In response to this morning’s post about the possibility that Hells Angels and football hooligans will act as a vanguard against Islamization, a Danish reader sent us this brief note:
The tale of criminals as the defenders against the Moslem onslaught is not new.
In Dalmatia and Istria, you had the Uskoks acting as anti-Moslem pirates, with occasional raids inland.
In the Slavic mainland Balkans, you had the Hajduks mostly preying on travellers, but joining any anti-Moslem rebellion they could lay their hands on.
In Greece, it was the Klephts — also mostly common robbers — who provided most of the initial manpower in the Greek rebellion in the 1820s.
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Arkan’s Serbian goons in Bosnia and Kosovo are a vastly more controversial example.
Given that it is illegal to use targeted violence against anybody, outlaws have a shorter road to travel before they take up arms.
That doesn’t make them nice people. That does make them a vanguard in a lot of historical cases.
This is quite true, and there are other similar cases. An example with a different enemy, but relying on the same principle, was the use of pirates — “privateers” — by the English crown against the Spanish Main in the 17th century. Some of the greatest English naval heroes began as pirates.