The Balkan Wars: 100 Years Later, a History of Violence

The Balkan wars, which began on Oct. 8, 1912, are considered minor footnotes in 20th century history. But they mean so much more

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TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY / GETTY IMAGES

Soldiers remove the dead from the battlefield at Adrianople during the First Balkan War.

A century ago today, the Balkan wars began. On Oct. 8, 1912, the tiny Kingdom of Montenegro declared war on the weak Ottoman Empire, launching an invasion of Albania, then under nominal Turkish rule. Three other Balkan states in league with the Montenegrins — Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia — rapidly followed suit, waging war on the old imperial enemy while drawing upon a wellspring of national sentiment in each of their homelands. By March 1913, their blood-soaked campaigns had effectively pushed the enfeebled Ottomans out of Europe. Yet by July, Greece and Serbia would clash with Bulgaria in what’s known as the Second Balkan War — a bitter monthlong struggle that saw more territory change hands, more villages razed and more bodies dumped into the earth.

The peace that followed was no peace at all. A year later, with Europe’s great powers entwined in the fate of the Balkans, a Yugoslav nationalist in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo killed the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Europe plunged into World War I.

(PHOTOS: The Balkan Wars: Scenes from the Front Lines)

“The Balkans,” goes one of the many witticisms attributed to Winston Churchill, “generates more history than it can locally consume.” To Churchill and many Western observers of his era, this rugged stretch of southeastern Europe was a headache, a geopolitical mess that had for centuries been at the crossroads of empires and religions, riven by ethnic tribalisms and the meddling of outside powers. Half a century earlier, Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck — the architect of the modern German state — expressed his disgust with this nuisance of a region, scoffing that the whole of the Balkans was “not worth the bones of one Pomeranian grenadier” in his employ.

But while these grand statesmen of the West saw a backward land brimming with ancient hatreds, the Balkans’ turbulent past, and the legacy of the Balkan wars in particular, perhaps offers a more instructive history lesson for our present than even World War I. This is not just because the Balkan wars spawned some historic firsts on the battlefield — such as the first instance when aircraft was used to attack an enemy (by the Bulgarians) or some of the first grim scenes of trench warfare in continental Europe (observers recount how, in one trench, the legs of dead Turkish soldiers froze into the ground and had to be hacked off). It’s because in many ways these battles fought a century ago reflect our world today: one where internecine and sectarian conflicts — in, say, Syria or the Democratic Republic of Congo — are enmeshed in the agendas of outside powers and where the trauma of that violence often augurs more of the same.

On the surface, the Balkan wars were opportunistic land grabs. The Ottoman Empire, at this point very much “the sick man of Europe,” had held sway over a vast swath of the region since the 15th century, but by the 19th century was a steadily hemorrhaging territory. Newly independent states in Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia — at times, egged on, at others, reined in by imperial powers like Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany and the U.K., who were all jockeying for supremacy— were now possessed by their own fantasies of creating a Greater Serbia or Greater Bulgaria. The genie of ethnic nationalism was very much out of its bottle, and the Balkans were suffused with anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim feeling. See these popular lines of doggerel, penned by a mid-19th century Montenegrin prince:

So tear down minarets and mosques,

and the kindle the Serbian yule logs,

and let us paint our Easter eggs …

… our faiths will be submerged in blood.

The better of the two will be rise redeemed.

[Eid] can never live in peace

with Christmas Day.

And there was blood. The joint Balkan invasion of Turkish territory in Albania, Macedonia and Thrace, along the rim of the Aegean Sea, saw brutal, bitter fighting, miserable sieges and myriad atrocities committed on all sides. A Czech correspondent described the approach to Lozengrad, the Bulgarian name for what’s now Kirklareli, Turkey, as something out of Dante’s Inferno. “Only his dark genius could recreate all the horrors of the cold swamps out of which stick the twisted and mutilated bodies of the fallen,” he wrote in the Czech daily Pravo Lidu in October 1912. Another journalist entering the city of Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey) when it was finally surrendered by the Ottomans to the Bulgarians in March 1913, recounted the utter desolation of the ancient town, then a “ghastly theater of blood”: “Everywhere bodies reduced to mere bones, blue hands ripped from forearms, the bizarre gestures, empty eye-sockets, open mouths as if calling in desperation, the shattered teeth behind the torn and blackened lips.”

The capture of Adrianople effectively brought what’s considered the First Balkan War to a close. A treaty brokered in London by Europe’s great powers ended hostilities by May, but would soon unravel when, in late June, territorial disputes led to the Greeks and Serbs turning on the Bulgarians — the biggest victors of the First Balkan War — and, even at times with the help of Turkish fighters, stripping the Bulgarians of much of the gains they had made in the earlier conflict. It was a huge source of national humiliation for the Bulgarians, who had mobilized 500,000 troops — a quarter of their entire male population — during the wars.

In all, over the course of the Balkan wars, some 200,000 soldiers died in less than a year with countless numbers of civilians massacred in raids on towns or laid low by starvation and disease. Grisly accounts followed one after the other of pogroms and ethnic cleansing in a dizzyingly complex, diverse part of the world that, for all the inefficiencies and injustices of Ottoman rule, had existed in relative multicultural harmony for centuries. A landmark report on the Balkan wars, issued in 1913 by the then brand new Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., claimed that “there is no clause in international law applicable to land war and to the treatment of the wounded, which was not violated … by all the belligerents.” The Carnegie report went on to declaim “the megalomania of the national ideal” — the ugly, crude nationalism that fired the expansionist zeal of countries the world over. “Violence carries its own punishment with it and something very different from armed force will be needed to establish order and peace in the Balkans,” the report warns.

