A Lost Generation

Like me, JLH is the age group that is most at risk from COVID-19 (although he’s a ways further along in that group than I am). Below is his take on the current Coronamadness, and what it portends for younger generations.

A Lost Generation

by JLH

It’s a pain for all of us — wearing a mask, keeping social distance. But, in a way, it is easier for those of us most vulnerable. We just have to follow the rules and try to stay safe. Those who are considered most at risk are often retired — able to stay out of the mainstream of life until this all goes away (when?). And we also have the choice of resisting it in whatever way we wish.

Even if we live out our lives this way, we have already had lives. We went to school, had proms, dated and mingled. It’s there in our memories. What we are deprived of is perhaps one more trip we wanted to take, the parties we still wanted to give and attend.

If you live to a certain age, how much do you have to complain of? If your life was not completely to your satisfaction, that may have had something to do with how you lived it.

But how responsible is a sixteen— or seventeen-year-old high school student for what is happening to him or her? Classes at a distance — not only no real contact with the teacher, but with classmates. Maybe abbreviated, masked attendance at classes where not everyone understands everyone else. Where the teacher may sound as if he or she is talking with a mouthful of mashed potatoes. Where the teachers, too, are frustrated by seeing only a fraction of students at a time — possibly teaching the same thing twice. Where you can ask a student “What did you learn in your two days of class this week?” And the answer is “Nothing.”

What happens to the average student in an average town, in an average school, whose average parents have no idea about home-schooling? Is this their lost year? Will it be the only one? Will there be whole cohorts of youngsters whose minds and psyches will forever be stunted by the (hopefully one) year of stasis?

Nowadays, even young kids are into online surfing, texting, e-mailing. Sometimes someone of the older generations sees them with their noses in a phone and thinks, “Why aren’t they running around, skipping rope, playing sandlot baseball, capture-the-flag?” Adding a mask only intensifies the “flight inward”.

And the little ones… How do you explain to a 2-year-old that it’s okay that he/she can’t breathe so well, or eat M&Ms or (heaven forbid) chew bubble gum. Once we get home and close the door, you can, uh, watch TV without a mask on. But don’t go to your sister’s room for the next two weeks, okay?

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One for Good Luck

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the founding of Gates of Vienna.

I’m not doing anything special for the occasion. We had planned a big hoopla for the fifteenth anniversary last year, but when Dymphna died it kind of took the stuffing out of me, so I didn’t do much last year, either.

This year I simply note that another twelve leaves have dropped from the calendar. Time flies when you’re having fun!

The graphic at the top of this post features a photo of the cake that Dymphna and I created for the first anniversary on October 9, 2005. It was a real cake — I vaguely remember eating a little piece of it.

Looking at it reminds me of the day I put the tableau together and took the photo. It was pleasantly warm, like today. If you look closely, you’ll see a reflection of the candle flame just below the red star portion of the cake. The entire assemblage was mounted on a glass pane from the storm door of the front porch, under which I placed the printout with the Arabic script.

That was a vintage storm door, and the pane was actual glass, not Plexiglas. During the disassembling of the photo shoot — which took place on the front porch — I managed to break the glass. The replacement that is now in the door is a standard-issue Plexiglas pane from Lowes.

Tempus fugit.

Never Forget the Charge Down the Kahlenberg

We recently passed the 337th anniversary of the Other September 11th — the lifting of the Second Siege of Vienna by a Christian army commanded by Jan III Sobieski, the king of Poland, on September 11-12, 1683. Early in the morning on September 12 the king led the charge down the slope of the Kahlenberg to confront the Ottoman Army at the Gates of Vienna under the command of the Grand Vizier, Pasha Kara Mustafa. The Ottomans were routed, and fled back into Hungary. Kara Mustafa was later garroted for humiliating the Sultan with his defeat.

Despite the accelerating Islamization of Europe in the 21st century, the victory in 1683 has not been forgotten. Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from Politically Incorrect:

Welcoming comments by Petr Bystron on the occasion of the torchlight parade on Vienna’s Kahlenberg

“Remembrance of September 12, 1683 is more topical now than ever.”

September 15, 2020

Again this year, there was a solemn commemorative ceremony recalling defeat of the Turks and the saving of Europe in 1683. Approximately 300 people attended the event organized by the Kahlenberg Alliance. The Wiener Akademikerbund, the organization Okzident, ProVita and the Plattform Gedenken 1683 assembled notable speakers from neighboring lands.

From Slovakia came former Prime Minister Jan Carnogursky—the jurist who was arrested in 1989 as a communist dissident and later rose to become the conservative Minister of the Interior of Slovakia. As a devout Catholic, he is part of the Habsburg Order of St. George. His speech emphasized the Christian roots of Europe.

The Islam expert Irfan Peci — a welcome guest on TV talk shows until 2015 — represented academe. After he had discussed the Islamizing potential of the waves of immigration, the MSM began to avoid him. Presently he inspires the patriots’ camp with his expertise on Islam in Europe.

The foreign policy expert Petr Bystron sent a video message insisting that September 12 be made an all-Europe holiday. Bystron consistently battles against the Islamization of Europe, as well as the broadening of Europe to include Turkey. In his first Bundestag speech addressing Turkey, he said: “Dear Friends from Turkey, Turkey has never belonged to Europe, Europe ends at the Bosporus. And Turkey does not belong to the EU.”

The battle on the Kahlenberg decisively influenced Europe’s fate. This day in church was celebrated for centuries in the Catholic Church in Mary’s Name, specifically in reference to THE VICTORIOUS REPULSE OF THE TURKISH MUSLIMS, who cried “Allahu Akhbar” before Vienna’s walls.

