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21 June 2016


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William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

The names of the 1st Crusade, men like Godfrey de Bouillon, Raymond de Toulouse, Bohemond de Hauteville, have exemplified fortitude, bravery, sagacity, and competence at war to the subsequent generations of European civilization. And, as far as I am concerned, continue to do so.

I have the whimsical notion of Pope Francis (that most un-warlike man) summoning the lords of Christendom to Clermont for the purpose of preaching a crusade.



"124000 prophets"

I struggled a lot with Catholic saints, admittedly. Initially. Or for a long time. ;)

I still would like to have a much better grasp of the politics involved.


I have been directed towards Kierkegaard before.

Your guess is as good as anyone else's. He may in fact simply have been slightly heady. I do not have the slightest idea, (underestimated public attention?) what the context was beyond returning to one important town on his personal live path.

But yes, the Catholic church was forced to reflect on matters in this context, obviously. How would you want it to reflect on Islam? Ideally in a way that is non-partisan.

And notice, beyond babbling here, this is a tread I'll try to save somewhere for further reflection.


Pat, I wondered a bit about this part of your comment above:

but in general lets the Greeks do the talking since it makes them easier to get along with.

Now I wonder, if from a purely Jewish perspective this could be related:

money from the Catholic Church dried up and a lot of remaining Christians became Greek Orthodox.

OK, silly.

But: before returning to my duties I would simply like to ask "why"?

Obviously with the first citation in mind. It makes them easier to talk to, since never mind what happened in the Catholic church post WWII & the Nazis the grudges vividly remain?

Seamus Padraig


Has something gone really wrong in Syria? Or is this a false report: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/disastrous-turn-events-force-syrian-army-withdraw-west-raqqa/


kao, did I promise to not babble on this thread or today for that matter somewhere?

But, beyond the context you put your response in via the introduction, to the extend I understand, why and how could the bloodshed that took place be related to any type of difference between resistant Arabs with or without pure ethnic Arab roots or the fact they were partly descendants of Christian Europeans?

Put in a nutshell: how could that factor become decisive? Or it explained that bloodshed had to take place, one way or another?



The Greek Orthodox church's complaints concern the sack of Constantinople in the Middle Ages. Nothing else. Money from the Catholic church stopped flowing in the Middle Ages when the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell. pl

Tom Streckert


In your travels to Palestine have you been to the West Bank, Gaza and Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem? If so, what were your impressions?

Best regards,



The Greek Orthodox natives in Palestine are Arabs with some admixture of ancient vestigial blood. They do not identify with anything in WW2. Get over yourself. You are obsessed with German guilt. pl


Tom Streckart

I have been in the West Bank and Gaza many times. My impression of Gaza is of a large outdoor prison. My impression of the West Bank is of a Bantustan/Indian reservation. I have been to a lot of Catholic institutions in Bethlehem; Bethlehem University, the crèche for abandoned Muslim children, mostly girls, the old folks home, the kindergarten run by French nuns. What's your point? pl

Bill Herschel

Before anyone gets too upset by the behavior of Christian Crusaders they should take a look at the record of the Emir as he swept through Bordeaux and was finally defeated outside Tours by Charles Martel. ISIS has a genealogy. They're not innovators.

Babak Makkinejad

It is not my place to advise the Church on how to reflect on anything, least of all Islam.

However, in my opinion, the Vatican's policy vis-à-vis Islam has been indubitably the correct one: "there is no margin in fighting Islam."

I would only wish more people in US and in Europe would come to the same conclusion and adopt it.


I am Pat, admittedly I am. What can I say? Granni Hasbari? ;)

Hopefully responses here show me to what extend. But yes, I didn't understand kao's argument. Initially passed by for that reason. ;)

Concerning my question why the Greek. To be quite honest I completely misread the context. Babbled before reading the excellent WP article. Without have paid enough attention on the complex context. For whatever reason I assumed Israel could have any say in it.

Sorry, but thanks a lot for posting this and for your patience.

Tom Streckert

The point is many who visit the "Holy Land" never venture off the leash of their Holy Land tour. Pick up and Catholic newspaper and you will see all kinds of pilgrimages to the "Holy Land." There is no pitch to visit Gaza and the refugee camps in the West Bank etc. Thank you for your detailed response; it give a more insightful glimpse of who you are. Best regards.


Tom Streckart

OK, you arrogant prick. I have been all over Palestine and Israel on my own perhaps 20 times. I have worked on and in the ME for 40+ years. I speak the language of the Arabs fluently. Do you? pl


sorry, kao

Ok, now I understand. Or at least maybe I can. They wouldn't have had a chance to stay there after, you suggest. Much less to intermarry.