But that was a message, like many others made then by dovish liberals and peaceniks, that went unheeded. At a time when the great powers were steadily amassing arms and tying themselves into alliances primed for war, the smaller Balkan states could only end up pawns in a much bigger game of chess. Resurgent Serbian nationalism, backed by Russia, put the two ultimately at odds with Austria-Hungary, triggering World War I. “The Balkans were not the powder keg, as is so often believed: the metaphor is inaccurate,” writes journalist and Balkans historian Misha Glenny, in his book, The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804-1999. “They were merely the powder trail that the great powers themselves had laid. The powder keg was Europe.”

What followed, of course, involved more bloodshed, more seismic upheavals, more redrawing of maps. Decades later, the Balkans tragically convulsed in another round of ethnic warfare following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of Yugoslavia’s own communist state. As some commentators parroted Churchill and Bismarck’s dismay with the region, Mark Mazower, a noted scholar of Eastern Europe now at Columbia University, wrote in an essay how the fragile politics of a nation — not simply old ethnic enmities — can lead to the disintegration of once tolerant, integrated societies: “It has been war — first as a specter then as a reality — which affected people’s sense of ethnic identity.”

Looking at the vicious sectarian fighting taking place now in Syria, one wonders what sort of country can possibly emerge when the shooting stops. The hideous excesses 0f an authoritarian regime, the cash and weaponry supplied to rebels by foreign powers and the unraveling of the delicate political consensus that once existed has led to a grinding, miserable civil war with no end in sight.

Prescient for its time, the 1913 Carnegie report opens with an impassioned appeal for peace and an end to the “monstrous business” of the arms race. Otherwise, the legacy of the Balkan wars was clear:

[It will be] only the beginning of other wars, or rather of a continuous war, the worst of all, a war of religion, of reprisals, of race, a war of one people against another, of man against man and brother against brother. It has become a competition, as to who can best dispossess and “denationalize” his neighbor.

Violence, as the report says, is its own punishment. And a century doesn’t seem so long ago.

48 comments
SuzannePenduck
SuzannePenduck

I HAVE FOUN D A COPPER CUP IN MY GRANDDADS BELONINGS,IT IS BOUND IN LEATHER.WITH THE WORDS BALKEN IN A STAR,AND ON THE OTHER SIDE ,WOT LOOKS LIKE A DRAGON ,IT ALLSO HAS THE NUMBER 35 ON IT ,CAN U PLEASE TELL ME WOT IT MEANS ,THANK YOU 

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan @TIMEWorld You'd think this author had never read Todorova's book, 'imagining the Balkans'. Yet more essentializing, etc., etc.,

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu @TIMEWorld That's right, Todorova's arguments should be reproduced for further talks on EU enlargement.

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan @TIMEWorld In what sense?

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan Offcourse, but for all its supposed rationalism many EU leaders still decidedly dogmatic + ignorant of history

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu ++ would not be a problem but an asset.

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu ++ accept the duality in European identity which was caused by sui generis properties of the Balkans and Asia Minor, identity++

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu And that's the biggest problem since EU is obsessed with the idea of a single European identity and history. If they were to ++

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan Many benefits to the large countries although for Balkans this is more to do with being seen as 'European' (same for Turkey).

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu I see. Excluding Bosnia out of the deal is not smart for the EU. Even the chance to control human trafficking is a an asset.

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan I don't think so, Bulgaria was (is) = problematic vis human rights and it still joined.

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu Considering that human rights issues are more problematique for EU instead of religion, do you think Serbia is more troubled?

BeharSadriu
BeharSadriu

@ayracorhan @TIMEWorld Bosnia is a mess, Bosniaks got the worse deal probably b'cos they're resistence seen as too 'religious' in nature

ayracorhan
ayracorhan

@BeharSadriu @TIMEWorld I consider Croatia's entry as an exception, I believe the Balkanist mindset will be active for Bosnia.

tayyareci1959
tayyareci1959

Congratulations to Mr. Ishaan Tharoor for his staggering article. Every paragraph of his article uproots the gross prejudice the Western world, and others as well, has held concerning the Balkans and the conflicts waged for centuries in that geography. Others have tried to draw parallels between past conflicts and the situation in Syria today. But none were able to put it as vividly as Mr. Tharoor. The grandsons of the outside powers that continue to meddle with the social fabric of the lands that are at the cross-roads of past and present civilizations, to redraw maps to their own greedy liking, should read Mr. Tharoor’s article with diligence and review history with an untainted mind free of yesterday’s and today’s crafty politics. Otherwise; if they persist in wearing horse-blinders and not acknowledging the message of the Carnegie report written a century ago and underlined by Mr. Tahoor, they will never recognize the means that is needed to restore order and everlasting peace among mankind. Mr. Tahoor’s article needs one correction. As much as they would like to assert erroneously in their own historical works, the Bulgarians were not the first to use aircraft to attack opposing forces. The Italians preceded the Bulgarians by a year when they employed aircraft against Ottoman troops in Tripoli (Libya today; another cauldron of inferno brewed by the governments which sustain their economy by that “monstrous business”).

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Paul46 and Mr.Tharoor:

Does this remind you guys of the PLAGIARIST CHARGE against Mr.Zakaria?

CHECK OUT my following response I wrote on FZ-CNN-GPS on 08/28/2011

http://globalpublicsquare.blog...

Amit-Atlanta-USA

Mr. Zakaria has this uncanny "DESIRE" to stay in the limelight with all these "PROPHESIES" by "merely" stating the obvious by sewing amp; weaving ALREADY PUBLISHED FACTS....something that's not much of a no brainer to majority of informed Americans!

He does this typically by making broad, sweeping statements often times encompassing both sides of the aisle, leaving him just enough room to wriggle out in the event of an unsavory situation! Often times on issues closest to his heart, including support for Muslim issues all over the world, anti-Semitism, or America bashing we see him unleashing his passion with a variety of cherry-picked data, half-truths to further his cause.