On September 12 every year, especially in the former lands of the Habsburg monarchy, people celebrate the turning back of the Turks at Vienna. On that day in 1683, the Blue Elector [of Bavaria] took part with Polish King Jan Sobieski in the victory over the Turkish Muslims. “Without the victory of united European armies over the Muslims at Vienna, we would have had no Enlightenment. Europe would have taken an entirely different path” says Bystron.

The Catholic Church celebrated the holiday in Mary’s name for a long time. Pope Innocent XI (1676-1689) made the holiday mandatory for the entire Church, following the victorious breaking of the Turkish siege on the Kahlenberg by united Christian armies under King Jan III Sobieski.

A banner with an image of the Madonna’s Protective Mantle was borne before the Christian army at Vienna. Liturgy reforms removed the holiday from the liturgical calendar in 1970. Already in the background was the attempt to appease Islam, driven since the 1970s by progressive circles within the Church.

Apparently, however, the Vatican was aware as early as 2002 of the reality of this historical background. Since then, the holiday appears again in the general calendar. In the meantime, it had been celebrated by devout Catholics in Germany and Austria. They remember only too well the danger of Islamization of the Christian West.

Below are two additional meaningful memorabilia featuring Jan III Sobieski.

First, a drawing by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks of the Hero of Vienna with a Rondellhund (Roundabout Dog) prophet at the Gates of Vienna. It was drawn especially for this blog, and I treasure it:

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The Magnificent Nineteen… Years

It’s now been nineteen years since “The Magnificent Nineteen” flew their jetliners into various American targets, including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

I don’t have much to say beyond what I’ve said in all my previous September 11th posts.

The brief national unity induced by 9-11 has now faded almost beyond recall. If we were to face some comparable atrocity today, there would no unity at all, not even for a nanosecond. Half the country would be cheering on whatever entity caused the slaughter, because Orange Man Bad, and it’s all his fault.

The long-term effects of the 9-11 attacks were:

1.   The Department of Homeland Security;
2.   Massive, universal electronic surveillance of everyone;
3.   Outreach to Islam to prevent “radicalization”; and
4.   The cultural taboo against any criticism of Islam in the public square.
 

Oh, and I almost forgot #5 — this shirt:

It will be interesting to see how the Biden administration observes the twentieth anniversary next year.

Or the Harris administration, as the case may be.

Moving On

This was the new “sticky” post for the extended summer fundraiser. It was first posted on September 1; scroll down for lots of newer articles and videos.

Final Update September 10, 9:00pm EDT

The end of the summer fundraiser is already more than two weeks overdue, and fall will officially begin in just a few more days, so it’s time to put an end to this bleg. Even though I haven’t made a final decision about which alternative to PayPal to use, I’ve taken this post off sticky and will let it recede in the rearview mirror while I consider my options.

The snail-mail response to my appeal was nothing short of astonishing. The total raised by that and other methods was well over 50% of the average, enough to see me through at least one more quarter without any difficulty. I thank you all for your amazing generosity, and thank-you emails are still being sent out.

I had to rule out several possible alternative payment services for various reasons — they wouldn’t accept me, or they didn’t allow for “donate” buttons, or they required a cell phone, etc. There are several more that I haven’t looked at yet, and two that I am actively considering, TipSmack and GiveSendGo. The former takes a 10% cut, which is the main reason I haven’t yet signed up. The latter is a free Christian fundraising service, and looks promising. I’ll be examining it more closely in the next day or two.

I may end up trying both of them, so as to have a more robust fundraising capability. I’ll continue to offer the possibility of using snail mail, for those who don’t want to see 10% of their gift siphoned off.

Which reminds me: if you want to send a snail-mail donation, please email me at gatesofvienna {at} chromatism {dot} net, and I’ll send the address to you.

Of the other methods used to send donations, Western Union looked promising. However, today I received this note from one of my British donors, who had sent money to me that way:

I think I have been cancelled by Western Union!

When I sent that payment to you, that was the first time I had anything to do with them. At the time I didn’t include your email address because it said it was optional. I was just thinking of sending you another payment, and on this occasion I included your email address, thinking you would be advised at the same time as I made the payment.

Guess what happened?

I went to send the money, and before the payment was authorised I got some message that came up on the screen saying something like, ‘Payment cannot be made — your status is being reviewed’, whatever that means.

They have since said, ‘Sorry we can’t make the payment for you,” without giving any further explanation.

They gave me a UK number to ring, so I thought I would ask for an explanation. I just got this message ‘calls to this number are barred.’

I told him it was starting to sound like a Thomas Pynchon novel.

So it looks like Western Union may be out, but we’ll see.

When I’ve settled on one or more online payments services, I’ll let you know. And I’ll be holding another fundraiser, but given all the complications, I don’t know whether it will be autumn or winter.

The astonishingly generous donations flowed in from:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Far Abroad: Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Victoria

I’ll see you when the weather gets cold!

Update September 5 8:45pm EDT

I’ll take a break from the relentless fundraising saga and tell a little story.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the cardiologist’s to take my first-ever stress test. For those of you who haven’t had one, that’s when they make you walk on a treadmill and increase the speed until you almost have a heart attack.

OK, that’s not fair; it isn’t really that awful. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected. They just worked me harder than I ever work myself, with EKG leads and a blood pressure collar attached. I was breathing hard and sick of it by the time they let me quit, but it was generally OK. The good news is that my heart performed normally, and my blood pressure did exactly what was expected of it. Despite my advanced age, my heart is apparently in good shape.

