Sunday, July 13, 2014

Genghis Khan: Bloodthirsty Tyrant or Progressive Leader? Answer: Yes.

Genghis Khan
"If I only had a heart . . ."
Photo in Spectator

Justin Marozzi informs us that John Man, author of The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan, His Heirs and the Founding of Modern China, offers the view that "Genghis Khan was tolerant, kind to women – and a record-breaking mass-murderer" (The Spectator, July 12 2014).

Well, as Stalin reputedly said, you've got to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelette:
If you had the misfortune to live in Central Asia during Genghis's rampages in the 1220s, you ran the very real risk of being cut in two, beheaded, disemboweled, perhaps even forced to swallow molten metal by his ferocious soldiers. Cities were razed and depopulated, prisoners slain or ordered to march as a shield before the army, in full battle formation. Mongol bloodlust was such that even cats and dogs were killed. (Marozzi, para. 2)
Big omelette . . . but the Khan was progressive:
Yet the same man who is said to be responsible for the deaths of a world record 40 million is also noted -- admittedly less widely -- for his religious tolerance, enlightened diplomacy and championing of women's rights. (Marozzi, para. 3)
Patriarchal warrior, politically correct on women's issues . . .

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