Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norwegian Crusade 1107 –1110!SigurdNorwegianCrusade1107-1111OldNorse.png
The Norwegian Crusade was a crusade that lasted from 1107 to 1110, in the outcome of the First Crusade, by the advance of the Norwegian king Sigurd I. Sigurd was the first European king to ever go on crusade to the Holy Land, and not one argue during the crusade was abandoned. The Norwegian crusade seems to have acted out very alike to ahead Viking raids, however the Norwegians' critical aims were more noble this time.

Sigurd and his men sailed from Norway in the autumn of 1107 with sixty ships and perhaps around 5,000 men. In the autumn he indoors in England, where Henry I was king. Sigurd and his men stayed there all the chill, awaiting the spring of 1108 when they again set sail westwards.

After numerous months they came to the city of St. James (Jakobsland) in Galicia (Galizuland) where they were permitted by a citizen lord to adjourn for the winter. However when the winter came there was a shortcoming of food, which made the lord decline to advertise food and cargo to the Norwegians. Sigurd then gathered his militia, attacked the lord's castle and looted what they could there. the journey the Norwegians encountered a great bandit ("viking") fleet of galleys which were seeking peaceful trading-ships to rob. However, Sigurd set his course arranged for the pirates and stormed their ships. After a abrupt time all the pirates had been also slain or escaped, and Sigurd acquired eight ships from them.

After this they came to a castle in Muslim Al-Andalus called Sintra (Sintre - award day Sintra, Portugal). They took the castle, and killed every man there as they had refused to be christened. Added they sailed to Lisbon, a "half Christian and half heathen" city, said to be the allotment between Christian and Muslim Iberia. There they won their third battle, and acquired great assets.

Their fourth battle was won in the city of Alkasse (maybe a allusion to Al Qar) where they killed so many people that the town was said to have been left bare. Also here they got great materials.

After another victorious battle against pirates when sailing through the Passage of Gibraltar (Norfasund) they sailed added along the saracen land (Serkland) into the Mediterranean (Griklands hafi), and inwards at the Balearic Islands. The Baleares were at the time perceived by Christians to be nothing more than a pirate harbor and slaving axis. The Norwegian raids are also the first recorded Christian attacks on the Muslim Balearic islands (although minor attacks certain have occurred). first place they inwards at was Formentera, where they encountered a great number of Blamenn (Black men) and Serkir (Saracens) who had taken up their abode in a cave. The course of the argument is the most complete of the complete crusade through written sources, and might maybe be the most notable historic affair in the small island's memoirs. After this battle, the Norwegians supposedly acquired the best materials they had ever got. They then went on to beat Ibiza, and then Minorca, in both spaces victoriously. The Norwegians seems to have avoided attacking the biggest of the Balearic islands, Mallorca, most expected as it at the time were the prosperous and well equipped center of an independent taifa kingdom. Tales of their sensation may have inspired the Catalan Pisan capture of the Baleares in 1113-1115.

In the spring of 1109, they reach at Sicily (Sikileyjar) where they were welcomed by the master Count Roger II who was only 12/13 years old at the time.

In the summer of 1110 they lastly inwards at the harbor of Acre (Akrsborg) (or perhaps in Jaffa), and went to Jerusalem (Jorsala) where they met the ruling crusader king Baldwin I. They were cordially welcomed, and Baldwin rode together with Sigurd to the river Jordan, and back again to Jerusalem.

The Norwegians were given greatly assets and remainder, counting a chip off the holy angry that allegedly Jesus himself had been crucified on. This was given on the clause that they would maintain to promote Christianity and beget the artifact to the committal locate of St. Olaf.

Later Sigurd returned to his ships at Acre, and when king Baldwin were departing to the "heathen" (i.e. Muslim) city of Sidon (Saett) in Syria (Syrland) Sigurd and his men accompanied him in the blockade. The city was then full and subsequently the Lordship of Sidon established.

Viewpoint: Attacks strike at Norway's values

Norway awoke this morning to the greatest loss of life it has experienced since World War II.

There is a pervasive sense of unreality. This kind of tragedy - a mass shooting and home-made explosive devices - happens elsewhere, not here.
There is disbelief that this has happened at all, at the dozens of dead people, and shock that a Norwegian could do this to other Norwegians. There is grief too that so many young lives have been lost in such a senseless way.