I celebrated the occasion late this afternoon by going out in the early-onset fall weather and doing some heavy-duty lawnmowing. I have a big new 8.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton push mower (not self-propelled), and I wrestled with it non-stop for an hour and a half in the difficult areas alongside the driveway, at the edge of the woods. Without being nervous or anxious, because I’d been worked harder than that with an EKG attached, and passed with flying colors. No need to worry!

When I mow the lawn, I limit myself to a single tank of gas, so as not to overdo it, and that usually means an hour to an hour and a half. When I was done and sat down to rest on the front porch, I felt great.

It made me think of something Isak Dinesen wrote. I’m paraphrasing, because I never actually read it myself — Dymphna read it to me decades ago, and it was so striking that I have retained the gist of it ever since. Ms. Dinesen listed the three conditions necessary for true happiness: To live in the absence of pain, to feel in oneself a sufficiency of strength, and to know that one is doing the will of God.

Life is good.

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One Year Later

Today is the first anniversary of my wife Dymphna’s death. The future Baron is here, and he and I are going to venture out into the rain and pick some flowers from her flowerbeds (I see coreopsis, coneflower, butterfly weed, and various other blooms I don’t know the names of). We’re planning to meet some friends at the churchyard and put the flowers on her grave.

So posting may be light today.

I posted a photo of Dymphna during last month’s fundraiser, and said I thought it would be the last one. However, I decided to add one more, and you can see it at the top of this post.

The occasion was the baptism of the future Baron in the late 1980s, when he was still a rug rat. He held up pretty well until his mother lowered him over the font to get sprinkled. He got a little upset, but never started to cry. At the left is the late Bishop Charles Vaché.

The original is blurry, since it was taken indoors without a flash. I couldn’t make it any sharper than that.

Dymphna probably told the you following story at some point, but I’ll tell it again. It happened in the parish hall after the baptism. The bishop was filling out the entry in the baptism book. He wanted to enter the date, and said, “What day is it?”

Dymphna was nearby, and, being a good Catholic girl, responded promptly: “St. Joseph’s Feast Day.”

The bishop waited politely, holding his pen poised. And waited. And waited. Dymphna had moved on into the kitchen, not realizing that she had baffled the bishop.

Finally, someone else told him it was March 19.

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And that was my wife. There was no one else quite like her.

Have a blessed day, everyone.

All That Vanished Glory


(Click to enlarge)

The central preoccupation of Americans — those who are literate enough to be preoccupied with history — is the Civil War, a.k.a. the War Between the States, a.k.a. the Recent Unpleasantness. The degree of preoccupation varies according to the distance between where one lives and the areas where most of the fighting took place. Since Virginia is the state where most of the battles were fought, any Virginia family — black or white — of sufficiently long lineage can tell you stories that have been passed down from generation to generation for a century and a half.

Mind you, I’m not talking about the hysterical preoccupation with “racism”, “slavery”, and “oppression” that is raging in the land as I write these words. I’m talking about a deep and abiding interest in the tragic years 1861-1865 generated by the impact they had on one’s family and environment.

I wrote about such matters in my poem “Sayler’s Creek” (the full text is here), which opens with these stanzas:

There is too much history here in Virginia;
we are drowning in its muddy flood.
Every April sweeps its pontoons from their moorings
on the North Fork of the Shenandoah
with Federal soldiers watching helplessly from the bank.
Every pitcher toeing the mound
scuffs up a lode of Minié balls.
A metal detector swept over any ravine
uncovers the belt buckles and canteens
urgently shed by fleeing infantry.
A faded daguerreotype of General Lee
stares down from every wall,
a stern reminder of all that vanished glory.

The top drawer of every dusty dresser
in every second-hand shop
opens to reveal a brittle bundle of worthless banknotes.
Everyone’s great-great-uncle Theophrastus
led the charge at the Crater.

That poem was written in 1996, when one could still see photographs of General Lee here and there in public places. Those days are gone, alas. A rearguard action is even now being fought against the removal of his statue from Monument Avenue in Richmond, but the cause is just as lost as it was the spring of 1865. The Wokerati will prevail. The last depictions of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will eventually be erased from public view in the Commonwealth, no matter what the average Virginia citizen might think of the matter. All objective accounts of Confederate history will be removed from high school and university curricula. The stories will be passed down by word of mouth only. The artifacts and written accounts of the events of those years will be confined to private collections and family attics.

And one such attic will obviously be mine.

There are little pieces of family lore in the stanzas of my poem. My mother’s great-great uncle was famous for leading the charge at the Crater in Petersburg, but his name wasn’t Theophrastus. He was Brigadier General David Weisiger (pronounced “Wizziger”, for readers who live outside the Richmond area), and was renowned, at least in Virginia, for his heroism on that day.

I am also in possession of a brittle bundle of worthless banknotes from the period. For many years they were kept in the top drawer of Dymphna’s and my dresser.

My grandmother’s first cousin (i.e. my first cousin twice removed) was the only daughter of the eldest daughter (there were five daughters, no sons) of David Weisiger’s brother, so she inherited most of the family heirlooms from the plantation. She never married, and when she died the various items were divided among her cousins.

The largest pieces of furniture went to my uncle and my mother. The item that I coveted most was a plantation medical kit, which was a wooden cabinet with little drawers and cubbies for medicinal substances, surgical implements, etc. I remember one drawer was labeled “Opium”, and there was a dried black tarry residue at the bottom of it. I really wanted that cabinet, but it went to one of my cousins.

One of the few things I received (which I had also wanted) was an envelope full of Confederate money. I’ve scanned some of the notes to display here.

