ottoman empire

Serbian Advance Continues

October 21 1918, Paraćin–After a brief pause near Niš to regroup and allow the French to catch up, the Serbians continued their advance northward to liberate their country.  By October 21, they had engaged German rearguards near Paraćin, on the Morava around sixty miles south of the Danube.  Although the Germans put up a stubborn resistance, they were outnumbered and received little support from their Austrian allies, who just wanted to get their armies out of Serbia and behind the Danube, Sava, and Drina intact.  

Further east, the first French forces had reached the Romanian border on the Danube via Bulgarian railways on the 19th.  On the 22nd, the Allies sent a letter to the Romanian government, urging them to be ready to re-enter the war “about the middle of November,” in conjunction with an Allied push across the Danube.  The Romanians had quietly been preparing for such an eventuality since the Bulgarian collapse, but were wary that entering too soon would just lead to an even swifter defeat by the Germans than in 1916.

To the south, the first British troops also reached the Turkish border near Adrianople, finding only a single Turkish battalion guarding the border crossing.  The Turks, having realized the dire threat to Constantinople, dispatched Charles Townshend, the general captured after the siege of Kut in 1916, to send out the first peace feelers.  Arriving at Mudros on the 20th, he suggested the Turks would accept terms that let them keep Syria and Mesopotamia, albeit with a great deal of autonomy.  While the British quickly rejected these terms, they were completely fine with Townshend’s other stipulation, that the Turks wanted to negotiate solely with the British; after having been left out of the Bulgarian armistice, they were fine with shutting out the French from the negotiations with Turkey.

Today in 1917: First Americans Enter the Front Line
Today in 1916: Austrian PM Assassinated
Today in 1915: Italian Assaults Fail Everywhere Despite 34 Hour Barrage
Today in 1914: Vodka Permanently Banned in Russia

Sources include: Roger Ford, Eden to Armageddon; Alan Palmer, The Gardeners of Salonika; Glenn E. Torrey, The Romanian Battlefront in World War I.

For as long as I can remember myself, it has rained in Armenia for April 24th. This year isn’t an exception. 

Rest in Peace 1.5 million innocent men, women, kids, elders, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, lovers. You did not deserve to die in anguish, and for your sacrifice you will be forever remembered. 

It’s the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide. 

sometimes i feel there’s a tendency to forget that Christianity is a religion that was born in the Middle East…not a religion founded by Europe. Many people in the MENA were Christian when Europe was still worshipping its pagan gods and polytheistic pantheons. yes, it is important to wrestle with how Europeans, after they converted to Christianity due to Roman imperialism, used it themselves as a tool for their own imperialism. but conflating the history of Christianity with whiteness comes off to me as actually a reproduction of white supremacy itself. like we’re attributing things to Europeans/whiteness again, and forgetting its Middle-Eastern roots. Eurocentric history, no?

this is actively harmful when it leads to the notion that Christians everywhere = privileged. they are not- MENA Christians are facing genocidal violence at the hands of ISIS right now, for instance. these people are not white or Westerners who can escape from this via Western privilege. If we go further back in time, the Ottoman Empire’s genocide was targeted at Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, who were Christian minorities in what’s now modern Turkey. 

Ottoman yataghan from the Court of Suleyman the Magnificent, 16th c, workshop of Ahmed Tekelü (possibly Iranian, active Istanbul, ca. 1520–30), steel, walrus ivory, gold, silver, rubies, turquoise, pearls, gold incrustation on the blade depicts combat between a dragon and a phoenix, gold-inlaid cloud bands the ivory grips.

The Bizarre Silence Of The Ottoman Emperors

It was considered unseemly for the sultan to speak too much. To allow the ruler to communicate without speaking, a form of sign language was introduced, which was used by his advisors and eunuchs.  As a result, the Ottoman Emperor spent most of his day surrounded by complete silence.

Mustafa I (1591 - 1639) found this impossible to bear and tried to have it banned, but his viziers refused to allow it. Mustafa I ended up going insane and was seen throwing coins into the sea for the fish to spend.