The Forgotten European Slaves of North Africa and the Ottomans
Slavery. Images of Africans chained together and pushed into European vessels come to mind. They are boarding the ships on the west coast of Africa, at the start of a long journey across the Atlantic. Many starve to death, die of disease, or perish due to other reasons. It is a horrific episode in human history. To this day, Europeans and Americans alike bear the guilt of our ancestor’s actions.
Approximately 15 million Africans became slaves due to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Every child learns about this in school, everyone knows about this suffering of the Africans. Yet, today, I’d like to highlight a less known episode of slavery. The slavery of the Europeans in North-Africa.
The Holocaust being of greater horror and death toll than the Armenian genocide, does not mean the Armenian genocide is not worth talking about. Similarly, even though the European slaves amounted to a ‘mere’ one million, it does not mean that therefore it is not worth discussing. Did you know already that there were approximately 1.000.000 European slaves taken to North-Africa?
Thor’s Fight with the Giants, by M.E. Winge 1872
Thor as a Woman?
There are many fascinating stories in the ancient Norse mythology. The one we would like to look at today is the one that has been embraced by the LGBT movement. It is the story about the powerful God of Thunder. Or, as you might know him, Thor. You are free to picture the Thor from the movies, as the mythical Thor is also a strong guy with a hammer. The only thing you would need to add is a beard.
Why does the LGBT movement take such an interest in Thor? Because Thor, at some point, dressed as a woman. Now, we could explain that as the Vikings also rejecting gender-stereotypes. We could believe that the Vikings were in reality very progressive when it comes to transvestites, or even transgenders. However, would that make sense? Let’s have a look at the actual myth and find out what happened there.
Battle of Kircholm, by Wojciech Kossak
Beata Szydlo, Prime Minister of Poland since 16th of November 2016, recently lashed out at the EU. Back in March of this year, she accused the EU of blackmail when they threatened to fine Poland if they did not take a certain number of migrants that have been entering Europe from Africa and the Middle East. Only last month, June 2017, the EU announced to start legal proceedings against Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, for not wanting to cooperate with the EU relocation plan for migrants. The Polish Prime Minister responded to these threats by saying they would rather face EU sanctions than to change their migrant policy.
The Polish here leads a minority of countries within the EU, which fearlessly retaliates when the EU threatens them. How come the Poles are so willing to accept the wrath of the EU? To understand this question, one must first understand the history of the country.
Rape of the Sabine Women, by Pietro da Cortona
Xenophobia – The Great Danger?
In recent years xenophobia has been a frequently used word in the media and political debates. In 2016 dictionary.com even made it ”word of the year”, with the added comment that we should not feel happy about that. Xenophobia literally means ”fear of strangers”, although Merriam-Webster defines it as ”fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign”.
The word is often used against those that support Brexit or oppose the open border migration policies of the EU.
Yet, is that a fair use of the word? Does that make sense? What did the ancient Greeks mean when speaking about the ‘xenos’?