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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Why UK Can't Blame Germany For Euro Crisis and EU Can't Blame UK for Referendum Desire Due to Inforced Fiscal Union and Growth of UKIP



Germany Successful

Germany is one nation in the EU that has worked hard to keep her house in order. Her economy is good and her manufacturing industry is fine. Unlike other EU countries, Germany is very successful. This is despite the fact that other nations in the EU are now in a crisis over the Euro currency which is causing a lot of hardship among countries inside the Eurozone. This is not Germany's fault. It is the responsibility of the countries that got themselves into the mess in the first place. A harsh thing to say, I have no doubt, but all I hear in my country of Britain; is that Germany is trying to control Europe.

Germany does not want to do such a thing. Collectively Europeans are at fault for steam rolling these changes of fiscal union through. The one Innocent country is Germany. She kept strong and spent what she could afford. Other debt ridden nations are now in trouble and need Germany to financially help them out. This is unfair on Germany because she is condemned if she does not help. Therefore she needs to make sure debt ridden nations implement strong austerity to pay back the loans. Again, Germany is being condemned for telling nations what to do. This is most unfair on the German nation. After all, Germany got her act right in the first place.

It is not Germany's fault

This cannot be blamed on Germany and this crisis will get sorted out - one way or another, despite what all the doom merchants across the planet are preaching. It might get worse before it gets any better, but I firmly believe it will put itself right. In the meantime, the UK is in danger from its volatile electorate who see the EU as developing from a Common Market of free trade into a federal United States of Europe steamrollered in through the back door. A great number of Brits fear this as do other European nations.
 
Danger of British Referendum

Pro European British Politicians are trying to ride the storm while anti-European Brits are trying to capitalise as the Euro Crisis storm rages. The anti-Euro can't afford to loose any opportunity to exploit this and get a referendum on British participation within the EU. The UKIP see their moment has come and they continue to feed Euro scepticism to the British electorate who might vote to withdraw if a referendum can take place at this time.

After the problems of the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, the British wisely stayed out of joining the Euro currency, but this has rebounded on her. She probably wants to join the Euro in the future when other nations have sorted out their problems - problems the UK did for see. This has left the UK in a catch 22 situation concerning future Euro currency membership. Her fears were proved very right in the short term, but even more damaging then UK politicians could predict. This will make it difficult for Britain to convince people to join the Euro one day in the future. In a strange way; the British were too correct in their fears and this could have an unwanted and lasting effect on the British electorate. One that anti-European British political parties enjoy and try to exploit.

 
UK Should Look at Joining Euro Currency in Future
 
The UK must seriously look at the future within the Euro currency. I can understand our reluctance to join the European single currency now, but in the long run, I feel sure it would be better for us to integrate more with our European neighbours. We must also help preserve the Eurozone from outside too. I'm not sure if the being alone aspect, outside the EU, will work in the world of today if the referendum comes and Britain leaves the EU. I think most of our politicians know this too but the anti-Euro referendum vote is in real danger of appealing to UK voters during a time of maximum fickleness. (for want of a better word)

Pro Euro Brits are correctly worried about a referendum vote at an inappropriate moment when the Eurozone is in real crisis. Millions of British voters could be persuaded to abandon the EU. In the long run this could ostracise the UK from all the benefits of what the real EU can achieve for us. The Unity of Europeans as got to be a dream for most people, but because Britain is an island race; it is hard to convince most that we are still Europeans. She has not witnessed or seen her boarders changing for many hundreds of years.

British Political Parties Fear UKIP
  
I think most of our politicians want the Eurozone to succeed, but dare not openly show  commitment to this for fear of giving more votes to the UKIP party led by Nigel Farage. This party can sit back and criticise without offering real alternatives to the situation; except to abandon ship and leave the EU. Their criticisms are often right, but their selfish solutions of cutting and running are not. Our much criticised British MPs, who are trying to help, behind closed doors, are up against all sorts of odds at the moment, in this tricky European political climate. Never have our politicians had to do politics on such an intricate level. They are walking a tightrope trying to avoid a British referendum upon a fickle population that can only see a few inches in front of their faces and help a Europe in deep crisis - one they expected, yet not nearly as disastrous.

EU Structure Needs To Change
 
The bureaucracy of the EU is not helping either, because it is developing and is in infancy, where EU presidents are concerned. The whole EU package is unfolding at a fast pace, while the UKIP party rightly points out the unfairness. The flaws being; the lack of electoral processes concerning an unelected EU president. However, at this moment in time; how many of us Europeans would even study EU manifestos and things? If the EU is going in the direction I think it is; fiscal and federal union, then the bull had to be taken by the horns and a president had to come. The rights and wrongs of President Van Rompuy being an unelected president are clear now. Europeans are taking interest in this matter. Perhaps it is time to tweak the mechanism and start forming European parties for election across Europe, where by European citizens get a say in who they elect as president? This President of the EU matter, is a good topic of conversation to come to light and could be good for Europeans as a whole if we tackle the situation positively. We (Europeans) are not fond of this unelected situation (Even though President Van Rompuy is surely a very decent person) so lets hope something constructive is done about it. Not pull out of Europe as Nigel Farage and the UKIP party want us Brits to do.

Much of what UKIP criticise about concerning the EU might be correct, but discontinuing Britain's membership is completely wrong. We can join other Europeans and change these things for the better. There must be loads of French, German, Italian, Spanish and other great European peoples who have the same view concerning unelected presidents. We don't quit and run! We look for alternatives within the EU and make it better. This is progress and we British must look at things from this perspective rather then leaving the EU because we don't like the way it is being run at present.  

UKIP Point Out Flaws in EU but have Negative Solutions
 
It is a real swings and roundabout issue for all of the EU, and organisations like UKIP can just sit there and point out all the EU shortcomings without solutions. As a European tool, perhaps the UKIP might have an inadvertent roll to play by pointing out the bad policies of the EU, but they are only a tool - not a real alternative for the UK.

UKIP will not want the EU to have time to get its act together and they fear the idea of Europeans getting electoral manifestos because Europeans (including British people) might begin to look at Europe as a whole - something that destroys UKIP aims - to cut and run - be ostracised with no say in world affairs.

