Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Jerry Brotton's Myth ...

Arrives at Comment Is Free.


UPDATE - two useful comments

joseph1832

I am confused: if we are to be better disposed to the Turks in Britain for their help in defeating the Armada, are we to be less well disposed to Spaniards for sending it? If history is to help social cohesion, is that because we look generally to our history as the root of identity, or pull out only those parts convenient to a multi-cultural narrative?

It is an approach to history that says we should be close to the peoples of the Indian sub-continent because 2.5m volunteered in the 2nd World War, but suppresses the fact that 40% of Indian Army prisoners taken by the Japanese at Singapore switched sides. Which means that, whatever praise we rightly give to those who volunteered, how far their actions reflect on India/Pakistan/Bangladesh as a whole, is more complicated.

The truth is that history is a very big picture. The role of the Ottomans in the Armada may have been important, but then there were plenty of other very important factors. A historian may run an argument bringing such factors to the surface (eg: AJP Taylor used to draw out factors like railway timetables as a reason for WWI starting), but it isn't really acceptable where there is a fairly avowed political motive. It is essentially what left wing historians have always despised: nation building history.

What annoys those who this article attacks is the constant attempt to hunt the ethnic minority angle in every part of British history. Given the usual dismissal of history as a major source of national identity, this is rather opportunistic. It ignores that in many important parts of British history there is no meaningful (or even meaningless) minority angle, eg: Wars of the Roses. It also assumes that black and Asian Britons can't look at events involving only white Britons and see their countrymen. It means that we end up editing important parts of British history because they don't provide support to the multi-cultural reading.

I know the post-modernists amongst you think that all history is made up, so what is wrong with making up a new history? But history is, as Ranke said, about trying to tell it how it really was. Promoting minor events into earth-shattering importance is an amusing counter-factual game, but ultimately such minor events sink back into the background.

The progressives must face it: multi-ethnic Britain's origins owe almost everything to post-War immigration. The small and sporadic presence of black and Asian people during previous centuries is of incidental importance. Without post-War immigration, the B.E.M. communities would still amount to less than 1% of the population. Without the pre-Windrush presence, the B.E.M. communities would be about the same size as they are today. The presence of absence of a few more historic forebears neither adds to nor diminishes the rights of the ethnic minority communities. However, building their rights on bad history can only be harmful.


And fernickity :

I'm surprised so few commentators are interested in whether it's actually true that the Turks gave the aid that Jerry Brotton proposes they did. In fact, this question was looked at in great detail by Edwin Pears in the 1890s, with the results published in his article "The Spanish Armada and the Ottoman Porte", published in the English Historical Review, vol. 8 (1893), pp. 439-66. He went over the extensive correspondence between Walsingham and the English ambassadors to the Ottomans, William Harborne and his successor Edward Barton, in great detail (the letter Brotton mentions is just one among many), and although they had been urging the Turks to make a joint attack on Spain from the early 1580s (on the grounds that Protestants, like Muslims, were anti-idolaters and thus had a common interest in defeating Catholic Spain), and Sultan Murad III had promised to make such joint action, the letters show that no naval action was ever actually performed: the Turks were simply too busy with internal revolt and war on their eastern front, and the governor of Constantinople, one of Murad's principal advisers, was being bribed 60,000 ducats a year by the Spanish precisely to prevent their intervention. As Pears states: "The defeat of Lepanto, the war with Persia, and the rising of the subject provinces in North Africa did much to deter the Turk from lending aid. The heavy bribes by which Spain was able to obtain the support of the ministers and favourites of the sultan probably did more." So contrary to Dave Hill's remark, opinion is not divided about whether the Turks intervened or not: there is simply no evidence that they did, and quite a lot of evidence that they didn't. Is Jerry Brotton simply unaware of this earlier research, which I've discovered simply by googling? It sounds like it.


Ferickity is obviously an academic, because the documents he quotes are subscription-only via JSTOR, to which most university libraries subscribe. But it seems that he's banged the final nail into the rotten Brotton theory's coffin.