Lucy321
Lucy321

As a Bulgarian, I appreciate the message in the article about the Great Powers' role through action/inaction and inconsistent policies toward the Balkan region in influencing the future of the region. I am even willing to forgive the fact that by omitting details about the motivations of the original war of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria against the Ottoman Empire, the author leaves the readers with the impression that these were random acts of violence and opportunistic attempts at territorial grabbing. But we, the unwashed citizens of Balkan Europe, are used to being depicted as primitive, tribal, and aggressive. What else is new?

Anyway, For those unfamiliar with the area in the late 19th early 20th century, basically England needed access through the Mediterranean and the Suez canal and on to their colonies in the East, so they had to maintain good relations with the Ottomans. The Ottoman empire's bad human rights record, to use a modern term, towards the non-Muslim populations, created some controversy in England's domestic politics (how can we support them when they treat Christians so badly, etc.), so it's fair to say UK and the Ottoman empire were frienemies. Logically, England picked Greece, as most strategically important to them in terms of trade routes, so they supported them until the days when Greece almost became communist, by elections, but of course England did not allow that (I am fast forwarding to the 1940s here). How nice. As to the rest of the region, specifically Bulgaria, England had no qualms about handing them over to the Russians, who subsequently staged a communist takeover--by coup, not by election of course, as there was no popular support for this and the West did not lift a finger. We Bulgarians would have loved an international intervention to help us get rid of the communist regime but alas, we had to endure all 45 years of it because we are unimportant economically to the west. So, what is the lesson? Even though I believe the history and politics of the Middle East are vastly more complicated than the Balkans (although the Balkans are not simple either), there are a lot of similarities. There are lots of ethnicities that want independence in the region. Be sensitive about labeling the locals belligerent when in many cases they are in the middle of powerful international economic interests. This insensitivity and lack of interest unless oil is involved is part of why people turn to religious extremism, or to Russia and Iran, as a last resort.

VijayChugh
VijayChugh

Dear Shashi, Whenever you write about historical events, it takes me back to college days and your 5 pager model answers, including the Balkan wars - the melting pot of Europe. Vijay Chugh

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Melting Pot............Really?

 

Please, Please, Please.......... check with Angela Merkel, and David Cameron whether Multi-cultaralism has succeeded in Europe. Also check with Aussie PMs John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard on that. Or just do a GOOGLE CHECK. 

 

And, forget Europe and Australia, let's go back to your, Mr.Tharoor's, Mr.Fareed Zakaria's and my own India. Inspite of Muslims arriving in India over a 1,000 years ago (to plunder, destroy, rape, kill, amp; convert!)  India has NEVER BEEN (amp; NEVER WILL BE) a melting pot……..unless you believe in Bollywood stories! I am sure you are aware of what’s going on in Assam, Kashmir, Kerala, and nearly all over India!

 

Even the fiercely anti-America, anti-India (ONLY pro-Muslim Ummah!) Mr. Zakaria said this, literally hours after the Mumbai attacks: 

"One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last ten years. There is still a lot of INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION, and MANY REMAIN PERSECUTED. There’s ENOUGH ALIENATION out there that there are LOCALS WHO CAN BE DRAWN INTO PLOTS!!!!”

He calls India rule in Kashmir as OCCUPATION and MARTIAL RULE.

He’s the same man that we educated, excessively political correct Indians (read Hindus) hold in high esteem as a fair amp; balanced representative of India!

Lucy321
Lucy321

Sorry to intrude on your college memories, but I don't think melting pot is the apt term. It's not like Europeans from all places are going to the Balkans and assimilating. It's more of a transitional place between west and east, culturally. Don't uou think?

George Giri
George Giri

Violence cannot be an answer to any problem. Even on this century day of Balkan wars, the world is not going to understand it. Hope for the better, better late than never...

Prof_Marin_Paunov
Prof_Marin_Paunov

I can understand and accept the anti-violence idea of the author. But the frivolous comparison of contemporary situations with the far more complex (and totally misunderstood or neglected by the author) realities on the so called Balkans a century ago is totally unacceptable. Dear Mr. Tharoor, the modern history of this part of the world is extremely complicated both in terms of reality and ideological interpretations of past events and any attempt to deal with it with insufficient knowledge, respect and sensitivity is at least annoying.

paul46
paul46

To Amit_Atlanta--Good grief! I do indeed get the point that you enjoy  demonizing Islam--amp; you've obviously put a lot of time amp; energy into it. Why? When I mentioned that Islam carried the torch of civilization while Europe was in the clutches of a decadent European Christianity in the Dark Ages, I did not say that Islam is still carrying the torch. No, It appears that Islam has run its course, accomplished what it was supposed to accomplish--amp; that was a great, great deal, amp; we in the West owe Islam a great debt. Muhammad himself said that his religion would have an end. I only ask that we be fair amp; give credit where credit is due. The Islam of today is a tattered remnant of its past achievements. One might also (cautiously) argue that the same is true of Christianity--many of whose adherents now seem so eager to engage in warfare rather than "turn the other cheek". Mr. Tharoor's excellent essay steered entirely clear of any religious or cultural bigotry. Instead, he dealt with the issue in an extremely fair-minded manner. We would do well to follow in his footsteps. Indeed, we would do well to take another look at the Carnegie report.  No ill will here.  

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Paul46:

You said "I do indeed get the point that you enjoy  demonizing Islam"

Do you HONESTLY believe there is a NEED for me to do it?

Their practioners all over the world are doing it for themselves! I hope you are tuned to what's going on the world over!

And, while we can understand and empathize with its Madarasa educated foot soldiers fighting in the ravines of Af-Pak, the greatest danger to the west comes from the "SO-CALLED" moderates living right here in the west, who while enjoying all the freedoms these great, tolerant, inclusive Judo-Christian civilizations offer, TRASH amp; CONSPIRE against these civilizations from within on a daily basis......while PRETENDING to be ardent patriots.