"I feared I would have nightmares overnight, but the nightmare came when I woke. This is impossible!" lamented Per Martin Hvam-Malmedal, a student.

Norway has a small population, so a relatively large proportion of people will be directly or indirectly touched by the events. In the streets and online, people are rallying to support each other.

This is a society where you can meet even top politicians strolling in Oslo's streets with no security.
The attack was squarely aimed at the values Norwegians treasure most. Their openness, freedom of expression and feeling of safety have all been shaken to the core. 

On Utoeya Island politically active youngsters gather every summer to play football, participate in debates and meet the Labour Party leadership, former and present. In the words of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, what was once a paradise for young people has been turned into hell. 

Norway's dark corners:
Norway's openness and lack of security is in large part a result of it having such a small, homogenous population. It seems paradoxical that an extremist who appears to have fanatically wanted to protect Norway from intruders and the "dangers" of multiculturalism would himself do such damage to the nation.
Norway is now forced to look at the less attractive facets of its society. 

Media reports say the arrested man expressed sympathies for the Progress Party (FrP), Norway's most right-wing mainstream political party. For many years, the FrP has been steadily growing in popularity at the expense of the left-leaning Labour Party and the more moderate Conservative Party, although it is yet to win an election. 

There are also citizens' websites like, where Anders Behring Breivik left racist, extremist right-wing comments along with fellow anti-Muslims, and there were attempts to start up Norwegian satellite groups in support of the English Defence League.

These all represent, with varying degrees of extremism, a section of the Norwegian population which feels that the country's immigration policies are too lax. They feel disenfranchised despite Norway's attempts at distributing fairly its immense oil wealth. Norway might now be forced to deal head-on with this undercurrent of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiments.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the attack "is sure to change Norway... I hope we will come to value more highly the democratic and open work done by youth and others in political and voluntary organisations".
There is some relief that however tragic, the attacks were apparently not the work of international terrorists. 
That at least gives less ammunition to those who are trying to stoke up anti-Muslim feelings. 

But Norwegians fear their cherished freedoms may be affected in the aftermath.
"We should not let fear paralyse our ability to think clearly and wisely," wrote Harald Stanghelle, political editor of the daily Aftenbladet. "There is much that we should not allow to be sacrificed on the altar of fear."
Lars Helle, editor of the daily Dagbladet, said "we must avoid being preoccupied by fear, like the US was after 11 September 2001. Rather, we must look to Spain and England and how the people of those nations recovered their freedom after the horrible terrorist acts of 2004 and 2005".

A World In Hunger: East Africa And Beyond

A far wealthier world is more divided, and contains nearly twice as many malnourished people, as was the case in the early 1970s. These facts alone are a damning criticism of the way the world economic system has evolved, writes Paul Rogers.

A DROUGHT across much of east Africa in mid-2011 is causing intense distress among vulnerable populations, many of them already pressed by poverty and insecurity. The range of  the affected areas is extensive: the two districts in Somalia that are now designated as famine-zones are but the most extreme parts of a much wider disaster that stretches from Somalia across Ethiopia into northern Kenya, and as far west as Sudan and even the Karamoja district in northeast Uganda.

The numbers put at risk in this, the worst drought in the region since the 1950s, are enormous. At least 11 million people are touched by the disaster. In the Turkana district of northern Kenya, 385,000 children (among a total population of about 850,000) are suffering from acute malnutrition (see Miriam Gathigah, ‘East Africa: millions stare death in the face amidst ravaging drought’, TerraViva / IPS, July 18, 2011). In Somalia, the conflict between the Islamist Shabaab movement and the nominal government makes conditions even more perilous for those affected.

The world’s largest refugee camp, at Dadaab in northern Kenya, offers a stark illustration of the consequences of the drought. The population of Dadaab, which was designed to cope with 90,000 people, has increased in recent months to 380,000 —  and 1,300 more are arriving daily (see Denis Foynes, ‘Eleven million at risk in horn of Africa’, TerraViva / IPS, July 19, 2011).

