Davide Rodogno: Against Massacre’dan

Posted by on Ocak 5, 2012 in Kitap

Bugünlerin temel konusu öldürmek ve ölmek – bir de zorunlu sağlık sigortası ve emeklilik güvencesi sahibi olmak. Akıldan, şiirden bahseden yok, bilgiden, kitap okumaktan bahseden yok (katliam kanıtı olarak göstermek dışında). Fakat neyse ki iyi kitap yazanlar var. Davide Rodogno, Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914 adlı bir kitap yayımlamış; kitabın çok ilginç bir yaklaşımı var. Rodogno insani müdahaleler tarihi alanında çalışan ilk isimlerden biri olarak görünüyor ve, bir yüzyılda katliamlarla ilgili algının nasıl tarihsel olarak değiştiğini, yaratıldığını, şekillendirildiğini anlatan kitabın önsözü uzun bir alıntıyı hak ediyor. Belki bir meraklısı çevirir:

Against Massacre – Introduction

Davide Rodogno

“It is worthwhile for readers to bear in mind that when Europeans dealt with massacres taking place in the Ottoman Empire, they ignored the appalling record of violations of the right to life in their respective colonies. They forgot, whether deliberately or not, the fact that equality before the law and religious freedom in their own states, let alone colonies, did not exist.European diplomats and acknowledged experts wanted the Ottoman government to legislate for equality and citizenship while, in a former Ottoman territory like Algeria, French authorities ruled in a far more intolerant, discriminating, and despotic way than the Ottomans had ever done. Europeans intervened militarily when the “barbarous” Ottomans used the same “savage” methods to repress insurrection they systematically used in their own colonies. As Bass puts it, the British largely missed the irony of carrying on their debates about Greek suffering during the 1820s while simultaneously discussing how to deal with an Indian mutiny and festering Catholic grievances in Ireland. After Indians massacred Britons in Delhi and Kanpur in the summer 1857, the British sadistically slaughtered Indians by the hundreds, burning old women and children alive, and smearing Muslims with pig fat before killing them. The Earl of Carnarvon, Disraeli’s colonial secretary, spoke inside the cabinet for the Bulgarians in 1876, just a few years before he launched widespread brutal reprisals against the Zulus in 1879. In 1876–79, at the height of British public rage over the Bulgarian horrors, an epic drought took the lives of untold millions of Indians. When the Armenian massacres and intervention in Crete took place, the British were at arms against the Boers in South Africa, famous for its barbarities against local populations, white and black.

Humanitarian interventions undertaken by European governments were based on the same basic assumptions of imperialism. The intervening governments and the vast majority of humanitarians involved in the campaigns in favor of intervention were firmly convinced that massacres and atrocities were the direct consequence of the “barbarous” Ottoman government. And, toward the end of the century, imperial racism toward Muslims played a recurring role in moving European humanitarians and some policy-makers to action. The European “most civilized” nations contrasted their “superior” civilization with that of a “barbarous,” “uncivilized” target state, prone to inhumanity, whose sovereignty and authority they contested. Since the early nineteenth century the rationale of intervention was saving fellow Christians in the short term and exporting “civilization” (European civilization) in the medium term. We should bear in mind that the Europeans attempted to end the massacre and avoid its repetition, and at the same time they wished to impose their civilization where the intervention had taken place. Many humanitarians who supported imperial expansion at home shared with European leaders few “compunctions about imposing changes on foreign countries,” including the Ottoman territories.Any restraint the intervening states showed after an intervention had taken place was related to the political complexity of the Eastern Question rather than to any respect for Ottoman sovereignty. It is in the dichotomy civilization/barbarism, which, as we know, substantially varied between the early nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that humanitarian and imperialist impulses of Europeans intersected. It was the presumption of superiority of the European civilization that, throughout the nineteenth century, shaped interventions against massacre in the Ottoman Empire.

The Earl of Carnarvon, Disraeli’s colonial secretary, spoke inside the cabinet for the Bulgarians in 1876, just a few years before he launched widespread brutal reprisals against the Zulus in 1879. In 1876–79, at the height of British public rage over the Bulgarian horrors, an epic drought took the lives of untold millions of Indians. When the Armenian massacres and intervention in Crete took place, the British were at arms against the Boers in South Africa, famous for its barbarities against local populations, white and black.