YES, I am referring to the likes of Time/CNN's Mr.Fareed Zakaria.  I can frankly write a thesis on this man not by slandering him, but referencing/analyzing  everything he has said since 9/11. And I can do the same on his "Polygamist" Islamic scholar Indian father late Dr.Rafiq Zakaria who did exactly the same that Mr.Fareed Zakaria is doing here, albeit in a more abrasive way!

And why did have to refer to Dr. Zakaria's personal life here, it's b'coz had I or Mr.Tharoor as Hindus, or you as a Christian happened to do the same in India, we would be hounded as CRIMINALS.......but not so the HIGHLY EDUCATED (in ISLAMIC STUDIES!!!) father of Mr. Zakaria who is allowed 4 wives by the EXECSSIVELY POLITICALLY CORRECT Indian constitution! And, remember this political correctness is NOT extended in equal measure to nobody else, not even other religious minorities like Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists......and, forget about the docile Hindus!

Hope that explains!

paul46
paul46

Dear Amit_Atlanta—I must ask your forgiveness here. I seem

to have stirred up a hornets nest or walked into one. I must admit that when I

first responded, I had a bit of a sniping, snarky attitude. That is gone. That

feeling has been replaced by a sadness—a sadness that we inhabitants of one

tiny planet—a jewel in the darkness of space, are on the verge of destroying

ourselves. I am sure you have your reasons for your antipathy towards Muslims,

amp; it’s probably based on real experience. I know I’ve lived a charmed life

here in America

where ideas amp; allegiances can be talked about, investigated without any

real threat in doing so. I recognize that is not the case everywhere. I did

have the fortune however of living in Indonesia

for half a year (30 years ago) amp; noticed that the Muslims held fast to the

same high virtues to which the Christian West aspires. Perhaps that has

changed. I do not know.      

  That you are

intelligent amp; passionate is obvious.              

 

  I worry in fact that

we may all end up right back at the beginning of where this exchange of ideas

started—namely, a return to the sectarian causes of the Balkan Wars, described

so frighteningly by Mr. Tharoor. Ironically, I’m pretty sure he wrote this

article not with the intent of reigniting ancient rivalries, but rather with a

sense of foreboding—noting the similarities between that time amp; our own. That’s

what I got out of his essay. I hold the hope, however impossibly idealistic,

that some day, we, the members of the various nations amp; religions, might

possibly survive our differences amp; live in peace. We are all we’ve got. There

is no one else. As flawed as we may be, I feel we each carry a greatness, a

nobility within us. If we cannot set aside our inherited cultural enmities at

this time we may never get another chance. I apologize for any words of mine

that may have added to your pain or anger. Paul                     

 

 

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Dear Paul46:

I initially mistook you for one of those innumerous # of Muslim imposters here, who pay glowing tributes to Islam under pseudo Christian names.

Having said that just check out the following articles from Mr. Fareed Zakaria:

Here are some fine examples of Mr.Zakaria’s PRO-RADICAL ISLAMIST writings: 

1) Where he deliberately DOWNPLAYS the threat of radical Islam in the west. 

a) “Jihad against the Jihadis- How (Muslim) Moderates WON against extremists” – Newsweek Feb 12th  2010  b) “Learning to Live with Radical Islam” – Newsweek Feb 28th 2009

c) “Congressional Hearings on threats from radical Islam” ABCNews.com Feb 11th 2011

d) “When Terror Loses its Grip-Time May 20th 2011 

2)Where he squarely blames the west, Russia and his native India for Muslim hatred, holding these nations “squarely responsible” for NOT merely Muslim discontentment but also “Muslim Terror”, and CONCLUDING that “THE DANGER IS FROM US (The US) and NOT THEM (incl. Al-Qaeda)!! 

a) “Why do they hate us”-Newsweek Aug 22nd 2007 – b) “Reflections on 9-11 amp; Aftermath” Sept 11th 2011

c) “Why America Overreacted to 9-11” - Newsweek Sep 4th-2010

d) “How Russia created its own Islamic Terrorism Problem” Time Jan 27th 2011

e) “Don't Overreact to Terrorism - Newsweek Jan 09th 2010

f) “India Occupying Kashmir” - Rediff June 25th 2001. In a ceremony while receiving India’s third highest civilian award from the Indian Ambassador to the US Mr. Zakaria condemned India for its role in Kashmir terming it “Martial Rule”.

f) “India Please Stand up” CNN GPS Mar 26th 2012 – where he downplays India’s economic achievements and holds India responsible for what he calls “INSTITUTIONALIZED” discrimination of Muslims and leaving Muslims out of the fruits of economic growth. 

2) Where he dilutes the threat of radical Islam, castigates the west for their biased attitude towards Muslims and tries to portray all communities as equally culpable.

 a)Norway “What is the Knights Templar”-CNN GPS July 31st 2011

b) Plus scores of articles portraying isolated acts such as the Oklahoma bombing, even the case of bombing of the IRS building in TX etc as the job of religious radicals! Just look up on Google.  

3) Where he tries to showcase Muslim radicalism as a direct result of their backwardness amp; poverty amp; NOT their radical religious IDEOLOGY (disregarding far more poverty ridden places such as Haiti, Nepal, much of Sub-Saharan Africa), URGING already HARD HIT Americans amp; Europeans to CONTRIBUTE more, w/o ever mentioning the oil rich Sheikdoms or their own rich people (for e.g. ONLY 1% of Pakistanis pay income taxes-many of whom are far more affluent than average Americans or Europeans who toil more than 3 months a year JUST to pay their taxes!).

 a) “What People Will Die For - Newsweek Jan 5th 2008

b) “Put Pakistan (Govt. amp; Miltary) on Notice” but keep pumping money! – CNN GPS May 13th 2011

c) Plus all of the articles under (1) above. 