The lessons of crisis:
BUT just as striking is that this is part of a recurring phenomenon. Major warning-signs of malnutrition and famine were already visible in April 2008; among them were climatic factors, steep oil-price increases, increased demand for meat diets by richer communities, and the diversion of land to grow biofuel crops (see ‘The world’s food insecurity’, April 24, 2008).

What made these ingredients more perilous was the way that (as is so often the case) they acted synergistically. The clearest example of this was the sustained world food crisis of 1973-74, when (at its peak) some 40 million people in thirty countries were at risk. The overall predicament derived from a combination of two long-term and five more immediate factors.

The long-term issues were the relative neglect of rural development since the 1950s, and the fact that many countries were just starting to make the demographic transition (meaning that they still had 40 per cent or more of their population under the age of 14). These were intensified by the short-term problems: the coincidence of poor weather conditions (including the seven-year drought in the Sahel and floods in south Asia), a huge increase in oil and fertiliser prices, increased demand for meat in northern countries, the failure of the green revolution to deliver sufficiently robust new crop varieties, and rampant commodity-market speculation that also forced up prices.

In the event the crisis of 1973-74 did not tip into real disaster. A transnational famine was avoided, partly because a few states (notably the newly wealthy middle-east oil-producers) belatedly provided enough aid. But the most significant aspect was that throughout, the world’s grain reserves were substantial; they did fall to around half of the usual stocks, but even at the peak of the crisis still averaged around 100 days of supply. The problem the crisis revealed was that far too many people could not grow enough of their own food and could not afford the inflated prices in local or national markets. At the heart of the emergency were issues of poverty and economic marginalisation.

The lessons of a near-catastrophe were never learned. The then United Nations plan for a major increase in tropical agricultural research and development was costed at the equivalent of 2 per cent of world military expenditure per year, yet barely a third of the money needed was actually raised.

There have since been nearly four decades of ‘development’, with contrasting outcomes: the world has grown very much richer yet the great bulk of the new wealth has benefited the richest 1.5 billion in a global population that the United Nations estimates will reach 7 billion in October 2011. A far wealthier world is more divided, and contains nearly twice as many malnourished people, as was the case in the early 1970s. These facts alone are a damning criticism of the way the world economic system has evolved, and in particular of the neglect of food security for tens of millions of poor and vulnerable people.

The climate factor:
WHAT makes this situation even more pressing is that it is now reinforced by the existing and likely impacts of climate change (see ‘The climate peril: a race against time’, November 13, 2009).

There is abundant evidence that the rate of temperature increase in coming decades will be faster over the tropical and sub-tropical land-masses — as much as three times the worldwide average in many such regions. The early effects will include a marked decline in what Lester Brown has called the ‘reservoirs in the sky’: the glaciated regions of the high Andes and the far greater water-stores locked up in the Himalaya and the Karakoram (sometimes termed ‘the third pole’) (see Lester R Brown, ‘Rising temperatures melting away global food security’, TerraViva / IPS, July 6, 2011).

The dry coastal areas of Peru and other parts of western south America depend on the Andean glaciers. But the value of the south Asian glaciers is hugely greater since they feed the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and other river systems on which hundreds of millions of people depend for food. When the ‘reservoirs’ shrivel and temperatures rise, the result is increased heat- and water-stress in crops, causing yields to fall and thus food shortages. Such shortages already exist, as the east African crisis shows; on present trends they will become far worse in the coming decades (see ‘A century on the edge: 1945-2045’, December 29, 2008).
A degree of adaptation is in principle possible, not least through key technological and political changes: 

improving water conservation and the breeding of drought-resistant crops, and reforming the world economy to ensure far more equity and economic emancipation (see Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, 1999). These innovations alone would be near-revolutionary — but still not enough to solve the problems. This requires bringing climate change under control via a ‘great transition’ to ultra-low carbon economies.

The current crisis in east Africa requires immediate coordinated action to alleviate the widespread suffering. It is also a powerful reminder of the far larger efforts needed here and elsewhere, which are amplified by the preceding decades of neglect and waste. The ability to achieve the great transition — with all it entails in terms of sustainable livelihoods and social organisation — will determine whether the planet’s next generations are guaranteed the food and other resources to enable them to survive and build fulfilled lives.