24 comments:

A Fan said...

Well Done Laban!

A decisive victory over the forces of fuckwittery.

Anonymous said...

Favourite quote: "...history in general which is, of course, always evolving..."

I thought that once something had happened there wasn't a lot you could do to change the fact - causality, grandfather paradox and all that.

Second favourite: "It would be good for people in Britain if [we] could agree that we all benefit from constructive, popular debate about our history and engage in it accordingly. But that's unlikely to occur while one potential party to such a conversation denounces any dissension from the received wisdoms..."

David Irving concurs.

Anonymous said...

Nicely Skewered

gabriel oak said...

The more these hireling liberal lame brains blow something fragmentary out of all proportions to "prove" Muslims belong here, the more obvious it is that they don't.

"It would be good for people in Britain if [we] could agree that we all benefit from constructive, popular debate about our history and engage in it accordingly...."

But there needs to be something of substance to start with

verity said...

Favourite quote: "But that's unlikely to occur while one potential party to such a conversation denounces any dissension from the received wisdoms..."

What about the received facts, as recorded at the time, Dave?

Ross F said...

How liberal myths work:

1. Academic left winger asserts an agenda driven theory with no supporting evidence.

2. It is reported by gullible liberal as being the cold hard facts.

3. Informed people point out the flaws in the theory.

4. Gullible liberals insinuate sinister motives are behind the people who rely on things like facts.

Susan said...

Excellent job Laban. You really made the PC brigade look like utter fools.

gabriel oak said...

Great effort, Laban. The PC crew have been shown up for the imbeciles they are - this poster on CIF(0915) has got it exactly right. He believes history shouldn't be fabricated, shocking!

"I know the post-modernists amongst you think that all history is made up, so what is wrong with making up a new history? But history is, as Ranke said, about trying to tell it how it really was. Promoting minor events into earth-shattering importance is an amusing counter-factual game, but ultimately such minor events sink back into the background.

The progressives must face it: multi-ethnic Britain's origins owe almost everything to post-War immigration. The small and sporadic presence of black and Asian people during previous centuries is of incidental importance. Without post-War immigration, the B.E.M. communities would still amount to less than 1% of the population. Without the pre-Windrush presence, the B.E.M. communities would be about the same size as they are today. The presence of absence of a few more historic forebears neither adds to nor diminishes the rights of the ethnic minority communities. However, building their rights on bad history can only be harmful."

Anonymous said...

Somehwere on CiF (or somewhere like it) I saw an earnest liberal/leftie declare that North Korea was a multicultural country. How can one debate with such people?! There seems to be no lie they wont spout to protect their beliefs.

IanCroydon said...

If people want to be inclusive regarding Islamic history, why not explain how, after 500 years ingraining itself as the unopposed major religion of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor, did Christianity suddenly get surplanted by Islam in a relatively short period (not forgetting how the same happened to Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Hinduism too) ?

After all, this is an intently important subject regarding British history, we sent legions of men off to the Holy Land to recapture what was once Christian.

verity said...

Ian Croydon - puny islam has supplanted Hinduism? Are you daft? Have you ever been to India? And who are taking out all these high tech patents (third only to the United States and Germany) dynamic, creative, highly intelligent muslims?

Do you know how many Buddhists there are in the world, as opposed to islamists? Japan has 70m people, every last one of them a Buddhist. 1.2bn Chinese, apart from a very tiny Christian minority, are followers of Lao-Tse or Buddhism. The United States and Latin America account for around 400m Christians.

I don't have the figures for Europe, but it is still an overwhelmingly Christian continent. In fact, it appears that only 21% of the world is islamic, and they are from the garbage tips of the universe.

The adherents of this belief system are the least inventive, least creative, least educated, least cultivated, least imaginative people on earth, not because, in many cases of a lack of intelligence, but due to the control of every thought and deed.

In other words, they're on the bottom rung and their mind-controlling religion will keep them there.

