Europeans As Victims Of Colonialism


Global Politician
July 27 2009

In my book Defeating Eurabia I have included a chapter entitled
Fourteen Centuries of War Against European Civilization, which deals
with Islamic colonization of and attacks on the European continent
since the seventh century AD. This part of history, when Europeans were
victims of colonialism and slave raids, deserves much more emphasis
than it currently receives, when the focus is almost exclusively on
the briefer European colonial period.

In 2008, demands were made that France must make reparations for its
colonial past in Algeria. I’m not an expert on French colonial history,
but if I recall correctly, the French were at least partly motivated
for establishing themselves in Algeria due to the Barbary pirates, who
continued their evil activities well into the nineteenth century. The
period of French rule is the only period of civilization Algeria
has experienced since the Romans. Muslims have been raiding Europe,
especially the southern regions but sometimes even north of the Alps,
since the seventh century. In fact, the only period during more than
1300 years when they haven’t done this was during the time of European
colonialism. Moreover, there are now more North Africans in France
than there ever were Frenchmen in North Africa. If non-Europeans can
resist colonization and expel intruders, why can’t Europeans do the
same thing?

Even among countries in Western Europe, only a minority have a
significant colonial history, and several of them like Spain and
Portugal had themselves been colonized before. Spain, which did have
an extensive colonial empire, was herself a victim of colonialism
significantly longer than she was a colonizer. As Ibn Warraq says in
his book Defending the West :

"Where the French presence lasted fewer than four years before they
were ignominiously expelled by the British and Turks, the Ottomans had
been the masters of Egypt since 1517, a total of 280 years. Even if
we count the later British and French protectorates, Egypt was under
Western control for sixty-seven years, Syria for twenty-one years,
and Iraq for only fifteen — and, of course, Saudi Arabia was never
under Western control. Contrast this with southern Spain, which was
under the Muslim yoke for 781 years, Greece for 381 years, and the
splendid new Christian capital that eclipsed Rome — Byzantium —
which is still in Muslim hands. But no Spanish or Greek politics of
victimhood apparently exist."

Paul Fregosi in his book Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests
from the 7th to the 21st Centuries calls Islamic Jihad "the most
unrecorded and disregarded major event of history. It has, in
fact, been largely ignored," although it has been a fact of life
in Europe, Asia and Africa for almost 1400 years. As Fregosi says,
"Western colonization of nearby Muslim lands lasted 130 years, from
the 1830s to the 1960s. Muslim colonization of nearby European lands
lasted 1300 years, from the 600s to the mid-1960s. Yet, strangely,
it is the Muslims…who are the most bitter about colonialism and the
humiliations to which they have been subjected; and it is the Europeans
who harbor the shame and the guilt. It should be the other way around."

Islamic Jihad raids started in the Mediterranean in the seventh century
AD. A proto-typical Muslim naval razzia occurred in 846 when a fleet
of Arab Jihadists arrived at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to
Rome, sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter
all of the gold and silver it contained. The reason why the Vatican
became a "city within the city" in Rome with fortifications was due
to repeated attacks by Muslims (Saracens). Here is a quote from the
book Rome: Art & Architecture, edited by Marco Bussagli:

Leo IV’s major building project is generally considered to be the
fortification of the Vatican area. After the devastation wrought by the
Saracens in St. Peter’s, profoundly shocking to the Christian world,
it was decided to fortify the area around St. Peter’s tomb. Leo III
had already made this decision, but little had been done because
of the theft of the materials set aside for the job. Leo IV, who had
already undertaken the repair of the Aurelian walls, gates, and towers,
organized the work in such a way that within four years he saw it
complete. On June 27, 852 the ceremony of consecration of the walls
was performed, in the presence of the pope and clergy, who, barefoot
and with heads smeared with ashes, processed round the entire circuit
of the fortifications, sprinkling them with holy water and at every
gate calling on divine protection against the enemy that threatened
the inhabitants. The enclosed area was to take on the status of a
city in its own right, which was both separate and distinct from the
Urbe of Rome, despite its proximity to it.

Such attacks were the rule in many regions of Eurasia, not just in
Europe. Indian historian K. S. Lal states that wherever Jihadists
conquered a territory, "there developed a system of slavery peculiar
to the clime, terrain, and populace of the place." When Muslim armies
invaded India, "its people began to be enslaved in droves to be sold
in foreign lands or employed in various capacities on menial and
not-so-menial jobs within the country."