In my bundle of worthless banknotes are two hundred-dollar bills, one twenty (not shown here), eighteen Confederate tens, one Virginia ten, and three pieces of fractional scrip from the City of Richmond — 25¢ (not shown here), 30¢, and 75¢. That makes a total of $411.30, which was a lot of money in 1862, especially since it was presumably received in exchange for gold and/or silver coins. I’m certain those were sorely missed in April of 1865.

This is the back of the hundred-dollar note shown at the top of this post:


(Click to enlarge)

The interest rate paid on the note was 2¢ daily, which is an APR of 7.3%.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

There’s no indication that any interest was paid on the tens and twenties.

The fractional notes issued by the City of Richmond are worn and wrinkled, indicating that they saw wide circulation. The other bills were in better shape, and may not have circulated much before coming to rest in the family strongbox.

For the higher-denomination notes, the Confederate government promised to pay the bearer the face amount on demand six months or two years (depending on the note) after a peace treaty was signed with the United States. It was hoped that the delay would allow the nascent state to accumulate enough gold and silver through taxes and tariffs to be able to pay off its promissory notes.

Alas, no peace treaty ever came. The surrender was signed by General Lee on April 9, 1865 (which day I refer to in my more sardonic moments as “the Confederate naqba”), and all those Confederate, Virginia, and Richmond banknotes suddenly became worthless pieces of paper.

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Identity

Our Israeli correspondent MC has some thoughts on socialism, Black Lives Matter, the ancient Hebrews, and related topics.

Those who claim that socialism will work ‘this time around’, and that the previous iterations failed because they did not implement socialism properly, may have a point. The National Socialism of the Third Reich was eerily sound and stable, and in all truth, it was brought down only by the unsound and unstable socialism of Joseph Stalin.

The Communist version of socialism never works, probably more because of what it lacks, than what it espouses. Communism (and many other forms of socialism) lack the warmth of heart that humans need to survive.

National Socialism was about being German, and on the whole Germans loved it. It enhanced their identity, their oneness, and they were thus able to express a warmth to other Germans. In Stalin’s Russia, everyone outside of one’s family circle was a potential enemy.

In this we can see the roots of the politics of racism. To a German Nazi, a non-German (or a Jew/Slav/Gypsy) was not automatically part of the comfortable clique, but for a Russian, there was no comfortable clique at all.

I came across a photograph on the internet the other day. It was on a forum and the poster was asking if anybody knew anything about this photo that had been found in an old box.

I am in that photo, and I remember being given five minutes’ notice by the gunnery officer. I had seen on daily orders that there was a photo session for the gunnery team, but I was a specialist, only part of the gunnery team for shore bombardment, my role being to do the math behind offsets and deflections (no computers or calculators in those days). What had not been made clear was that my ship had won the fleet gunnery trophy and the fleet shore bombardment trophy, so I was included.

The photo got me remembering the insularity of the ship’s company within the midst of all the other ships in the Royal Navy. Us and Them.

This it seems to me is why ‘racism’ is just a natural part of human life, and to turn Racism into a political thumbscrew is absolute folly.

Communism is unstable because it cannot provide for stable relationships. It cannot provide a ship’s company. It cannot provide a team that will work together and have confidence in each other. I was missing, I was searched out, and I took my place in the photo so that the team was complete and the photo meaningful.

If I had thought that my fellow crew members would rat on me for the slightest political incorrectness, I would have had to have been more careful and calculating — or suffer the consequences.

When I am accused of ‘racism’, it is as if my place in the team has been erased and my contribution excreted. The idea of racism with its sibling Islamophobia (and yes, even in some cases anti-Semitism) removes the ‘warmth of heart’ referred to above, and which is vitally necessary for the effective functioning of humanity together. Any fear of ‘racism’ is going to produce division.

Legitimate criticism of Jews, Jewishness and Israel do not constitute anti-Semitism, but picking out Jews for unbalanced criticism does. It is fine to criticise the so called ‘occupation’ if you also include all the other instances of occupation around the world, Tibet, Königsberg (Kaliningrad), Spanish Morocco, to name but a few. Israel was granted to Jews in 1922, and all nations who have signed up for the United Nations Charter have also signed up for article 80 of that Charter, which brings the 1922 Mandate for Palestine into the Charter — indeed, it could be argued that under international law, it is Jordan that has ‘occupied’ Israeli land (see article 25 of the Mandate).

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The Treaty of Trianon, One Hundred Years Later


Suleiman

The Treaty of Trianon, which dismembered the state of Hungary after the Great War, came into force exactly one hundred years ago today. Hungary and the Western Allies signed the instrument at the Grand Trianon Palace in Versailles; hence its name.

Hungary ended up losing two-thirds of its territory under the terms of the treaty, which stranded more than 40% of its population outside the borders of Hungary without anyone having to move.

Our Hungarian correspondent CrossWare has translated the following essay about the Treaty of Trianon, which relates Trianon to the earlier Muslim invasion, from the conservative portal PestiSracok.hu:

Suleiman was also present at the Trianon execution attempt

by László Kovács Vésey
May 25, 2020

Like when a man is beaten down with bat, so was the Trianon peace dictatorship: he falls to his knees, the world spins around him, and he doesn’t even understand what happened to him. To date, we have not recovered from it, either as a country or as a people. Those who demand that we at last leave this Trianon problem behind us and deal instead with the future do not take note of reality, because the past cannot be left behind unfinished. Trianon itself is a good example of this, as it has not fallen into our head without antecedents. Even a hundred years ago, the unprocessed past, our own omissions, and the fruits of the trickery of our enemies ripened together.

