Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whose Hatred, Really?

Last month I wrote about the Skull Tower, a unique monument to the Ottoman legacy in the Balkans. To recap briefly, it is a structure made of stone, mortar and skulls of nearly 1000 Serbs who died in battle against the Turks in May 1809, outside Niš. The Turks won the battle, but with heavy losses. Their commander, Hurşid Ahmed Pasha, had the Serbs' heads skinned, stuffed and sent to the Sultan as trophies. The skulls were built into a tower 15 feet tall, intended to strike fear into any other Ottoman subject contemplating rebellion.

The Serbs kept on fighting, though, and eventually won their freedom. In 1878, when Niš was liberated, the crumbling tower was enclosed in a chapel, and stands there today as a monument to both the Ottoman cruelty and the Serbs' determination to be free.

But that is not what you'll read in this July's National Geographic. In a story about Serbia so typical of everything the Western mainstream media has made up and repeated over the past oh, two decades or so, the photo of the Skull Tower describes it as a "shrine to the Serbs' hatred of foreign domination."

Not the love of liberty. Not the cruelty of the Ottomans. Not the bitter legacy of Islamic conquest. It doesn't matter that any and all of these would be true, because none of them are politically correct. Liberty is verboten these days. Ottomans must always be described only as tolerant, multi-cultural and "diverse." And Islam is a "religion of peace." Therefore, it follows that the Skull Tower must be a monument to Serb "hatred."

What rubbish.


el swino said...

Thanks Gray Falcon for bringing this to our attention. I shall be looking it up. And here I am an avid reader of National Geographic.

Deucaon said...

Everybody knows that Serbs are only capable of feeling hatred and spite. Liberty? Bah! We don't know the meaning of the word.

robert49rml said...

"Give me liberty or give me death" It seems only Serbs are living this phrase.

Johan said...

Oh yes, "The National Geographic"...

Once upon a time, I shared an office with a graduate student from Nigeria, a sharp fellow who has made an outstanding academic career since.

This ubiquitous magazine had always had large inserts charting various regions of the Earth, and on this particular occasion it was a large colorful "ethnic" map of the African continent, the feature topic of the issue.

The countries therein contained select geographic and demographic data, while on the outer border of of the map were artistic renditions of their "typical" inhabitants, in full glory of their supposed national costumes: bushy hairdos, cervical-collar-like necklaces, bones through their noses, exotic robes, no robes, etc. ... the usual.

In retrospect, I don't know why I honestly thought that showing to my colleague this map would please him ("make him feel like at home" :-?). His polite comment was, yes, that was exactly how the colonialists and neocolonialists wanted the world to think about the subjects of their plunder, depicting them in a manner akin to describing exotic wildlife of remote quarters of the planet.

He then went on to tell me about long history of ancient African kingdoms and their highly developed cultures (at the times when Gallic, Gothic, Celtic and who knows which other assorted primitive barbarian tribes of "EU" were still roaming European continent with nothing remotely resembling civilization, not to mention culture).

The western "media" we are discussing these days are busy tools engaged in concerted "shaping" of "public opinion", and of course, include the "mainstream" publications, "The National Geographic" being no exception.

Michael Averko said...

That NG piece is lacking for sure.

Of recent note, there's also the horrifically outrageous Chicago based pro-KLA/anti-Serb musical, which Julia Gorin has commented about at her blog.

Cut and pasting this link will access one to what IMO is a slickly worded attempt at objectivity:

If the above link doesn't get picked up in full, go to the search engine of and type in Nenad Pesic and refer to his recent article on media coverage of the Bosnian Civil War.