I think UKIP want their British electorate nice and fickle for a British Referendum - fed on the criticisms of the EU crises and the idea of unelected presidents. They will only offer one solution; cut and run - leave the EU. There will be no other vote concerning changing the inner political mechanism of the EU which many other European peoples want to do. That would bring about stronger fiscal union which UKIP can ill afford.


In this tv interview Nigel Farage says so many things that are correct. He even massages other nations egos. He is a very clever man, but he has one aim: Pull the UK out of the EU.

I strongly believe UKIP solutions are less well presented then their correct criticisms. I have heard Nigel Farage say that Germany is dominating Europe. Then when Chancellor Merkel appears to listen to reason and softens slightly to Spanish and Italian needs; Nigel Farage begins to present Germans in a different light. He is suddenly condescending to ordinary German voters. Again, what he says is right, but it is easy to be observant of these issues and criticise them. Putting these things right is much more difficult and again; UKIP's only option is; cut and run - leave the EU.

Is EU Moving too Fast?

Perhaps the EU is moving too fast where fiscal integration is concerned. The European Parliament seems to think all the different peoples are of the same mind set. They are not, and sometimes the steam rollered policies move too quickly. True - the Eurozone crisis of the Southern European nations has not helped, but the introduction of a currency, not properly revised, is the cause of much of this. Maybe the dominating nations expected all other countries to be like them. The differences were not taken into account. Maybe the 'car crach' policies being introduced are the only way forward - grabbing the bull by the horns - so to speak. If it works in the long run then it might be correct. However, I can see the UK breaking away from the EU if the politics of this (car crash) method are not considered more intricately. The UK needs to be considered because of the volatile electorate and the political gains of UKIP. Pro-Euro Brits are having a difficult time trying to walk this tightrope, which I believe will come good in the long run.

I'm not trying to say that the EU is wrong either - all this is for a later long term good. It does need to take other countries into account and ostracising the UK for veto using is dangerous in the long run too. The UK contribute the second largest amount of money to EU after Germany. France contribute a greater amount but claims back much more in subsidies (Giving with one hand and taking back a huge chunk with the other.) The over all net gain from UK remaining inside the EU treasuary of contributions, is second most and, again; in the long run, this is something the EU should not dismiss lightly.


 
 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Could There Be Life On Other Planet "Full Documentry"



Great documentary that stirs the imagination and tells of exciting projects of the future. One that wants to find planets in the 'Goldilocks Zone' of a star system. Not too hot - not too cold. Just right for carbon based life forms.

What Theories and Questions About Life on Mars Remain





Theories

Scientists and Theorists will not give up on the Martian question of life. Many cling to the notion that Mars might be a dead planet that once sustained life. Gradually ideas are eliminated only to be replaced by new ones. The hope of 'once there was life.' remains and so many explorations and experiments remain. Unmanned space craft are sent to scratch the surface and find evidence of 'once there was life.'

Questions

Some of the rock formations puzzle geologists and pose questions that once water might have been there. Why did it all end if the planet was once on the journey to evolve carbon based lifeforms. Perhaps a violent ecological disaster might be the reason for the sterile landscape that teases of 'once there was life.'

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Why Eunuch Bob Loves Hareem Lilly



Lilly and her Bodyguard
Eunuch Bob

Hareem Lilly always wants to respond to the big Tabby Tom’s Meowing now that she is a big girl, but her bodyguard, Eunuch Bob, stands sentinel over the Kingdom of our Garden, ferociously driving off poor Tom, who is dying to get better acquainted with Hareem Lilly - the forbidden fruit.
Hareem Lilly
Lilly Loves and plays with Eunuch Bob, but he can’t quite do the things that she might want Tom to do with her, because poor old Eunuch Bob was doctored before we got him.  We would love Hareem Lilly to get out a bit, but Bob follows her and herds her back to the Kingdom of our Garden every time she tries to get next door.

Tabby Tom might have the things necessary for Hareem Lilly to one day hear the patter of tiny paws.  Sadly, when it comes to displaying them before confronting Eunuch Bob; he is extremely lacking on this front. In fact, he has no front at all. I sometimes think that Tabby Tom lends them to Eunuch Bob, because he sounds off like he has a pair whenever any Tom gets anywhere near the Kingdom of our Garden.
Eunuch Bob

Eunuch Bob must let Lilly go out and let her hair down a bit. She needs to kick up her paws and live a little so that we can all rejoice over the patter of tiny paws. Eunuch Bobs takes things very seriously, but he is a very big fat lovely cat with Hareem Liliy’s interests at heart.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Why Pussy Riot Russian Girls Went Too Far.


There is nothing wrong with criticising their President if they want to express this and there was nothing wrong with their stage act. However, the Cathedral was not their venue. They did not have permission to do such a thing in this place and they are showing disrespect for the religious people who use the place.

I'm not religious, but if I wanted to protest or speak out against someone; why would I choose someone elses home or property to make such a statement. Why break into a church, mosque or synagogue to have a whinge at a political leader. They played into the hands of the person they had a pop at. They are so stupid to do things in this way. What would you, the reader, do if they set up shop in your garden? 

There is nothing wrong with protesting and voicing an opinion, but if you want to disrespect everyone else, while making a point, and ride rough shod over their property to do this, then I believe you are very wrong indeed. The prison sentence is correct in my opinion, though it has given these silly ladies much fame. Perhaps their protest deserves to be heard, but the people who worship and take their belief to this Russian Cathedral deserve to be heard too. They should enjoy the liberty of their belief without fools violating it. Go somewhere else and protest - the venue the Pussy Riot Girls chose was extremely inappropriate.

Look At Tottenham Hotspur Clip Through the Years



The Football Premier League has started on 18th August 2012 and my glorious England as returned to normality. The Scottish Leagues is going too and the others all around the Isles as everyone settles to the normal ways.

A random Premier side is on display showing some through the bygone years of excitement. All through the closed season we stare at the sports pages looking for snippets of football news. All that is over now and the regular football fixes will be coming from all directions. 


 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Why Baibars of the Mumluks Rise Caused Fall of the Crusader Kingdoms.