In today’s eyes it is almost inconceivable that Hungary came to the end of the Middle Ages as a sparingly stable and unified country, one of the leading powers in Europe. Even if the nobles and lords intervened at times in the king’s affairs and were able to stir up internal strife, no one could question the existence of a unified royal power. The kingdom had serious reserves of power, and was rich in precious metals, ores, and salt, not to mention food. Hungary had one and a half times as many inhabitants as England or Poland, two and a half times as many as the Czech Republic, and we had a decisive influence on the life of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. There was no mention of a united Germany and Italy at that time; France was working on the creation of a centralized kingdom, just as a similar process took place in Spain after the success of the Reconquista. Besides ourselves, the latter two states were real military powers in that era.

It may even be considered a vagary of fate that in the immediate vicinity of this Hungary, which was a great power in all respects, the Ottoman Empire, which surpassed the strength of all European countries, had arisen. To this day there is no consensus among historians as to whether we would have been able to defend ourselves, but if we had, it would have required unparalleled self-discipline and conscious unity for two centuries from the king, nobles, and serfs. We lost the inevitable clash, but the Turks did not have enough strength to swallow our entire country. Thus, we did not sink into the Balkans (Transylvania, Partium and the South, after Trianon), but in terms of population, nothing worse could have happened to us. For two centuries our country became a battleground, with marches of the ever-increasing Ottoman, Habsburg, and Transylvanian armies regularly passing through our territory, requisitioning the peasantry that remained after taxation and double taxation. And if only they had just taken the taxes!

We Have Suffered a Disastrous Destruction

The Ottoman looting of the rural populations was accompanied by a significant extinction of the population and the destruction of the settlement structure. The whole countryside was depopulated, and many villages disappeared forever. If we look at the map of present-day Hungary, we can see that there are still only rare settlements in the Great Plain. During the uncertain period of occupation, instead of defenseless villages, people concentrated in a few swollen market towns and settled on large-scale animal husbandry, which was more sustainable in terms of possible escape, rather than farming. For this reason, there are settlements with a larger population and sparsely populated areas in the Great Plain, and the instances of single standalone farms are also rooted in this fact. But the Hungarian population remained at least partially here.


Hungary’s settlement density — the footprint of the Ottoman Turks is still visible today (source: terport.hu)

Muslim conquerors killed a large number of people and drove the enslaved Hungarians in endless columns to Istanbul and then sold them to various corners of the empire. During the Turkish conquest of 1521-1568, the Fifteen Years’ War of 1591-1606, the Austro-Turkish War of 1663-1664, and the expulsion of the Turks between 1683 and 1699, we suffered immeasurable horrors, probably the most brutal genocide in Europe in the last thousand years. At that time the Hungarians of Szerémség disappeared from the Hungarian majority of Temesköz, but by the end of the Turkish expulsion, the Hungarian population of Baranya, Tolna, Somogy counties and Partium had largely disappeared. These flat areas were the main terrain of the movements, so their populations became extinct, which in the vast majority of cases meant the Hungarian population.

Our Numbers Were Dwindling, While Everybody Else Was Thriving

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Fundraising in the Time of Corona

This was the “sticky” post for the spring fundraiser. It was first published on May 25, and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for items posted on and after that date.

Spring Fundraiser 2020, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: A Diversity Flashback

We’re moving into the final day of what has been a very unusual fundraising week.

Tip jarThere was no way to tell in advance how this quarter’s fundraiser might turn out, given the economic devastation that is enshrouding most of the Western world. Would anybody have spare cash to donate to a minor website?

Would anyone even be paying attention?

Well… Up until now there have been a greater than average number of donations — which is astonishing. Yet the total amount that has come in is somewhat less than average, which isn’t surprising at all, since most people have been hit hard financially for the past two months or so. It’s gratifying that so many have been willing to chip in, under the circumstances.

If you haven’t got around to it yet, the tip jar is on the sidebar, or you can use this link.

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Instead of another COVID-related update, I’ll close this fundraiser with a blast from the past. The excerpt below was written by Dymphna almost exactly eight years ago, on June 4, 2012, for the final fundraising post of that year’s spring fundraiser.

The theme for that week’s bleg was “Diversity”, and she wrapped everything up with the following remarks:

The subject of Diversity is fraught. So for this Fundraiser, I’ve deliberately kept the lid on certain subjects. They can accumulate like barnacles or smart bombs on the wall of diversity, or rather on the battlements of modern, top-down “Diversity”. As is true of any other project, some stuff has to be routinely scraped off so you can see what’s underneath, yet other junk — whilst appearing to be identical — will blow up in your face. Frankly, the explosions aren’t interesting anymore.

It is the former which draws my curiosity. .The latter, full of traps like the origins or even the existence of “global” “warming” — oops, climate change…oops, methane in the atmosphere. Whatever. Any point in “discussing” those issues is long past. Those in Charge will tell you ahead of time: “It’s settled…” “Consensus Has Been Reached”… “Everyone Knows”… “Only an Idiot Would Think Such a Thing”….and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Have you noticed that the more fervently views on such issues are clung to (bitterly), the less room there is for Reason or even the possibility of entertaining alternate ideas? Entertaining ideas? Enter that realm at your own risk.

