Thursday, January 24, 2013

Praising the Darkness

The good folks at Britic (a British Serb magazine) kept in mind my warning about the likely revisionism of the Great War in the run-up to its centennial, and noticed this atrocity perpetrated by the BBC:
Bosnia 1908… Austria annexed Bosnia in the Balkans. This annoyed Serbia, which wanted to take over the area. Russia wanted to help Serbia, but had to back down.
Balkan Wars 1912-1913…Serbia and other countries in the Balkans conquered most of Turkey’s land in Europe. Serbia became a powerful country, and said Austria-Hungary was its next target.
Assassination of Franz Ferdinand 1914…The heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary was shot by Gavrilo Princip, a young Serb terrorist, in Sarajevo in Bosnia.
This is from the Beeb's "bitesize" study sheet for secondary school students (ages 14-16) taking their GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) tests. Bite-size, indeed - more like highly condensed, Grade A horse manure the kids are liable to choke on.

What is quoted above aren't so much distortions, as outright lies. The Balkans Alliance didn't "conquer" anyone's land, least of all Turkish, nor did Serbia ever say "Austria-Hungary was its next target" (though Austrian propaganda certainly did). And if Gavrilo Princip is a terrorist, then that word has lost all meaning.

It's bad enough that the Serbs and Russians are being cast as the villainous aggressors against the virtuous Turks, Austrians and Germans. The BBC obviously needs reminding, though, that these were the very Central Powers that Britain fought against in that war. Didn't anyone get the memo about the reason everyone wears a poppy on their lapels around November 11?

It is one thing to wish Britain had stayed out of the war (as Niall Ferguson does in "Pity of War"), but look at the questions the BBC is having the students ponder:

Think about the events that increased tension across Europe and the consequences of these events. Can you think which event(s):
  1. Made the British public hate the Germans.
  2. Made France think that Germany wanted to destroy its empire.
  3. Showed that the British thought Germany wanted to challenge the British navy.
  4. Made Austria-Hungary determined to destroy Serbia.
  5. Made Russia determined to support the Serbs.
  6. Made Austria-Hungary frightened of Serbia.
  7. Made Britain think Germany wanted to destroy its empire.
  8. Made Germany determined to stand up to France and Britain.
Take a second to parse the questions, the way they are phrased. Don't they generate an impression that the fault here was really with Britain and France, for being paranoid about Germany, and with Serbia and Russia for threatening the Austrians? That the Germans, Austrians and Turks were acting merely out of legitimate self-defense? Considering that the New York Times recently referred to the first Entente victory over the Central Powers as "infamous," this is dangerously close to crossing the lines of coincidence and happenstance, and seriously suggesting enemy action.

As European powers entered the war in August 1914, Sir Edward Grey famously said, "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our time." Just as well he didn't live to see the day the British would actually praise the darkness.

15 comments:

Bezimenka said...

It boggles the mind to see such a wanton re-writing of history. After twenty years of lies, I thought I was beyond offense, but I feel so disheartened reading this post. Is nothing sacred? Serbs are still being decimated in the media and losing the PR war. It's going to take money--lots and lots of money--to turn this tide, but the Serbs aren't spending it. The only other recourse is grassroots activism and lobbying.

Gray Falcon said...

One must have money to spend money. And trying to buy haters is a losing proposition anyway. But activism, now, that might get us somewhere.

Aleks said...

Curious how they always forget Muhamed Mehmedbašić, one of the other members tasked with assassinating the Archduke.

Wikipedia calls him a 'Bosniak'!

According to the same source it says Princip's house in Sarajevo was destroyed three times, the last time in the 1990's by 'the government' (must be fans of Izetbegovic or otherwise they would have said it was the Serbs) and "The Gavrilo Princip museum has been turned into a museum dedicated to Archduke Ferdinand and the Habsburg monarchy".

How FU is that?

Unknown said...

Riots in the streets of Belgrade, removing a monument to France from the Kalemegdan Park, and plastering the city with posters of Slobodan Milosevic's image could be a start.

Gray Falcon said...

Short answer, Aleks? Very. Though I suppose one ought to differentiate between what "Bosniak" was supposed to mean in 1914 (Vienna's preferred name for all the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina), and what it's supposed to mean today (inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina who follow Islam).

Unknown, I'd rather not see riots. They tend to be terribly destructive of private property. Removing a monument to France is a good idea, though.

Bezimenka said...

I think the Serbian diaspora is no more impoverished than the Albanian or Croatian diaspora. Albanians have been buying American politicians for the past 30 years. Croatians launched a major PR campaign before the war ever broke out. Serbs still aren't on board and they're 30 years behind the curve, so, yeah, activism may be our only hope. It will require participation and singular focus (unity).

The Hero of Crappy Town said...

The monument is to France of 1914-1918. That's a different France.

Dule Vicovac said...

I'll be opening a bottle to celebrate when Scotland votes out of the UK in the coming 14 months. Then the BBC wont have as much money to spread the hate.

Aleksandra said...

Excellent post. And the comment regarding the France of 1914-1918 being a "different France" is absolutely correct. The France of 1914-1918 was a good France. Keep up the great work, Gray Falcon.

Pedja said...

To try and change people’s mind telling them the "truth" is an exercise in futility.
We could learn from the Israelis, and fight for our rights and country and do not care what anybody thinks.
Aggressively attack anybody that in any way works against you.

Gray Falcon said...

Pedja, in my experience, the Israelis both argue for the truth and fight. Our problem is that Serbia (well, the Serbian government, to be precise) does neither.

panix Panixgr said...

Let us set some things straight here :

1) Yes the jews are massively advertised by imperial media as the chosen nation of God (along with the Saxons, of course)

2) Yes the Palestinians are brutally oppressed in their own ancient homeland and no ones lift a finger about it.

3) Yes, the palestinians (like helpless muslim sheep that they are) kept jumping up and down like monkeys when USA bombed the Serbs in Bosnia/Serbia

What is more interesting is the Palestinian view of WWI, which they regard as orchestrated by the jews, and have even called Gavrilo Princip a jew agent. But when i talked about Mlada Bosna, my palestinian friend got pale, cause a united Bosnia spoils his muslim wet dreams.

What i wanna conclude here : Serbs have only one friend : THE SLAVS, and i am 100000000000000% positive about it...

connection with asian civilizations (greeks/israelis) lead no-where.

Did you see the recent pro-Serb events in Czech and Poland? hmmmm anything similar in USA-controlled Israel?? in UK-controlled Greece??

hmmmm, supposedly Poland, Czech are also western lapdogs these days, no??? SO WHY IS IT AND ONLY THE SLAVS HAVE THE GUTS TO STAND UP?????

Gray Falcon said...

I don't think Pedja was calling for "connection" with Israel, merely emulation thereof. Either way, I'd be plenty happy if the Serbs began to protest more forcefully their betrayal from within.

panix Panixgr said...

Dear Falcon,

I pretty much suspect that if Serbs had a chance they would grab it. With no commercial channels and constant western political aggression, we cannot expect miracles. How can we demand from Serbs to protest, when all the Slavic neighbors are equally poor, divided, isolated and weak?

If it will come, it will come for all Slavs. God knows if and when. Sporadic Serb protests will not make much difference. Either you got the weapons/technology/passion/will or not, there is no intermediate situation.

Gray Falcon said...

On the contrary, right now is where a miracle is most needed. Where there's a will, there's a way. But I concur that sporadic protest won't solve a thing, and that there are no intermediate solutions.