Mumluks were Slave Society of Soldiers

1.       The Number of Crusades
Historically listed Crusades usually run from 1st to 9th. However, there were other more minor expeditions that historians don’t always count – the reason being that a sub expedition could have formed from one main crusade. Also, a small undertaking, of crusader origin, may have gone upon a quest during the time of the 1st to the 9th official Crusades. An example might be seen from the 1st Crusade when the Crusader army split in two after capturing Nicaea for the Byzantine Empire. One group went east into the Euphrates and claimed much of today’s Armenia, while another group went to Antioch and on to Jerusalem. I suppose one might say the First Crusade had two expeditions, but they were all really part of the first. It depends on how certain historians report things. Generally, there were nine crusades with many minor ones within, on different quests, over the almost 200 year period of the Christian Crusader Kingdoms existence.
Sometimes the 5th and 6th Crusades by Frederick II are counted as one and the 8th by Louis IX and Prince Edward’s march to Antioch of the same time counts as the 9th. Sometimes 8th and 9th are labelled as one too.

2. Division Among the Crusaders and Gradual Decline of influence.
By the 1260s, the Christian Crusader States were beginning to lose influence. Many of the pilgrims that came to the Holy Land on quests to do God’s work (as they believed) would return home after completing their pilgrimage. The newcomers were often very indiscriminate when killing. (That’s not to say the coloniser Christians were not) Often the visiting Crusaders left behind captured lands that could not be held. They could not always grasp this reality and did not consider the Christian Europeans that settled in the Holy Land. Some were born and raised in the Crusader Kingdoms and never saw Europe. These Middle Eastern-born Caucasian settlers realised that some of the pilgrims from Europe, who sought to do Christian God’s work, could not comprehend the reality of holding some of the possessions gained upon Crusade quests.
The settled Crusader colonists that lived in the Middle East began to develop an understanding of the ways of Muslims and Jews culturally. They even dressed like them and had the same diet. They had become people of the Middle East and to a degree, assimilated themselves to certain understandings. They had developed, whereas visiting Crusader pilgrims had not because the newly arrived perspective of the traveller was defined in much more basic ways of Medieval Christian Good and Evil in the European point of view. Their world was narrow and clearly defined. Over decades of time, there would have developed factions among settled Christians. Visiting Crusader Christians were trying to cleanse their sins by doing religious quests before returning to Europe as new pious people – respected and revered by the populations of Europe – even if they had done bloody murder in the name of God.
During the 3rd Crusade; Richard the Lionheart had this problem when he marched upon Jerusalem in the hope of retaking the city captured by Saladin the Great at the end of the 2nd Crusade. He was caught by the divisions of Christian colonists and the Crusader pilgrims who were more enthusiastic to take the Holy city of Jerusalem. The settled Christians argued they could not keep hold of Jerusalem when the Crusader tourists went home upon completion of their religious undertaking. The permanent Christian dwellers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem wanted to consolidate the gains of the seaport cities like Acre and Jaffa. They were confident of holding the narrow strip by the sea.  After two failed moves upon Jerusalem, Richard the Lionheart gave up on the idea of retaking the holy city. He returned to Jaffa and then marched back towards Acre – the Kingdom of Jerusalem’s new Capitol.
Saladin the Great did try to take an initiative. He came out of the city of Jerusalem with his Muslim soldiers and attacked Jaffa to retake the sea port stronghold. Perhaps he thought the Lionheart had lost his enthusiasm. Such was not so for Richard – a touring Crusader. The English king turned and sped back from Acre at the head of an army and defeated the Muslims forces of Saladin at Jaffa. A volatile peace came about and Richard returned home to England – his Crusade complete – his sins gone before God by decree of the Pope. King Richard the Lionheart, would perish fighting in France while Saladin passed away six months after the treaty – his Islamic forces remaining in control of Jerusalem.
The narrow strip of land containing The County of Armenia, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the Kingdom Jerusalem would carry on in existence into the 13th century. There would be other Crusades and more trials and tribulations, but during the 1270s other events would come about that Muslims or Christian Crusaders could not have foreseen.
3.  The Great Failure of the 7th Crusade
During the7th Crusade led by King Louis IX of France, the campaign met with a terrible disaster, after some initial success. They attacked Egypt and tried to overthrow ruling Ayyubid Caliphate that had a vast army of slave soldiers called Mumluks. The Crusaders wanted to destroy the effectiveness of the Ayyubid dynasty – removing a source of Muslim aid in the Crusader Kingdoms. This unusual Crusade came about because, in the past, whenever Crusader ventures began to get too successful; the ruling Sultan of the Ayyubid Caliphate would send an Islamic Army to thwart Christian Crusader ambitions.
If Egypt – the richest Islamic land in the Middle East could be destroyed, future Crusades might be much more ambitious and achieve greater gains.  A grand plan was derived by the Christian nobles of Europe. King Louis IX of France mortgaged his entire kingdom to go upon this great Crusade to destroy the Caliphate in Egypt. The cost of such a venture was estimated at the equivalent of £2 million in the year 1248. During this time France’s national yearly income was equivalent of £250,000 per year. This 7th Crusade cost eight years of yearly national French income.
The idea of this grand plan, to attack Egypt instead of driving deeper towards Iraq or Syria seemed to sound in theory. Also, the cost of the Crusade could be reimbursed by the riches the Ayyubid Caliphate of Egypt would yield when conquered and made into a Crusader Kingdom. For the Crusades; the Ayyubid Caliphate, which ruled from Egypt to Syria, had always been the stumbling block that countered the success of the Crusades. Under Saladin the Great, the Islamic peoples had become united against Christian Crusaders, even retaking Jerusalem in 1187 AD. The Crusader Kingdoms needed to reignite the Crusade quests as interest from Europe began to wane.
This 7th Crusade became a monumental disaster which resulted in a terrible defeat for the Crusaders. The invasion of Egypt went well preliminary, but as the Crusaders tried to march upon Cairo and met with disaster. The Ayyubid Sultan passed away during this time, but the Egyptian forces had a great army comprised of slave soldiers. They were known as Mumluks and among them was a young soldier that would win renown. He was called Baibars and he led an army that defeated and captured King Louis IX of France at the Battle of Fariskur in 1250. The French king was in a wretched state, suffering from dysentery. His ransom was a vast amount of money and although his Crusade was a failure he was made into a Saint by Rome.  
4.   Rise of the Mulmluks
The Mumluk Slave soldier society had seized the Caliphate away from the Ayyubids for themselves upon the death of the last Ayyubid Sultan and Baibars was a high ranking soldier within the Mumluk Society. He had been captured by the Mongols as a youngster upon the steppes in Crimea. He was fair skinned and blue eyed. He was sold into slavery at a young age and had risen within the soldier ranks of the Mumluks.
Baibars is hardly known in the West, which is unusual, for this Mumluk would one day become Sultan of the entire Caliphate. The Mumluks had seized power during a time when new unfolding consequences were happening – a new fighting power was invading from the east. The Crusader Kingdom States would be relegated to minor prominence during the new emergency of the Middle East.
The Mongols wanted control of the Middle East and were ambitious enough to attack the new Caliphate of the Mumluks. The Mongols tried to broker peace alliances with the Crusader Kingdoms and so too did the Mumluks. Even though the Crusader Kingdoms were constantly fighting the Islamic nations, they saw the new Mongol threat as being more serious. They tried to stay out of the fray, allowing the Mumluks to travel through Crusader lands to fight the Mongols. This resulted in the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. Despite heavy losses on the side of the Mumluks; they managed to completely defeat and destroy the Mongol army. This was a gigantic victory and thwarted Mongol ambitions of conquering Egypt.
This prestigious victory by Sultan ad-Din Qutuz also called time on the Christian Crusader Kingdoms. Baibars became Sultan soon after the defeat of the Mongols when Sultan ad-Din Qutuz died in mysterious circumstances while hunting. Baibars became the new Sultan and turned his attention to Acre the Crusader Capitol of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
5.   Beginning of the End for the Crusader States.
In 1263, Baibars attacked Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but was unable to take it. Instead, he moved north to confront a new Mongol army, but the intended invasion never came. Baibars had this vast army at his disposal so he decided to put it to another use – rid the Middle East of all Crusader Kingdoms. The Crusader County of Armenia was closest, and thus in 1266, Baibars decided to invade. He took the Christian fiefdom for Islam.