Here’s a partial list of Don’t-Go-There-Unless-You-Want-a-Fight hot buttons. No particular order here, simply a reflection of what I’ve been reading and thinking about. These are only contentions; I have no solutions. The mysteries of life usually don’t come with quick remedies:

  • Abortion. Or not. When does life begin to have value? No, it’s not “settled”. Look up the numbers of those who believe religiously in #1 vs. those who think the prize is behind Door #2. Just don’t put these folks in the same room.
  • Gender. What could be simpler: This is a girl; see that little cleft where her penis should be? This is a boy, see his penis hanging there? Gender-bending is occurring at younger and younger ages, much to the horrified sorrow of parents caught in a five year-old’s intense identity crisis. It may well be that the crisis is real enough, but it could turn out to be just one manifestation of a larger, more complex reality than the one we can see. Human beings are quite malleable, but they are also fragile. The times in which we live, where sexual identity is up for grabs — literally — are reflected in many issues, and one of them is seen in these canary children. In different times most of them would’ve been spared this assault from the zeitgeist, an assault which begins during the dark floaty existence in utero. Were there no assaults from the residues of psychotropic drugs left in the drinking water (just to name one possible influence), or the constant low-level cultural exposure to increasingly depraved pornography, these children could have lived within the boundaries of their respective anatomy without a blip. When times simplify again — and they surely will — outlier cases will recede again. That’s not much comfort now to these kids or their parents as they stumble through the nightmare.
  • Religion is a crutch vs. Spirituality is a part of human experience. The former has become the more intellectually acceptable attitude of late, though one wonders what insecurity keeps the more aggressively devout unbelievers at their megaphones, proselytizing like hard-shell Mississippi Baptists. You begin to ask if there is some fervent need on their part to save the unwashed from arrant foolishness. Perhaps a good dose of American history about the cycles of the Great Awakenings in the 18th and 19th centuries would at least help the ardent atheists this side of the Atlantic to gain some perspective.

    My guess regarding the foundation of this popular orthodoxy among the media gatekeepers? It’s high school redux: they want to be with the cool kids and they don’t want to have to actually study anything. Aping your betters is so much easier, especially if your “educated” betters are being all edgy and you know it will irritate those boring duds in Flyover Country… As is the case for other media belief blankets, if you want to hear another side (and there is more than one) you’ll have to hunt for it on your own. What surprises me is the number of people who do — want to hear another point of view, I mean.

  • Sex among adults. Interestingly, as the results from the Boomer generation become apparent, and the laws of unintended consequences begin to take their toll, their children are turning away from their parents’ youthful decisions to let it all hang out. They see the results and politely decline. Or at least the ones who catch on early enough do so. They know the health risks for both sexes of too many sexual partners. They understand the complexities of bonding better than their naïve parents did. Except for the one percent — those befuddled “Occupy” useful tools — for the most part middle-class kids have turned back the clock. Of course many of them face rigors their parents did not: huge education debt, a poor job market, and increasing balkanization by class. Their lives will be tougher in many ways, but then so will they. At least the ones who aren’t forced to move back home, much the same way their great grandparents had to do to get by.
  • Sex with children as the new norm. Nope, that’s not worth our time. The downward deviancy of our culture was seen two generations ago and I’m sure it’s not hit bottom yet. But it will. In the meantime, let’s not contribute to the pollution.
  • Death. Like the beginnings of life, its endings are becoming more fungible. The Right to Die vs. the Responsibility to Die. Our old are becoming the Ice Floe Generation. And who gets to decide whose life has meaning or value? Recently, a couple sued for Wrongful Birth when their child was born with congenital anomalies the parents believed they should have been told about ahead of time. Among the nettles were questions like financial responsibility for this life no one wants. This question lies floundering side-by-side with the reality of aborted, breathing fetuses who are killed on the operating table without a qualm. Are we confused or what?
  • Trash. There are lots more thorns and contention here, but let’s end with garbage, with refuse, with detritus. Like global warming, there are folks on both sides of the Religion of Recycling, which is a smaller denomination of the colossal Environmental Cathedral — and that place makes Vatican City look like a high-rise tenement. Again, this subject has sectarian overtones in the higher reaches (or screeches) of the True Believers. For the dissidents there is often no choice: just because you can ‘prove’ your locality saves nothing by recycling doesn’t mean you can opt out. There are handy garbage technologies in your wheelie bin that will see you fined or put in jail if you don’t conform.

    One of the dystopian uncharms of living in an urban landscape is unending trash. But city-slicker trash has become another source of revenue for cash-poor rural areas. While the downside is that the nearby urban poor often find it cheaper to skulk out here to the country and leave their bags of unidentifiable refuse because they can’t afford the trash stickers the city makes them buy, there’s an upside to this. Big cities up North will pay good money to poor rural areas if they’ll take the garbage out. Thus many county boards of supervisors do just that, and this venture keeps the real estate tax rate down for the bumpkins.

    Don’t you wonder where this will lead as consumers are unable to continue consuming? Will trash reduce itself to an endangered species? In order to continue the justification of its existence, will the EPA have to step in with emergency rulings?

Diverse contentions. They’re endless and they get more polarized all the time. As resources get thin on the ground, look for the rigidities to worsen. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of living in interesting times. I’m ready for a good long spell of boredom — kind of like those endless amber waves of grain we don’t have anymore because they hybridized all the wheat. Modern varieties are now too short to wave at anyone.

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The photo below was taken in the late 1990s. It shows Dymphna on her 58th birthday:

It’s probably the last image of her that I’ll scan and post, unless I happen upon another trove of lost photos. She gave her permission for me to post just one, the photo of her holding a puppy that I included with my eulogy for her last June.

However, I figure that her attitude about such things is probably more relaxed now that she is incorporeal. The photos of her that I’ve posted here over the past twelve months are excellent ones, in my opinion. She is exactly herself in them, and I cherish them more than words can say. I think she’s OK with my including them here.

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Saturday’s gifts came in from:

Stateside: California, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas

Far Abroad: Australia and the UK

Canada: Ontario

I’ll be back in a few days to post a wrap-up with the final tally of locations.

