Tag Archives: Nazis

Photo: Athens, c. 1865, colorized, and a Beirut addendum

14 Sep

From: George Kessarios@GKesarios Check out GK for fuller-size image, since WordPress doesn’t let readers do that anymore.

These photos are beautiful, but always also depressing, given what we’ve done to Athens, which was once one of the most beautiful cities in Europe/Mediterranean.* If you’ve been to Hermoupole/Syra on the island of Syros or to Nauplio in the northeast Peloponnese — think one of those two on a much grander, Bavarian Neo-Classical, large Haussmanian boulevards and public square scale, and that was Athens until the 1960s. No other city in Europe or the Med — that wasn’t bombed in the war or which wasn’t subjected to the psycho-whims of a Stalin-type dictator — was so wholly destroyed by its own inhabitants; 80% of Athens’ pre-WWII building stock is gone.

Athens from top of Lycabettus in 1929

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* An exception in the Mediterranean might be Beirut. And by that I don’t mean the whole-scale destruction the city endured through the war/s of the 70s and 80s, but that even before that the city’s pre-concrete architecture had suffered large-scale destruction to be replaced by the Mediterranean beton apartment house whose only saving grace is their large balconies. I don’t have this on any source other than old photos I’ve seen and from the great Samir Kassir‘s magisterial Beirut. That said, in watching news and footage of last month’s beyond-belief destructive explosion, one of the things that surprised me was how much nineteenth and early twentieth-century architecture had survived…survived only to be trashed in 2020.

If you’re interested in a deep immersion in traditional Beiruti architecture, try and find (won’t be easy) Jennifer Fox 1987 documentary: Beirut: The Last Home Movie, about the Greek Orthodox Bustros family in what I think is Achrafieh. It’s almost entirely shot in their family home and it’s a stunning look at the time-warp, physical, cultural and psychological ecosystem of the Levantine bourgeoisie. Yes, many of you will think it’s just a romanticizing of “elite minority supremacism” as my buddy X likes to say (IMBd says: “The movie shows how spoiled the Bustros family members really were, even during the horrors of the war.”) So I dunno — hold your nose, then, and watch it.

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P.S. Back to Athens and lead photograph — is there anyone else out there who thinks our much-mocked Parliament (at the time of photo above it was still the Wittelsbach Royal Palace) is actually a handsomely austere and Doric and impressive building? People seem to think it’s blocky and dreary and the quintessence of Neo-Greek, neo-classical, Hellenic-wannabe pretensions. But similar architecture in Munich isn’t as disliked; it may be thought creepily Teutonic, but nobody makes fun of it. And I think it’s gorgeous.

Below, von Klenze‘s (responsible for much of the construction, street plan and general idea behind modern Athens) Propylaea in Munich’s Königsplatz.

The whole panorama of the Königsplatz below.

And the reason it might make some people nervous:

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Rezili — Greek volunteer thugs in 1990s Bosnia

10 Nov

A stain on the Greek conscience, an obscene manipulation of Orthodox identity and brotherhood, an affront to the suicidal bravery of Greek and Serbian resistance against Nazism during WWII (in its German, Hungarian and especially its Croatian variants), and a gross mockery on what for me is the still moving idea of a long, historical Greco-Serbian bromance.

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What did you 380 morons about this tweet?

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

Me and the Stromfront bros, V. A reader, C. from Italy, says:

22 Oct

Dear Niko, yesterday I found Jadde-ye-kabir and your email, and here I am. I was so happy to read what you think of Hellenism!!!!! It’s exactly what I think. In my latest book I quoted Ion Dragumis when he wrote that Hellenism is a far larger place than Greece.

I studied ancient Greek at school ages ago, and I’ve been going to Greece as often as I can. It’s the mother-country of my choice! I have also studied modern Greek which I can read and write, which doesn’t make a tourist of me, but a traveller. I wrote a book about the (Losanna) population exchange, which implied travelling in the North of Greece and in Anatolia: a wonderful  journey. But I’ve found Greece, or better Hellenism, in Alexandria (looking for Penelope Delta among other things), and in Crimea, and I’m looking forward to going to Pakistan in the footsteps of Alexander. I’m in a hurry now, but I’d like to talk with you longer. Where do you live?

I do like what you write and I completely agree with you! Let’s keep in touch! Have a nice day, Claudia from Verona (I’m going to Bari in a few days to present my book on Greece and I’ll use some ideas in your blog. Thanks!!). Ciao, as we say

Thanks Claudì!  Keep reading!  And yes, stay in touch.

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See alsoStormfront​ I​: Just so we know what we’re dealing with in Giannis and — probably — Kristos,​Me and the Stormfront bros, post II: Yavrum, ηρέμησε…, Me and the Stormfront bros, III: Gianni calls me by my Albanian name, Me and the Stromfront bros, IV. A reader, my podruzhka M, from Novi Sad, says:, Me and the Stormfront bros, post VI — A reader writes: nonsense born of fearMe and the Stormfront bros, VII: Kristos, how I’m wrong and Carly Simon: “I bet you think this song is about you…”

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

 

Me and the Stromfront bros, IV. A reader, my podruzhka M, from Novi Sad, says:

22 Oct

Novi Sad 1.jpg

It’s so terribly sad, how pervasive white nationalism is becoming in Eastern Europe (and now the Balkans). It’s just another example of these nations trying to be “good Europeans” by adopting the worst of Europe. (Hungary and Poland at even seem to be doing it better than the west itself.)