Many of the Christians captured were put to death. Baibars then moved upon the Principality of Antioch in 1268. He took the great city but despite the assurance of fair treatment; he put vast numbers of the stronghold's inhabitants to death. From here he went to the kingdom of Tripoli and tried to do the same in 1271. This siege was brought to a halt when Baibars had to seek a truce to stop the Crusaders allying with the Mongols. He had caused the 9th Crusade by trying to systematically destroy the Crusader Kingdoms. Christian forces from Europe landed in Acre to combat the Mumluk slaughter in the Crusader Kingdoms. This new truce only protected what was left of the Crusader Kingdoms. This truce would only buy a little more time for the Crusader lands.
 These were the last and final bloody times of the Crusader Kingdoms. After Baibars burned and slaughtered his way north to south along the Christian Crusaders coastal strip of Christian colony lands - showing no mercy to anyone that stood in the way of the Mumluk Caliphate; the Crusaders became no more than a declining third party of power. The two big heavyweights were the Mumluk Caliphate and the Mongol Empire.
Tripoli fell in 1289 for showing interest in siding with the Mongols. Islam exacted revenge and stormed the Crusader stronghold ending Christian rule there. Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem went the same way in 1291. From this time onwards, Christian Crusader rule was virtually none existent – fading away into obscurity throughout the Middle East.


Monday, 13 August 2012

How Pope Urban II Opened Artery of Faith For Genesis of the Crusader Kingdoms and Holy War


The Pope of 1095 opened the artery of faith across Europe and caused a great flow of people across the continent. The Holy War of the middle Ages lasted for almost two hundred years and caused a transformation in the Middle East for both Christian and Islamic cultures. Two of the world’s greatest religions came into bloody conflict and thousands upon thousands of people would perish during these violent and fanatical wars. Christian Crusaders would evolve into societies of warrior casts that would wage war upon all non-believers of Christian religion, while the Muslims would have Jihadi warriors of the same magnitude. During these Holy Wars, Christians would set up and create Christian Crusader states governed by Christian Kings, Dukes and Barons – all the ranks of European society would be enforced upon the Christian Crusader ruled provinces of the Middle East.
These Crusader Kingdoms and states would reach their height after the first hundred years until the retaking of Jerusalem by Saladin the Great of the Islamic rulers. But first the Latin Christian soldiers would push their Christian Crusader states forward carving a huge area of land out for themselves in the Middle East – mainly in the countries of today’s Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and parts of today’s Turkey, Syria and fringes of Egyptian territory too.
After the fall of Jerusalem, back to Islam, there were more crusades, but Jerusalem was never retaken. The Crusaders built strong castle fortifications of their own and were able to maintain rule over smaller areas of land along the coast. More crusades would come about, but eventually, the Crusader kingdoms would become less influential.
During the high times of the Crusades, when all European Christians believed in the great religious odyssey, many kingdoms or principalities were formed in these heathen lands, colonised by Latin Christian Crusaders. These European invaders held devout conviction in their faithful vanity and what they were attempting seemed very just indeed. The kingdoms that arose and fell were as follows:
1.    Edessa – a large area of land which was short lived in the First Crusade; lasting form 1098 – 1149. It was a large landlocked area east of the Euphrates.
2.    Antioch – Principality of, lasted from 1098 -1268. This land was smaller than Edessa but lasted longer. This Crusader kingdom generated vast wealth. It was mainly controlled by Italian nobles who set up kingdom here during the First Crusade.
3.    Jerusalem – the Kingdom of, the absolute jewel in the crown of the Crusader states. It lasted from 1099 – 1291, but went through a transformation during its almost two hundred years existence. The capitol Jerusalem fell in 1187 to Saladin the Great of the Ayyubid Islamic rulers and much of the Kingdom of Jerusalem came back under Islamic control until King Richard I of England reclaimed much back during the Third Crusade. Though the city of Jerusalem remained under Islamic control. The new capitol became Arce until 1291.
4.    Tripoli – County of, lasted from 1109 – 1289. During the final days of this Crusader nation’s existence, they sent Crusaders to ally with invading Mongols. Because of this; the Islamic forces battling the Mongols, attacked and destroyed the County of Tripoli, ending the existence of Crusader rule that had been for one hundred and seventy years.  

