Page 9 - Pakistan Link - September 1, 2017
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OPINION                                                                                                        SEPTEMBER 1,  2017 –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  P9

                                             Signs from Allah: History, Science and Faith in Islam
               28. The Sack of Constantinople – Dondolo,  a Man of Destiny

            n By Prof Dr Nazeer Ahmed, PhD                                                                               blocked by a chain of steel anchored to piers
                     Concord, CA                                                                                         on either side of the narrow straits. Dondolo
                                                                                                                         knew the city and its defenses well, having
              ivilizations change when the para-                                                                         served as the Venetian ambassador there for
              digms that govern them change.                                                                             a long time. He knew that the weakest de-
        CHumans relate to themselves and to                                                                              fenses were along the Golden Horne. A Ve-
        each other through transcendental values                                                                         netian ship was loaded with steel shears and
                    firmly  imbedded  in  basic                                                                          ordered to cut the steel chain. The city was
                    frameworks. These values                                                                             assault-                    ed   by
                    define how a society looks                                                                           sea, led by the old man himself and taken by
                    upon itself, how it interacts                                                                        storm on April 12, 1204. Young Alexius was
                    with other societies and its                                                                         installed on the throne, under the tutelage of
                    place in history.                                                                                    Rome and a demand for an exorbitant sum
                       For  instance,  in  the                                                                           of 400,000 silver marks was placed before
                    Middle Ages, most people                                                                             him. Alexius could not raise this sum and
        believed that the earth was flat. The para-                                                                      late that year attempted to expel the invad-
        digm of a flat earth defined the limits of                                                                       ers. He was defeated and the city was sacked.
        geography, politics and history. When that                                                                           The rampage of the city was beyond de-
        paradigm changed and it was universally                                                                          scription. Men were killed by the thousands
        accepted that the  earth was round,  it fun-                                                                     and women raped. The treasures of the Byz-
        damentally altered the way civilizations re-                                                                     antine court, accumulated over a thousand
        lated to each other. America was discovered,                                                                     years, were looted. The horses of the Cru-
        the oceans were conquered, the patterns of                                                                       saders rode into the churches, defiling the
        trade changed, old empires fell and new ones   ful Ayyubids. By declaring a Crusade, Pope   tion and objected to this enterprise. But his   hallowed grounds with their refuse. The
        emerged.                              Innocent sought to direct the energies of the   bishops and prelates in charge of the Cru-  Church of Santa Sophia became a dancing
            In the vast panorama of history, certain   warring Europeans towards a transcenden-  sade agreed to go along with Dondolo, “in   hall. At the height of the carnage, a prosti-
        milestones stand out when a civilization   tal goal and collect funds for the Church at   the interest of a higher cause”, so that money   tute stood on the seat of the Patriarch and
        fundamentally and noticeably altered its   the same time.                  could be raised by plunder of Zara and the   sang a lewd song, entertaining the dement-
        paradigm and charted its course in a differ-  Europe was broke and could not mus-  Crusade could continue on to Jerusalem.   ed invaders. The glory of Byzantium was
        ent direction. The sack of Constantinople in   ter the energy for a new war against a resur-  Zara was stormed, captured and looted. The   trampled under the feet of the Latin mules.
        1204 by the Crusaders was one such mile-  gent Islam. To raise funds, the Pope levied a   Church made some noises but not a single   Treasures of the Byzantine Empire traveled
        stone. Indeed, it was the year that the Latin   tax on all believers. This was not a popular   silver candlestick stolen from Zara was re-  west, to Venice and Rome. Upon the ashes
        West fundamentally changed its orienta-  move and it generated little enthusiasm for   turned, either by the invading Venetians or   of Byzantium rose the pirate states of eastern
        tion. Prior to the year 1204, the focus of the   another march on Palestine. The situation   by the representatives of the Pope who ac-  Italy. Economic consolidation had begun,
        Crusades was the Cross and the Holy Sep-  changed and a spark for the Crusade was lit,   companied them.         cemented by the gold of Constantinople.
        ulcher in Jerusalem. After that date, it was   when two young barons, Thibaut and Louis,   At this time, an historic opportunity   In due course, this would give birth to the
        the glitter of gold. Before 1204, the energy   “took the Cross” (joined the Crusade) at the   presented itself to the shrewd Dondolo who   Renaissance. A civilization died and a new
        of Europe expressed itself through imagina-  tournament of Ecrysur-Aisne in northern   had the instincts of a predator. In 1185,   civilization was born, destined to dominate
        tion and monasticism. The continent was   France in 1199. These two barons, grandsons   the Byzantine Emperor Isaac had been de-  the globe. History had taken a turn and the
        steeped in poverty and ignorance. Trade was   of Louis VII, enjoyed enormous prestige   throned by his own brother Alexius, blinded   world would not be the same again.
        at a standstill. The amulet and the talisman,   and  soon  many  other  barons  and  knights   and locked up in a dungeon. Isaac’s son, also
        magic and sorcery were the mechanisms for   from France also enlisted. At the Council of   named Alexius, escaped to Germany where
        communication with the supernatural. The   Compeigne in 1200, it was decided that the   his sister Irene was the queen and then on to   Kulsoom’s Treatment at
        Church was the primary beneficiary of this   warriors would depart for Palestine by sea.