Although I guess Greece is an exception within Eastern Europe and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course Greece is western-looking; of course it had a democracy instead of a communist regime. It was engineered that way by Churchill, who traded the Czech Republic to Stalin for Greece, because Greece’s “immortal glories” or whatever were too valuable to fall into Stalin’s hands. So it’s cyclical: the west sees ancient Greco-Roman history as its own history, it forces the modern Greek nation-state to side with it in the Cold War, and then in today’s world it seems to everyone that Greece is just so much more Western than it’s neighbors. Self-fulfilling prophecy…

And like you mentioned it’s also terrifying how educated these people are. It reminds me of talking to an old family friend (Vojvodina Hungarian who now lives in Budapest…). We had these lovely conversations on linguistics and Persian and Arabic grammar, and then he would suddenly turn these conversation into tirades about how “the migrants” were taking over Europe, how they would outbreed the Europeans and impose sharia law.

I hope you manage to deal with these loonies without too many problems. Also please let us all know if you have any pointers about how one should deal with white supremacists/racists/etc without loosing one’s mind lol

[my emphases]

Yes, “or whatever…”

Thanks, M!

See alsoStormfront​ I​: Just so we know what we’re dealing with in Giannis and — probably — Kristos,​Me and the Stormfront bros, post II: Yavrum, ηρέμησε…, Me and the Stormfront bros, III: Gianni calls me by my Albanian name, Me and the Stromfront bros, V. A reader, C. from Italy, says:,   Me and the Stormfront bros, post VI — A reader writes: nonsense born of fearMe and the Stormfront bros, VII: Kristos, how I’m wrong and Carly Simon: “I bet you think this song is about you…”

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

Me and the Stormfront bros, III: Gianni calls me by my Albanian name

22 Oct

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Gianni calls me an Albanian:

what exactly “obstructed” you from approving my answer, Nikollë Bako?

I approved your answer and posted it in its entirety.

Thanks, though.  I didn’t know that the Albanian for Nikolaos was Nikollë.  I like the Russian Nikolay or Kolya, or the Serbian Nikola better, but Nikollë is fine.  As is Bako, which as you correctly point out is an Albanian family name, except without the male nominative “s” that Greeks would add to it.

And what exactly obstructed me?

Well, dude, you’re a Nazi and a Ku Klux Klan member, once removed — if even that.  As polite and educated as you might be, most of humanity finds you repulsive.  I don’t know what else to say.

But I’ll keep giving you the benefit of the doubt until we’ve both said what we have to say.

Για χαρά!

See alsoStormfront​ I​: Just so we know what we’re dealing with in Giannis and — probably — Kristos,​Me and the Stormfront bros, post II: Yavrum, ηρέμησε…, Me and the Stromfront bros, IV. A reader, my podruzhka M, from Novi Sad, says:, Me and the Stromfront bros, V. A reader, C. from Italy, says:,   Me and the Stormfront bros, post VI — A reader writes: nonsense born of fearMe and the Stormfront bros, VII: Kristos, how I’m wrong and Carly Simon: “I bet you think this song is about you…”

 

 

 

Me and the Stormfront bros, post II: Yavrum, ηρέμησε…

22 Oct

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Gianni is bothered by the fact that I didn’t approve his first comment.  Here, he expresses his dismay:

“I got a sudden spike in hits on my homepage: Jadde — Starting off — the Mission, and was wondering why, when I received the longest comment that I’ve gotten on this blog since I started it in 2012”, and, let me add in this part, an answer with no single insult against the owner of the blog or any country/group in the world, no insult against anything at all, which anyone who will visit your blog can easily distinguish, yet an answer that never got approval, no matters if no term was violated.. what exactly “obstructed” you from approving my answer, Nikollë Bako?

Was it the content which definitely is oppose to your views? That shouldn’t be a problem to you, you have already dealt with the fact reality is equally oppose to your views.. Don’t worry, as long as you are not going to approve my comments i am not going to comment in your page again, enjoy the 85 people worldwide who in the last 7-8 years read your articles and took them seriously enough to like your page

Yavrum, Ηρέμησε…  I didn’t approve of your first comment because I just brushed it off initially and then later couldn’t find it.  Instead, when I did find it, I posted the whole comment, in its entirety, where many more readers will see it, here:

A Greek (sorry, Hellenic?) White Pride reader says: “you’re wrong, NB” — post I

And just to prove that I’m dealing with you guys in good faith, I’ll post your first comment again, in its entirety:

A Greek (sorry, Hellenic?) White Pride reader says: “you’re wrong, NB” — post I

21 Oct

I got a sudden spike in hits on my homepage: Jadde — Starting off — the Mission, and was wondering why, when I received the longest comment that I’ve gotten on this blog since I started it in 2012 (I think….).  In three successive missives.

It’s from a certain “Giannis” (whom I applaud on the transliteration but who should consider making the second “i” an “e”) who had an extended and not unintelligent critique of the Jadde’s and mine (NikoBako’s) general assumptions and ideological direction.  I looked up a website that was attached to his comments and found this:

Stormfront.org and some screenshots of their homepage:

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The truth is “hate” to those who hate the truth!

We are a community of racial realists and idealists. Black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish Nationalists openly support their racial interests, with American taxpayers even required to support the Jewish ethnostate of Israel. We are White Nationalists who support true diversity and a homeland for all peoples, including ours. We are the voice of the new, embattled White minority!

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(For those who don’t know who David Duke is, here’s the Wiki-page opening description:

David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American neo-Nazi, anti-semitic conspiracy theorist, far-right politician, convicted felon, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke is a Holocaust denier, and espouses conspiracy theories about Jewish control of academia, the press, and the financial system.[3][4] Duke has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as “perhaps America’s most well-known racist and anti-Semite”.[5]  )

Now, what do you do to a commentary like this?  Because it’s extensive, well-educated, literate and completely wacked.  No joke.  I remember Adam Gopnik’s article in the New Yorker back in the 90s where he wrote a piece about reading the Ken Starr report on Clinton and his major constitutional crime of getting a blow job in the Oval Office, that it was like (a total paraphrase):

“…reading an extended passage from an early Gothic, eighteenth-century novel, where a most articulate writer goes on and on in a treatise about an egregious evil that needs to be vanquished, until you slowly realize that it’s the writer himself who is insane.”