While the Arabs dominated during the early centuries of the Islamic
era, the Turks soon converted and surpassed them as a force. As they
steadily conquered more and more of Anatolia, the Turks reduced many
Greeks and other non-Muslims there to slave status: "They enslaved
men, women, and children from all major urban centers and from the
countryside." Turkish attacks on nearby European lands lasted well
into the modern era.

– – – – – – – – – Dr. Andrew G. Bostom, author of the excellent book
The Legacy of Jihad, has written about what he calls " America’s
First War on Terror." Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving
as American ambassadors to France and Britain, met in 1786 in London
with the Tripolitan Ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman
Adja. These future American presidents were attempting to negotiate
a peace treaty which would spare the United States the ravages of
Jihad piracy — murder and enslavement emanating from the so-called
Barbary States of North Africa, corresponding to modern Morocco,
Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Bostom notes that "By June/July 1815
the ably commanded U.S. naval forces had dealt their Barbary jihadist
adversaries a quick series of crushing defeats. This success ignited
the imagination of the Old World powers to rise up against the
Barbary pirates."

Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, has
developed new methodical enumeration which indicates that perhaps one
and one-quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by
Barbary Muslims just from 1530 through 1780 — a far greater number
than had been estimated before:

Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled
in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like
Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England
and Iceland. Much of what has been written gives the impression that
there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had
on Europe," Davis said. "Most accounts only look at slavery in one
place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader,
longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact
become clear.

Jihad piracy and slave raids were a fact of life in the Mediterranean
and Black Sea regions for the better part of a thousand years, if not
more, occasionally with Christian retaliations. Italy was politically
fragmented and therefore had weak territorial defenses. As late as
the seventeenth century along the Adriatic coast, a zone said to be
"continually infested by Turks," even a well-defended town such as
Rimini could offer little by way of protection for the local fishermen
and coastal farmers. Robert C. Davis explains in Christian Slaves,
Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast
and Italy, 1500-1800:

Italy was among the most thoroughly ravaged areas in the Mediterranean
basin. Lying as it did on the frontline of the two battling empires,
Italy was known as ‘the Eye of Christendom’…Especially in areas
close to some of the main corsair bases (western Sicily is just 200
kilometers from Tunis) slave taking rapidly burgeoned into a full-scale
industry, with a disastrous impact that was apparent at the time and
for centuries to come. Those who worked on coastal farms, even 10 or
20 miles from the sea, were unsafe from the raiders — harvesters,
vine tenders, and olive growers were all regularly surprised while
at their labors and carried off. Workers in the salt pans were often
at risk, as were woodcutters and any others of the unprotected poor
who traveled or worked along the coasts: indigents like Rosa Antonia
Monte, who called herself ‘the poorest of the poor in the city of
Barletta [in Puglia],’ and who was surprised together with 42 others,
including her two daughters, while out gleaning after the harvest,
4 miles outside of town. Monasteries close to the shore also made
easy targets for the corsairs.

Fishermen were especially at peril. During a period in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, Muslim pirates set up semi-permanent bases
for themselves at the mouth of the Bay of Naples, attacking small
ships. Surrounded by hostile seas on all sides,

the seventeenth century represented a dark period out of which Spanish
and Italian societies emerged as mere shadows of what they had been
in their earlier, golden ages. For individuals themselves, we can see
that the psychological traces of this trauma lasted beyond the time
that the larger societies had rebuilt themselves as modern states,
long after ‘even the idea ha[d] been lost of these dogs that had
brought so much terror.’ It continued just below the surface of the
coastal culture of the European Mediterranean even into the first
years of the twentieth century, when, as one Sicilian woman put it,
‘The oldest [still] tell of a time in which the Turks arrived in Sicily
every day. They came down in the thousands from their galleys and you
can imagine what happened! They seized unmarried girls and children,
grabbed things and money and in an instant they were [back] aboard
their galleys, set sail and disappeared….The next day it was the
same thing, and there was always the bitter song, as you could not
hear other than the lamentations and invocations of the mothers and
the tears that ran like rivers through all the houses.’

Corsairs from cities in North Africa — Tunis, Algiers etc. — would
raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside
villages to capture men, women and children. The impact was devastating
— France, England and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long
stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost abandoned by
their inhabitants.

