An elite corps of the Turkish military, the “yeniçeri” or Janissaries were the Sultan’s praetorian guard. They were not free men; a Janissary was the Sultan’s “kapıkulu”, or "door slave” and, much like our local Quislings, used to taking orders from his master.
The Ottoman Janissaries were not a volunteer corps at first; their ranks were made up of Christian kids kidnapped from their parents at an early age, through a brutal form of conscription, the devşirme, or “human taxation”. In their heyday, they were essential to the Ottoman’s subjugation of many people, even their own.
In a sense, the kids were “turned” against their parents; initially, Greeks were amongst the ones who suffered this indignity the most, and called it the “paedomazema” (παιδομάζεμα), the “mass kidnapping of children”… Later on, the honour was bestowed on many other Balkan nations.
Our Lebanese Janissaries, however, are all volunteers. Unlike the child-soldiers of more recent times, those guys had a choice, and came into this more than willingly, egged on by the lowest of human emotions; greed and vanity.
The Flavours of March
Emile Lahoud did well under
Still, I’d take any of those 11th hour converts to the cause of Lebanese independence; the stakes are too high now for anyone to wonder about the motivation of the man fighting the fire next to me, or the exact PH of the water he’s using. There’ll be time enough to make accounts when it’s all done….
But I digress…
The current support of
Today, Lebanese Janissaries may draw solace from their master’s cantankerous blusters and shrewd maneuvers, but they are ultimately expandable; as the Lebanese saying goes, “those who bought you will sell you”.
Incidentally, Tuesday night’s little TV stunt was excellent pro-March 14th propaganda; Ali Ammar’s “Segolene moment” only served to show how backward and brutal his “side” really is, and how increasingly desperate they feel. Rear-guard duty is a bitch, and there won’t even be a song for this one…
On second thoughts…
Thing have gone too far today, and the International Tribunal is set to be in by May 22nd, under chapter 7. What follows may be a latter-day “Auspicious Incident”; the Syrian regime will either trade them for immunity, or “spend” them like a condemned advance party.
Or maybe it’s “Crisitunity”…
The crisis is apparent in this deep failure of pre-1975
The opportunity lies in the fact that, “THEY” are all doing
The contemporary debate over ending the
But this has not altered the long-term power relationships. Wise leaders on all sides are needed to establish an international order that provides security to all participants and respect to all religions. But only a few of the objectives of the
Syria's role in Iraq, for better or worse, is limited. The problem of
Some still have their doubts, no doubt justified by history. But Bashar’s intransigence may yet ensure that the United States will really stay the course this time. Indeed, it appears that Syrian intransigence is “helping” them to stay focused; Rice’s talks led to little, as a few knowledgeable “old hands” expected.
And since all are playing “for keeps”, there could be real change in the offing.
We used to joke that most “Arab revolutions started in the AUB’s cafeteria”. What strange new concoction is brewing now? What new country would emerge from all this?