Your post was uninformed rubbish.

susan said...

verity,

iancroydon is correct if he was talking about Hinduism in Pakistan, which has declined from 30 percent of the population at Partition to 3 percent now. I believe the numbers are similar for Bangladesh.

Susan said...

I saw an earnest liberal/leftie declare that North Korea was a multicultural country.

If it is, it's hardly a recommendation for multiculturalism. Was this fool holding it up as something to emulate?

These people are simply insane.

verity said...

Yes, Susan, but he didn't specify Hinduism in Pakistan, two nations that were created specifically not to be Hindu.

Of course Hinduism has declined in Pakistan and Bangla, but not because the brilliant Hindus have suddenly seen what a really grand religion islam is. Rather, because they have emigrated to India and added their intelligence to a country already practically over-burdened with brilliant people.

I made a mistake about the 400m Christians in the New World. The 400m figure is Spanish speakers, all of whom - mas o menus - are Christian. Then we come to probably around 250 Christians in the United States and Canada. So that should be revised upwards to 650 Christians in the New World.

Ian Croydon is one more ignorant, destructive, lefty adherent of the New World Order.

Sam Tarran said...

Jonathan Dore has found some solid historical evidence against Brotton's case here:

http://samtarran.blogspot.com/2007/10/it-was-us-wot-won-it-actually.html#comment-4951023207215993548

He found simply by googling it.

Bert Rustle said...

The Perils Of Fake History
... Australia's most influential historian of Aboriginal affairs, Henry Reynolds, endorsed a new approach to history that he and his cohorts of the 1960s generation were propagating around the world:

Discussion of Aboriginal resistance brings home to us the close relationship between history and the political and moral issues involved in the cause of Aboriginal advancement and the struggle against racism in Australian society. The work of historians has been used in the past and will be used again by black and white, conservative and radical. The study cannot be sealed off from the community. Demands are made that history should not only be relevant but politically utilitarian, that it should aim to right old injustices, to discriminate in favour of the oppressed, to actively rally to the cause of liberation.

Reynolds's first major work, The Other Side of the Frontier (1981), aimed frankly at this last objective:

the book was not conceived, researched or written in a mood of detached scholarship. It is inescapably political, dealing as it must with issues that have aroused deep passions since 1788 and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. ...

Susan said...

Actually Verity, in the case of Bangladesh for one, many of the Hindus were simply massacred, during the 1971 war. Others were ethnically cleansed, as you have noted, and still others "converted" to Islam under extreme pressure.

Bert Rustle said...

Laban wrote ... the documents he quotes are subscription-only via JSTOR - Order the original reference from your local library, The British Library supplies a copy in a few weeks.

moriarty said...

I saw an earnest liberal/leftie declare that North Korea was a multicultural country.

Well, it's sort of true if you consider the kidnapped Japanese and Chinese held in the country I suppose, and the middle-eastern atomic engineers that are presumably there too.

Anonymous said...

OK Ive found the liberal denying the status of North Korea, read this recently but its from last year, its not from CiF after all but it might as well be:

http://www.shapps.com/forum/index.php?topic=364.msg6404#msg6404

Look for the comment by Mighty Hatfield dated: July 18, 2006, 07:59:17 AM

His get out clause goes like this:

"still waiting for that list of countries that arent multicultural by the way. And you cant have North Korea or countries where the regime is so strict a census isnt allowed either"

Anonymous said...

That link goes to the start of the thread. If you want to jump to the offending comment:

http://www.shapps.com/forum/index.php?topic=364.45

verity said...

Susan - Oh, heaven's yes! There were tens of thousands of massacres of Hindus in Pakistan and millions of murders as Hindus moved into India on the creation of Partition. I'm very familiar with the history of the Sub-Continent. I love India, and if they allowed foreigners to buy property, I would be there now.

Susan said...

verity,

I wasn't talking about the events of the Partition. I was talking about murders that go on even today. Only about five years ago there were widespread massacres of Hindus in Bangladesh and destruction of ancient Hindu temples.

bernard said...

A famous quote:

"History is written by the winners".

We won. They did'nt.

End of discussion.