The next fundraiser will begin sometime in the hot, hot summer. Who knows what the coronacrisis will have morphed into by then?

Many thanks to everyone for their generosity.

Saturday’s Update: Who is That Masked Man?

We’re moving into the penultimate day of Gates of Vienna’s quarterly fundraiser.

Readers who are sheltering in place at home and have nothing better to do are invited to send a modest donation by way of the tip cup on the sidebar (or by using this link).

Those small individual gifts are the way I keep this blog going. If a significant number of readers give a little bit each, it adds up to enough to pay for the site and keep me in cheese and crackers for another quarter.

Full disclosure: This website is not corona-compliant. Its proprietor is a coronadissident who refuses to wear a mask.

Since yesterday morning’s update I became aware of an article published by the The New England Journal of Medicinethat bolsters my dissident stance. It concerns the ineffectiveness of wearing a mask as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19. One of our commenters mentioned it, but I also ran across it on Twitter.

This was actually published in April, but for some reason is only now drawing attention:

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The PVV on the Expropriation of Jewish Property in the Netherlands During World War Two

Below are written Parliamentary questions from Gidi Markuszower MP and Geert Wilders MP (both PVV Party for Freedom, Partij voor de Vrijheid) to the Ministers of Education, Culture and Science; of Health, Welfare and Sport; of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; of Finance; and of Justice and Security, about the article that four out of five municipalities do not know whether “during the Second World War, Jewish real estate was expropriated and resold, while that did happen in their municipality”*:

1.   Are you familiar with the article and the research?
2.   Are you prepared to map all the stolen property of Jews, in cooperation with the Dutch municipalities? Including the real estate that was expropriated during the war but was not resold? And also, for example, commercial real estate that was stolen by “verwalters” appointed by the Nazis?
3.   Did the Dutch government, central and local, own and/or take possession of real estate for which the Jewish owners or their relatives were murdered? If so, do you not believe that these properties should be returned to the Jewish Community?
4.   What efforts did Jews, who survived the Shoah, have to make after the war, and what costs did they have to incur, to get their looted property back?
5.   Does the Minister believe that the State of the Netherlands is liable for the actions of wrong notaries; after all, they formed a crucial link in the robbery of the Jewish looted real estate in and after the war?
6.   Are you familiar with the fact that with every sale of stolen Jewish property, the Tax Authorities collected a 5% “registration fee”? If so, are you willing to refund these fees?
7.   Was the restitution of the looted Jewish real estate part of the settlement made by the government with the Jewish Community in 2000?
8.   Which municipalities have imposed leasehold, street tax and other levies on returning Jews?
9.   Do you share our opinion that the time has come to find out which governmental irregularities in WWII can still be rectified? Such as collected fines and taxes, Jewish star fees, transport costs paid by or on behalf of those transported away?
10.   Are you aware that much information about the stolen Jewish property is in the archives of the Dutch Management Institute? Don’t you think it is time to make all these archives digitally accessible and freely available?
*   Research by Follow The Money en Pointer
 

Signs and Portents Everywhere… But of What? (Part III)

Below is the most recent installment in Seneca III’s latest treatise. See the archives link at the bottom of this post for previous installments in this series.

Signs and Portents Everywhere…But of What?

by Seneca III

Part III — Of times past and modern parallels

Times can and do change drastically, often after great events that upturn the lives of vast numbers of people. And so it shall soon be for us as we fight our way out of this Covid debacle, an event which has been as badly mismanaged as was the advent and conduct of the Great War 1914-18, which saw the end of the Edwardian era and kick-started the 20th century.

I found this visual vignette on the Woodpile Report sometime last year (although the link no longer seems to work) and it has fascinated me ever since. Every time I look at it, it seems to encapsulate a time different from ours and yet in some ways not so distant or different despite being separated by nearly a century. No date came with it, but there are clues aplenty, and it provides an interesting look into the prescient mind and times of the graphic artist who committed it to posterity.

The artist went to some length to emphasize that the ‘boisson du jour’ was lemonade so we can assume that we are looking at a time during the period between 1920 and 1933. The Volstead Act[1] (ratified on January 16th 1919, came into force on January 29th 1920) was a statutory ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages designed to provide enforcement for the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th, was ratified on December 5th 1933… and a very Merry Christmas for America.

Starting in the top left-hand corner we see a small aircraft with what appears to be the aerodynamic characteristics of a house brick, despite the semi-streamlined overall shape. What purpose the mudguards were meant to serve is beyond me, although they do have a vague aerodynamic shape to them. The rear of the aircraft is obscured by the head of the woman in red, so we cannot determine what form of propulsion the artist had in mind. Also note that the cockpit/passenger cabin is fully enclosed and windowed. This does not provide any clues to the exact time as the first airplane with an enclosed cabin appeared in 1912, the Avro Type F, and during the 1920s there were many passenger aircraft with enclosed cabins.


AVRO Type F

The largest impediment to having closed cockpits/cabins was the material used to make the windows. Prior to Perspex becoming available in 1933, windows were either safety glass, which was heavy, or cellulose nitrate (i.e. guncotton), which yellowed quickly and was extremely flammable.

Hence we shall have to look for other clues if we wish to pin down the precise period, although the fact that the women are wearing goggles would suggest a time in the mid to late twenties, when the movement from open to enclosed cockpits was well afoot but open cockpits were still far from obsolete. The clothes the women are wearing[2] are a different matter, and very much of their time, so let us have a look at their outfits and see what we can determine there.

