miercuri, 27 iunie 2012

Trei cazuri de antisemitism

Arderea evreilor 
O ultimă postare cu citate din cartea cu mongoli, de data asta despre antisemitismul din Europa. Primul fragment se referă la anul 1240, și la reacția față de invazia mongolă:

Because of “the enormous wickedness of the Jews,” the Christians accused them of bringing the wrath of the Mongols on innocent Christians. According to [the Benedictine monk Matthew] Paris’s highly unlikely report, the European Jewish leaders “assembled on a general summons in a secret place.” The “wisest and most influential amongst them” spoke, explaining that their “brethren of the tribes of Israel, who were formerly shut up, have gone forth to bring the whole world to subjection to them and to us. And the more severe and the more lasting that our former suffering has been, the greater will be the glory that will ensue to us.” The speaker supposedly wanted the other Jews to greet the Mongols “with valuable gifts, and receive them with the highest honour: they are in need of corn, wine, and arms.” Accordingly, the Jews collected “all the swords, daggers, and armour, they could find for sale anywhere, and, in order to conceal their treachery, securely, stowed them away in casks.” With no better explanation forthcoming, the Christians accepted this story as proof of “the hidden treachery and extraordinary deceit of the Jews.” They were therefore at once handed over to the executioners, to be either consigned to perpetual imprisonment, or to be slain with their own swords. No matter how absurd the details and no matter the lack of evidence, the stories evoked terribly real and disastrous consequences across Europe. Unable to defeat the Mongols, their enemy menacing the boundaries of their civilization, the Europeans could defeat the Jews, their imagined enemies at home. In one city after another from York to Rome, angry Christian crowds attacked the Jewish quarters of their cities. The Christians attempted to punish the Jews with the same treatment that they had heard the Mongols had used in their campaigns. The Christians set fire to Jewish homes and massacred the residents. Those Jews who managed to escape the cities fled from place to place in search of refuge, but in almost all communities, they found more persecution. To clearly identify which refugees were Jewish refugees and to prevent their entering new Christian communities, the church ordered that Jews had to wear distinctive clothes and emblems to mark them for all to see.

O nouă reacție, un secol mai târziu, de data asta la celebra epidemie de ciumă bubonică:

Frightened people everywhere blamed foreigners for bringing the disease, further threatening international commerce. In Europe, the Christians once again turned on the Jews, who had a close association with commerce and with the east, from whence the plague came. Some Jews were shut up in their homes and burned; others were taken out and tortured on the rack until they confessed their crimes. Despite a papal bull from Pope Clement VI in July 1348 protecting the Jews and ordering the Christians to stop their persecutions, the campaign against them escalated. On Valentine’s Day in 1349, the authorities of Strasbourg herded two thousand Jews to the Jewish cemetery outside of the city to begin a mass burning. Some Jews were allowed to save themselves by confessing their crimes and converting to Christianity, and some children were forcefully converted. More than a thousand perished over the six days that it took to burn them all, and the city outlawed the presence of any Jew in the city. City after city picked up the practice of publicly burning Jews to thwart the epidemic. According to the boasts of one chronicler, between November 1348 and September 1349, all the Jews between Cologne and Austria had been burned. In the Christian parts of Spain, the people initiated similar persecutions against the resident Muslim minority, driving many of them to seek refuge in Granada and Morocco.

Și un al treilea fragment, despre secolul 19, conținând o mostră a tradiționalului antisemitism tradus în limbaj „științific”:

In the search for a more directly historical explanation for why these children bore Asian physical characteristics, scientists found a precise biological connection by looking back at the Mongol invasions of Europe in the thirteenth century. According to their new explanation, through the ages, marauding tribes of Huns, Avars, and Mongols had left their genetic impact on Europe when they supposedly raped the white women. The descendants of these genes occasionally erupted in the modern era, when apparently “normal” European women gave birth to a child that was a throwback to the Mongols.[...] According to this theory, the Occidental Mongols bore responsibility not merely for retardation but for much of the crime and feeblemindedness found in the West. According to this theory, Jews, in particular, sustained much of the Mongol influence because they had interbred with Khazars and other steppe tribes, and then brought that degraded genetic influence with them throughout Europe.
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duminică, 24 iunie 2012