Gianni himself is clearly not insane.  Which makes him all the more unsettling to have to deal with.  I mean, he goes as Brennus Dux Gallorum on-line, but that might just be a cool fantasy of his like my Rome-Gladiator-Russell Crowe obsession (“Rome is the Light.”)  I’m posting his three comments to me today, so that readers all have a chance to go through them if they’re interested.

I can’t possibly take them on as a whole, so over the next few weeks I’ll be posting responses to separate passages of his.  In any event, it’s gratifying to know that the right kind of people disagree with you.

Ready?  Here we go!

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One:

I think that “Heretic” views like this one of this blogger, usually come from the combination of generalizations (for example, “my father’s experience in a specific region in a specific period (epirus of early 20th century) is generalized to all of modern Greece etc) as well as misconceptions, distortions and misinterpretations of historical entities, facts etc. The greatest distortion (which is not a “lie”, i mean the author of the blog is not
aware of his “mistake”) is where and with whom he associates Byzantine empire: Byzantine empire, is technically perceived by him as an Asian/West Asian entity like ottoman empire or Arabic states are, for a combination of two reasons: Its geographical location into the same area that Ottomans built their empire later, and the fact that it was not Roman-Catholic.

Geography is just geography, USA is built on the same lands that native Americans once used to live, but it hardly has anything to do with native Americans. Europe, as it is perceived technically after 7th century, is a combination of the three criteria
that Paul Vallery mentioned: Christianity, Roman law and Greko-Roman heritage. From this aspect yes, there were great differences between Charlemagne’s empire/its succesors and Byzantines, but in the end, what was Byzantine empire if not the Christian Roman empire, and what was Charlemagne’s Europe if not another Christian Roman succesor?
The basic criteria of Paul Valery that i talked about before. Yes Orthodox differ from Catholics, and Catholics differ from Lutherans. But in the end, all of them are equally Christian, and distant from muslims.

Were the Ottomans and Arabs “Christian Roman succesors”? The answer is JUST NO, and no further details are needed about that. As for the rest that he says, it has to do with personal experiences of the author, which sometimes are regional rather than “panhellenic”, and it’s no coincidence that 9 our of 10 examples here on how Greeks are supposed to belong to a supposed zone from Balkans to south Asia, are examples of Greeks who either lived in Northern regions near Balkans and Turkey and wasted time under ottomans until late 1913 and from early 15th century or Anatolian Greeks or even Romani Greek people. The majority of Greeks, who come from regions with deep and long contacts with Southwest and sometimes central Europe, like Southern Greeks or Greek islanders are almost ignored.

I have met Greek-Americans who according to themselves “partied better” with Irish, or with African Americans. The only sure is that both my personal experience, and if i am not mistaken according to what polls have shown, Americans of South Italian and
Portuguese ancestry are those who interact with Greek Americans more than anyone else. Not Turks (who aren’t even numerous in America, to start with, so the way the author had so many experiences with Balkan and Turkish people is a mystery) not Balkan-Americans. In my family i have not even one (Greek) American person married or related to any Turkish or Balkan American, I rather have relatives married to Italians,Irish and in one case ulster Scot American, and interactions are not limited to marriage of course.

Add to this the fact that Americans of Arabic and Turkish descent were far closer to Americans of any ancestry (from Black to Scandinavian and of course Greeks included) than their original countrymen are to people from other countries
in the world (because of Americanization of middle easterners in America, it’s obvious), and you can see how distortions are created. In Fact, Greeks in Smyrna and even in Istanbul who are stereotyped as more “oriental influenced” than other Greeks, had more reactions and intermarriages with other European communities of these cities than with Turks.

As a conclusion, if people today, and to a lower degree back then, do not consider Greece as “less European” than they consider Sweden, instead of considering it anything like Arabic nations, this has to do with what people see, that Greeks live
like Europeans, act behave like Europeans, have European attitudes, that Greeks in the end are Europeans. The fact that Greeks were oppressed by Ottomans 200 years ago (it’s not me saying that, it was Greeks themselves, who revolted for almost
150 cases before the 1821’s revolution) will not make Greeks “non-European”, let alone modern Greeks. 200 years ago, we didn’t belong to a world “from Bosnia to Bengal”, we were OPPRESSED to join this world, and we revolted 150 times to join the world to which we felt closer to, the world to which you put Croatia, the “damned” Western world. Today, 200 years later, we clearly belong to this world, there is no common consiousness
with people from “parts of the world in question”. In the case of Greeks from South and the islands there was no common consciousness back then,
you can’t expect from people even from multi-ethnic Istanbul (greek community) or Salonica or Ioannina to have common consciousness with these countries today

not to mention that your thinking isn’t even Huntingtonian: Huntington never even thought of such a “zone” and putting Orthodox Christians among muslims, he rather separated Orthodox countries from Catholic and Protestant, (in constrast to most of Authors who consider orthodox Europeans as part of modern west)

As for Greece being Balkans or not, that’s something more complicated, and many authors give different answers and for different aspects

In my opinion, the answer which is closer to reality is that of encyclopedia Britanica: ” Greece, because its northern regions of Epirus and Macedonia are often considered parts of the Balkans, also appears on many lists of Balkan states, but it is arguably better characterized as primarily a Mediterranean country.” https://www.britannica.com/place/Balkans

We can not ignore Slavic invasions, neither the Ottoman rule in Greece, or the influences that these events left. But Equally we can’t ignore communism in Balkans vs capitalism in Greece most of 20th century, the medieval Frankish, Venetian etc influence in Greece, when most of Balkans (and northern Greece) were ruled by Balkan principalities, like Serbian and Bulgarian empire, the Bavarian and later Danish rule since early 1800’s at the same time that most of neighboring Balkan countries didn’t gain independence before 1912 etc and the influences that these events brought to Greece