4) Where he PRETENDS to be concerned about America while CONSTANTLY highlighting the fact that America’s best days are over, and talks about the emergence of other powers. While that may be somewhat true, you can see a definite bias in the coverage, almost WISHING TO SEE OUR DOWNFALL, just as most Muslims the world over want! 

a) “Are America’s Best Days Over” Time March 3rd 2011

b) “Beyond Bush” June 11th 2007

c) “The Future of American Power” Foreign Affairs May-June 2008 

5) Where he PRETENDS to be concerned about the economic decline of US, Europe, Japan holding their declining birthrates, aging populations, reduced employee productivity as the chief factors, and provides his own PRESCRIPTIONS all covertly designed at greater Islamization of the west amp; Japan – import labor from Muslim countries where population is exploding, thereby build greater BRIDGES between Muslims amp; the west, create greater opportunities, reduce poverty, and reduce Islamic radicalism amp; terror. All the while CASTIGATING Japanese amp; western societies for being biased against multi-culturalism. 

a) “The end of an era for Japan-FZ-CNN GPS 01-29-12 b) “Europe's real problem Lack of Growth” CNN GPS Nov 10th 2011

c) “Turkey’s Economy is Sparkling” PortTurkey d)  “IMMIGRATION LESSONS for US from Around the World”CNN GPS FZ 06-10-12

e)  “America risks losing its immigration advantage”-CNN GPS 06-28-11

f) “Greece’s other crisis xenophobic violence”-CNN GPS 07-18-12

g) “zakaria Let naturalized Americans become president-CNN GPS 03-19-12- so that Islamists like him with MErn money can become President! 

6) American school kids taking Mr.Zakaria’s words as Gospel! 

a) “Ohio School Curriculum” based on Mr. Zakaria’s articles amp; views CNN April 6th 2011 

7) Where he tacitly drums up support for Iran’s quest for Nuclear Weapons, blames America for pushing Iran “too hard”,  talks of the nuclear equilibrium with Russia, and also portrays the nukes with Israel, US Europe and even Pakistan amp; India as a potential threat to Iran! 

a) “Iran is a Rational Actor” CNN GPS March 8th 2012

b) “The Shape of a Deal with Iran” April 12th 2012

c) Plus scores of other articles on Iran during March-April 2012 on CNN 

8) Where he “pretends” to be a friend of Israel, Egypt’s Coptic Christians while quietly making up a case for radical Hamas, Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood, praising them as moderates, and blaming Americans for viewing them as radicals! Also tries to scuttle the peace deal between Israel amp; Egypt by terming it as a “Treaty Between Two Regimes” amp; NOT two peoples! Holds America responsible for lack of democracy in the ME due to our support for dictators (disregarding the fact that of the nearly 50 Muslim countries NOT even one is genuinely democratic!). 

a) “Israel’s Biggest Danger” – Feb 14th 2009

b) “Middle East Revolt Youth-Tech Driving Change-Time Feb 17th 2011

c) “In Middle East Democracy Deficit has its Roots in History” CNN GPS April 5th 2012

chhaju ram advocate induscharw
chhaju ram advocate induscharw

Balkan, Ottoman stand no where but Arab spring is advancing and the great advancement bound to create liberal world that is global market of technology, knowledge and productive capital. history for sake of history or history firing old score must not be appreciated hence world is not interested at all.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Mr.Tharoor is totally ignorant of the barbaric Ottaman conquest amp; excesses in the Balkans which led all those wars. Along with the Balkan people, Hindus, and Jews have suffered too have suffered for centuries at the hands of  BARBARIC Muslim invaders.....something that's continuing till this day in India. I included the Jews here given that there were large #s of Jews living in the ME who were converted, driven out or killed by Muslims, and also MOST IMPORTANTLY the much lesser known fact of the HOLOCAUST WHICH WAS INSTIGATED BY THE MUSLIMS (by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). In fact the Mufti's 30,000 strong Bosnian Muslim regiment under Hitler was responsible for some of the very worst excesses.........check it out on You Tube.

Also, I am deeply aware of the BARBARISM of the Balkan Muslim thugs/terrorists which is strangely forgotten amp; forgiven by America, and in return the Serbs, Croats were hounded.

Coming back to Mr.Tharoor, I believe he's on the CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS team and have seen him write largely PRO-ISLAMIC columns bashing Indians, Americans, Europeans alike, quite likely to please his boss THE SILENT JIHADIST Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA (BTW, a  fellow Indian American like myself amp; Mr.Tharoor)!

I end my response by stating that inspite of all the challenges India, America, Europe, Australia, NZ remain some of the GREATEST bastions of freedom and morality in the entire world, something that is in clear danger toady due to the rapid inroads being made by Islamists.

Europe and Indian have nearly lost that battle with the Islamists leaving America as the sole remaining BASTION OF FREEDOMS.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Mr.Ripley:

 

Just another point!

 

You said "And your boys in India were chit-chatting with the same Nazis about swastikas."

And Sir, you are CLEARLY WRONG!

The Hindu Swastika has been a symbol of Peace, Non-violence amp; Humanity for 1000's of years. The Nazis stole that from Hindus and used it for their own NEFARIOUS DEEDS.

Also, the Nazi and Indian Swastika look different, actually the Nazi Swastika is a REVERSAL of all that the Indian Swastika stood for. Just check out the Images on Google! 

 While you seemed knowledgeable for the most part, you showed off your sheer ignorance with this.....may be you were blinded in your quest to trash amp; malign India!

Dragomira Markova
Dragomira Markova

Mr Tharoor there is not enough space to discuss your article so in short it si full with distorted historical facts,  with important facts not mentioned at all and  finally that leads to wrong conclusions.  Just for your information Bulgarian people enter in that war in order to bring freedom to Bulgarians, who suffered under te ottoman yoke, which existence is proved by documents written by ottoman administration itself, signed by sultan so Bulgarian people fought in this war to reunite with its compatriots not for so-called "Great Bulgaria". Next time when you write check the facts! About the "harmonious" life in the empire Roberto Ripley wrote, I would like to point out that there is no resemblence between modern Syria and Ottoman empire - Syria is modern secular state, which has also appeared after the end of ottoman empire.