        ignorance because it was the one institution   Neither the potentates nor the church had a   Treasures of the Byzantine   Shaukat Khanum Hospital
        that claimed the privilege of dispensing the   fleet. Therefore, they sought the help of Ven-
        amulet and the talisman.              ice, the only city-state on the Italian coast,   Empire traveled west, to         n By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
            This changed after the Latins captured   which had the resources to provide this help.  Venice and Rome. Upon the    Westridge, Rawalpindi
        Constantinople in 1204, rampaged through   Envoys were sent to Venice. The Vene-
        its streets, destroyed its relics, danced on the   tians were a breed different from the Cru-  ashes of Byzantium rose the   t is sad to know that Madam Kulsoom
        altars of its churches and looted its immense   saders from northern Europe. They were   pirate states of eastern Italy.   Nawaz has been diagnosed with throat
        wealth. The Crusaders were a motley group   merchants, motivated by profit, even when                            Icancer. Luckily, it is in the initial stages
        of French barons, German peasants, Italian   the goal was a super-ordinate one, such as   Economic consolidation had   and curable. I wonder if the Sharifs would
        merchants and Latin priests. The gold and   the conquest of Jerusalem. They had main-  begun, cemented by the gold of   consider getting her back from London
        silver that was carried off from the ancient   tained a brisk trade with Egypt and Syria                         and treated at the Shaukat Khanum Me-
        Byzantine capital provided momentum   throughout the 10th and 11th centuries.   Constantinople. In due course,   morial Hospital, Lahore, just a thrown
        for  the  prosperity of  the  Italian  city-states   Venice was ruled by an elected council, the   this would give birth to the   away from their residence. That will, apart
        of Venice, Genoa and Florence. Italy was   doge and its head in the year 1201 was En-                            from providing her with the opportunity
        launched on its way to the Renaissance that   rico Dondolo. Savvy, politically astute, elo-  Renaissance. A civilization   of conducting and supervising her elec-
        reached its zenith in the 15th and 16th cen-  quent, ruthless and unscrupulous beyond                            tioneering campaign, also go a long long
        turies. Europe was transformed.       compare, Dondolo was an old man, between   died and a new civilization was   way in cementing cordial and healthy rela-
            After 1204, the energy of Europe found   eighty and ninety-five years of age. He per-  born, destined to dominate   tions between the two arch rival political
        its expression primarily through economics,   sonified the archetype of a business culture,                      parties – PML-(N) and the PTI!  After all,
        trade and self-interest. The civilization that   which had survived and prospered for cen-  the globe. History had taken   as the saying goes, there are no permanent
        produced the Renaissance and later the Ref-  turies through piracy and trade in the east-  a turn and the world would   friends or enemies in politics.
        ormation and the Enlightenment was secu-  ern Mediterranean. Dondolo drove a hard                                    Anyone listening?
        lar and bore little resemblance to the civili-  bargain with the Crusader barons. In return   not be the same again
        zation that had produced the First Crusade   for ferrying 20,000 foot soldiers and 4,500
        in 1096. There were more “Crusades” after   knights and their horses, he demanded a                                 In the Eyes of the
        the Crusade of 1204, but these were either   payment of 85,000 silver marks, a demand   Rome to appeal to the Pope for help against
        expressions of an economic thrust cloaked   that was agreed to by the Pope. A contract   his uncle. The Pope sensed at once an oppor-  Beholder
        in religious terminology or a reaction to   was signed and the warriors  began to  as-  tunity to bring the Church of Constantino-
        Turkish marches into southeastern Europe.  semble in Venice.               ple under the Church of Rome. The prospect
            The prelude to the historic events of   But all the silver plates and tablespoons   of opening a land route to Palestine through   n By Tasadduq Hussain (Ejaz)
        1204 was the declaration of a Crusade by   of the knights and barons of Europe could   Constantinople ruled by a pliant king did not   Reseda, CA
        Pope Innocent III in 1199. The loss of Jeru-  produce only 29,000 silver marks. Dondolo   escape him either. With the acquiescence of
        salem to Salahuddin was unpalatable to the   saw his golden opportunity and moved for   the Pope, Dondolo’s fleet proceeded towards   e mostly dwell on dirty politics
        Latin Church, which was reeling from fur-  the  kill.  He had built and delivered four   Constantinople, accompanied by 20,000   and pessimistic views about
        ther defeats at the hands of the Al Muhad-  hundred ships as per the contract. As com-  French, Italian and German Crusaders, who  WPakistan in our daily life. But
        dithin in Spain. The initial response to this   pensation for his already completed efforts,   were motivated more by lust and the power   perusing contents of your paper is a dif-
        call to arms was lukewarm. Europe was a di-  Dondolo proposed that the Crusaders assist   of wealth than by the love of Christ.  ferent experience altogether. It is heart-
        vided house towards the end of the 12th cen-  him in capturing the city of Zara located on   The European archetype had changed,   warming to read and learn of so many
        tury. Count Baldwin challenged the French   the eastern Adriatic (today’s Croatia). Zara   from a man of imagination titillated by magic   positive things about Pakistan and the
        throne. Germany had two claimants to the   had long been coveted by Venice as a harbor   and the talisman to a man of this world mo-  achievements of Pakistanis that we can all
        throne, Philip of Swabia and Otto of Bruns-  for the supply of much needed hardwood   tivated by the promise of plunder. The minds   be truly proud of. ‘In the Eyes of the Be-
        wick. Venice had lost its hold on the western   from Croatia and Bosnia. In 1201, Zara was   of men were now fired by the glitter of gold,   holder’ was one such piece. Please accept
        Adriatic. In Spain, the Muslims had driven   a Christian city under the protection of the   not the vision of the cross. The defenses of   my sincere thanks for publishing it.
        the Crusaders back towards the borders of   Hungarian monarch, a fellow Christian and   Constantinople were formidable. The walls   Let’s read more good news about Paki-
        France. The Crusader toehold in Palestine   a Crusader under the jurisdiction of the   of its ramparts were the tallest in all of Eu-  stan and its people.
        and Lebanon was at the mercy of the power-  Pope. The Pope was furious at the sugges-  rope. The entrance to the Golden Horne was
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