Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Nobel

Baku of 1901: Paris of the Orient Gate?

By 1900, Baku (Capital of Azerbaijan on the Black Sea) was the center of oil production and it supplied half the world’s demands.

The Swedish Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite) and his brother ran the first oil tanker named “Zarathustra”; a fitting name since Baku was then the main religious city of the Yazd sect that worshiped the sun and fire since antiquity.

Oil was known for thousands of years in this region, and Baku was the religious capital of the Zarathustra sect after Islam invaded Iran in around 650 AC.   And Azerbaijan became the main Islam Chiaa sect region before Iran adopted that sect in the 18th century.  Actually, many Persian monarchs and dynasties were originated from Azeri khans or tribal leaders in Azerbaijan.

For thousands of years, Baku was lighted at night from the burning oil on the surface of the Black Sea.  Burning waves lighted the night and hit the shores.  After kerosene was distilled in the 20th century, using kerosene lamps were common household appliances in Baku, Russia, and the neighboring regions of the Caucasus.

Baku was the richest city in the Caucasus and rivaled New York, London, and Paris in attracting immigrants and investors.

Baku became an Oriental city competing in its modernity with Paris: elegance in residences and fashion were widespread among all ethnic and religious minorities living in the ultimate of capitalist system of “laissez fair” mind of doing business.  It was a typical “frontier” city where millionaires and the poorest classes of oil workers cohabited.

Baku is a terrible windy city all year round and its soil is muddy black, soaked with oil; but wealth overcomes many climatic disadvantages.

In 1905, widespread revolts swept all over Russia to the borders with Korea.  Everyday, hundreds of politicians and civil servants were assassinated and pogroms were common.

Tsar Nicolas II decided on giving war to Japan in order to appease the revolts.  The Tsar imagined that a quick victory over “these tiny monkeys with short tails” will galvanize the Russian citizens into patriotic zeal.  Russia was quickly defeated; the entire Russian Pacific Navy sunk and hundreds of thousand of Russian soldiers were annihilated by Japanese machine guns in Mongolia.

The Russian revolts intensified.  The only remaining Russian Navy in the Black Sea was overrun my sailors and their officers slaughtered (the Potemkin debacle).  Tsar Nicolas promised a Constitution.  The Cossack cavalry understood Constitution to mean total freedom of doing what they pleased.  Hundreds of pogroms were daily occurrences in Belorussia and Ukraine (formerly belonging to the Catholic Polish Kingdom before 1772.)

The pogroms reached Baku.

The first minority victims were the Armenians who were well established and lived comfortably out of commerce and lending money.  For days, thousands of Armenians were massacred before the Cossacks managed to restore a semblance of security.

Between 1905 and 1917, Baku was kidnapped by a multitude of revolutionary groups that robbed banks, and asked for ransoms.  Joseph Stalin, under the code name of Koba and who was 28 years old, was leading the Bolshevik groups that asked ransoms in order to provide protection for minority ethnic groups.

The Communist Revolution of 1917 ruined Baku in 1920 as a prosperous city; mass transfers of population and assassinations were systematically applied.

Note:  Topic extracted from “The Orientalist” by Tom Reiss

(September 15, 2009)

“There are no ends Sir, re-think your means…”

          Two critical questions have been around for ever.  The first question is “What is the purpose of man?”   The second question is “Is there any means of freeing man from war threats?”

            The first question received general answers such as “The free development of every one will lead to freeing every one else” or “Earth will know the Lord, as waves cover the sea.”  These general answers that means liberty, freedom, peace, justice, and fraternal love are meaningless because they need to be operational, well defined, well discriminated, and the means well thought out in details.

            The second question is answered by another general rhetorical answer “No nation will raise the sword against another nation.”  Prophets and religious leaders did not outdo the meanest local politician in their good intentions.

            “Is there any means of freeing man from war threats?” was asked to Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud in 1932; twelve years after the institution of the League of Nations after WWI.  The League of Nations was lead by the USA, France, Britain, and Italy; it was the precursor of the United Nations established after WWII and headed by the USA, USSR, China, France, and Britain with veto power.  Basically, they are the two cheeks of the same ass.

            Einstein said: “A minority avid of power reigning over the great masses that do not get but suffering and impoverishment.  The way for international security is to impose on States to abandon without condition a part of their liberty of action or sovereignty.  There are no other alternatives.” 

            Freud position was “It is not possible to avoid war unless men agree to institute a central power to which States demand arbitration and respect the decision.  The League of Nations does not dispose of an army which cannot be formed unless the constituent States concede it. I am baffled that a unanimous accord by humanity has not banished war.  It is my contention that whoever works toward the development of culture is also struggling against war.”

            Nobel peace laureate Bertha von Sutter replied to Alfred Nobel “Do not always qualify our plan for peace as a dream. Progress toward justice is not a dream; this is the law of civilization”

            “Is there any means of freeing man from war threats?” is still a general question.  It would be far meaningful to divide this question into three practical ones.  The first question would be “Is there any way to prevent pre-emptive wars?”  The second question is “Is there ways to prevent civil wars?”  The third question should be “How man can be set free to decide on his death?”

            How to prevent civil wars have been answered by the USA and Western Europe; all citizens are equal before the law of the land; all citizens have the right to vote; all citizens have the right to be candidates; all citizens can do commerce and trade anywhere in the land; all citizens abide by the same civil status laws; all citizens are served equally well by public services; and no citizen is discriminated against by gender, race, color, or religious belief. If civil wars can be prevented then wars can be prevented: war is war, just view other people as you want people to regard you!  Just stop discriminating other people by race, color, religion, or gender.  They should enjoy the same rights that you want to enjoy.    

            If the world community can decided on a universal law that gives man the right to dispose of his life then all the moral values would become corollary to that fundamental right.  We are born by a fluke of nature but death is a certainty once born; how we wish to die is the only power that we should have to decide for our destiny.

 

            The most controversial of all questions is “Do ends justify the means?”  The most frustrating in this question is that the first two pre-requisite questions have not been answered satisfactorily by the world community. So far, the ends have been but abstract general notions of liberty, freedom, democracy, justice, equality, and so on.  So far, the means have been but brutal force, assassination, incarceration, humiliation, and disrespect of human rights, customs, traditions, and cultures.  Occupied people wait for the means to materialize in order to comprehend the nature of the end game.  When the occupier disband a nation’s army then you know that brute force occupation is the means to annihilate the social fabric of the society.  How can democracy be instituted if democracy is not applied by the occupier?  How can liberty be disseminated if the occupier has forgotten that liberty is resistance to an occupying force?  How can justice be established if martial laws are applied?

            Man is a dog, a cat, or nothing.  The vast majority of men are dogs.  Dog has a fixed logic; once trained properly he nails rules down.  Dog may learn from experience but fails to generalize the experience.  Misha the dog was entrapped on a spiked fence and got scared; she would not jump over the fence on the location it got the fright.  Misha jumps over the fence in another location; it is the same kind of dangerous fence, the same color, and the same height; it was just another location!  Cat has flexible logic and it baffles man.  There are these two kittens. The ugly one is smarter, more courageous, and enterprising.  The first time I hit the ugly cat for myawing it comprehended my reason for hitting her, or so I think.  The next time she saw the stick her behavior changed; now the stick meant “food is on the way”; food is the objective and survival means launching guerrilla warfare and louder myawings.

 

            The main function of the UN should be to prohibit pre-emptive wars under all conditions. The UN failed when it cowered to the US dictates for invading Iraq.  Britain, France, and Germany contributed to this war by softening their stance for economical benefits.

            I say: “There are no ends Sir, re-think your means.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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