Pope Urban II Dynamic Speech and the Genesis of the Crusades
In the year of 1095, Pope Urban II (Head of the Holy Roman Empire) went to Clermont in France to stand before the council and the multitude of God-fearing people who had flocked to see his holiness the Pope. This was at a time when Europe was divided by many feuding Lords and the Holy Roman church was in conflict with the German Empire. Also, there was the division between the eastern Christian factions of the Byzantine Empire competing against Holy Rome’s Latin western bloc of the Holy Roman Empire. All of this made Europe an unstable place to live compared to the advanced cultures in the Middle East and Asia. The one binding thing that Europe did have was its Christian religion that formed the backbone of all cultural ways – the one binding element of this clashing and fragmented society.
Pope Urban II was able to tap into the one thing that could unite all of these quarrelling factions and bring everyone together on a gargantuan quest. The speech, Pope Urban made, would send shock waves throughout all of Christian Europe and bring masses of people from all walks of life to answer the divine call of God. All Europeans believed such a monumental instruction to be from the Almighty, who spoke to them through the divine Pope Urban II. Everyone had been taught this from birth.
The peoples of Europe had been raised to believe that they were imperfect and that they had to lead a life of devotion to be considered by God in judgement when they died – everlasting paradise in Heaven if they lived well and devoted lives or eternal damnation and torment in the fires of Hell if they did not heed such instruction – depending on how they spent their mortal life was everything to all God fearing Christians. To abide by the Pope’s request was a way of achieving divine absolution and the promise of Heaven, doing God’s work as he spoke to the multitude through a human vassal upon Earth – His Holiness the Pope.
Before attending the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II had received a delegation in the northern Italian town of Piacenza. This delegation was from the Eastern Christian faction of the Byzantine Empire and was led by Byzantine Emperor Alexis I Komnenos and they brought news of Muslim Turks who were over running Byzantine territory and defiling all things Christian. The continuous conquest of Byzantine territory would spread into south Eastern Europe and perhaps extend onwards into the devoutly Christian continent. The one thing that all the feuding Lords had in common was absolute faith in their saviour and God. All heathens were to be resisted and crushed.
Under such belief and devotion one might imagine the small people of Europe gathering excitedly to see such an Iconic figure of a Pope – a man championed by Almighty God, standing before them in the flesh. Anything the Pope said would be true, to these people. If Pope Urban II could offer some form of salvation of their souls before God on judgement day; anyone would be eager to do what ever they could before God. Pope Urban II would not disappoint the crowd as he began to address the masses before him. Part of what he said, is as follows:

Most beloved brethren: Urged by necessity, I, Urban, by the permission of God chief bishop and prelate over the whole world, have come into these parts as an ambassador with a divine admonition to you, the servants of God. I hoped to find you as faithful and as zealous in the service of God as I had supposed you to be. But if there is in you any deformity or crookedness contrary to God's law, with divine help I will do my best to remove it. For God has put you as stewards over his family to minister to it. Happy indeed will you be if he finds you faithful in your stewardship. You are called shepherds; see that you do not act as hirelings. But be true shepherds, with your crooks always in your hands. Do not go to sleep, but guard on all sides the flock committed to you. For if through your carelessness or negligence a wolf carries away one of your sheep, you will surely lose the reward laid up for you with God. And after you have been bitterly scourged with remorse for your faults-, you will be fiercely overwhelmed in hell, the abode of death. For according to the gospel you are the salt of the earth [Matt. 5:13]. But if you fall short in your duty, how, it may be asked, can it be salted? O how great the need of salting! It is indeed necessary for you to correct with the salt of wisdom this foolish people which is so devoted to the pleasures of this -world, lest the Lord, when He may wish to speak to them, find them putrefied by their sins unsalted and stinking. For if He, shall find worms, that is, sins, in them, because you have been negligent in your duty, He will command them as worthless to be thrown into the abyss of unclean things. And because you cannot restore to Him His great loss, He will surely condemn you and drive you from His loving presence. But the man who applies this salt should be prudent, provident, modest, learned, peaceable, watchful, pious, just, equitable, and pure. For how can the ignorant teach others? How can the licentious make others modest? And how can the impure make others pure? If anyone hates peace, how can he make others peaceable? Or if anyone has soiled his hands with baseness, how can he cleanse the impurities of another? We read also that if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch [Matt. 15:14]. But first correct yourselves, in order that, free from blame, you may be able to correct those who are subject to you. If you wish to be the friends of God, gladly do the things which you know will please Him. You must especially let all matters that pertain to the church be controlled by the law of the church. And be careful that simony does not take root among you, lest both those who buy and those who sell [church offices] be beaten with the scourges of the Lord through narrow streets and driven into the place of destruction and confusion. Keep the church and the clergy in all its grades entirely free from the secular power. See that the tithes that belong to God are faithfully paid from all the produce of the land; let them not be sold or withheld. If anyone seizes a bishop let him be treated as an outlaw. If anyone seizes or robs monks, or clergymen, or nuns, or their servants, or pilgrims, or merchants, let him be anathema [that is, cursed]. Let robbers and incendiaries and all their accomplices be expelled from the church and anthematized. If a man who does not give a part of his goods as alms is punished with the damnation of hell, how should he be punished who robs another of his goods? For thus it happened to the rich man in the gospel [Luke 16:19]; he was not punished because he had stolen the goods of another, but because he had not used well the things which were his.

