Friday, March 20, 2009

Boxer Rebellion - In Our Time

BBC's In Our Time discussed the Boxer Rebellion an uprising in China in which an unorganized, popular front took on the forces of modernity on their land. They were against the railways, against Christianity and although they threatened foreigners, they made the most victims among Chinese. The foreigners then united and defeated the Boxers.

Isn't it amazing that Japan, Russia, Germany, France and Great Britain could unite internationally in 1901? Just before they whirled into large scale devastating war among themselves? How deep must they have felt the threat of those country bumpkins way back in the Chinese Hinterland. And alternately, how did those Chinese manage to feel that the western influence was their problem, when they had starvation, floods and bad Chinese rulers on their hands?

Pondering about this, I was suddenly struck by the similarities with Al-Queida. Also an unorganized popular uprising, instilling the greatest fears in the West and who have serious practical issues to confront, but see fit to blame western influence. And who eventually take more local than western victims, although the west is ready to overcome all its differences to overcome this nuisance. Could there be a lesson? The spirit of the Boxers never died. China was humiliated again and the Boxer spirit found its way to Mao and on.

More In Our Time:
The library of Alexandria,
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot,
The destruction of Carthage,
The brothers Grimm,
The modest proposal.

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Anne is a Man in the weekend of March 20

Here is a list of reviews I am planning to publish over the weekend (Friday - Sunday).

- BBC's In Our Time made their last program about the Boxer Rebellion. How a revolt within China was defeated by an international alliance.

- Hoor! Geschiedenis continues to excite me with its history of the Netherlands. This time some thoughts about the Plakkaat van Verlatinghe. (Dutch)

- I know how to find Fiji on a world map. Other than that I know next to nothing about this country. ABC's Rear Vision had a program about Fiji's recent history with a series of military coups.

- New Books in History spoke with Simon Morrison about the biography of Prokofiev

- On LSE Events, Jean-Pierre Filiu tries to make a point about how the EU can make a difference in the Middle East.

I had wanted to review a podcast on UChannel where Sam Gardiner (retired colonel from the US) gave a military assessment of Iran and went over the military options against the country. The audio of this podcast, however, is so extremely bad, it was impossible to make out enough of the lecture for a review.

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