The Macedonian Tendency: Roger Casement (Again) on Macedonia!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Roger Casement (Again) on Macedonia!

By David Edenden,

This is a follow-up to my first post on Roger Casement

To Do List:

Someone should do a definitive analysis of the attitudes of Irish Rebel leaders prior to Irish independence with regard to the Macedonian question. If a Macedonian has an Irish spouse, this could be a good project to bring them together.

Are there any other articles by Casement or other Irish leaders on Macedonia? Are the current Irish leaders ashamed of the treatment of Macedonia regarding Nato membership at the Bucharest meeting (here) (here).

Do Michael Martin, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Brian Cowen have a suppressed desire to knee-cap themselves for their crimes against Macedonians?

Inquiring minds want to know!

The Crime Against Europe
A Possible Outcome of the War of 1914

Sir Roger Casement

Let us first inspect the moral argument on the lips of these professors. We are assured, by it, that the claim of the Balkan Allies to expel Turkey from Europe rests upon a just and historic basis.

Briefly stated it is that the Turk has held his European provinces by a right of conquest only. What the sword took, die sword may take away. When the sword was struck from the Ottoman's grasp his right to anything it had given him fell too. Thus Adrianople, a city he has held for over five hundred years, must be given up to a new conqueror who never owned it in the past and who certainly has far less moral claim to be there to-day than the descendants of Selim's soldiers.

But the moral argument brings strange revenges.

If Turkey has no right to Adrianople, to Thrace—"right of sword to be shattered by the sword"—what right has England to Ireland, to Dublin, to Cork? She holds Ireland by exactly the same title as that by which Turkey has hitherto held Macedonia, Thrace, Salonika—a right of invasion, of seizure, of demoralization.

If Turkey's rights, nearly six hundred years old, can be shattered in a day by one successful campaign, and if the powers of Europe can insist, with justice, that this successful sword shall outweigh the occupation of centuries, then, indeed, have the Powers, led by [pg 50] England, furnished a precedent in the Near East which the victor in the next great struggle should not be slow to apply to the Near West, when a captive Ireland shall be rescued from the hands of a conqueror whose tide is no better, indeed somewhat worse than that of Turkey to Macedonia. And when the day of defeat shall strike for the Turkey of the Near West, then shall an assembled Europe remember the arguments of 1912-13 and a freed Ireland shall be justified on the very grounds England to-day has been the first to advance against a defeated Turkey.

"But the Turk is an Asiatic," say the English Bashaws: to which indeed, Europe might aptly reply, "and are the English European or non-European?" The moral argument, and the "Asiatic argument" are strange texts for the desecrater of Christian Ireland to appeal to against that continent which she would fain hem in with Malayan and Indian battleships, and Canadian and Australasian dreadnoughts. Not the moral argument, but the anti-German argument, furnishes the real ground for the changed British attitude in the present war.

The moral failure of Turkey, her inability to govern her Christian peoples is only the pretext: but just as the moral argument brings its strange revenges and shows an Ireland that has suffered all that Macedonia has suffered, and this at the hands of Christians, and not of Moslems, so the triumph of the Balkan Allies, far from benefiting Britain, must, in the end, react to her detriment.

The present apparent injury to German interests by the closing of South-eastern Europe, and the road to Asia Minor, will inevitably force Germany to still more resolutely face the problem of opening the Western seaways. To think otherwise is to believe that Germany will accept a quite impossible position tamely and without a struggle.

Hemmed in by Russia on the East and the new Southern Slav States on the South-east, with a vengeful France being incited on her Western frontier to fresh dreams of conquest, Germany sees England preparing still mightier armaments to hold and close the seaways of the world. The Canadian naval vote, the Malayan "gift" of a battleship come as fresh rivets in the chain forged for the perpetual binding of the seas, or it might more truly be said, for the perpetual binding of the hands of die German people.

We read in a recent London periodical how these latest naval developments portend the coming of the day when "the Imperial navy shall keep the peace of the seas as a policeman does the [pg 51] peace of the streets. The time is coming when a naval war (except by England), will be as relentlessly suppressed as piracy on the high seas." (Review of Reviews, December, 1912.)

The na├»ve arrogance of this utterance is characteristically English. It is, after all, but the journalistic echo of the Churchill Glasgow speech, and the fullest justification of the criticism of the Kreuz Zeitung already quoted. It does not stand alone; it could be paralleled in the columns of any English paper—Liberal as much as Conservative—every day in the week. Nothing is clearer than that no Englishman can think of other nations save in terms of permanent inferiority.

 Thus, for instance, in a November (1912) issue of the Daily News we find a representative Englishman (Sir R. Edgecumbe), addressing that Liberal journal in words that no one but an Englishman would dream of giving public utterance to. Sir R. Edgecumbe deprecated a statement that had gone round to the effect that the Malayan battleship was not a free gift of the toiling Tamils, Japanese, Chinese, and other rubber workers who make up, with a few Malays, the population of that peninsula, but was really the fruit of an arbitrary tax imposed upon these humble, but indifferent Asiatics by their English administration.

Far from being indifferent, Sir R. Edgecumbe asserted these poor workers nourished a reverence "bordering on veneration" for the Englishman. "This is shown in a curious way by their refusing to call any European 'a white man' save the Englishman alone. The German trader, the Italian and Frenchman all are, in their speech coloured men."
After this appreciation of themselves the English cannot object to the present writer's view that they are non-Europeans.

Thus while the Eastern question is being settled while I write, by the expulsion of the Turk from Europe, England, who leads the cry in the name of Europe, is preparing the exclusion of Europe from all world affairs that can be dominated by sea power. Lands and peoples held for centuries by Turkey by a right not less moral than that by which England has held Ireland, are being forcibly restored to Europe. So be it.

With settlement of the Eastern question by this act of restitution Europe must inevitably gain the clarity of vision to deal with the Western question by a similar act of restoration.
The Western Macedonia must go the way of its Eastern fellow. Like those of the Orient, the problems of the Occident for Europe are twofold—a near Western and a far Western question. Ireland, [pg 52] keeper of the seas, constitutes for Europe the near Western question.

The freedom of those seas and their opening to all European effort alike on equal terms constitutes the far Western question. But in both cases the antagonist of Europe, the non-European power is the same. The challenge of Europe must be to England, and the champion of Europe must be and can be only Germany. No other European people has the power, the strength of mind, of purpose and of arm to accomplish the great act of deliverance. Europe too long blinded to her own vital interests while disunited, must now, under the guidance of a united Germany, resolutely face the problem of freeing the seas.
That war of the seas is inevitable. It may be fought on a continent; it may be waged in the air—it must be settled on the seas and it must mean either the freeing of those seas or the permanent exclusion of Europeans from the affairs of the world. It means for Europe the future, the very existence of European civilization as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon world domination. In that war, Germany will stand not alone as the champion of Europe, she will fight for the freedom of the world.

As an Irishman I have no fear of the result to Ireland of a German triumph. I pray for it; for with the coming of that day the "Irish question" so dear to British politicians, becomes a European, a world question.

With the humbling of Great Britain and the destruction of her sea ownership, European civilization assumes a new stature, and Ireland, oldest and yet youngest of the European peoples, shall enter into free partnership with the civilization, culture, and prosperity that that act of liberation shall bring to mankind.

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