At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably
exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African
interior. The lives of European slaves were often no better than the
victims of the transatlantic slave trade, which later tapped into
the preestablished Islamic slave trade in Africa. "As far as daily
living conditions, the Mediterranean slaves certainly didn’t have
it better," Davis says. While African slaves did grueling labor on
sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, European slaves were
often worked just as hard and as lethally — in quarries, in heavy
construction, and above all rowing the corsair galleys.

Young Englishmen risked being surprised by a fleet of Muslim pirates
showing up at their village, or being kidnapped while fishing at
sea. Thomas Pellow was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after
being captured by Barbary pirates as a cabin boy on a small English
vessel in 1716. He was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks
he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer
resorted to "burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant
did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner."

Throughout most of the seventeenth century, the English alone lost at
least 400 sailors a year to the slavers. One American slave reported
that 130 American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the
Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793 (which prompted
the eventual military response from the Americans mentioned above). In
his book White Gold , Giles Milton describes how regular Jihad razzias
in Europe extended as far north as distant Iceland in the middle of
the North Atlantic, where some local villagers in well-documented
attacks in the seventeenth century were kidnapped and dragged off to
North Africa as slaves.

As Murray Gordon writes in his book Slavery in the Arab World ,
the sexual aspects of slavery were disproportionate important in the
Islamic world. "Eunuchs commanded the highest prices among slaves,
followed by young and pretty white women." Usually, the high cost
of white female slaves made them a luxury which only rich Muslims
could afford:

"White women were almost always in greater demand than Africans,
and Arabs were prepared to pay much higher prices for Circassian
and Georgian women from the Caucasus and from Circassian colonies in
Asia Minor. After the Russians seized Georgia and Circassia in the
early part of the nineteenth century and, as a result of the Treaty of
Adrianople in 1829 under which they obtained the fortresses dominating
the road into Turkey from Circassia, the traffic in Circassian women
came to a virtual halt. This caused the price of Circassian women
to shoot up in the slave markets of Constantinople and Cairo. The
situation was almost completely reversed in the early 1840s when the
Russians, in exchange for a Turkish pledge to cease their attacks on
their forts on the eastern side of the Black Sea, quietly agreed not
to interfere in the slave traffic. This unrestricted trade brought
on a glut in the Constantinople and Cairo markets, where prices
for Circassian women brought them in reach of many ordinary Turks
and Egyptians."

After whites, Abyssinian (Ethiopian) girls were considered the "second
best" alternative. Depending on lightness of skin, attractiveness
and skills, they cost anywhere from a tenth to a third of the price
of a Circassian or Georgian woman. As long as Circassian, Slavic,
Greek and other white women were available at affordable prices,
Arabs always preferred them to blacks. It is interesting to notice
that this pattern was established long before the European colonial
period. These days when everything bad in the world is attributed
to Europeans, it is common to say that "racism" is a legacy of the
European colonial period. In fact, there is a virtually universal
preference for light skin, especially for women, in the Middle East,
in Asia and in Africa itself, which was present long before European
colonial rule in these countries.

According to Murray Gordon, "For a better part of the Middle Ages,
Europe served as a valuable source of slaves who were prized in the
Muslim world as soldiers, concubines, and eunuchs. It would not long
compete with Africa in this trade if only because Christian Europe,
with few exceptions, rejected the notion that its people could be
enslaved, particularly for the despised Muslim world. In the greatest
part of black Africa, by contrast, there were few governments or
chiefs that could interpose their authority against the merchants
who arrived by caravan and ship in quest of slaves. Lamentably, many
African chiefs often became middlemen in the trade by rounding up
inhabitants of nearby villages and exchanging them for an assortment
of manufactured wares."

There are examples where some Europeans sold other Europeans as
slaves. This could be done by Vikings or Slavs, but especially by
certain Italians, above all the Venetians. Some shipowners from
Venice loaded up with Russian and Georgian slaves in the Black Sea
and sold them to the Turks or to Venetian sugar plantations in Crete
and Cyprus. These kinds of activities, which were harshly condemned
by both the Roman Catholic and the Byzantine Churches, should be
mentioned for the sake of historical accuracy, but this was clearly
of secondary importance compared to the extensive Islamic raids in
Europe for many centuries.