Unfortunately on the surface your argument reminded me of the Israeli argument. That the Palestinians only crowded into Palestine once the settlers created work and related to it a chance for better live then elsewhere around. ...

I found that argument always very odd, considering it is one of the coastal regions on the Mediterranean. I would imagine it was not a bad place to live in the larger region and thus never abandoned to whoever wanted to consider it as some type of terra incognita for a while, waiting patiently for its once inhabitants to return.

But from the crusades to modern Palestine quite a few centuries passed.

Apparently, I was so confused what you could possibly try to convey with a Palestinian name as evidence, my mind seems to have completely blocked.



This is a very informative response. I hope it was published. I read the "Crusades Through Arab Eyes" that you recommend previously. Could you recommend any additional books on the Crusades?



Try to understand that people in Israel/Palestine do not think like you. Try. The number of Palestinian/Israeli Jew marriages is infinitesimal. There were a certain number of Muslim/Christian marriages in Lebanon before the outbreak of the civil war there but that is pretty much done in the aftermath and the resolution of the communities into their essential identities. Evidently for you the crusades and the period of the crusader states is so distant and so irrelevant to your essentially Marxist concerns as to be unbelievable as causative today. your belief that this is true is indicative of your ignorance of the peoples of the area and your personal rigidity. I will once again try to school you. for the Arabs, both Muslim and Christian there is no real sense of the distance or sequencing of events in time. For them the crusades were yesterday. Why? Their language and therefore their culture lacks a developed verb tense structure. In Arabic as in old church Slavonic and a few other languages there really are no tenses. what exists in Arabic is two states of the verb, perfective and imperfective. English vocabulary does not really contain adequate terms to describe this. As a result of this structure it is virtually impossible to sequence events in time unless the time is named. This is normally not done. Try to get a grip on this. For the Arabs, Jesus was born yesterday. God spoke to Muhammad some time in the past, but when is a little cloudy. Israel has lasted some time? so what? the crusades are for them an ongoing unfinished business. Why do you think the jihadis keep calling us "crusaders? pl



https://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Crusades-Jonathan-Riley-smith/dp/0723003610?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0" Suggest you start with this. there is a lot of text and bibliography. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I would add two additional observations to your fine summary:

One is the immediacy of the language of the Quran to a native Arabic speaker - something that none of the other existing religions can experience (save a few Aramaic speaking villages in Syria).

The other is the dearth of intellectual development - especially in political philosophy - based on the ideas of the Quran - in any Muslim language.

Even in contemporary Iran one often reads or heard references to the Corpus of Imam Ali as guidance in politics. People fall back on the Legacy of Early Islam - as though it just ended a fortnight ago.



Thank you.



thanks. I see your point about native speakers of Arabic and the Quran and their inability to rid themselves of the idea of its absolute immutability since it is now and forever. interesting that the Mu'tazila tried to escape that but perhaps they were mawla. And I suppose that is why Ijtihad has not ended for the Shia. pl


I stand corrected about the 4th.

I don't necessarily think that the Crusades were different than the Roman slaughter of the Gauls in Belgium during Caesar's reign or the Counterreformation in the Low Countries.
Castle of the Count (of Flanders) in Ghent is worth visiting to get some insight into the level of depravity that the different combatants could sink into (and this was only sectarian intra-religious warfare at the time, let alone interreligious war): http://www.traveldarkly.com/gravensteen-castle-and-torture-museum-ghent-Belgium

I just stated that I do not expect better behavior from the Crusaders against the Turks or Arabs than I would have expected against their European coreligionists or semi-coreligionists.

I don't treasure the notion of the army of the 1st Crusade as ravening beasts but I also don't elevate them to the level of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. The latter is mythical for a reason, namely that it was not true.

This does not mean that the Turks or Arabs faired any better. Obviously, the Persians are elevated above all these worldly and mortal sins ;-)


If you want to visit his castle: http://www.bouillon-tourisme.be/en/photos

Battle of the Bulge, took place close by too: http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/7-8/7-8_22.htm

Best time to visit: May and June, unless you like to Ski, then best January but that depends on the year. Sometimes, there is no snow.


Does the same exist in Hebrew? I know that New York Jews have a habit of talking about the past in the present tense, which I suppose you could contribute to the eastern European (Slavic?) influence that undergirds the Ashkenazim. It’s not “I was sitting...” but “I’m sitting....” The actor Elliott Gould has made a schtick out of it.

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