Christian Europe gathers for the Grand Religious Quest
There was, of course, a great deal more to the long speech that captivated the crowd. The word spread and peoples from all parts of Europe flocked to do God’s work upon a grand adventure in the Holy Land where their saviour Jesus Christ had been born and lived – the very place where he was martyred by the Roman overlords and Jewish religious leaders.
In 1096, Lords and Barons across Europe sold their land and possessions to form armies complete with squires and other ranks. All this to fund their campaign in the Holy land. Peasants of all social ranks packed up and marched alongside the grand processions of knights and soldiers and they left towns all over Europe amid cheering crowds who formed to give all a rapturous send of. Men, women and children marched across Europe in scattered processions bound for the Holy Land. Many so poor they could not afford the cost of ship passage across sea. So they walked down through main Europe and towards the Balkans into Greece and finally, the City of Constantinople – the edge of the known Christian world and capitol of the Byzantine Empire. Upon the way they attacked Jewish communities killing and burning property while charged up with religious zeal and fanaticism.
All of these scattered new Christian Crusader armies began to meet at the great Byzantine city and numbered over 100,000 people ready to do the Christian work of God, in whom they all devoutly believed. Of course not all of these travelling people were knights or soldiers. They came from various walks of life and some very humble in social standing. All shared in the belief of doing God’s will in the Holy Land. This was against an enemy believing in the Islamic work of God in whom all Muslim people devoutly believed. Two of the greatest religions in the world believing in God, but with different ways of worship. And then there was the Hebrews too, who also believed in God without prophets. It might be said that the Middle East was already a place of confusion without the arrival of fanatical Christian Crusaders. But then we can look at things today from a liberal perspective. Such a view was beyond these masses of indoctrinated peoples – gathered in their multitude of thousands upon thousands and with more to come in the future – a mass exodus of Christian Europeans flooding into the Middle East to claim their Holy Land above all and to detriment of all else.
The Byzantine Emperor must have looked upon the Latin Christian Exodus, outside of Constantinople’s walls, with great trepidation for he had, in the past, come into conflict with Latin Christians who were not always consolatory to the orthodox Christianity of the Byzantine. Now, in 1097, he had 30,000 plus Christian Crusader soldiers with all manner of others making up the 100,000 camped outside of Constantinople and in need of food and supplies. Emperor Alexios had a serpent by the tail and wanted to be rid of it. He needed a substantial army to fight the Muslim Turks who threatened the Byzantine Empire and the multitude of Latin zealots would do nicely, but he did not want to lead this Crusade of Latin Christian forces that were flocked outside his great city. He needed to ferry them across the Bosporus into Asia Minor and basically let them lose upon the Muslim Turks. In exchange for food and supplies he wanted assurances from the Crusader knights that Byzantine territories, won back from Islamic rule, would be returned into the Byzantine Empire. This was agreed and the efforts of ferrying the multitude across the Bosporus began for control of the Latin Crusaders was getting more difficult as Constantinople’s citizens were becoming vexed and intolerant of the western Crusader immigrants.
When the multitude of Crusaders landed on the Asia Minor side of the Bosporus, they began their march into the Holy Land with two of Emperor Alexios’ Generals and some Byzantine soldiers. These combined forces of Crusaders and Byzantines marched upon the city of Nicaea – a stronghold that was formally Byzantine but was now (in 1097) under Islamic control. The Muslim king Kilij Arslan I was not present at the time for he was campaigning against another Islamic kingdom and paid little heed to the Crusaders. This Muslim king underestimated the potential of the Crusader invasion force.
The first Crusaders began to arrive before the walls of Nicaea in early May of 1097 and by 16th they put the city under siege. Forces were stationed all around the city walls but Nicaea was by a lake and the inhabitants could receive supplies this way. Many of the Crusaders lacked food and provisions and requests were sent back to Constantinople for replenishment. By this time many of the Crusaders were falling to sickness and malnutrition while before them stood the first of many quests – a vast stronghold with over 200 towers. Among the Crusaders were Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, Raymond IV of Toulouse, Robert II of Flanders and a strange priest from Amiens called Peter the Hermit. This also included the two Byzantine Generals and their forces. Nicaea was once in the Byzantine Empire and Emperor Alexios wanted the city back.
An army of Turks rod out of the city to engage the Crusader and Byzantine forces but were driven back with severe losses. The Islamic defenders then sent word to their absent king, Kilij Arslan to return with all haste to Nicaea. When King Kilij Arslan realised the extent of the Christian Crusader forces capability; he hastily returned to attack the enemy. He was met by the Crusaders and defeated in a pitched battle that lasted for some time. Many soldiers were killed on both sides but the Crusaders came away from the confrontation victorious.
Nicaea was left to face the Crusader blockade. A huge siege tower was built by the Crusaders and moved forward to take one of the city’s defence towers. The castle tower was damaged but the Muslim defenders held firm. The Byzantine Emperor Alexios I arrived behind the Crusaders with boats that had been rolled across land. These were put into the lake and were able to obstruct Nicaea from receiving supplies. By this time it was mid-June and the siege had been going on for six weeks and almost seven since the first invading forces arrived.
Secretly, and without Crusader knowledge, Emperor Alexios sent his Byzantine emissaries to Nicaea to parley with the Muslim defenders, persuading them that it would be better to surrender to the Byzantines then the Crusaders. This was done and efforts were made by the Crusaders to attack the city walls. When they breached them alongside Byzantine soldiers they found the city was already surrendered to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I. The Crusaders were not allowed into the city for fear of them taking revenge and causing mass slaughter. Only small accompanied Crusader groups went in on a few occasions. In short, the Crusaders were thanked by the Byzantine Empire and sent on their merry way into the Holy land to take what they wanted in the name of Latin Christian Crusaders and their view of God.
The first Crusaders lacked the later dress code of others that became established in later years, but this first exodus had to endure terrible hardship. After leaving Nicaesa, the Crusader army and its, by now, wretched followers split in two. The Norman led contingent with some of the French knights led one expedition. These two groups (Norman and French) agreed to meet at a place called Dorylaeum. They marched eastwards deeper into today’s Syria.
Finding the Crusader State County of Edessa