Slavery never faced as powerful opposition in Muslim societies as it
sometimes did in Christian ones. Toward end of the nineteenth century,
questions about slavery were finally raised, but only due to Western
influence and military pressure. Murray Gordon writes:

That slavery persisted as long as it did in the Muslim world — it
was only abolished in Saudi Arabia in 1962 and as late as 1981 in
Mauritania — owed much to the fact that it was deeply anchored in
Islamic law. By legitimizing slavery and, by extension, the sordid
traffic in slaves (for which there was no legal sanction), Islam
elevated these practices to an unassailable moral plan. As a result,
in no part of the Muslim world was an ideological challenge ever
mounted against slavery. The political structure and social system in
Muslim society would have taken a dim view of such a challenge. The
sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the potentates who ruled in other
Muslim lands owed their thrones as much as to their being religious as
well as secular leaders and were therefore duty bound to uphold the
faith. Part of this obligation was to assure the normal functioning
of the slave system which was an integral part of Islamic society
that is embellished in the Koran.

Unlike the West, there never was a Muslim abolitionist movement since
slavery is permitted according to sharia, Islamic religious law,
and remains so to this day. When the open practice of slavery was
finally abolished in most of the Islamic world, this was only due to
external Western pressure, ranging from the American war against the
Barbary pirates to the naval power of the British Empire. Slavery
was taken for granted throughout Islamic history and lasted longer
than did the Western slave trade. Robert Spencer elaborates in his
book A Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t:

Nor was there a Muslim abolitionist movement, no Clarkson, Wilberforce,
or Garrison. When the slave trade ended, it was ended not through
Muslim efforts but through British military force. Even so, there is
evidence that slavery continues beneath the surface in some Muslim
countries — notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in
1962; Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970;
and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the
ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in
bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like
animals. There are even slavery cases involving Muslims in the United
States. A Saudi named Homaidan al-Turki was sentenced in September
2006 to twenty-seven years to life in prison for keeping a woman as
a slave in his Colorado home. For his part, al-Turki claimed that he
was a victim of anti-Muslim bias.

Slavery involving peoples of all races, Germans, Saxons, Celts and
some black Africans, was widely practiced in the Greco-Roman world. The
most famous slave rebellion during the Roman era was led by Spartacus,
a gladiator-slave from the Thracian people who dominated Bulgaria and
the Balkan region close to the Black Sea in early historic times. His
rebellion was crushed in 71 BC, and thousands of slaves were crucified
alongside the road to Rome as a warning to others. The retreat of
slavery in Europe followed the spread of Christianity.

All the way back to the Old Kingdom in ancient Egypt, slavery was an
important component of Africa’s trade to other continents. However,
according to Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns in A History of
Sub-Saharan Africa , "The advent of the Islamic age coincided with
a sharp increase in the African slave trade." The expansion of the
trans-Saharan slave trade associated with the Sahelian empire of Ghana
was a response to the demand in the markets of Muslim North Africa:

"The moral justification for the enslavement of Africans south of the
Sahara by Muslims was accepted by the fact they were ‘unbelievers’
(kafirin) practicing their traditional religions with many gods,
not the one God of Islam. The need for slaves, whether acquired by
violence or by commercial exchange, revived the ancient but somnolent
trans-Saharan trade, which became a major supplier of slaves for
North Africa and Islamic Spain. The earliest Muslim account of slaves
crossing the Sahara from the Fezzan in southern Libya to Tripoli on
the Mediterranean coast was written in the seventh century, but from
the ninth century to the nineteenth there are a multitude of accounts
of the pillage by military states of the Sahel, known to North African
Muslims as bilad al-sudan, (‘land of the blacks’), of pagan Africans
who were sold to Muslim merchants and marched across the desert as a
most profitable commodity in their elaborate commercial networks. By
the tenth century there was a steady stream of slaves taken from
the kingdoms of the Western Sudan and the Chad Basin crossing the
Sahara. Many died on the way, but the survivors fetched a great profit
in the vibrant markets of Sijilmasa, Tripoli, and Cairo."

