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Old 01-13-2013, 06:32 PM   #2581
2WheelieADV
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Originally Posted by ROD CURRIE View Post
To have been brought up in a Christian Scotland was to be taught that about the Mongol conquests with a shudder, and it was never mentioned without the usual strapline "murdering heathen hordes".

My own opinion (and it is only that) is that hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if the church and city elders had not been looking to their own salvation in this life and beyond. Each city was offered a choice to become an ally state of the Mongols and fall under their protection. Those that chose to do this were subsumed into the Mongol nation. I'm sure they'd be taxed ( but not as much as we're feckin' taxed now..now these ARE thieving bastards!!) but the poor man would still carry on much as he had before.
For the rich and powerful however, the party would be over, and as for the the Church, they would rather see their "flock" dying with God's name on their lips that as they perceived it rather than having their souls burn in hell as heathens for eternity....so they refused the Mongols offer.
The Mongols had a simple view............if you're not my friend, you must be my enemy, and when the cities fell as they invariably did, every male over the height of a dog-cart's wheel that'd be over maybe 6 years old-was put to the sword, the women enslaved and the city sacked.

To view the Mongols simply through this prism is to ignore what had happened almost within a generation. A set of disparate warlords and tribes had been welded from a standing start into a single mighty entity answerable to one man, with common values, laws, currency. Education and philosophy, trade and exchange all soon followed. It was an astounding achievement.

Genghis sure got a bad press when I was a boy...but then again, he casn't exactly Mr Nice Guy.

This is I think Ogedai, son of GK mentioned by Water earlier. He'll tell me if'n it aint.
I don't know why the Khan is being viewed as a hero. Yes he conquest lot's of territory, but he was no better than any other brutal occupier. Mongol-Tatar Ego brought lot's of sorrow to Russians and other nations in his path.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:43 PM   #2582
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Originally Posted by 2WheelieADV View Post
I don't know why the Khan is being viewed as a hero. Yes he conquest lot's of territory, but he was no better than any other brutal occupier. Mongol-Tatar Ego brought lot's of sorrow to Russians and other nations in his path.
True! Slaughtering all males over wagon wheel height and enslaving the women does seem a mite negative! Is that not called Genocide nowdays?
Regards....just jeff
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:18 PM   #2583
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True! Slaughtering all males over wagon wheel height and enslaving the women does seem a mite negative! Is that not called Genocide nowdays?
Regards....just jeff
For his time though, that was not unusual and he did give most places a chance to surrender first. The organizational success he achieved makes him unique and probably unmatched even today.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:36 PM   #2584
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For his time though, that was not unusual and he did give most places a chance to surrender first. The organizational success he achieved makes him unique and probably unmatched even today.
True! Our values have certainly changed in the last hundred years!
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:04 PM   #2585
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he was no better than any other brutal occupier.
Thats very debatable.

I dont want to go into too much off topic here ... but briefly:

Firstly in those days everyone was a brutal conqueror / occupier. You think Richard the Lionheart and other fellow brave Christians are viewed as a nice guys in Arab eyes for the third crusade? It was how things were done. You cant judge history by today's morality. Otherwise George Washington was a terrorist, Thomas Jefferson a slave keeper, Abraham Lincoln denied the southern states the democratic right to self determination, Robert E Lee fought for the slave trade ... etc etc etc. History has to be viewed through the morality of the day. Americans believe that their country has been democratic since inception yet denied women the right to vote till something like 1925. Does that mean Americans before 1925 were immoral? Or that its not necessary for the voice of women to be heard in a democracy? Or .. That you can only judge morality by the standards of the day?

Genghis Khan slaughtered the adult male population of cities that refused to surrender ... as was totally the normal practice of the day. Christians did EXACTLY the same thing ... actually I am lying. The crusaders slaughtered every living inhabitant of the cities that refused to surrender including women and children. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades ... Re siege of Antioch : "the lengthy Siege of Antioch that began in October 1097 and lasted until June 1098. Once inside the city, as was standard military practice when an enemy had refused to surrender, the Crusaders massacred the Muslim inhabitants" ... And re Siege of Jerusalem ... "The Jews and Muslims fought together to defend Jerusalem against the invading Franks. They were unsuccessful though and on 15 July 1099 the crusaders entered the city. They proceeded to massacre the remaining Jewish and Muslim civilians and pillaged or destroyed mosques and the city itself."