The Norman contingent went out first and began to march towards Dorylaeum across harsh terrain. They lacked the water and food needed for the quest. Many of the animals brought along had perished unable to tolerate the type of climate and conditions of the Middle East. A large number of the Knights had lost their mounts because they had died on journey and many of the followers – men, women and children had passed away too. Families that had sought a new life in the Holy Land had fallen to the harsh reality of the immense undertaking of the Crusade. By this time, the Crusaders had become a rag-taggle mob under the guidance of Lords and Barons that had given up land and wealth in Europe to go upon the demanding quest. However, these Crusaders that remained still held true to the one binding thing they had left – their devout belief in the Christian way of worshipping God and that nothing came without harsh penance. The more they might endure, the greater the redemption before God.
The new test before this Norman and French crusade, moving east, would be another Turkish army led by Kilij Arslan who had gathered more Jihadi warriors since his defeat trying to break the Siege of Nicaea. He had gained allies and was able to unleash fine Turkish horse bowmen who could ride swiftly and unleash arrows into the Crusader column as they tried to travel towards Doryleaum. Many hundreds were killed among the Crusaders and eventually, the Norman led Knights were forced to form defencive formations to hold off the Turks, while word was sent back to the French Crusader contingent to make haste and come to their aid.
All of the less well armed Christian foot soldiers and none-fighting citizens (women and children) were able to get inside the shielded Crusader knight formations. The Turkish horsemen galloped in close and unleashed arrows before retiring and coming back to do the same manoeuvre.  Because of the Norman defensive arrangement of shield walls was needed to protect the rank and file; the Crusaders were unable to counter attack. The quick hit and run of the Turkish horsemen also made it difficult to inflict casualties upon the Jihadi warriors too. It was developing into a stalemate because the Turks were unable to do much damage to the fighting knights, though they did inflict casualties upon Christian foot soldiers and other Christian civilian migrants – also horses. This type of fighting went on for many hours with Turks galloping in at close range and unleashing arrows then galloping off before the Crusaders could counter attack. The Crusaders would not break ranks and held firm in the blistering heat stubbornly defending their ranks to the best of their ability.
During the day groups of French Crusader knights galloped through the Turkish ranks to reinforce the defensive formation of Norman Crusaders. The relief column was on its way, but small groups galloped ahead in support of their Norman allies and fellow Christian Crusader brethren. Many of the reinforcements were unhorsed and killed by the Turks who tried to prevent the small scattered groups from breaking through towards the besieged Norman defence.
Realising that more Crusaders would be coming to aid the surrounded Crusader army, the Turks became more aggressive and began to push the Crusader Norman defence back into marshes.
While the Turkish Jihadi warriors devoted their efforts to this, the French Crusader contingent arrived in force and attacked the flank of the Muslim horseman. This allowed the Norman contingent to rally while the Turks went into confusion. The Turks did manage to reorganise themselves but only temporarily as another group of Crusaders led by a papal envoy attacked their encampment and put it to the torch.
The Turkish forces retired from the field leaving the Crusaders with a victory. The will of the Kilij Arslan and his Muslim soldiers was broken by this staunch Crusader defiance, though the fighting effectiveness of Kilij Arslan and the Turkish horsemen remained.
The Crusaders continued their journey through Anatolia but Kilij Arslan had adopted a scorched earth policy, which caused further hardship upon the Crusaders as they made towards Armenian lands in the Euphrates and a city called Edessa. Among this Crusader force was a man called Baldwin of Boulogne. Through his late wife he had lost all that he owned in Europe and there remained nothing for him to return home to. He decided to acquire a fiefdom for himself in the lands of Armenia. He gained influence among the nobility of Edessa and inherited rule after the mysterious death of the unpopular orthodox ruler. Thus the County of Edessa came about – a Crusader Kingdom principality – others would follow.
The Crusader State Principality of Antioch 
A second force that left Nicaea marched south towards the great city of Antioch. This Crusader force was led mainly by Italian nobles though there were Crusaders from other lands too. Because so many of the knights had lost horses, the Christian knights were using all sorts of beasts to carry them – mules, donkeys and ox. The people of Antioch must have thought the Crusaders rather wretched. The city was so vast that the Crusaders could not possibly surround the great walls completely. Therefore it was relatively easy for the city to be resupplied, especially by sea.
For eight months the siege went on and the Christian forces outside of Antioch were suffering from lack of food and water, yet still they remained – hoping for something to come their way – something divine perhaps. During this time, the Crusaders were forced to defeat two Islamic armies sent to relieve Antioch. In these two confrontations the Crusaders were victorious and then in March of 1098, a Crusader fleet arrived with supplies for the Christian troops outside the walls of Antioch.
In the following May, a third Muslim force was moving towards Antioch to relive the people of the great city. They were made up of combined Muslim factions and were led by a man called Kerbogha. However one of the Crusader’s Italian nobles, Bohemund of Taranto, had won over an Armenian orthodox Christian within the ranks of the Muslim defenders inside the City of Antioch. This traitor allowed a small force of Crusaders to climb the walls and dispatch the guards upon the battlements. They then got to the city gates and opened them, allowing the waiting Crusader horde to enter the city during the night. With swords drawn the fanatical Christian zealots charged into the streets of Antioch in their thousands intent on bloody murder of all Muslim and Jews – women and children of the none Christian inhabitants were to be given no quarter either. 
What followed was nothing short of vile murder and mayhem as the Christian Crusaders screamed, “God wills it, God wills it.” All that came before them were hideously butchered as the killing and slaughter went on for days. Almost all of the inhabitants perished in the bloody murder and mayhem that ensued.
Then after a few days of taking the city, the Crusaders found themselves under siege by the arrival of Kerbogha and his Islamic army. The Crusaders were now in a dire situation. They had butchered almost everyone and could not negotiate terms. The Muslims wanted to put them to the sword the way, their brethren of Antioch had perished – they wanted bloody revenge upon the Christians Crusaders for what had been done.
Visionary or Charlatan
Among the Christian Crusaders in Antioch was a soldier/mystic/layman named Peter of Bartholomew who claimed to have had visions in his dreams. This Frenchman told of Saint Andrew taking him to the church of Saint Peter in Antioch where the lance that had stabbed Christ upon the cross was buried. Many were sceptical of the mystic’s vision but he and a group of people began to dig within the church of Saint Peter until word came of an incredible find – a spear head that fitted such a vision, though many including a papal envoy, believed Peter Bartholomew had planted the spearhead himself.
In desperation, the Crusaders came out of the city of Antioch bearing this Holy relic and they met the Muslim forces of Kerbogha in open battle. Against the odds, the Crusaders won the battle and drove the Muslim army off in disarray. Many historians believe that the Muslims forces were not as united as seemed and that there were different warlords in charge of different factions. These were easily fragmented during the battle and maybe the find of the Holy lance might have spurred the Crusaders on causing a placebo effect and belief in their divine ability. Whatever the reason, another great victory had been won and the Crusaders believed this to be God’s will.