The spread of Islam with Arab contacts did bring literacy to
sub-Saharan West Africa, but otherwise Muslims stimulated the slave
trade from East Africa to the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and
the Persian Gulf, and some African slaves were shipped as far as
Central Asia and India. When Europeans began to arrive in force in
sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa north of the Sahara and the Red Sea coast was known to the
ancient Mediterranean world, but sub-Saharan Africa was not. The
Portuguese made planned expeditions along West Africa in the fifteenth
century, which required decades of improvements in navigation and
shipbuilding before they could round the Cape of Good Hope and reach
the Indian Ocean.

While the extensive Portuguese participation in the transatlantic
slave trade is widely known, not everybody knows that Cristóvão da
Gama (1516-1542), son of the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama
(ca. 1460-1524), fought in Ethiopia in support of local Christians in
the early 1540s, and died there. The Ethiopians were the only literate
African nation not under Islamic rule; they had been Christianized via
the Egyptian Copts already in the fourth and fifth centuries AD, but
had been virtually cut off from direct contact with the Mediterranean
Christian world after the Islamic conquests. Portuguese mercenaries
arrived to prevent the Ethiopian kingdom from being overwhelmed
by Muslims from the plains of Somalia. Robert O. Collins and James
M. Burns explain in A History of Sub-Saharan Africa:

Its monarchy had captured the last Muslim stronghold in Portugal in
1249 and in 1385 had initiated a stable political system under the new
dynasty, the house of Avis, isolated on the western coast of Europe
with a powerful and suspicious Spain as its neighbor to the east. The
gold of Africa would provide the resources to defend the kingdom
and finance Portuguese expeditions around Africa to the Indian Ocean
and Asia in order to reap the wealth from the spice trade. Moreover,
beyond the Sahara Desert lived the non-Muslim peoples of West Africa
who perhaps could be converted to Christianity and enlisted in the
crusade against the Muslims….And then there was the compelling
legend of Prester John, which ignited the desire of medieval European
monarchs to succor this beleaguered Christian king surrounded by Muslim
enemies somewhere in the East. By the fifteenth century the legend
of Prester John had come to be associated with Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
in northeast Africa; his Christian subjects were said to be defending
the faith against the jihad (holy war) of Islam. No Portuguese king,
noble, or peasant could neglect their Christian responsibility to
come to the aid of Prester John and his people.

Moreover, what was to become in ensuing centuries a worldwide European
expansion and exploration of the seas started in Portugal in the
fifteenth century with the initiatives of Prince Henry the Navigator
(1394-1460). Incidentally, the exploration of the African coasts
began with the Portuguese in 1415 capturing the North African port
of Ceuta, which had been used as a base for Muslim Barbary pirates
in their attacks on the coasts of Portugal, capturing the locals as
slaves and depopulation several regions because of repeated attacks.

One of the most important reasons for this early European overseas
expansion was the desire to get away from the iron grip Muslims had
enjoyed over the European continent for so long. Norman Davies in
his massive book Europe: A History elaborates:

Islam’s impact on the Christian world cannot be exaggerated. Islam’s
conquests turned Europe into Christianity’s main base. At the
same time the great swathe of Muslim territory cut the Christians
off from virtually all direct contact with other religions and
civilizations. The barrier of militant Islam turned the [European]
Peninsula in on itself, severing or transforming many of the earlier
lines of commercial, intellectual and political intercourse. In the
field of religious conflict, it left Christendom with two tasks —
to fight Islam and to convert the remaining pagans. It forced the
Byzantine Empire to give lasting priority to the defence of its Eastern
borders, and hence to neglect its imperial mission in the West. It
created the conditions where the other, more distant Christian states
had to fend for themselves, and increasingly to adopt measures for
local autonomy and economic self-sufficiency. In other words, it
gave a major stimulus to feudalism. Above all, by commandeering the
Mediterranean Sea, it destroyed the supremacy which the Mediterranean
lands had hitherto exercised over the rest of the Peninsula.

No European peoples suffered more from Islamic colonialism than those
in the Balkans. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the pre-eminent historian of
Mughal India, wrote this about dhimmitude, the humiliating apartheid
system imposed upon non-Muslims under Islamic rule: "The conversion
of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every
form of dissent is the ideal of the Muslim State. If any infidel
is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil,
and for a transitional period only….A non-Muslim therefore cannot
be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class;
his status is a modified form of slavery. He lives under a contract
(dhimma) with the State….In short, his continued existence in the
State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional
upon his person and property made subservient to the cause of Islam."

