Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

A 21st Century Crusade

25 November 2015

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The Crusades were military campaigns sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. In 1095 Byzantine Emperor Alexios I, in Constantinople, sent an ambassador to Pope Urban II in Italy pleading for military help against the growing Turkish threat. The Pope responded promptly by calling Catholic soldiers to join the First Crusade. The immediate goal was to guarantee pilgrims access to the holy sites in the Holy Land under Muslim control. His long-range goal was to reunite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom after their split in 1054 with the pope as head of the united Church. A complex 200-year struggle ensued. (Wiki-1)

World War 1 drew in all the world’s economic great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (United Kingdom/British Empire, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy (1915), Japan (1914) and the United States (1917) joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire/Turkey (1914) and Bulgaria (1915) the Central Powers. (Wiki-2)

By the end of World War 1, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire had ceased to exist. National borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germany’s colonies were parceled out among the winners. During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four (Britain, France, the United States and Italy) imposed their terms in a series of treaties. (Wiki-2)

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire after the World War 1 led to various West European colonies: eg, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia. With the exception of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states (ie, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates) are mostly “new States” that came into existence in the 1960s and 1970s, carved out of a region that had been under British military and naval “protection” from the 1830s onward. Present Saudi Arabia dates from the 1930s. Kuwait dates from the 1950s when it emerged from under Iraqi-British tutelage. Colonisation was not important for these states because they had no resources that anyone wanted. This changed with the discovery of oil. (source). 

After World War 2, these colonies all became independent countries. This 50 year period of Christian colonisation may be one of the root causes for today’s animosity in muslim countries towards Western Europe, and in particular towards France and UK.

Somehow we seem to be in a new 21st Century Crusade – some 1,000 years later – and without realising it. This Islamic – rather than Roman Catholic – Crusade coincides with the exorbitant wealth resulting from the oil industry. To some extent, the West has financed this war against itself with petrocurrency. It’s interesting that the most wealthy Arab country (Arab GDP) has also been the main supplier – and banker – of terrorists (Wiki-3).

Constantinople – or Istanbul – was the main object in the four Christian Crusades at it symbolised the heart of the Ottoman Empire and Islam. It seems logical that Rome – and in particular Vatican City – will be the main object in the current Islamic Crusade. In that view, Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Paris (2015) were appetisers for the main course – and cause. While writing this blog, I hear on the radio news that the FBI has warned for a terrorist attack on Rome or Vatican City (NYT).

From 22 to 24 November, the streets of Brussels were nearly deserted because the Belgium declared the highest terror alert for its capital (CNN). France has extended its nationwide state of emergency by 3 months (NYT, Guardian). Fear has won from our way of living – or street life – at least for now.

My fear is another one. WW1 was sowing the seeds for WW2. WW2 may also have been sowing the seeds but not of Love though. (eg, Wiki-4)

Tears for Fears – Sowing the Seeds of Love (1989) – artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The Crusaders, ft. Randy Crawford – Street Life (1979) – lyrics, Wiki

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