The papal envoy still doubted the authenticity of Peter Bartholomew’s vision and find. In desperation, the Frenchman called for a trial by ordeal – a medieval trail by ordeal. A great bonfire was built and Peter Bartholomew fasted for days leading up to the event. On the night of the trial by ordeal, the bonfire cauldron was lit and Peter Bartholomew entered the gauntlet of flames carrying the lance. There are different points of view written from eye witness accounts; some who believed in Peter Bartholomew and those who did not.
He emerged from the other side of the flaming gauntlet on fire and blistering. He fell to the floor alive but badly burnt and injured from the flaming ordeal. His believers viewed it as a sign of success, even though he died a martyr several days later from his injuries. Of course, his doubters needed to say no more. He was a charlatan in their eyes.
Bohemund of Taranto kept Antioch for himself – a fiefdom of his own taken by somewhat dubious means. Perhaps God helped those who helped themselves. Thus the Crusader Principality of Antioch was created with Bohemund as its first Prince.
 The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem
Many stayed at Antioch and the remaining Crusader who pushed on towards the prize goal of all found little resistance along the way. Many towns surrendered on terms rather than fight the Crusaders. They were fed at these places as the pushed on towards Jerusalem, the holiest of all cities.
The depleted forces that arrived in summer 1099 were too few in numbers to surround and lay siege to the large city. The numbers, by now, were just 12,000. Of the original Crusade only one in ten remained. Many had perished, some had gone to Edessa with Baldwin of Boulogne, others remained at Antioch with Bohemund and a great many had perished in the battles and from illness. Those that remained were probably the most fanatical and resilient of all however, and the Fatimid of Egypt, who ruled Jerusalem, would not surrender to the Christian zealots who had marched across the Middle East to stand before the walls of the great ancient city. The Fatimid rulers knew the Crusader’s numbers were reduced and perhaps the fire of faith was less fierce now with so few numbers?
Despite all of this the Crusaders began to stubbornly assault the walls of the great city but were easily repulsed. Engineers arrived with timber to build siege engines, and a holy priest was present too. He told of a vision in which all should walk around the city of Jerusalem in bare feet and wait for the walls to fall down. The way of such a happening to the city of Jericho - a biblical event. The ceremony was performed and ended with an argument concerning such an act in the first place. Then news came of a Fatimid relief force making way from Egypt.
In the mid July, Jerusalem was attacked again by the Crusaders – one force at the gates while another force tried to scale the walls. By now the Christian forces were getting desperate, knowing that the Fatimid Caliphate had sent this new army to relieve the Muslim defenders of Jerusalem. The desperate struggle went on for two days until a force of Crusaders captured a rampart of one of the city walls. Across Jerusalem, the defenders abandoned the walls and retreated into the city streets and dwellings. This allowed the Crusaders to gain access in many parts of the ancient and holy city of Jerusalem.  
What followed was a slaughter that reverberated throughout history to this very day. It is believed by most, that the massacre was extremely violent and even Muslims that were talked into surrender were killed the following day. They were offered protection if they surrendered when a Crusader stopped the killings at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The terrified Muslims agreed to this, but all were subsequently murdered on the following day.
Jews were burnt alive in a synagogue, killed in the streets and their dwellings and where ever the wretched and terrified people of Jerusalem walked or ran; the Crusaders could kill indiscriminately with no fear of retribution. This went on for almost two days and those Muslims and Jews, who remained alive, were taken prisoner and ransomed.
From this violent capturing of Jerusalem by the Christian Crusaders; the new Christian Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem came about. There was some argument about how a leader might be chosen. It came to a man called Godfrey after Raymond of Toulouse turned down the offer. He was not called king at first but soon became known as the King of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The first test came within weeks as the Fatimid Army from Egypt consisting of 30,000 Jihadi warriors marched towards Jerusalem. The Crusader Kingdom might perish before it could get started. All attempts at brokering a peace were rejected by the Fatimid Vizier, al-Afdal Shahanshah, who led the Islamic forces.
As the Fatimid Army of Jihadi warriors camped close to the city of Ascalon, they were unaware they had been observed by Crusader spies. Godfrey of Boullion had left Jerusalem to confront the Muslim army with 1,200 knights and 9,000 foot soldiers. His Crusader army came upon the Islamic forces and took them by surprise. The Battle of Ascalon was quick and the Muslim forces were quickly routed though many escaped into the city walls of Ascalon. The Vizier, al-Afdal Shahanshah, escaped back to Egypt aboard a boat.
The Crusaders plundered the abandoned came and returned to Jerusalem, from where they prepared to defend their new and coveted Kingdom of Jerusalem ruled over by their grand Crusader Godfrey – King of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
For many of the rank and file foot soldiers that had endured the long and testing quest; they must have finally felt complete before God in Heaven. They had done right according to their Christian doctrines and fore filled Pope Urban II’s great request – the supreme message from God. Many of these laymen would return to Europe sure in the knowledge that God in Heaven would grant them redemption. Many would become Lay priests – not daring to go out into society and become corrupted by wrong. They had achieved their spiritual goal and might maintain it throughout mortal life with further devotion in monasteries, for Crusaders would be respected in all European Christendom’s for many centuries to come. These men that had done bloody murder in the name of Christian God, were pure and would surely go to Heaven for doing such Godly work in the Holy Land.
It is quite frightening when we take a step back and look at things from a liberal point of view. It is an indulgence in this day and age, but we can do this, none the less. Many of these Crusader men thought they were pious and right before God and firmly believed they were doing just things. Many must have been good men, yet they had slaughtered and killed civilian people in faraway cities because they believed them evil and ungodly – entire masses of people indoctrinated to do such things begs belief, yet the achievements of these driven Crusaders was frighteningly immense.
It is all gone now – what remains is dust in the desert wind.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Giving You a Growing Interest for Blogging with Retro Brit Blogger





This is a blog of mixed subjects - a sort of scrapbook blog really - but I enjoy watching it grow and the continuous traffic growth each day is very encouraging too. Blogging is great fun especially if you write about things you enjoy. Some blogs have big impact when you least expect and visa verse too. There are all sorts of reasons for this, but the learning process is a great deal of fun too.





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