Roberto Ripley
Roberto Ripley

I truly hope your admin does not remove this:

This article is complete non-sense. It is pathetic to read criticizing article written by Indian of either Muslim, or Hindu origin, it doesn't really matter, written by Indian, at the end of the day.  I have a few questions for Mr. Ishaan. Based on your origin what in world do you think gave you a right to present that region as such? Did I talk crap about your India? No, right? Well maybe I should. Maybe you should have rather written an article about India, a cruel society where ridiculous percentage of your population, actually the most of your population gets born, lives, and dies on the streets, never, ever having a roof over their head, or God help, running water.  A racist society divided in horrible system of caste. A racist society where lower caste people are ostracized, excluded, and often deprived of basic human rights. A nation where human trafficking is so wide spread, that daily your country receives 5000-7000 young Nepalese girls (and boys). Yes, exactly. And then you enslave them and prostitute them. What kind of people are having sex with those kids in your country Mr. Ishaan? Shame on America for calling you a democracy!!!! My second question is who has paid you for this article. Seems to be a coin-operated article.

Now let's talk a little about your (very offensive) article...

1. You said they were "waging war on the old imperial enemy"...

Well I hope that you understand that these kingdoms and countries were occupied for a long time by Turkish invaders, and that this was nothing else but liberation of someone who was nothing else but intruder.  Those countries should be proud of their actions, resistance and fights they've put up for centuries against mighty enemy(s). Sure enough such bravery and determination had to produce results and finally they've kicked Turks (and most of the Islam) out of the Europe w/out any western help.  Sure enough, fighting like madman, they have also previously stopped the spread of Islam all over the Europe and penetration of Islam into those very same cowardice western countries who had never bother to help them.

2. Quote: Yugoslav nationalist in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo killed the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Europe plunged into World War I.

Serious? So 1/2 of region was occupied by Turks while the other half was occupied by Habsburgs.  So they kicked out two bullies and two invaders from their land and you present those people as some kind of terrorists of that era. Wow!!!

I don't know how Indians run and cherish their freedom, or fight their fights, but to me after hearing you - Indians sound more like some bunch of good Vassals, or cowards. Seems to me it has be one of the two. 

Let me tell you something Mr. Ishaan. When Yugoslav treasonous government signed a pact with Hitler, people gathered in the streets and proclaimed that they will rather die then be in pact with Hitler. Anyone else? I didn't think so.

French, Dutch, Scandinavians were in the meantime dancing with Nazis.  And your boys in India were chit-chatting with the same Nazis about swastikas.

So Hitler attacked in 1941, and guess what? Those people you have trashed so much, already had the first liberated territory in the very same first year of the war - 1941. Tell me how many other nations have pulled that gig, that quickly against axis powers. I will tell you: ZERO. Because they have probably had your mentality, cherishing Vassal status and openly showing lack of will for (necessary) fight. (necessary - if you have any dignity).

3. And please don't quote your Colonial Owners, such as that British clown Churchill, who sat on that Island and relied on American help. "To Churchill and many Western observers of his era, this rugged stretch of southeastern Europe was a headache". He is poor gutless soul in comparison to any Balkan's nation. If the British were in Balkans, they would be annihilated, so again, show some respect. It is easy to sit on an Island and play smarts.

4. With this next statement, Mr. Ishaan, you have really crossed the line:

"for all the inefficiencies and injustices of Ottoman rule, had existed in relative multicultural harmony for centuries".Harmony? So, Turks, you know, they have had a rule where you could keep your own kids, only if you accept Islam. Otherwise, your kids will be taken away from you, forcefully made muslims, and soldiers of Islam. Pre teenage boys were separated by force from their parents to be raised as Turkish soldiers (janicari), and pretty young Serbian girls were taken to harems. Christian Kids were sometimes killed just for  trying to get water ahead of  Turkish soldiers.And in your mind Mr. Ishaan that is a multi-cultural harmony? WOW again. I am speechless and I cannot believe that you hold a job at Time. Unreal. But let's keep on moving....I have advice for you Mr. Ishaan - Next time you write about Balkans, you know those "western headache" people, please write about the fact that WE GAVE YOU:the First Power Dam, alternate current that you use every day, the electric motors that are almost in every single device in the world, Remote controls, TV, Radio, tickers (and etc.  by Serbian Nikola Tesla),  Mechanical pencils and fountain ink pens invented by Mr. Penkala from Croatia, who also invented rail brakes, detergents, termophor,  and batteries. The tie you probably wear occasionally came from Balkans. Long distance phone calls by Mihajlo Pupin. Google Mileva Maric, and see where Einstein's work came from...Write about Region and Countries where we had pharmacies, and developed health care system as early as  in 14th century. Countries that had sewers and ate using fork and spoon while west was still eating like dogs. Our  Maritime republic of Dubrovnik denounced slavery (as early as) in 15th century and changed flag into LIBERTAS  (liberty) with the moto: Latin: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auroEnglish: Liberty is not sold for all the gold in the world.And I can go on and on. I don't even know if you understand. We were so ahead of the west and we gave you all those "little" technological things, that propped the whole world from stone age, basically.  And we all know that  without these things OUR BRAIN POWER GAVE YOU, the  life, as you know it today would not be possible. In those very same countries that according to you call us headache. Shame on you Mr. Ishaan, you need to apologize.Writing a positive (non-paid) article about that region would be proper apology.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Sir:

Here's some education for you.

The Hindu Swastika has been a symbol of Peace, Non-violence amp; Humanity for 1000's of years. The Nazis stole that from Hindus and used it for their own NEFARIOUS DEEDS.

 

Also, the Nazi and Indian Swastika look different, actually the Nazi Swastika is a REVERSAL of all that the Indian Swastika stood for. Just check out the Images on Google! 