Dezbateri religioase la curtea marelui han mongol Mongke

Încă un fragment interesant din cartea „Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” de Jack Weatherford, despre religie la mongoli, europeni și arabi. Deși unele detalii din fragment sunt contestate, povestea per ansamblu, este în continuare revelatoare. Din motive obiective, spre deosebire de postarea anterioară, aici nu am mai tradus textul:

Near the end of 1253, the Year of the Ox, William of Rubruck, a Franciscan monk, came to the Mongol court as an envoy from the French king.[...] Despite the common religion, Rubruck greatly resented the Assyrian, Armenian, and Orthodox Christians at the Mongol court. Since he considered all non-Catholics to be heretics, he contemptuously designated the Mongol congregants of the Assyrian Church as Nestorians in reference to Nestorius, the fifth-century Patriarch of Constantinople who was condemned as a heretic by the Council of Ephesus in 431. [...] Even when they admitted to being Christians, Mongols did not consider their religion as their primary identification. As one of the Mongol generals who was a follower of Christianity explained, he was no Christian—he was a Mongol.

After making the French envoy wait for many months, Mongke [Khan] finally received him officially in court on May 24, 1254. Rubruck informed the officials that he knew the word of God and had come to spread it. In front of the assembled representatives of the various religions, the khan asked Rubruck to explain to them the word of God. Rubruck stumbled over a few phrases and stressed the importance to Christians of the commandment to love God, whereupon one of the Muslim clerics asked him incredulously, “Is there any man who does not love God?” 

Rubruck responded, “Those who do not keep His commandments, do not love Him.” Another cleric then asked Rubruck, “Have you been in heaven that you know the commandments of God?” He seized upon the implication of what Rubruck was saying to them about God’s commandments and challenged him directly: “By this you mean that Mongke Khan does not observe God’s commandments?”

The discussion continued for some time, and according to Rubruck’s own account, it was obvious that he did not fare well in the sometimes acrimonious arguments. He was unaccustomed to debating with people who did not share his basic assumptions of Catholic Christianity. Evidently, Mongke Khan recognized the problems he was having and suggested that all the scholars present take time to write out their thoughts more clearly and then return for a fuller discussion and debate of the issues.

The Mongols loved competitions of all sorts, and they organized debates among rival religions the same way they organized wrestling matches. It began on a specific date with a panel of judges to oversee it. In this case Mongke Khan ordered them to debate before three judges: a Christian, a Muslim, and a Buddhist. A large audience assembled to watch the affair, which began with great seriousness and formality. An official lay down the strict rules by which Mongke wanted the debate to proceed: on pain of death “no one shall dare to speak words of contention.”

Rubruck and the other Christians joined together in one team with the Muslims in an effort to refute the Buddhist doctrines. As these men gathered together in all their robes and regalia in the tents on the dusty plains of Mongolia, they were doing something that no other set of scholars or theologians had ever done in history. It is doubtful that representatives of so many types of Christianity had come to a single meeting, and certainly they had not debated, as equals, with representatives of the various Muslim and Buddhist faiths. The religious scholars had to compete on the basis of their beliefs and ideas, using no weapons or the authority of any ruler or army behind them. They could use only words and logic to test the ability of their ideas to persuade.[...]

Their debate ranged back and forth over the topics of evil versus good, God’s nature, what happens to the souls of animals, the existence of reincarnation, and whether God had created evil. As they debated, the clerics formed shifting coalitions among the various religions according  to the topic. Between each round of wrestling, Mongol athletes would drink fermented mare’s milk; in keeping with that tradition, after each round of the debate, the learned men paused to drink deeply in preparation for the next match.

No side seemed to convince the other of anything. Finally, as the effects of the alcohol became stronger, the Christians gave up trying to persuade anyone with logical arguments, and resorted to singing. The Muslims, who did not sing, responded by loudly reciting the Koran in an effort to drown out the Christians, and the Buddhists retreated into silent meditation. At the end of the debate, unable to convert or kill one another, they concluded the way most Mongol celebrations concluded, with everyone simply too drunk to continue.