Greece is not a pure balkan country, neither a pure “southwestern” European country, it’s a country intermediate to Christian countries of Balkan Europe and Southwest European countries. Some regions, especially northern regions, are closer to Balkans,
other regions closer to SouthWest. We can’t ignore Metsovo in Epirus and its architecture which is Ottoman and very similar to the equally Ottoman architecture of Berat, but we can’t also ignore Anapli (Nafplio) or Corfu and their Italian looking architecture. We can’t
ignore Dolmas, but we can’t ignore Pasticcio, or Strapatsada (from italian uovo strapatsate) or Makarounes. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that today Christian countries of Balkans belong to the Western world, meanwhile muslim countries of Balkans or muslim minorities or even Romani minorities do not. This is something that I experience every day (in terms of Romani, as in my birthplace there’s no muslim minority, but only muslim immigrants)

Now let me make a guess: As you said, you are not a nationalist, i respect that, but tell us honestly, are you a non-nationalist because of being a “humanist” or because nationalism is an anti-imperial product of European enlightenment, which (enlightenment)
fully affected Greek society through education and arts, gave an end to Greek-Ottoman “co-existence”, an end to the ottoman empire itself and many other west asian entities and made Greece European?

In any case, enlightenment is part of Greek civilization, and we are not going to give up our heritage, as much as Spain has no reason to return to any “moorish” status

Sincerely yours
Giannis

Two:

And one more thing, this time about “And Greece, even more inextricably, means Turkey, the two being, as they are, ‘veined with one another,’ to paraphrase the beautiful words of Patricia Storace.”. You can’t accuse “nationalism” and enlightenment, as this is where the “interconnection” between these two countries come from, and let me explain what i mean:

I guess the “link” between Greece and Turkey, which makes the two countries “veined with one another” are the “Orthodox Greek speakers” of Turkey who, without enlightnement and the idea of “nation” which is a product of enlightenment, wouldn’t considered themselves the same nation as Greeks from, let’s say Peloponnese or Cyclades, they didn’t have so many things in common with them to do. In case that I wrongly guessed and the link between Greeks and Turks in your opinion is mainland Greeks themselves then i am sorry, but not only you are wrong, but, with all Turkish influences in mainland Greeks, mainland Greeks are less Ottoman influenced than people from other Southern Balkan countries, due to a smaller period of Ottoman rule in Greece (northern regions excluded) than Southern Balkans.

There is no other link between Greece and Turkey, than people who lived as east as Cappadokia and started thinking that they are the same nation with Orthodox Greek speakers of Greece only after enlightenment’s influence and the idea of nation this influence brought.

Three:

I can’t speak about rural life in 1912’s ottoman empire, including some of its parts which nowadays belong to Greece.

But in the kingdom of Greece, my great-grandparents got married at 28.

See alsoStormfront​ I​: Just so we know what we’re dealing with in Giannis and — probably — Kristos, Me and the Stormfront bros, III: Gianni calls me by my Albanian name, Me and the Stromfront bros, IV. A reader, my podruzhka M, from Novi Sad, says:, Me and the Stromfront bros, V. A reader, C. from Italy, says:,   Me and the Stormfront bros, post VI — A reader writes: nonsense born of fearMe and the Stormfront bros, VII: Kristos, how I’m wrong and Carly Simon: “I bet you think this song is about you…”

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The Valley of Dropoli, the pass up to the Pogoni plateau near Libochovo, and in the distance, the snowcapped peaks of Nemerčka, from the Monastery of the Taxiarches in Derviçani, Easter 2014

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

 

 

“The Balkans in Rightwing Mythology” — Read the article (past the touching Srebrenica graphic); it’s not about the “Balkans” in Rightwing Mythology; it’s — AGAIN — only about SERBIA in rightwing mythology

4 Oct

You’d think that just to cammo their biased asses, these people might occasionally write about someone else, to then make it easier to go back to blaming Serbs again.  Here’s some suggestions:

* Croatia: Are there any people on the planet, not just Europe, who have gone more scot-free of being confronted and taken to task for their more-Nazi-than-the-Nazis, vicious, genocidal, more-of-their-population–slated-for-elimination-than-any-other-Nazi-collaborating state, Vatican-blessed murderous project than Croatians and the Ustaše?

* Has anybody written a biography whose title might be: “Subtle Brother: The Rise and Fall of Alija Izetbegović and his plan for a Muslim Bosnia.”?  Maybe Mr. Delalić could include a foreword or afterword there about Bosnian Muslim collaboration with the Ustaše.

or:

* “Kosovo: an Experiment in Mafia Statehood”

or

* “Operation Storm: The Story Behind NATO-armed Croatia and the Yugoslav Wars’ Single Greatest Episode of Ethnic Cleansing.”

or on a lighter note:

* “Buenos Aires: Here We Come!  How the Papacy Spirited Away the Leaders of Fascist Croatia to Latin America So They Could — and Did — All Avoid War Crimes Prosecution.”

You can squeeze stuff that inspires contemporary nut-cases out of the noxious right-wing ideology contained in each of those I think.  Just to distract people so that you can then return to your usual agenda — Serbia.  Particularly rich, of course, to have this all come from Germans, who don’t seem to realize that their hyper-earnest, Mea Culpa Show is getting really boring, but has also hypocritically and ironically made them the self-appointed, moralizing arbiters of the rest of humanity’s behavior: like, in some perverse way, ‘they should know’ — know it when they see it.