 

 While you seemed knowledgeable for the most part, you showed off your sheer ignorance with this.....may be you were blinded in your quest to trash amp; malign India!

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Mr.Ripley:

 

Just another point!

 

You said "And your boys in India were chit-chatting with the same Nazis about swastikas."

And, you are CLEARLY WRONG!

The Hindu Swastika has been a symbol of peace, non-violence amp; Humanity for 1000's of years. The Nazis stole that from Hindus and used it for their own NEFARIOUS DEEDS. Also, the Nazi and Indian Swastika look different, actually the Nazi Swastika is a REVERSAL of all that the Indian Swastika stood for. Just check out the Images on Google! 

While you seemed knowledgeable for the most part, you showed off your sheer ignorance with this.......may be you were blinded in your quest to trash amp; malign India!!!

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Mr.Ripley:

Just another point!

 

You said "

And your boys in India were chit-chatting with the same Nazis about swastikas."

And, you are CLEARLY WRONG! The Hindu Swastika has been a symbol of peace, non-violence amp; Humanity for 1000's of years. The Nazis stole that from Hindus and used it for their own NEFARIOUS DEEDS. Also, the Nazi and Indian Swastika look different, actually the Nazi Swastika is a REVERSAL of all that the Indian Swastika stood for. Just check out the Images on Google!  While you seemed knowledgeable for the most part, you showed off your sheer ignorance with this.......may be you were blinded in your quest to trash amp; malign India!

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

I largely agree with you on points 1,2, 3 amp; 4.

I am no fan of Mr.Tharoor but I must say this, there was just no reason to say all that about India. Nearly 100% of the times such comments are made by Pakistani TROLLS who post responses all over under PSEUDO Christian sounding names pretending to be Americans....in short anything but Muslim.

But you sure don't sound like one!

And, I am also NOT entirely disagreeing with you on what you said about India. True, India has tons of issues, and so does America. I am not sure if you have ever visited India, India also has two faces a highly educated, modern, non-casteist, forward looking India, as also multitude of masses who carry many of those deficiencies from the past, but in reality only yearn for 2 square meals a day, and a shelter over their heads, but who are easily swayed by the politicians. And, India has one of the worst corrupt politicians in the world, who are only surpassed by their counterparts in Pakistan, and MOST other Islamic countries, and also most other rulers in Africa. Needless to say even amongst the corrupt lot, Muslim Indians generally fare much higher even by Indian standards mixing corruption with crime (just as the WORLD OVER!!!).....just Google the stats on Muslims amp; crime, or even corrupt Indian politicians and see what comes up!

Having said that, coming to your point on the Ottaman excesses, NO OTHER peoples' in the world other than Hindus, and Jews have suffered more from BARBARIC Muslim invaders.....something that's continuing till this day in India. I included the Jews here given that there were large #s of Jews living in the ME who were converted, driven out or killed by Muslims, and also MOST IMPORTANTLY the much lesser known fact of the HOLOCAUST WHICH WAS INSTIGATED BY THE MUSLIMS (by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). In fact the Mufti's 30,000 strong Bosnian Muslim regiment under Hitler was responsible for some of the very worst excesses.........check it out on You Tube.

Also, I am deeply aware of the BARBARISM of the Balkan Muslim thugs/terrorists which is strangely forgotten amp; forgiven by America, and in return the Serbs, Croats were hounded.

Coming back to Mr.Tharoor, I believe he's on the CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS team and have seen him write largely PRO-ISLAMIC columns bashing Indians, Americans, Europeans alike, quite likely to please his boss THE SILENT JIHADIST Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA (BTW, a  fellow Indian American like myself amp; Mr.Tharoor)!

I end my response by stating that inspite of all the challenges India, America, Europe, Australia, NZ remain some of the GREATEST bastions of freedom and morality in the entire world, something that is in clear danger toady due to the rapid inroads being made by Islamists.

Europe and Indian have nearly lost that battle with the Islamists leaving America as the sole remaining BASTION OF FREEDOMS.

AdamTheCon
AdamTheCon

A very interesting read, one with a very important lesson. The labelling of the balkan region as a "powder keg" dismisses the area as inherently violent, backward and therefore undeserving of Western help. This promotes a lack of willingness to engage in the region in any meaningful depth, something that is being repeated in today's conflict zones with no sense of history.

I always love seeing a historical analysis on Time, well written!

paul46
paul46

 Agreed. Some however might be wary of this article--the author's name could be seen as suspicious--God knows, he might be a "covert Islamist".

AdamTheCon
AdamTheCon

I figured you were being sarcastic, unfortunately it is a rather difficult literary device to convey via the interwebs ;)

paul46
paul46

 Thanks Adam. Advice noted.

Ishaan Tharoor
Ishaan Tharoor

I'm a non-practicing Hindu, for whatever that's worth.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Mr. Tharoor:

NOT AT ALL sure what you mean when you say "...........for whatever that's worth"!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a non-practising Hindu too, and an avowed atheist. But I must say this. But, I have enormous respect and admiration for TRUE practioners of our Hindu religion, as I do of all the other religions too.....with the exception of just one,  for the simple reason that these people are compassionate NOT only to their own kind, but also to all others, even to those who hate them for the MERE fact that they are NOT like them!

And, I will let our friend Paul46 answer which one was the exception!

And, I am also aware that Mr.Fareed Zakaria "claims" to be a non-religious Muslim, has a troubled marriage with a Jewish wife, and so did Imran Khan of Pakistan, and so does the Huma Abedin daughter of a well known Muslim Brotherhood activist amp; who's married to a Christian) and Mohammed Ali Jinnah (whose grandfather was a Hindu Meghji Goculdas) and we all know how strong their secular credentials are/were!!!!