Killing inhabitants of cities that refused to surrender was totally the morality of the day among all cultures. You cant call Genghis Khan brutal, when he was totally normal. He was doing what every European nation was also doing and was considered standard military practice for the times.

We have no way of knowing how morality will evolve from where we are now and what things we do today will be viewed as disgusting by future generations. If in the future for example (a random made up example), lets imagine they deem keeping pets as grossly immoral, maybe they might view keeping an animals life purely for human enjoyment as a kind of slavery, it would be unfair and unreasonable for your great grandchildren to disown you and consider you an evil monster because by their future standards, what you do today is immoral. What you do today can only be judged by todays standards. Another example might be horse racing ... today we keep horses and breed horses for the sole purpose of making them race around a track while we bet money on it. Thats fine by todays morality. But in the future they may consider it inhumane. Who knows? Maybe even keeping animals for food will be considered inhumane in the future. There are many around today who already have that belief and their numbers are rising.

We all have wives, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, mothers even who wear bikinis. Maybe at some stage in the future it bis considered immoral for women to wear that. Maybe in future the display of female skin in public becomes disgusting to future people. It would not be fair of them to judge the women of today as all sluts because the morality has evolved. The morality of todays women can only be judged by todays standards of dress and behaviour.

No-one here today is capable of predicting what the morality will be like in 100 years time. Let alone in 800 years time. You are judging Genghis Khan by morality that has changed for 800 years since his day. Do you want to be morally judged for your actions by someone 800 years in the future? By their future standards of morality? I know I dont.

Secondly, by the standards of the day, Genghis Khan's occupations were quite enlightened. He actually welcomed conquered foreigners into his military, making many officers. He welcomed them into his administration, making many of them high ranking officials. And he was only of the few leaders in his day (and for hundreds of years later) that encouraged religious plurality. Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism were all common in the Mongol court. Genghis Khan felt they all had value and all had useful lessons to teach. Women had a very high standing in his empire relative to Europe. For almost a decade (1240s) the Mongol empire was run by two women. One of them a Christian. The liberalism and enlightenment of Genghis Khan is exactly what is argued convincingly by American author Jack Weatherford in his 2005 book Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Weatherford also clearly shows that by the standards of his day Genghis Khan was not particularly brutal nor a tyrant.

Further, contemporary accounts written by European monks and traders who visited the Mongol court such as those by William of Rubruck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Rubruck) and Marco Polo speak of how tolerant, enlightened and multicultural the Mongol Empire was. These guys were judging compared to the morality of Europe of the day obviously and to contemporary western leaders. These guys know. They saw it first hand, and were able to compare it to European norms.

It may come as a surprise if you havent read much about him, but Genghis Khan was quite enlightened and liberal for his time. Genghis was a lefty !

There is a ton of evidence out there that indicates he was, actually, a lot better than the average brutal occupier.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:59 PM   #2586
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Genghis Khan, I'll never forget the first book I read about him way back in grade school. Was totally amazed. Morality. LOL! Just think how many people in the world are against our gun laws here in the US.
Now waiting on the next installments of your fabulous trip. Terry and Rod alone and roaming has got to be a heck of a story.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:01 PM   #2587
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During my travels in China I received similar feedback from (some) people regarding Mao Zedong...

It seems they idolize him to this day for bringing them from the age of poverty and tribes to a world power. (No mater what the cost)

In no way do I agree with the methods of these rulers; but we analyze their actions as westerners who are separated from their culture. Similar to Walters theory of time separation. What is acceptable in our culture may differ from theirs. These cultures still praise these men for what they had done.

It is also possible that the previous regimes to both of the mentioned tyrants were not much better humanitarians. They simply were not as successful.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:08 PM   #2588
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Colebatch...on your comments regarding changing morality....excellent!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:09 PM   #2589
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
Secondly, by the standards of the day, Genghis Khan's occupations were quite enlightened. He actually welcomed conquered foreigners into his military, making many officers. He welcomed them into his administration, making many of them high ranking officials. And he was only of the few leaders in his day (and for hundreds of years later) that encouraged religious plurality. Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism were all common in the Mongol court. Genghis Khan felt they all had value and all had useful lessons to teach. Women had a very high standing in his empire relative to Europe. For almost a decade (1240s) the Mongol empire was run by two women.

