nation and knows his history would as well. Of course this is made for westerners so I guess most of them might be ignorant enough on the subject to believe it. For the most part thought, there was mainly religious sovereignty. Ethnicity was not as important as religion in the middle ages. If you would accept islam, you could rise to the highest government positions regardless of your ethnic identity. But if you were to practice a different religion, you would be considerably disadvataged and even segregated in the empire.
    Funny thing about the Ottoman Empire was that with the passing of the ages they became more and more liberal and tolerant towards the minorities. You could say they were becoming progressive. At the same time nationalism was on the rise in the rest of Europe and the minority groups in the empire started demanding more and more. And they started getting a lot of their demands. It is precisely the period of incresing tolerance and “progressiveness” that coincided with the period of decline in the empire until finally the different ethnic groups started to rebel and actually free themselves of the ottoman rule.

    • spandrell November 25, 2013 at 09:57

      Funny thing about the Ottoman Empire was that with the passing of the ages they became more and more liberal and tolerant towards the minorities.

      Could you write more details on this? I know the devshirme was abandoned quite early. Anything else of note?

      • Hurlock November 26, 2013 at 04:36

        Well it was an almost non-existent practice by the early 17th century, which is actually not that early considering we were under ottoman rule since 1396 ad.
        I am not that familiar with the history of the other balkan countries, so I will speak only for Bulgaria. Basically in the late 18th and early 19th century an increasing sense of nationalism was being developed amongs bulgarians. Books in bulgarian started being written, most importantly on bulgarian history before the ottomans. Bulgarian literature started growing as well, expressing mainly nationalistic and revolutionary themes. A lot of this was, of course, influenced by western enlightment thinkers and the increasingly popular idea of the “nation state”. What I meant by the ottomans becoming more liberal is that they actually allowed the development of these nationalistic attitudes. In the middle of the 19th century they even allowed us to have newspapers in our own language and allowed us to have a separate, bulgarian church, which was a really big deal. Up to that point, all orthodox christians on the territory of the empire were subjects to the greek patriarchy, remaining from the former Byzantine Empire. By giving us our own separate church and press the sultan basically officially admits the existence of a bulgarian nation and allows the further spread of nationalism. Also, bulgarian schools start to appear all over the place. The remarkable thing is that at first turkish wasn’t even studied in these schools. This one with the shools is obviously hard to regulate because they were in areas where bulgarians were the majority, but the Sultan didn’t even seem to be bothered by it. So basically we get free press (well obviously anti-ottoman propaganda was a no-no), a national church and a big boom in bulgarian literature and school education. Well, it’s obvious where this is going…
        For the most part the empire was tolerant for the most part because they wanted to keep the situation peacefull and not create an anti-ottoman sentiment in the bulgarian population, but that didn’t actually work that well. In fact, hostility towards the empire was constantly increasing and there was a big national uprising in 1876 which led to massive bloodshed and ended after a lot of brutality on the part of the ottomans. There was a massive uproar from the western press and 2 years later Russia invaded the empire and the modern bulgarian state was born. Basically the more freedom we had, the more we wanted. They gave us a finger and we tried to bite off the head (obviously as a bulgarian I am happy that that’s what happened, but this doesn’t prevent me from seeing the situation clearly).
        This whole process was most likely inevitable, considering the rise of nationalism in the late 18th and 19th century, but the tolerant policies of the empire surely didn’t do anything to hinder it and I think they actually accelerated it.
        (excuse any spelling or phrasing mistakes, obviously not my first language)

        • spandrell November 27, 2013 at 10:06

          Yes I’m also bewildered by the “explosion of nationalism” in central and eastern Europe. Closing a handful of print workshops and killing a bunch of poets can’t have been that difficult, but nobody seemed to give a shit. You reap what you sow of course.

          • Hurlock November 27, 2013 at 17:14

            You can’t really censor the enlightment ideas of the West. A lot of the bulgarians that led the movement were educated in the west and got infected with those ideas. Even if you don’t have a free press or literature someone can sneeze an idea here, sneeze an idea there and sooner or later you get an epidemic. Censorship could have slowed it, but now that I think about it, it was probably too risky. Russia was just waiting for the ottomans to do something that annoys the west so that she can invade them. Their original plan when liberating us was to turn Bulgaria into a major power on the Balkans (that wasn’t very difficult to do considering that a the majority of the remaining ottoman teritory in europe was populated mostly, albeit not exclusively, by bulgarians) so that Russia can effectively contest the British control of the Bosphorus.
            With all of that egalitarian progressiveness in the west going on and with Russia trying to murder them for the past couple of centuries, the ottomans probably had their hands tied.

            • Anthony November 28, 2013 at 00:43

              Perhaps the Ottomans were ttrying to buy Bulgarian loyalty, or at least get them to develop a sense of nationhood that excluded pan-Slavism, so that they wouldn’t immediately invite in the Russians if/when they revolted.

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  8. Julian December 28, 2013 at 11:50

    Omar also did a documentary a few years ago which interviewed Richard Lynn and Phil Rushton – before moving on to the likes of Steve Rose & Richard Nisbett to try and rebut them. It seemed to backfire IIRC.

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