While the clerics debated at Karakorum, their religious brethren were hacking at each other and burning one another alive in other parts of the world outside the Mongol Empire. At almost the same time of Rubruck’s debate in Mongolia, his sponsor, King Louis IX, was busy rounding up all Talmudic texts and other books of the Jews. The devout king had the Hebrew manuscripts heaped into great piles and set afire. During Rubruck’s absence from France, his fellow countrymen burned some twelve thousand handwritten and illuminated Jewish books. For these and other great services to the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, his church canonized him as Saint Louis, thereby making him a figure of veneration that good Christians could emulate and to whom they could pray as an intermediary between humans and God.

During the same time in both the Muslim and Christian kingdoms, the rulers made religious intolerance an official policy of the state. Frustrated in the attempts to conquer the Holy Land or to expand into eastern Europe, the Catholic Church moved into a phase of growing intolerance for religious variation at home. In 1255 the church sanctioned the torturing of people suspected of heretical beliefs, and priests, mostly Dominicans, began traveling from city to city to find and torture suspects. Until this time civil authorities used torture to interrogate suspected criminals, traitors, and war prisoners, but priests did not inflict torture for religious purposes.
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duminică, 17 iunie 2012

China mongolă vs. Europa creștină

Un fragment de interes din cartea „Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” de Jack Weatherford:

„Pentru a obține mai departe sprijinul populației, mongolii au îmblânzit asprul cod penal al dinastiei Sung. Mongolii au redus cu aproape jumătate numărul infracțiunilor din China pedepsite prin execuție - de la 233 la 135. Kublai Khan arareori permitea utilizarea pedepsei capitale chiar și pentru infracțiunile rămase. Arhivele execuțiilor s-au păstrat până astăzi pentru aproape toți cei 34 de ani din domnia sa, mai puțin patru din aceștia. Cele mai multe, adică 278 de execuții, au avut loc în 1283. Cele mai puține, în 1263, și anume 7 execuții, dar este posibil ca motivul pentru care lipsesc patru ani din arhivă să fie pentru că nu au fost execuții deloc în acei ani. Per total, au fost executați mai puțin de 2500 de delincvenți în peste trei decenii de domnie a lui Kublai. Rata anuală a acestuia era semnificativ mai mică decât numărul execuțiilor din țări moderne precum China sau Statele Unite.

În general, a introdus un sistem de legi și pedepse mai coerent și mult mai bând și uman decât cel al dinastiei Sung. Unde era mai practic, a înlocuit pedeapsa fizică cu amenzi, și a implementat proceduri pentru amnistierea delincvenților care dovedeau regret pentru faptele lor. Într-un mod similar, autoritățile mongole au căutat să elimine tortura, sau măcar să-i limiteze puternic utilizarea. Legea mongolă specifica faptul că înainte ca tortura să poată fi utilizată pentru a obține o mărturisire, oficialii trebuiau să aibă deja dovezi concrete, nu doar suspiciuni, cum că acea persoană a comis o anumită infracțiune. Codul de legi din 1291 al mongolilor menționa că oficialii trenuie „să folosească întâi rațiunea pentru a analiza și emite presupuneri, și să nu recurgă imediat la tortură.” Prin comparație, în aceeași perioadă în care mongolii impuneau limitări în utilizarea torturii, atât statul, cât și biserica din Europa emiteau legi ce extindeau utilizarea acesteia pentru o gamă și mai mare de fărădelegi, asta fără a fi nevoie de vreo dovadă. Spre deosebire de multiplele forme însângerate de tortură, precum întinderea pe patul de tortură, zdrobirea cu roata, trasul în țeapă, sau diverse metode de ardere ale victimelor în alte țări, mongolii au limitat tortura la bătaia cu parul.”
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marți, 12 iunie 2012

Fantezii diverse în istoria ungară

Dacă tot vorbirăm recent de tromboane istorice românești, uite că nici istoriografia maghiară nu e mai prejos. Citez din cartea „Ungurii” de Paul Lendvai:

Una dintre moştenirile din timpul lui „Ladislau Cumanul” [1272-1290] este „noua imagine istorică” a maghiarilor, inventată de la A la Z de Simon Kézai, predicatorul de la Curtea lui. Pe termen lung, această moştenire a fost cea mai importantă din punct de vedere istoric, politic şi mai ales psihologic. [...] [P]lăsmuitor talentat de legende, maestrul Simon Kézai îl descoperă pe Attila ca pe un mândru strămoş al regilor creştini. Din izvoare pe care le-a găsit „peste tot în Italia, Franţa şi Germania”, clericul curtean [...] a înjghebat imaginea istorică evident aşa cum era dorită. Grămăticul Curţii ne serveşte surprinzătoarea teorie a unui „dublu descălecat": cele 108 triburi primitive ar fi format, încă din negura timpurilor, unul şi acelaşi popor, numit atunci huni, astăzi unguri. [...] În felul acesta, se realizează o continuitate istorică, numai că ea nu a existat niciodată în forma astfel prezentată. Acest „fantast inventiv”, observă Jenő Szűcs, furnizează o fundamentare istorică, juridică, ba chiar „morală” pentru „dreptul istoric” al maghiarilor asupra bazinului carpatic [...].

Publicistul austro-ungar Ladislaus Rosdy a evocat într-un eseu despre Ungaria această îngrijorătoare influenţă pe termen lung a ficţiunii istorice devenite curând bun obştesc:

«De aceea, nu există în această lungă perioadă nici un ungur — lăsând la o parte o minoritate de fiecare dată cu înclinaţii spre critică şi istoriceşte deosebit de cultivată — care să nu fie convins de saga despre huni certificabil falsificată a maestrului Kézai; şi chiar dintre poeţii maghiari ai secolului al XX-lea, de altfel atât de sensibili, nu puţini se declară mândri de această tradiţie, care însă în realitate nu este altceva decât o expresie a sentimentului de superioritate amestecat cu resemnare al „ultimului nomad”.»

Teoria despre „dublul descălecat” a fost izvorul la care vreme îndelungată s-au adăpat după pofta inimii istorici, oameni de ştiinţă şi politicieni naţionali. Caracterul romantic şi eroic al legendelor despre huni ale lui „Anonymus” şi mai ales ale lui Kézai au exercitat asupra generaţiilor de politicieni şi scriitori o atracţie de-a dreptul irezistibilă.[...] - pag. 68-69

Nu ştiu dacă Schlegel a auzit de „genial-maniacul” istoric contemporan István Horvát (1784-1846) sau dacă l-a cunoscut, dar creaţia mitologico-istorică a lui Horvát a întrecut de departe chiar şi fantezia cronicarilor medievali. Cărţile lui despre istoria străveche a ungurilor şi prelegerile lui la universitate au înflăcărat o întreagă generaţie. Pornind de la unele cuvinte cu sunet asemănător, el i-a căutat pe strămoşii maghiarilor în Persia, Grecia şi Italia. El a afirmat că şi Adam şi Eva au vorbit în paradis ungureşte. Că Homer şi Hercule au fost, de fapt, maghiari era ceva ce pentru el se înţelegea de la sine. Ungurii străvechi — spunea el — erau atât de uriaşi, încât li se spunea „giganţi” şi „titani”. Faptul că acest om a fost între 1823 şi 1845 profesor universitar la Pesta şi că aceste absurdităţi întâlneau şi urechi receptive „spune ceva despre autoportretul optimist al naţiunii”, scria Szerb. Şi exact acest optimism „a pregătit atâtea uluitoare decizii politice greşite ale generaţiei care venea”. [...] Deși Horvát a rămas o excepţie bizară în istoriografia ungara, asemenea invocări-descântec ale trecutului glorios şi sublinierea permanentă a superiorităţii politico-culturale a maghiarilor faţă de celelalte grupuri etnice au ocazionat o îngrijorătoare supralicitare a conştiinţei lor naţionale.

Când citeşti discursurile oamenilor politici unguri de prim-plan sau articolele de fond şi lucrările de istorie elaborate în perioada de dupa pactul dualist unele fraze îţi amintesc de felul în care Paul Valéry avertiza asupra pericolului himerelor întreţinute de istorie:

«Istoria este produsul cei mai periculos pe care l-a elaborat chimia creierului uman. [...] Acest produs predispune popoarele la reverie, le ameţeşte, le dă iluzia unui trecut, le supralicitează reflexele, le ţine cu rănile deschise, le tulbură liniştea, le îmbolnăveşte de grandomanie sau de mania persecuţiei şi face ca naţiunile să devină încrâncenate, brutale, insuportabile şi vanitoase, [...] Istoria justifică orice. Ea nu clasifică absolut nimic, căci nu există nimic care să nu poată fi documentat cu ea.» - pag. 316-317
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