Christopher Columbus was the “progenitor of a continental genocide,” claims Alan Mikhail in the Los Angeles Times Monday, and Mikhail is not part of some affirmative action plan at the Times to give a voice to those who propagate insanely ahistorical anti-American garbage. Mikhail is, in fact, the chair of the Department of History at Yale University, and if that isn’t evidence of the advanced state of rot in American academia today, nothing is. Columbus, in Mikhail’s febrile fantasies, was something even worse than a genocidal maniac: he was an “Islamophobe”: “A primary force behind Columbus’ Atlantic crossings was a fear and hatred of Islam.”
Columbus – or so the august academic Mikhail and the Los Angeles Times would have you believe – was motivated to sail the ocean blue in 1492 by the worst impulse possible, as far as the contemporary Left is concerned: “At heart, Columbus was a Crusader. Throughout his life, in his encounters with and then battles against Muslims, he felt the burden of holy war deep in his soul.” For shame, infidel! All these years you have lived in America without realizing that its very foundations are built on “Islamophobia.”
Nor does the villainy stop with the discovery of the new continent: “An anti-Islamic worldview was the mold that cast the European understanding of race and ethnicity in the Americas, as well as the concept of warfare in the Western Hemisphere.”
While portraying the discovery of America as an exercise in gratuitous racial hatred, Mikhail doesn’t bother to mention what really led up to Columbus making his voyage. He did so because the land route to Asia had been closed to Europeans since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The fall of the city was the occasion for an unforgettable demonstration of jihadi bloodlust. As The History of Jihad shows, the warriors of jihad entered the great city on May 29, 1453, and made the streets run with rivers of blood. Muslims raided monasteries and convents, emptying them of their inhabitants, and plundered private houses.
Mikhail says nothing about that. Nor does he inform his hapless Los Angeles Times readers that in this course of this plunder, pillage, and wanton murder, the jihadis entered Hagia Sophia, which for nearly a thousand years had been the grandest church in Christendom. The venerable old building was filled with Orthodox Christians: the faithful had gathered within its hallowed walls to pray during the city’s last agony. The Muslims halted the celebration of Orthros (morning prayer), while the priests, according to legend, took the sacred vessels and disappeared into the cathedral’s eastern wall, through which they shall return to complete the divine service one day. Right in the church, the jihad warriors then killed the elderly and weak and led the rest off into slavery.
The Byzantine scholar Bessarion wrote to the Doge of Venice in July 1453, saying that Constantinople had been “sacked by the most inhuman barbarians and the most savage enemies of the Christian faith, by the fiercest of wild beasts. The public treasure has been consumed, private wealth has been destroyed, the temples have been stripped of gold, silver, jewels, the relics of the saints, and other most precious ornaments. Men have been butchered like cattle, women abducted, virgins ravished, and children snatched from the arms of their parents.”
Related: Where Have You Gone, Columbus Day?
When the slaughter and pillage were finished, Mehmet II ordered an Islamic scholar to walk through the blood-soaked nave of Hagia Sophia and mount the high pulpit, where he was to declare that there was no God but Allah and Muhammad was his prophet. This was how Hagia Sophia became a mosque: According to Islamic belief and practice, the proclamation of the Islamic faith in the magnificent old church, over the anguished cries of the wounded and enslaved and the still-warm bodies of those who had been murdered, immediately turned the cathedral into a mosque. Hundreds of other churches in Constantinople and elsewhere suffered the same fate. In the ensuing months and years, millions of Christians joined the ranks of the subjugated dhimmis; others were enslaved, and many more were killed.
The History of Jihad demonstrates that after they conquered Constantinople, the Ottomans made more or less continual war against Europe, and conquered and occupied large portions of Eastern and Southern Europe for hundreds of years. Mikhail, however, gives the impression that the Europeans’ fear of Islam was baseless, an irrational “Islamophobia” that right-thinking people must eschew.
The LA Times article is yet another in the apparently endless series of articles marking the West’s cultural suicide. All of them are based on the assumption that the West has been uniquely violent, even genocidal, and hateful, while the (largely Islamic) East has been more sinned against than sinning and encapsulates a wisdom and nobility that we have lost. Making Americans ashamed of their history and culture is a big business nowadays. And no good can come of it.