And almost all the murderous right-wing psychos, that think Karadžić is a hero and that they list in the article, are Germans or Teutons of some sort.  So maybe the fault, dear Germans, lies not in Greater Serbian Nationalism but in yourselves.

Ah, then one last idea: how about “Instant Independence: Slovenia, Croatia and How Germany led Europe into Mass Death and Destruction for the Third Time in One Century.” ?

4dFreEA_

The Balkans in Rightwing Mythology
by Adnan Delalić and Patricia Zhubi for Die Wochenzeitung (Switzerland)
11 April 2019 (original post in German)

Racist memes, nationalist myths, and crude conspiracy theories: within the ideology of the New Right, southeastern Europe appears as a transitional space where the future of the West is being decided.

Investigations into the 15 March 2019 Christchurch attack took on an international dimension ten days later when federal security and intelligence agents searched Martin Sellner’s apartment in Austria under orders from the prosecutor’s office there. Sellner is a leading functionary of the Austrian Identitarian Movement (Identitäre Bewegung Österreich, or IBÖ). He came under the authorities’ scrutiny because of a €1,500 donation he had received from the Christchurch shooter in January 2018.

After the search, Sellner portrayed himself on YouTube as a victim of state repression. While politicians and commentators argue about the nature of the IBÖ, its members organize demonstrations and solidarity actions and drum up social media and financial support from around the world. A donation does not make Sellner an accomplice to a massacre—but there are ideological bridges that connect the Identitarian Movement (also known as Generation Identity) as well as other extreme rightwing groups to the Christchurch mass-murderer.

Undesirable Foreign Foods

Attempts to distinguish the IBÖ from “ordinary” rightwing radicalism are specious not only because Sellner, according to media reports, used to paste swastikas on synagogues in his youth; beyond that, he belonged to the social circle around Austrian Holocaust denier Gottfried Küssel, whose blog Alpen-Donau.info was removed from the internet by the Austrian interior ministry in 2011. This kind of increased legal and police pressure led to the founding of the IBÖ a year later, which attempts (in the tradition of Alain de Benoist, an early progenitor of the New Right) to replace völkisch-nationalist vocabulary with terms carrying less historical baggage—terms like “identity.”

In a YouTube vlog from early 2015, Sellner posed—with hipster glasses and a sharp part in his hair—in front of a food stand menu offering burgers, hotdogs, and Bosna sausages. His goal: to educate his viewers about Austrian cuisine and undesirable foreign foods. Austrians! Do not eat at McDonald’s—and certainly not at kebab stands, the epitome of “multicultural capitalist mania”! In this online broadcast, Sellner sells the message additionally with his choice of t-shirt (available at his online store…). Upon it are the words “Restore Europe, Remove Kebab, Restore Empire.” Precisely this reference, “Kebab Remover”—a racist internet meme endorsing the genocide of Bosnian Muslims—was on display both on the Christchurch terrorist’s weapon as well as in his manifesto. Sellner has also cracked wise on Twitter about being in “Remove Kebab Mode.”

The Christchurch shooter referred to the Balkans in other ways as well. On the way to committing his act of terror, he listened to a song honoring the Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadžić, who would only a few days later be sentenced to life in prison at the Hague. In addition, the shooter is alleged to have traveled to several countries in the Balkan region in order to visit the sites of historic battles. The engravings on his weapons with the names of figures from Serbian, Montenegrin, Polish, and Spanish history also point to a deep fascination with struggles against the Ottoman empire. Southeastern Europe, in the imagination of the New Right, is a kind of transitional space where Christianity and Islam clash.

This motif is not new, and has many variants, alternately glorifying the Spanish Reconquista, the defense of Vienna, or the Russian-Ottoman wars. Karadžić referred to the genocide at Srebrenica as “just and holy”—in his view, his troops had prevented the establishment of an Islamist caliphate. The Norwegian rightwing terrorist Anders Breivik, in turn, called Karadžić an “honourable Crusader and a European war hero.” Occasionally, the motif appears in reference to a supposed transnational Muslim conspiracy against the Christian West, in which Serbia is presented as the bulwark against a neo-Ottoman invasion of Europe. The Christchurch shooter referred to Kosovar Albanians as “Islamic occupiers.”

An Appealing Trope

There are other points of contact. The Christchurch shooter’s manifesto was titled “The Great Replacement”—clearly named after the racist conspiracy theory popularized by Renaud Camus, an ideological godfather of the New Right in France. In his imagination, Europe’s white, Christian population is being systematically replaced by predominantly Muslim “invaders” from Africa and the Middle East. There are many variations on this demographic panic. It is the glue that holds the Fascist International together.

It can be observed as a central motif in the Greater Serbia ideology of Radovan Karadžić, which purports that Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims are secretly pursuing a “demographic jihad.” In the SANU [Serbian Academy of Science and Arts] Memorandum of 1986, a milestone of Serbian nationalism, it is claimed that the high birthrate of (predominantly Muslim) Kosovar Albanians is a central component of their drive for an ethnically pure Kosovo. The former Bosnian-Serb general Ratko Mladić justified war crimes against Bosnian Muslims with the claim that the Islamic world possesses, if not an atomic bomb, then a “demographic bomb.” Breivik, for his part, refers to this as an “indirect genocide.”

The obsession with birthrates and these paranoid theories of intentional displacement and replacement do not necessarily lead to violence—but they do mentally prepare their proponents for it.

The Islamophobia inherent to the ideology of Greater Serbia, in which traditional and contemporary motifs are bound together, is emerging in the globalized context as an appealing trope for the Fascist International. The specter of multiculturalism can only be overcome with a fundamental reordering of space along ethnic dividing lines that faded out of relevance long ago. The aim of this “racism without races” is the establishment of ethnically homogeneous societies, side by side but separate.

