Hagia Sophia

Around WW1 the industrialized empires of Britain and France with their very powerful navies smashed up much of the backward Ottoman empire.  But those naval forces were not very important in the final analysis. In the 4 decades leading to WW1 the Ottoman empire had often been the target of the equally vicious and murderous European imperialists.  An ongoing and massive dismemberment of its once vast empire was both historically important and was achieved during and after the world war by the land forces sweeping in from the deserts, from Greece and up from Egypt etc. Even Italy had jumped in with the support and encouragement of the British and the French, creating Libya from two of the Ottoman empire’s territories.

The pre-war activities and the success they had met with, was I think what lured the ‘believers’ like Churchill into the overreach disaster of the Gallipoli campaign .

It turned out that the big ships were a vast waste of effort when countered by the, mostly German-made, big guns on the land.  This was the period when the dreadnoughts were still thought to be the apex beasts and it was soon to be proved that they were no such thing.  Like the dinosaurs their time was coming to an end and yet even the upcoming military powers did not foresee this and expended huge effort on building and manning these massive money pits.  The new era required a new navy.

What all actually needed particularly the central powers, was U and E boats and lots of little aeroplanes.  The era when aircraft carriers were queen of the seas had arrived.

In the end, the Turks were pushed back by the army that did the work coming out from Egypt and then mostly with T E Lawrence mobilizing the locals and using them to do the bulk of the killing and dying or so the story goes.  The truth is a bit different as the conventional army pushed up the east coast of the Mediterranean.  But even the colonial cannon fodder Australians, New Zealand and Indian soldiers did much of this work for nothing but the ‘glory’ of allowing the wealthy English and French imperialist minded ruling elites to map make at the end of the war and carry on with their colonial claptrap for another few decades!  An era now so thankfully gone with the wind.

The Ottoman Empire was reduced to a country that was made ‘secular’ by a modern military man’s diktat.  The leader that began the transformation of what remained of the collapsed Ottoman empire and so modernized the Turkey that emerged, was a general, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  After a few years at the helm, he turned the Hagia Sophia into a museum.  This doing has now been undone by the Islamist Erdogan and it has been returned to the -second hand- religious function it once had.

Hagia Sophia was once the greatest cathedral in Christendom and that’s not been forgotten by some prominent Christians! But there we were in 2020 and a Turkish court (not to be confused with a puppet Egyptian court mind but not a fully western court either) and then a democratic Islamist leader (who continues to modernize Turkey and again not to be confused with an Egyptian military coup leader but who is both a democrat and a conservative) took quite predictable steps.

Whingers the world over like the inbred journalists of the ABC/BBC started carrying on as if this was some kind of outrage! It wasn’t. I say it’s a TINA issue for democrats!

Islamist’s have control of a country as a result of peaceful democratic contest and they wanted the building back.  The democrats that run Turkey have said that it will be treated by the Turkish state just like Europe’s great cathedrals.  How good is that compared to the KSA or IRAN?  Compare Turkey to Pakistan.

100 years on and after a huge struggle it’s not run by a military man’s diktat anymore! Democracy has taken root and naturally conservative Islamists win the vote and form the government.  But we all recall that the struggle against the military taking over in a bloody coup is still a real, life and death struggle.

If you were wanting to go to 21stcentury western style democracy you wouldn’t want to start from anywhere else in the MENA.

This building has been subjected to a legitimate bourgeois legal process and so the outcome is obviously good news for democrats!

Democracy continues to unfold in Turkey.    The Islamist peoples that vote for Erdogan continue to insist that they can believe what they want AND systematically undo the work of others!   Now that’s the way to ‘pull down’ a statue!   Put a whole museum under the microscope.  How did ‘their’ building get taken over for a museum?  If democracy now is to mean anything why are they not to have it back!  Court cases are decided that don’t please everyone.  After all, they stole it fair and square in the first place.

In the corporate liberal media off we go on a wild romp of but-what-a-bout and quite a bit of sympathy for the military and others caught up in the coup.  The struggle goes ever on.

There is -for just one glaring example- no gay marriage in Turkey!  Just like there wasn’t under the Australian government of Julia Dullard (don’t you love spell check)!  But then gays are not thrown off high buildings like they were and are by gangs in places like Libya and Syria!  That is how the Islamofascists in Iran have carried on for all my adult life.  In Syria and Libya they are not thrown by the government’s laws!  But they are ‘thrown’ and are as dead as those at the foot of the Sydney cliffs 3 and 4 decades ago!

The Islamists defeat their islamofascist foes in Syria and Libya and in their home base of Turkey not by becoming secularists but by declaring that -just like the great Western churches- their world-class church will be open to all even as it is used as the religious building that it is.

Naturally, the BBC/ABC has a vastly different spin on how decisions taken by ‘secularists’ can’t or at least ought not to be undone!  No surprise that some secular-minded people don’t like religious services resuming in this old religious building.  But TINA for democrats!

I wonder what the 1/2 theorists make of this demonstration of what a democratic country looks like in action.  Being a persona-non-grata among my old crowd what the almost silent Australian Marxists think is unknown to me.

From the mess that emerged from a defeated WW1 Ottoman Empire, a modern state was created.  Like the USSR that emerged from a VERY similar mess, it was born and carried on in grand style with more than just a few glaring blemishes.   The sight of these blemishes to any 21st C western liberal is of course disturbing, but though shocking to say yet it’s true that by Ottoman and Czarist standards even Putin’s Russia is progress! That is just not much to write to another continent about! So western liberal democracies are currently with no peers! That might be pathetic but that is where humanity is at.

So along comes yet more struggle for democracy!  2 forwards 1 back goes our little dance and here we are with Russia and Turkey in a ‘proxy’ war again.  The fascists make war every day and the democratic Islamists fight back every day but the Australian Marxists are silent.

What strange times we live in!

‘Why bother?… because I believe in a bright future and want to help make a difference. And I refuse to allow the likes of John Pilger, Tariq Ali and Tim Flannery to be seen as leftists.’  Good oh!

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