This "modified form of slavery" is now frequently referred to as the
pinnacle of "tolerance." If the semi-slaves rebel against this system
and desire equal rights and self-determination, Jihad resumes. This
happened with the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire, who were
repressed with massacres, culminating in the genocide by Turkish and
Kurdish Muslims against Armenians in the 20th century.

The Balkans, with its close connections to Byzantium, was a reasonably
sophisticated region in medieval times, until the Ottomans Turks
devastated much of the area. One of the most appalling aspects of
this was the practice of devshirme, the collecting of boys among the
Christians who were forcibly converted to Islam and taught to hate
their own kin. Andrew G. Bostom quotes the work of scholar Vasiliki
Papoulia, who highlights the continuous desperate struggle of the
Christian populations against this forcefully imposed Ottoman levy:

It is obvious that the population strongly resented…this measure
[and the levy] could be carried out only by force. Those who refused
to surrender their sons– the healthiest, the handsomest and the most
intelligent — were on the spot put to death by hanging. Nevertheless
we have examples of armed resistance. In 1565 a revolt took place in
Epirus and Albania. The inhabitants killed the recruiting officers
and the revolt was put down only after the sultan sent five hundred
janissaries in support of the local sanjak-bey. We are better informed,
thanks to the historic archives of Yerroia, about the uprising in
Naousa in 1705 where the inhabitants killed the Silahdar Ahmed Celebi
and his assistants and fled to the mountains as rebels. Some of them
were later arrested and put to death.

The Christian subjects tried for centuries to combat this evil

Since there was no possibility of escaping [the levy] the population
resorted to several subterfuges. Some left their villages and fled
to certain cities which enjoyed exemption from the child levy or
migrated to Venetian–held territories. The result was a depopulation
of the countryside. Others had their children marry at an early
age…Nicephorus Angelus…states that at times the children ran away
on their own initiative, but when they heard that the authorities had
arrested their parents and were torturing them to death, returned and
gave themselves up. La Giulletiere cites the case of a young Athenian
who returned from hiding in order to save his father’s life and then
chose to die himself rather than abjure his faith. According to the
evidence in Turkish sources, some parents even succeeded in abducting
their children after they had been recruited. The most successful way
of escaping recruitment was through bribery. That the latter was very
widespread is evident from the large amounts of money confiscated by
the sultan from corrupt…officials.

Lee Harris in his book The Suicide of Reason describes how this
practice of devshirme, the process of culling the best, brightest
and fittest "alpha boys," targeted the non-Muslim subject populations:

The bodyguard of Janissaries ‘had the task of protecting the
sovereign from internal and external enemies,’ writes scholar
Vasiliki Papoulia. ‘In order to fulfill this task it was subjected
to very rigorous and special training, the janissary education
famous in Ottoman society. This training made possible the spiritual
transformation of Christian children into ardent fighters for the
glory of the sultan and their newly acquired Islamic faith.’ Because
the Christian boys had to be transformed into single-minded fanatics,
it was not enough that they simply inherit their position. They had
to be brainwashed into it, as we would say today, and this could be
done most effectively with boys who had been completely cut off from
all family ties. By taking the boys from their homes, and transporting
them to virtually another world, devcirme assured that there would be
no conflict of loyalties between family and duty to the empire. All
loyalty would be focused on the group itself and on the sultan.

This practice drained the strength of the Christian populations. Harris

The culling of these alpha boys had two effects, both of them good for
the Ottoman Empire, both bad for the subject population. By filling the
critical posts in the Ottoman Empire with boys who had been selected
on the basis of their intrinsic merit, and not on their family
connection, the Empire was automatically creating a meritocracy —
if a boy was tough, courageous, intelligent, and fanatically loyal,
he was able to work his way up the Ottoman hierarchy; indeed, as we
have seen, he become a member of the ruling elite, despite having the
formal title of being the sultan’s slave. The Ottoman Empire was both
strengthening itself through acquiring these alpha boys, and weakening
its subject population by taking their best and brightest. Thanks
to the institution of devcirme, the more ‘fit’ Christian boys who
would be most likely to be the agents of rebellion against the Empire
become the fanatical Muslim warriors who were used to suppress whatever
troubles the less ‘fit’ Christian boys left behind were able to cause.