In September 2018, Sellner took part in a torchlight march “in honor of the heroes and saints of 1683.” In this case, Vienna symbolized the bulwark against past and future Islamic invasions. “I don’t get how there can be people from the Balkans who spit in the faces of their forefathers and their defensive struggle against the Ottomans,” tweeted Sellner in June 2017. So Islam must be fought and defended against—but without violence, apparently: “Rightwing terrorism is, like all other kinds of terrorism, to be morally rejected,” announced the leading identitarian figure immediately after the Christchurch attack. How this is supposed to work, when—judging from slogans like “Stop the Great Replacement!”—the Ottoman army is already pounding at the gates, is unclear. War symbolism and fear-mongering only fit into the self-conception of the “moderate migration critic” when rhetorical fear-mongering can be cleanly separated from real terrorism.

No matter how much Renaud Camus and Martin Sellner try to distance themselves from the terror attack in Christchurch, the insistence of the IBÖ that it is not a radical rightwing movement is simply untenable. The fight against this ostensible “replacement” and the IBÖ’s concomitant declaration of war on multicultural society are not “moderate” positions. The claim that coexistence is impossible is not meant merely as a description of conditions but rather as a goal. For Karadžić it was not only about the fight against Islam. Tolerance and the multicultural character of Bosnia were also to be erased and made impossible for generations to come.

Ideological Cocktail

The ideas that became socially acceptable with the rise of Serbian nationalism in the 1980s soon found their concrete political implementation. What emerged was an ideological cocktail of racism, demographic panic, conspiratorial paranoia, and revanchism that ultimately proposed an urgent need for action against an allegedly existential threat. The destruction of the Other became necessary to ensure Our survival. Karadžić still argues to this day that he was acting defensively against a “toxic, all-destructive Islamic octopus.”

It is not particularly surprising that paranoia about demographic “invaders” also takes an antisemitic shape. The Serbian nationalist cult director Emir Kusturica, for example, is among those who pin the blame for the “refugee crisis” on the Jewish American billionaire George Soros. According to social theorist Moishe Postone, modern antisemitism is not merely a form of racism, but at the same time a way of explaining the world which promises mistaken paths out of one’s misfortune. We can understand conspiracy theories like “the great replacement,” which declare as enemies both the weakest among us as well as global elites, in a similar manner. Islam and Judaism overlap as bogeymen, as both sublate the particularity of individual nationalisms. Unity is imperative in fighting the great enemy.

Karadžić’s ideology is neither unique to the Balkans nor the result of “centuries-old blood feuds.” It also is not a genuinely Serbian phenomenon. Rightwing radicalism does not have a country of origin; it derives inspiration from everywhere. The ideological store of the Fascist International feeds on various traditions and regions. What has evolved is a globally available repertoire of nationalist myths, symbols, and tactics to choose from. Events in Bosnia and Kosovo show what kinds of consequences such ideas can bring—and not just there.

Berlin historian Patricia Zhubi studies the past and present of antisemitism and the transnational structures of the radical right. Bosnian-German sociologist Adnan Delalić does research on Islamophobia and genocide, among other things.

Translated by Antidote and printed with the kind permission and help of the authors.

Featured image: artwork by Bosnian-American Samir Biscevic displayed at a ten-year commemoration of Srebrenica at UN headquarters in New York in 2005.

Yikes — I just got twenty Croatian hits in an hour — and dunno why

30 Sep

They’re onto me…

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Ooopppsss…  Sorry, I meant:

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Ok… Thank yous to A. — pointing out my major embarrassment bad — Williamson & Warren — well, Happy New Year at least…

30 Sep

I not only love Maryanne Williamson, I took the slightly pretentious step of having the editorial board of the Jadde (me) endorse her for President.  I wrote:

“…she [Williamson] gave a talk on the Triangle Factory Fire, Frances Perkins, Roosevelt,* the New Deal and how twentieth-century American prosperity, creativity, strength, and relative social justice were all born out of those individuals and phenomena that moved me to tears.

Well, it wasn’t Maryanne Williamson; it was Elizabeth Warren, who I’m also a great fan of.  Williamson has mentioned it on a couple of occasions, but not in a coherent passage the way Warren has several times, once in front of the arch in Washington Square Park, just two blocks from where the fire happened.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, on March 25th, 1911, occupies a weirdly vivid niche in my psyche.  More than other New Yorkers?  I dunno; I can only speak for myself.  The sheer horror — girls in their teens having to choose between being burned alive and a jump to certain death — should be more than enough.  And it always felt creepy to have class in what’s now NYU’s Brown building on the same floors where the factory was.  Then, I didn’t hear anyone mention it at the time, but the parallels to 9/11 — innocent people trapped by death on both sides — made both events reciprocally more disturbing.  It even raised the question of the daring and innovation that makes New York New York.  Were both events punishment for some kind of hubris: building things too tall to escape from if you need to?  I don’t really believe that there’s some cosmic force that actually punishes for that, but your mind wanders, in more archaic spaces…

Then the event chimes in, in a more than initially obvious way, with my deep intellectual and emotional engagement with Judaism.  The victims were obviously not all Jews.  And the women garment workers that had gone on strike less than two years before the fire to demand better working conditions were also not all Jewish.  But the harshness and persecutions of life in Eastern Europe, the progressive impulses Jews had collectively developed in response to that harshness and injustice, the dislocation of immigration, and an America — but especially a New York — that was a receptive vehicle for that whole psychological complex, made them disproportionately important in the movement and the whole series of events.

The proposal for a general strike for all garment workers in 1909 at the main hall of Cooper Union was made by a frail, twenty-three-year-old seamstress, Clara Lemlich — in Yiddish**, and a response from the crowd was a little slow in coming because it first had to be translated into Italian and English.  They were koritsakia, malaka; most had just come; they hadn’t even learned English yet.  There’s a women’s organization — I dunno who — that goes around the East Village and Lower East Side on March 25th and writes the names of the victims in chalk on the sidewalks in front of the houses where they lived: on the same block, next door to each other some of them.  The neighborhood must’ve felt its heart ripped out.