It may come as a surprise if you havent read much about him, but Genghis Khan was quite enlightened and liberal for his time.
Along with what Walter has written above, those conquered lived in relative peace afterwards. This Pax Mongolica expands further on what Walter has said. Add to that the lesson of Khan are still taught in Military schools today.

As far brutally goes others that came after him (like Timur) were far more brutal.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:32 AM   #2590
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I couldn't agree more with Walter's comments on morality. Morality is entirely time and culture dependent. We can only judge on contemporary actions within our western culture. Sometimes we tend to forget that.

If we'd all try to remember that, the world might be a better place.

right, nuff said, make way for the RR

rgds
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:35 AM   #2591
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Day 65

Blimey! Stirred up quite a hornet's nest there guys.Interesting debate for sure ............ but we're here to ride
so:
Having experienced the traffic on the way in to the city we'd no wish to repeat the experience and left early. We were gone from the hotel by 7 in the morning and yet it still took the best part of an hour to get out of town.

We stopped at a convenience store I'd waited near when I was expecting the guys to catch me up on the way in, and picked up some snacks for the trip.

The morning had been bright when we left, but it clouded over after we'de just gone a few miles and as we climbed the temperature soon dropped quickly.
Terry scooted past and waved me down.." I'm feckin' freezin 'mate, ..need to get a fleece on". I was just starting to feel it too and was happy to stop for a minute and fleece up.
The journey north during the morning was pretty uneventful, but the temperature warmed up again.

Some time in the early afternoon Terry waved me down again. " I'm knackered mate...I need to have a kip". I was OK with that and threw my jacket on the ground and grabbed some ZZZZzzzs.

I had the usual 10 minutes I need to pick me up and sat up. Terry was still zonked so I had a walk and a look around.



There was a tree on the roadside that had several strips of the ubiquitous blue cloth tied to it.I nicked a little off the tree and tied it to my panniers for some good karma.

I thought it had to be an "official" shrine...but maybe anything can be perceived as spiritual? Chime in guys.

The road winds ever on...but without much winding.

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:36 AM   #2592
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Well sink or swim I guess.

I recall the first ride report I posted ... Tuva.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=519357

I thought this would generate a lot of interest. A stunning beautiful region, where no westerner had ever ridden before - certainly no-one had ever photographed it and documented it on a motorbike.

I packed it with what I felt were jaw dropping pics, and by the time I was finished, I had a grand total of 2400 views.

Thats when I had to take stock and study other ride reports and I realised that no matter how amazing the subject, or how good the pics, readers want a narrative to tie it together. So if you want to make it work, then you really do need to invest the time to put together a narrative to link together the pics. Also I saw that readers really respond to open thoughts ... tell them how you are feeling. Tell them how exciting some scene is to you - share it. People really do want to read about your ups and downs. The trials and tribulations as it were, or adventure motorcycling. And of course, readers love it when you can furnish them with a bit of background, cultural or historical, about the places you are visiting.

Three years later, the Tuva report is now up tenfold, to 24,000 views, but I still remember the lessons from it.

So to any new ride reporters ... those are my tips. You are telling a story, not just blasting a bunch of your favourite pics up on the screen. And you have to think of how it reads to a third party. Its more than telling your own story. The story has to do more than make sense to you, it has to make sense to third parties. And finally, share your inner thoughts ... I think Metal Jockey does this better than anyone.
My thoughts exactly! It's so true that a report can be a little like "day x - nice pic - hard riding - great pic - more riding - amazing pic - knackered - etc.." without a good story to make the readers want to come back. This forum isn't a magazine about traveling with a bike, it's about riders talking to riders and that's why people want to know what's going on inside of you. You've nailed it (and I'm still learning).

Plus what makes this RR stand apart is the nice combinations of characters and the contributions by them ( well done Prutser, Beamster and Rod).