It's OK to be non-religious, but just as these people amply demonstrate it will be great if we non-Muslims also have some respect for our heritage.

paul46
paul46

 Mr. Tharoor--please forgive if you thought my sarcasm was directed at you--it was addressed to a previous poster. Your article is brilliant. I was ignorant of the specifics of that war amp; was deeply touched by your mentioning of the Carnegie report. It's an excellent historical essay--horrors of war, hopes for peace. BTW, your relationship to Hinduism is indeed worth a lot to me. I have studied the Bhagavad Gita amp; consider it a most Holy Book. Thanks for the article. Sorry for my sarcasm. Looking forward to more of your excellent work.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

The Author is 100% correct when he says “The Balkan Wars, which began on Oct. 8, 1912, are considered minor footnotes in 20th century history. But they mean SO MUCH MORE”………………..TODAY, to the ENTIRE NON-MUSLIM WORLD.

And, most Europeans, Americans, and Indians (in short the entire INFIDEL world believes that the above lines penned by Monet doggerel, the mid-19th century Montenegrin prince is ALL THE MORE RELEVANT TODAY than it had ever been.... due to:

a)      Growing Islamization of Europe, India, America, Australia

b)      The systematic MARGINALIZATION of MAJORITY Christians, Hindus amp; all Non-Muslims in their own lands (NOT to talk of their plight in Muslim countries where they are in a minority!)

c)       The ever increasing threat from the ISLAMIC BOMB from Pakistan and now Iran, and FINALLY amp; MOST IMPORTANTLY

d)      The raise of COVERT ISLAMISTS such as CNN/Time's Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA who are waging a SILENT JIHAD to destroy western amp; Indian civilization from within while PRETENDING to be its WELL WISHERS.

Americans, Indians, and Europeans are increasingly becoming aware of this PLOT to impose Islam on the entire world and as WE SEE A GLOBAL ANTI-ISLAMIC BACKLASH BREWING!!!

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

I must add...

Of the statements made by Doggerel the following has no relevance in today's world:

.......our faiths will be submerged in Blood.

.......at least as far as the democratic,  Secular Non-Muslim world is concerened, even though violence against non-Muslims is widespread in the Muslim world as also Muslim minority countries like India, specifically regions where Muslims are in a sizeable minority. 

We saw ample evidence of violence and threats of violence between illegal Bangladeshi Muslims and largely Christian ethnic Bodos in Assam, with consequent threats of reprisal attacks against Bodo Christians in far flung cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi where Muslims are in a minority. 

paul46
paul46

 Zakaria is waging a secret jihad? Wow, thanks for the insight. Interesting how you perceive Islam to be evil amp; Christianity either neutral or good. Surely you must be aware how Islam carried the banner of civilization during almost a thousand years of European Dark Ages? Islam was gathering knowledge amp; safeguarding it in libraries while the Church was burning books amp; scientists amp; selling indulgences. All religions amp; cultures have their birth, period of fruition amp; then decadence. Human minds also apparently suffer the same fate.

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

Paul46: Yes, you are PARTIALLY right when you say European dark ages. Yes, they were fighting amongst themselves like barbarians, but still some of the greatest advancements made during those days came from Christian Europe, and by their incredible Jews, even as Muslim invaders were killing, plundering and ravaging India and much of the ME.....and ofcourse built grand masoleums, palaces, mosques often times at the same holy sites and using the same plundered material!

All of India is LITTERED with the destruction wrecked by Muslims, which is continuing till this day!

Having said that look at today's Europe, they are almost one nation.....don't talk about the current differences which are mainly of economic origin, which is at least partly as a result of WELFARE MIGRANTS from the Muslim countries!

Amit_Atlanta_USA
Amit_Atlanta_USA

CHECK THIS OUT Paul786!!!!

This is an ABSOLUTE MUST READ FOR EVERYONE!

How Islam was/is REPACKAGING knowledge evolved by Jews, Hindus and Christians as THEIR OWN!!!!. Even Mr.Zakaria sings the same tune all day!

This is a fantastic account from one of Pakistan’s leading Muslim columnists writing in their #1 daily The Dawn aptly titled “ THE (MUSLIM) SCIENCE OF FARCE”

http://blog.dawn.com/2010/11/2...

Here are some excerpts:

“Impressed by the fantastical claims made by a French Christian doctor (on Muslim accomplishments over the ages), very few Muslims were bothered by the fact that he was on the payroll of the Saudi monarchy, a regime trying to ward off the threat it had faced from various left-leaning nationalist movements in the Muslim world, and the growing influence of western secularism and Soviet communism among the Muslims.

The idea was, that if politics could be ‘Islamised’ (Mauddudi, Qutab, Khomeini), then so could science and (later), economics (banking). Grudgingly recognizing the economic and political advances made by the Jews after World War-II through education, the Arab world, defeated by Israel in 1967 and 1973, tried to come up with their own notion of advancement.

But as mentioned before, this advancement was not really about producing large numbers of highly educated Muslims but rather, a populace fed on empty, feel-good ‘scientific’ claptrap produced by overpaid groups of crackpots calling themselves scientists and economists. And anyway, the new post-Bucaille Muslim mindset had already begun labeling the ‘secular sciences’ as ‘invented by Jews to subjugate the Muslims.’

Pakistan’s military dictator, General Ziaul Haq, heavily influenced and financed by the Saudis, would be the man to green light a seminar of Muslim ‘scientists’ who met in Islamabad in 1986 to unveil the wonders of Islamic science where so-called learned men actually set about discussing things like how to generate energy and electricity from jinns, or how to calculate the speed of heaven, etc.

Such was the nonsense Muslim governments in the 1980s were ‘investing’ their money and efforts in when a majority of Muslim countries were continuing to struggle to up their literacy rates.

This practice sanctified myopia and an unscientific bent of mind in the Muslim world.”

Colleen I. Place
Colleen I. Place

They were merely the powder trail that the great powers themselves had laid. The powder keg was Europe. Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,..NDOQESB.TK