But when the response to Lemlich’s proposal was delivered, it was a resounding “YES!”.  And Jews need to remember and be proud of the fact that they’ve been over-represented ever since in every progressive movement that made America — but especially New York — what it became in the 20th century.

It gets a little more intense.  Because March 25th, the day of the fire, is also the day when another brave young Jewish girl exercised her God-given free will and said “yes” to God and changed the course of history and human civilization.  And that also weirds me out.  I might be sounding like a little child here: but why didn’t she do anything to help them?  The Mother?  The archetype of Christian compassion?  On that day that celebrates her own courage?

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And more.  March 25, 1944 was the day the Germans rounded up the Jews of my mother’s hometown, Jiannena, including her best friend, Esther Cohen, and sent them on the road to certain death at Auschwitz.  And no, there were no righteous Gentiles to help, just Greek police collaborators.  And just the German psychopaths, who diverted men and resources from the eastern front that had collapsed already the previous year, just to make sure and clean up the lands they already knew they had lost of any Jews.  It’s incomprehensible.  Oh, and they made sure they took detailed archival photos of the operations at the same time.  Ψυχοπαθείς… ***  And if I were sure they were totally cured…

01A woman weeps during the deportation of the Jews of Ioannina on March 25, 1944.

We’re entering a kinda Jungian territory of synchronicity here, but maybe I made this big gaffe on Rosh Hashanah for a reason.  Let my endorsement of Williamson extend to Warren too, oh, and, of course, Bernie Sanders, who was probably at that Cooper Union meeting.  Because this first day of 5780 is as good as any to declare the three of them vehicles of Tikkun and use that inspiration to do what we can to get Haman out of the White House and bring the republic back to righteousness.

Sorry again…  :)

comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

**************************************************************************************

* These were αριστοκράτες — the Roosevelts, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, however sleazy their origins and the origins of their wealth — true aristocrats — which is a word that I think Williamson uses in a slightly warped and unuseful way.  People who understood that their station implied obligation and not just privilege.  One of our emperors — unfortunately I can’t remember who; it wasn’t Basil I but it may have been one of the other Macedonians or the Comnenoi, said, and I’m paraphrasing: “Σήμερον ουκ εβασίλευσα διότι ουκ ευεργέτησα.”  “Today I did not reign because I did nothing of benefit.”  “ευεργέτησα” is a many-layered but not tricky word.  It means “to benefact”.   “I didn’t deserve to be called basileus today because I did nothing: to benefit my people, to glorify God, to strengthen my City or my State.”  These people — the Roosevelts, Perkins — knew they had duties too.  And the not always morally spotless “benefactor” millionaires of the 19th and 20th century Greek diaspora knew they had duties too.  Not only to make more money for themselves but to help build and cement the institutions of the new state.  Not like the sleazy, ship-owning mafia of Greece today.  Which not a single Greek politician has the balls to put forth policy that would tax them.

** This is just one thing that makes Yiddish, along with Neapolitan and Caribbean Spanish, one of New York’s three sacred languages.

*** Jiannena has, however, become a very hip, progressive and (always) lovely university town.  And last year, it voted in the first Jewish mayor in Greek history; out of about 30 Jews that are left from a pre-war 5,000 — one is now mayor of Jiannena.  More on the city’s transformation, and the continuity with its past as a prosperous center of the Greek Enlightenment, in another post.

P.S.  It was Frances Perkins, who Warren speaks of and the woman who, as the first female cabinet member in American history, Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, put the whole causal string together.  She said: “The New Deal began on March 25th, 1911, the day the Triangle Factory burned.”

And P.P.S.  Let’s not forget that today those factories are in Malaysia and Honduras.

And P.P.P.S.  “Volume Four of Ric Burns’ monumental New York: A Documentary Film is probably the most stirring visual treatment of all of the above.  Get your hands on it if you get a chance.  Amazon’s got in on Prime.”

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comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

See “Родные” — “Close Relations” — at the MMI in Astoria

23 Sep

Bad translation.  “Pодные”…”rodnye” means intimate, familiar, related; by extension born-beloved, dear one, cared for, same root in Russian as parents, birth, homeland, Christmas…wouldn’t be surprised if it has the same Indo-European roots as “root”.

Rodnye Vitaly Mansky

Vitaly Mansky‘s documentary is being screened this coming weekend and the next at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.  (See schedule. It’s two train stops into Queens, guys.  Then you can have a nice dinner for half of what you pay in Manhttan at a good friend and koumbaro‘s place: Mar’s.)

“In this follow-up to his award-winning documentary Under the Sun, filmmaker Vitaly Mansky examines Ukrainian society amidst the 2014 national election, a period rife with political chaos and growing uncertainty over national identity and integration. As both a Russian citizen and native Ukrainian, Mansky deftly underscores personal and political complexities as he visits with relatives living in Lvov, Odessa, the Crimean peninsula, and the Donbass region, and in the process discovers a wide and disorienting spectrum of outlooks and affiliations, including his own sense of ongoing exile and unease. Close Relations is at once an intimate family portrait and a graceful journalistic endeavor, a movie of the intense present that illuminates a place caught between a troubled past and an anxious future.”

Watch the trailer below.

Lots of moving, “disorienting” footage.  Also, lots of humor, which reminds us that so much of a certain ironic, sardonic take on the world — a viewpoint “from a certain angle”, as E.M. Forster said of Cavafy — that we in the United States think is particularly Jewish, is really just a trait common to all eastern Europe, even Greece, or perhaps just a trait common to the powerless everywhere:

“Crimea was a pity, but the Donbass…they can have it.” *

But I think the most important moment in terms of geopolitics comes at 1:15:

“So Ukraine decided to join NATO.  Isn’t that its own business?”