The final touch are the practical jokes you play on the more gullible, like messing up with a fuel pump, or sending a truck to a river to lure the guys into taking a ride on the back . That's a good narrative you've thought up beforehand all right .

I'm looking forward to the last part in Siberia.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:38 AM   #2593
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:10 AM   #2594
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Frenchie

After a while Terry got up and we chatted for a minute and started to get mounted up. Just as we let the clutches out, a little bike appeared with a guy in yellow one piece waterproof suit. He wobbled in to where we were standing and popped his crash hat off and said "bonjour" WTF! He was a Frenchman in his mid-50s. I never asked him his name so we'll call him Pierre.
HIs bike was a wee modern Honda of about 200cc with a screen fairing and his gear strapped to it. My French is pretty good so we asked him his story:

He'd ridden SOLO all over Mongolia with this little bike on road rubber (backs up our view that 1200cc is 80% wasted) AFTER he - I love this- had had triple feckin' heart bypass surgery and realised that this is not the rehearsal. TOP MAN!!

He bought the bike a couple of years previously, did his first trip and left it in someone's garage. Came back the year after, picked the bike up -it started straight up and went off on another trip. He was now going the same way as us on his third year and trip but was self restricted to about 50mph to save straining his wee steed so couldn't ride with us. I haven't a photo and so wish I had.

After while we said our (temporary) farewells and we left and headed north again.

Later in the day we got to the border and the great thing about all these countries is, on a bike you just drive past all the queing cars and trucks and go right to the front. Result! No one seems to mind so we scooted through. We got to the border post "proper" and entered the building.

I'm loathe to criticise anyone's country but it was nothing less than a shambles. Queueing is a concept adhered to in the loosest manner ..i.e ignored if you can get away with it. Additionally the 2 cubicles with the (missing) douaniers-customs officers-had computrers within that had network problems so as the 'puters weren't working neither were the douaniers. EH?
Eventually a techie-geek appeared and got the 'puters working so the douaniers came back, but by now there was a horde of Mongolians in the queue too, and Pierre had caught up and joined us in a show of European solidarity.. We shuffled forwards...the 'puters fell over again. FFS!
The geek returned and presumably poked the hamster on the wheel powering the 'puters and they wheezed in to life again. The Mongolians were trying to push through and Pierre was going to be cut up by guy with a battered face leading a load of guys in tracksuits. I stepped in front of him..just said NO! NO! and blocked him with my arm. he glowered at me but stayed put.


They didn't push in front again but the line everyone else was in moved suspiciously much faster than ours, and of all the people in the hall, we were the last through. Twats! It had taken us over 2 hours to get through just this part and still had to negotiate the Russian formalities

We eventually got out and went to wait at the gate to no-mans land to await being waved forwards by the Russian douaniers. I looked left and saw the bus with all the guys in tracksuits next to us. On the side was written "Mongolian National Boxing Team". FUCK!!! The guy with the battered face is the Coach. DOUBLE FUCK!!.
I think in any other situation he'd have punched me cold! Maybe the blue cloth karma was working already.

We went forwards into the Russian sector. What a difference.

Courteous, efficient, quick and with stuff that worked. They wanted to ensure my bike definitely was the one I'd brought in but couldn't see the VIN stamped to the headstock as the fairing mounts obscure it, so I had to strip lots of bits off until they could see, but that aside it was a breeze. Thank you Russia.

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:50 AM   #2595
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History

Our look at history in general and the role of other cultures is highly dictated by what we're told in school and what the media tell us afterwards.

Genghis Khan: brutal invader.
The crusaders: saved the holy land from the barbarians.
Napoleon: the guy who brought us civil legislation, parts of it are still 'the law' right here as we speak.
Stalin: him, Roosevelt and Churchill are the heroes that woke up Hitler from his 3th Reich dreams.
Our own king Leopold I who owned Congo. Nasty things happened back there.

They only tell us what they want us to know. They narrow our mind and most people live and judge by those stories. RRs like Walter's are a great way to learn more about the world and inspire me to investigate further. Not only about the eastern world, but about every place I go to. It's always a pleasure to know the background when visiting somewhere. As it is interesting to know how developments in (far) away places really influenced live in one's own country.

So thank you, Carry on please.
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