The end of the ancien régime in France, the extension of suffrage in Britain, the abolition of the slave trade and of slavery in European colonies, and the economic and technological breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution all lent a conviction even to radical social critics that French or British political cultures were unimpeachably superior to those of the rest of the world.At the beginning of the nineteenth century, theories of progress became more triumphalist, less tolerant of cultural differences and more specifically national. As historian Peter Mandler puts it, a “civilizational confidence” began to pervade political discourse in both Britain and France.With Napoleon Bonaparte political power and conquest became justified, sometimes in a missionary manner, in terms of the values of progress and civilization they were presumed to embody. Later the concept of civilization would be increasingly employed as an instrument of political expansion beyond Europe and as the cultural legitimation of European imperialism.The comparatively subtle developmental gradations put forward by eighteenth-century intellectuals, such as Scottish thinkers Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, were reduced to a crude dichotomy between European civilization and extra-European barbarity or savagery.

For midcentury intellectuals, such as François Guizot or John Stuart Mill, barbarous societies, including the Ottoman Empire, fell outside the community of nations and norms of international law.These views on civilizations reinforced the idea of the European countries’ fitness to spread the civilization beyond Europe and to introduce it where, presumably, it did not already exist. Midcentury Europeans saw no harm, indeed saw much good, in an imperial “civilizing mission” over the world’s “children” (those peoples who had not yet grown up into civilization) and supported the expansion and consolidation of European rule over non-European subjects primarily on moral bases. The lack of a European standard of civilization became one of the justifications for imperial domination of non-Europeans. [Bir bakıma günümüzün Kuzey Amerikalıları için de geçerli bu sözler.] The civilizing mission claimed to bring the benefits of European social, political, economic, and cultural arrangements to the “dark” reaches of Earth to create humanity where none had previously existed. Non-Europeans became fully human ergo “civilized” (or vice versa) in European eyes by becoming Christian, adopting European-style structures of property rights and territorial political arrangements, and entering the growing European-based liberal international economy.

French rulers committed massacre and atrocities, which, in his 1841 Essay on Algeria, Tocqueville argued were justified by France’s imperial goal. The French must be prepared to use violence against civilians in ways that would be unconscionable in Europe—to burn harvests, ruin soils, and capture unarmed men, women, and children. 

.. No differently from the case of other European imperialisms, when translated into acts the civilizing mission meant brutal submission, violence, and utter, arrogant disregard of other peoples’ most basic rights. Furthermore, whether in their colonies the French presumed to be the bearers of civilization, they often looked at the Ottoman Empire as a feudal, ancien régime–type of government. French rulers committed massacre and atrocities, which, in his 1841 Essay on Algeria, Tocqueville argued were justified by France’s imperial goal. The French must be prepared to use violence against civilians in ways that would be unconscionable in Europe—to burn harvests, ruin soils, and capture unarmed men, women, and children. The struggle against local Arab leader Abdel-Kader, led by extreme violence, had the full approval of Prime Minister Guizot, the man whose lessons Tocqueville had so much admired. Guizot claimed that humanitarian and philanthropic attitudes would have prolonged the war. In the end the “generous intention of the colonizers” justified a despotisme du sabre by France in Algeria. In the European view, the Ottomans lacked any “generous” intention, hence their massacres were totally unjustified. This was the main difference between “civilized” and “uncivilized” rule. Nineteenth-century humanitarian interventions shared with the civilizing mission the firm belief in the superiority of European morality, religious beliefs, and political systems, and the certainty of military and technological domination. One difference did exist. Whereas in the colonies bringing civilization entailed the despotisme du sabre and resorting to massacres in the case of humanitarian intervention, the “generous intentions” of the Europeans aimed at ending massacres of fellow Christians. Admittedly, these interventions were selective in the kinds of problems they targeted and in the types of people who deserved to be rescued.

Davide Rodogno: http://graduateinstitute.ch/faculty/directory/rodogno
Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914

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