“Nyyyyyet!”

…comes the reply without a moment’s hesitation.

“Nyet” with its palatized “n” and final “t” is one of humanity’s great no-words.  Like “yok” in Turkish, it literally means “there isn’t” or “Il n’y a pas”.  But while “yok” has a kind of know-nothing passivity about it, “nyet” is an active “Halt!  No way you’re going further down this road.  There’s no access.” **

That moment in Mansky’s doc is why, despite widespread support for a Putin I find repulsive, I can’t get as angry at Russians as I get at Trump Americans and Türk-doğans; because Russians aren’t stupid.  They’re not as smart as they used to be in the old days, при коммунизме, when everybody knew not to believe any-thing.  They now believe all kinds of nonsense.  And they went and got religion on me too, which is one of my life’s greatest watch-what-you-wish-fors.  But they’re still pretty intelligent about the world.

I can’t get inside Putin’s head, like Ben Judah convincingly does in what’s still the best book on the Путинщина, the “Putin-ness” or the “Putin thang.”  Judah’s thesis is that Putin is really just a nebech apparatchik who others put in his place and who now — having trampled over so many people on his way up — is terrified of stepping down and that the macho persona he so tiringly projects masks mega insecurity.  It almost makes you feel sorry for him.

But this relative of Mansky’s and her coldly realpolitik “nyet” tell you why he has so many Russians’ support.  Because it means: nyet, you can’t tell me that the U.S. and NATO suddenly developed a major crush on Estonia and Georgia; nyet, you can’t suddenly tell me you’re interested in Ukraine too, because this was already starting to feel like a corporate raid on all the old girlfriends who dumped me, but Ukraine, especially, is like hitting on my sister; nyet, you can’t moan and groan about how we’re violating a basic credo of the European Union by changing borders, when neither Russia or Ukraine are part of the European Union and you wouldn’t even have considered Ukraine — with its resources, access to the Black Sea and huge Russian population —  a candidate if it weren’t a way to totally encircle Russia; and, nyet, you can’t tell us that you’re not still treating us with a Cold War mentality that you inherited from an Anglo tradition of Great Game power struggle that doesn’t apply anymore and is now completely counter-productive.

At least talk some truth and maybe we can get somewhere.  And then I’ll reconsider breaking up with Putin.

In the meantime, we can try to think of everyone as “close relations.”

For more on these issues see: The first two of my cents on Ukraine and Russia… from a couple of years ago, and more on the imperative to engage Russia in Syria, Russia, ISIS and what to do about everything“.

Putin Judah Fragle Empire

************************************************************************************* * The Donbass, the river Don basin is part of southeast Russia and the Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine where the current conflict is centered.  From The first two of my cents on Ukraine and Russia“:

“Also, thence, a crucial point: that Ukraine wasn’t so much conquered, but settled by Russia…

“The independent “frontiersmen” mentality of the Russians of these areas, a sort of Russian Texas  — among its ethnic Cossack peoples especially — should not be underestimated and should not be disregarded as a possible element in the current conflict.  (See: And Quiet Flows the Don at Amazon and at Wiki.)”

“Новая Россия,” (Novaya Rossiya), New Russia, is not a Putinism.  It’s a name for these lands that goes back to Catherine the Great and the first serious subduing of Cossack rebelliousness and settling of Russians in the region in the 18th century.  It was part of the Russian empire’s most fertile grain-producing regions and then the scene of crazy industrialization under the Bolsheviks; maybe it was once a sort of “Russian Texas” but now it’s more like a sort of Russian Rust-Belt.  Hence, the “they can have it” comment.  The Soviet Army, decapitated by Stalin’s purges of its most talented and experienced, and ill-prepared and ill-equipped, only made the Nazi sweep through Ukraine grind to a halt once the Germans had made it this far east and after hundreds of thousands of Russian men had already been sent to a meaningless death and the Nazis had swept the old lands of the Pale clean of Jews through massive massacring and mass executions which were an integral part of the military strategy of the eastern front; many military historians believe that if the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union hadn’t been slowed by German troops stopping every other community to round up and shoot its Jews (a method/process that killed more Jews than the gas chambers did), they might have been successful in beating the coming of winter and more successful in their campaign long-term.  The region then became the scene of brutal attrition warfare, culminating in the siege of Stalingrad (now reverted back to its original name, Волгоград / Volgograd on map below).  This left the region seriously trashed and so huge numbers of Russian workers were settled there post-WWII, Russianizing the Ukrainian far east even further and setting the stage for today’s conflict.

Map of the Don Basin.  The grey line shows the border between Russia (РОССИЯ) and Ukraine (УКРАИНА) and the broken grey lines in Ukrainian east indicate the Lugansk (Луганск) and Donetsk (Донетск)

Don_basin

** “У меня денег нет” (“U menya deneg nyet”) in Russian is the same structure as the Turkish “Benim param yok” — “I don’t have any money.”  Though Russian has a verb for “to have” like other Slavic languages, these structures both mean, literally: “By me there’s no money” or “My money isn’t there/isn’t by me.”  Wondering whether it’s a construction Russian acquired through contact with Tatar.  There is apparently a phenomenon where languages effect each other and transmit certain properties between them, though there’s no large bilingual population to bring them together and though they’re not genetically related, at least not closely.  The absence of an infinitive, for example, in modern Greek, Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian/Vlach, though each are from different Indo-European families and more closely related languages have an infinitive, is one good example.  Also, Yiddish “by mir” (as in “By mir bist du shayn”) which is like the Russian по-моему (“according to me”) — for me, in my opinion.  Though German uses “bei mir” also to mean same thing.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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