First, observe the waitress in the middle ground. Bearing in mind that as I am far from being an expert on haute couture, I will happily accept a different opinion on this subject from anyone who is au fait. The simple two-piece includes slacks (trousers), just as the two main characters are also wearing, and which prior to WWI were seriously frowned upon in certain circles. That and the rather butch hair-do the waitress is sporting clearly signal that post-war female emancipation had come to stay and, of course, the liberal application of rouge to women’s cheeks is very much a thing of that time.

That was that generation, so what now of ours, I wonder?

Back to the main theme

The two women in the foreground are using devices that were yet to come. The artist must have been very far-sighted to hypothesize in such a way… or was he or she simply looking at technical developments during that period and then extrapolating?

The arrival of mobile (cell) audio-phones, and then later with the addition of colour screens, was far in the future, in fact such speculation was only found in the realm of the lurid pulp science fiction of the time. It amazes me that he or she was not that far off in that prediction, fact when one considers that the technology extant then — headphones, a microphone, a flat screen (that was far, far in the future) and a transportable battery pack to power them — were all there before the days of Silicon Valley, electronics, lithium batteries and the consequent step-by-step miniaturization of everything through the development of solid-state architecture.

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Signs and Portents Everywhere… But of What? (Part IIB)

This is the latest installment in Seneca III’s latest treatise. See the archives link at the bottom of this post for previous installments in this series.

Signs and Portents Everywhere… But of What?

by Seneca III

Part IIB — A loosely connected miscellany of the darkly disturbing plus a journey into the past

2019 — Another welcome addition, one Claudia Naomi Webbe MP, takes up residence in the Labour Party Parliamentary Zoo.

Claudia arrived from Leicester East — another wonderfully enriched constituency after replacing the toy boy bum’n’coke aficionado and industrial washing machine salesman, a.k.a. Keith Vaz MP (resigned)[1].

Yet it would appear that electing a race-baiting Castro and Lenin supporter (see the pictures on her wall) comes quite naturally to that well-diversified electorate, but — much to Claudia’s credit — she has not been known to sell industrial washing machines or inhale exotic substances.

“Webbe was born and brought up in Leicester and has family members living in the constituency. She studied social science at De Montfort University, Leicester, then later an MSc in Race and Ethnic Relations at Birkbeck, University of London.

Having participated in its development in the mid-1990s, Webbe was the chair of Operation Trident, a community-led initiative to tackle gun-related homicides disproportionately affecting black communities. Webbe was a policy director and adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. She was responsible for culture, cultural strategy, sports and tourism, and she was a member of his election campaign team in 2000 and 2004.

Webbe wrote about Livingstone when in 2006 he was found guilty by the Standards Board for England’s Adjudication Panel of bringing his office into disrepute and suspended from office for four weeks. Webbe said that “I have worked with Ken in numerous anti-racist organisations and campaigns including the Anti-Racist Alliance, the National Assembly against Racism and while I was director of Westminster Race Equality Council, he took up cases that I referred onto him for support. His history of work in the anti-racist movement is unquestionable.” [From Wikipedia]

De Montfort University is located in Leicester, England. It was established in accordance with the Further and Higher Education Act in 1992 as a degree-awarding body. De Montfort University has approximately 27,000 full- and part-time students, 3,240 staff and an annual turnover in the region of £168 million. The university is organised into four faculties: Art, Design, and Humanities (ADH); Business and Law (BAL); Health and Life Sciences (H&LS); and Computing, Engineering and Media (CEM). It is a Sustainable Development Hub, focusing on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, an initiative by the United Nations launched in 2018.

In 2019, the first Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings, a global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ranked De Montfort University 50th in the world. The university has special arrangements with more than 80 universities and colleges in over 25 countries, including Nanjing University, ranked 120th in the world by the Times Higher Education and situated in Jiangsu, eastern China. The two universities have launched various initiatives, including a scholarship programme for De Montfort students and doctoral study coupled with English language tuition for students from Nanjing.” [From Wikipedia]

That figures, and just 50th? Highly appropriate methinks. It and Leicester deserve each other, and if there were such a ranking, it would probably rate in the top 5% of those turning out career Baristas… or Labour politicians.

2020 — Another heartwarming example of our enrichment — The Curious Case of Nadia Whittome

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’Arold Decks Enoch

I was going through a box of very old stuff today up here in the Eyrie at Schloss Bodissey, and I found a crumpled political cartoon from the autumn of 1968. I’ve restored it as best I can; it’s a real blast from the past:

It was published in The Manchester Guardian, as it was known then. Now it’s just The Guardian, more popularly known as The Grauniad.

The guy landing the punch is Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The man receiving the knockout blow is Enoch Powell of the Conservative Party. The previous April Mr. Powell had delivered his famous “Rivers of Blood” speech about immigration. At the time the cartoon was published, he was in the process of being shunned and shamed for that speech by everybody — Labour, Conservative, and Liberals alike. The latter party held about two seats in Parliament, if I remember rightly. I don’t know if the cartoon had anything to do with Mr. Powell’s speech, but presumably he had just been lambasted by the prime minister, who had chosen to attack him instead of Edward “Ted” Heath, the leader of the Conservative opposition, who is depicted here sitting gormlessly on his stool while ’Arold decks Enoch.

Ted Heath was popularly known as “Grocer Heath”, due to his supposed bourgeois family background, if I remember rightly. The Conservatives won the general election of June 1970, and Mr. Heath became prime minister a few days after I took my A-levels, just before my family moved back to the USA.

The artist who drew the cartoon was Papas, who was my favorite cartoonist at the time. I entered some sort of caption contest that he and the Guardian held that year. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I found a note of acknowledgement from him in the same dusty box.

There’s no punch line to this post. It’s just a snapshot from a brief political moment in the distant past, almost fifty-two years ago. Tempus fugit.