The most enduring legacy of the centuries of Ottoman Turkish
rule in the Balkans is the presence of large indigenous Muslim
communities. Srdja Trifkovic explains in Kosovo: The Score 1999-2009, a
book dedicated to the anniversary of the NATO bombing of Serbia, which
resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Christian Serbs by predominantly
Muslim Albanians:

The Balkan Peninsula is one of the most ethnically and religiously
diverse regions in the world, especially considering its relatively
small area (just over 200,000 square miles) and population (around 55
million). Of that number, Eastern Orthodox Christians — mainly Greeks,
Bulgars, Serbs and Slavic Macedonians — have the slim majority of
around 53 percent; Sunni Muslims (11 million Turks in European Turkey
and a similar number of Albanians, Slavic Muslims and ethnic Turks
elsewhere) make up 40 percent; and Roman Catholics (mainly Croats) are
at around 5 percent. Those communities do not live in multicultural
harmony. Their mutual lack of trust that occasionally turns into
violence is a lasting fruit of the Turkish rule. Four salient features
of the Ottoman state were institutionalized, religiously justified
discrimination of non-Muslims; personal insecurity; tenuous coexistence
of ethnicities and creeds without intermixing; and the absence of a
unifying state ideology or supra-denominational source of loyalty. It
was a Hobbesian world, and it bred a befitting mindset; the zero-sum
game approach to politics, in which one side’s gain is perceived as
another’s loss. That mindset has not changed, almost a century since
the disintegration of the Empire.

Trifkovic warns that "The Christian communities all over the Balkans
are in a steep, long-term demographic decline. Fertility rate is
below replacement level in every majority-Christian country in the
region. The Muslims, by contrast, have the highest birth rates in
Europe, with the Albanians topping the chart. On current form it
is likely that Muslims will reach a simple majority in the Balkans
within a generation."

The wars in the Balkans are a direct result of the legacy of Turkish
Muslim colonialism. So why does nobody demand that the Turks should
pay reparations to their former subjects, starting with the Armenians,
who suffered a Jihad genocide less than a century ago, and continuing
with the Serbs, the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Croatians and others
who have suffered hundreds of years of abuse and exploitation at
their hands?

There is a persistent myth that the Scientific and Industrial
Revolutions happened only because Europeans "plundered" other
continents. This is easily disproved since there is little correlation
between which countries had extensive colonial empires and which
developed sophisticated scientific-industrial economies. Portugal had
several colonies and was an active participant in the transatlantic
slave trade, yet it is one of the poorest countries in Western Europe,
in sharp contrast to Sweden, Switzerland or Finland which have no
colonial histories.

The Spanish brought much silver and gold back from their colonies
in Latin America, which had sometimes been extracted under very
harsh conditions. Yet the Spanish never developed a leading role in
European science and technology. The Italians were much more prominent
in European science then the Spanish despite the fact that they had
no colonial history, if for no other reason than because "Italy"
as a state did not exist before the second half of the nineteenth
century. The same can be said even more about Germany. The Germans
outperformed the French and sometimes even the British at the dawn
of the twentieth century in science and technology, despite the fact
that the two latter had global colonial empires whereas the Germans
held only a few, rather marginal colonies.

If we look at the post-Roman period as a whole, a picture emerges
where Europe was under siege by hostile aliens for most of the
time, yet succeeded against all odds. Already before AD 1300,
Europeans had created a rapidly expanding network of universities,
an institution which had no real equivalent anywhere else, and had
invented mechanical clocks and eyeglasses. It is easy to underestimate
the importance of this, but the ability to make accurate measurements
of natural phenomena was of vital importance during the Scientific and
Industrial Revolutions. The manufacture of eyeglasses led indirectly
to the development of microscopes and telescopes, and thus to modern
medicine and astronomy. The network of universities facilitated
the spread of information and debate and served as an incubator for
many later scientific advances. All of these innovations were made
centuries before European colonialism had begun, indeed at a time
when Europe itself was a victim of colonialism and had been so for a
very long time. Parts of Spain were still under Islamic occupation,
an aggressive Jihad was being waged by the Turks in the remaining
Byzantine lands, and the coasts from France via Italy to Russia had
suffered centuries of Islamic raids.

Fjordman is a noted Norwegian blogger who has written for many
conservative web sites. He used to have his own Fjordman Blog in the
past, but it is no longer active.