I have for some years now avoided politics and rants of any kind on all topics and managed to blandly blog about cheese and whatever local city I was destined to travel to/from. With events in Europe so unfolding, it seems somewhat out of touch to then post yet another blahblahblah about some quaint, or not, American City, and my brief and sophomoric contact with that space.
So to Europe, I turn my attention, not as an expert, or journalist, but as a citizen of the world and to allow myself to think on paper. I share these thoughts with the Internets, perhaps to touch some like minded individuals, Ukranian clickbots, or foreign and nationally aligned trolls.
To put the current situation in Europe in context, I consider its history. When all the rest of the world was a tapestry of advanced civilizations, the muddy and cold corner that we now know as Europe was but barbarians and tribes, members of primitive tributes. The whole shitshow was of such enormous complexity that current archeologists are still trying to untangle the Celtic knots and make sense of the seemingly chaotic world before history was recorded using foreign Roman letters.
As records were better kept (by the invaders), we learn of the many migrants that came to stake a hold in that land. The Romans came, the Huns came, the Roma came, the Cossacks came, the plagues of India and so many other perilous conditions that at any time may have vanished the peoples of Europe beneath the soil. Though battles, more wars, murder, compromises with God, compromises with the Visigoths, and luck, all of these migrating/invading armies and dire circumstances fell aside or were vanquished and their survivors assimilated and over the course of so many hundreds of years, perhaps thousands, and despite itself, Europe took shape.
For no practical reason, Europe rallied about the cross and sent their legions to then Palestine and the long hundreds of years of activity collectively known as the Crusades (an activity lionized or vilified depending on the whim of the intellectuals of Western Culture at any given point in time). This, it has been argued, prevented and harassed Islamic expansion into Europe for a time in the East. At the fall of the final Crusade, Islam (there were then no Arabs back then this identity was, many say, created by the British during WWI), repulsed the European… uh… as the Crusaders saw it they were migrants… as the old timers saw it invaders from its lands and established what would become in time, and after many iterations, the Ottoman Empire. Some others have argued it was European intrusion that finally united the Sultanates and recovered the might of the East, that the European migrants/invaders had fashioned so many bickering forces into a unfired entity. Recovered, and now unified, yet another invader came to Europe after some rest.
The armies of the East and Islam broke through the proverbial gates in 1453. The armies of Islam pushed on to Bosphorus and Turkey, a then ancient Christian Empire, and once part of Europe. Islam had already been in the Iberian peninsula for some 700 years and it may have seemed to many the end of the known, or at least Christian, world.
Spain Reconquista-ed their chunk of Europe after over 700 years in 1492 while Vienna, well into the Age of Enlightenment (depending on your epochs), looked down the barrel of Turkish artillery and Damascus steel and the prospect of dialing back progress and their own internal bickering amongst Christian sects that had set fire to Europe for decades, and in the 1680s shoved the Sultans to the other side of the Carpathians. Another pitched battle for the heart, commerce, and souls of Europe, and another improbable victory. On both fronts (and some years apart), both incursions were repulsed despite the very best the leaders of Europe could do to squabble, occlude, bicker, and otherwise fail to cooperate even when their best interests were at stake. Europe has on more than one occasion managed to repel an invasion or rise to greatness despite itself, its leaders, and the stubborn culture of the peasants.
And so it is with great wonder then that this territory, long seen as a backwater of the world, came to rule the world. The age of invention, discovery and European expansion had for some five hundred years since the Battle of Vienna given rise to not only to Modern Europe but the Modern World. It is a European that influenced and invented The World As We Know It (TWAWKI), whether we like it or not, or whether it is a good thing or not. The western collar, the baseball hat, the blue jeans, and all the infrastructure needed to create and propagate the Geography of Nowhere is extant from Marrakesh to Kolkata, to Lima to Nemiscau to… I won’t re-write Das Kapital… Or Lonely Planet.
Whateveritis, today there are more people in Asia speak English than in any other part of the world. Spanish is the language of people of all colours. We live in a world where European inventions of the 18th and 19th centuries pulled the remainder of our orbis unum out of the traditions and primitivism and into what we now call The Modern World. (For good if you have a TeeVee, iThingy, or heat in winter, bad if you a tree, monkey, snail, fish, ocean, forest, or mountain).
The Ottomans while repulsed from Vienna, managed to hold on to much of Europe until the Great War to End All Wars. It was then, that through hundreds of years of rot, that the Sick Man Of Europe was broken up and gobbled by so many formerly oppressed peoples of what is now Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Romania, and whatever bits Yugoslavia fell into (am I missing anywhere?).
This break apart of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 was not even a hundred years ago. There may even be living people who remember the Ottoman Empire, a far from enlightened state and that chopped off heads for secular or religious or any reason it seems. That Empire fell, and was divided into regions determined by the victors. Then more wars came and reshaped those regions once again. While some may blame the European armies for dividing the nations into artificial lines, perhaps we can also blame the Ottomans for not making a more cohesive unit or being clearer recording who hated who, but perhaps the various Sultanates were more interested in their dancing boys than managing their ethnic or religious tensions other than burying them under the cloak of oppression.
Today, it is not any surprise that Europe has once again been migrated/invaded. All Empires must at some point fall to their tributes, that’s just how Empires work. All people of the Empire will resist these changes; that is just how people work. Having made the world in its image, it is no surprise that so many will come to its shores to enjoy some safety and security as others will come to bomb, kill, and murder.
It is not unsurprising that invaders come to Europe, as it is not a surprise that these invaders will be broken, assimilated and also change Europe.
These will be pitched battles, and in the coming years, perhaps decades, even more will die. However, history is not made through peace but forges ahead in blood, as it always has since while our clothes and material comforts may change in style and level, our human condition will remain the same since the Dawn of Man/The Fall of Man.
Paris will recover. It always has. People will fight more than ever online and off about whether the cause was this or that, as Western Liberalism turns in on itself, and “Conservatism” dies under its weight.
Newcomers to every land will always multiply and take on some of their neighbor’s attitudes and philosophy and yet stamp out their neighbors when they are strong and plentiful enough. That is just how numbers, and history, and apes, work. The Sick Man of Europe had not so much been given a cure, as to be put out of his misery by Europe and arisen as a spectre to haunt the many alleys and passages of the great cities of Europe, and certainly Paris. Perhaps it is time for another change, perhaps another battle of Vienna.
No matter the heave or tack, Europe must now deal with that Sick Man’s ghost as it looks for revenge upon its soil. Europe seems it may be coughing just a little more than it should, perhaps finally catching that disease. I am sure, that despite the treasonous leaders, infighting, comments on blogs, angry peasants afraid of migrants/conquers and neo haute Bourgeois looking for cheap labour and bonus points in the game of life, Europe will remain and in time assimilate the armies or drive them out, either process then taking perhaps hundreds of years, if this old world has that time left in Her.