Archives for posts with tag: balkans

krsna slava is a traditional serbian (although it seems that there are similar traditions elsewhere in the balkans) celebration of a family’s particular patron saint — and by “family” here i mean an extended, patrilineal family — a celebration by a man and his wife and their sons and their families (if they have any) plus any unmarried daughters. a wife would celebrate the slava with her husband and his family of their patron saint, not the one which she grew up with (although if a woman was the last in her line, her slava might be celebrated in the household, too). the tradition goes right back to at least the medieval period — the earliest known record of slava celebrations is from 1018 a.d. [pg. 68] — although it probably has pre-christian roots.

the krsna slava qualifies as “clannish” as far as i am concerned (even though the serbs might not — surprisingly — be the most clannish of the balkan populations — more on that some other time). the slava is a way of distinguishing one extended family from another — each family has its own patron saint and own slava day (the saint’s feast day, i think) — and there’s some evidence/suggestions that the slava tradition ties back into the days when the serbs (and other balkan populations) were organized more into clans or tribes and not just extended families.

from Serbia [pgs. 42-43]:

“There are many facets of Orthodox religious practice that are central to Serbian culture even for individuals who are not especially religious. One of the most important of these is the custom of celebrating *slava*, a practice which may also be encountered in Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Croatia, although it is most commonly associated with the Serbs. *Slava*, which might be best translated as meaning ‘praise’ or ‘glory’, is the celebration of a patron saint. Each family celebrates its own saint, who is considered to be its protector. A particular *slava* is inherited from father to son and the occasion brings families together as each household, in sharing the same *slava*, is obliged to celebrate the event together. In special cases, such as migration abroad, family members may stage the event separately but as a rule it takes place under one roof, that of the family patriarch.

“During a *slava* the family home is open to anyone who wishes to drop by. It is considered untraditional to actually invite guests outside the family, but visitors are welcomed if they come of their own free will. To be turned away from a Serbian home during a *slava* is unheard of as this would bring disgrace to the household. The Krsna *slava* ritual involves the breaking of bread and the lighting of a candle by a priest. A prayer is said over the *koljivo* — ground cooked wheat — the third of the three ingredients central to the *slava* ceremony (the Serbs have a thing about the number three). Incense is burned and everyone present is blessed with holy water before the priest blesses and cuts the bread in the sign of the cross. The bread is then rotated by the family patriarch, his godfather and the priest before everyone assembled sits down for a meal. Of the various saints’ days, the most commonly celebrated are those of St. Nicholas (Nikolijdan) on 19 December, St. George (Durdevan) on 6 May, St. John the Baptist (Jovanjdan) on 20 January and St. Archangel Michael (Arandelovdan) on 21 November.

The custom of *slava* is believed to date back to the late 9th century when the Serbs were first Christianised. It is thought that each of the Serb tribes adopted its collective saint protector around this time and this is borne out by *slava* variations according to geographical regions. Another commonly held belief, which does not necessarily contradict this, is that the custom of *slava* is a remnant from pre-Christian paganism and that *slava* was a syncretic adaptation in which the qualities of the old Serbian gods found sustenance in the personalities of the new Christian saints. Occasionally, a new *slava* is adopted when it is believed that a particular saint has facilitated deliverances from an afflication such as an illness, in response to prayer.”

interestingly, though:

“As well as individuals and families, various communities such as villages, cities, organisations, political parties, institutions and professions, can have their own *slava*. Belgrade’s *slava* is on Ascension Day, which takes place on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter each year.”

middling inbreeders/outbreeders, the serbs? more in-betweeners? dunno.

james hedman (of the nsa?! (~_^) ) commented the other day:

“The tribes of Arabia were at the time of Mohammed by and large polytheistic pagans, each tribe having its own specific deities to nature, such as oases, trees, and weather.”

quite so. from Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians [pgs. 41-42]:

“The inhabitants of Arabia assuredly had a religious tradition before Islam, and although we are not particularly well informed about it, it appears to have been quite complex, as we would expect to discover in societies that were splintered into tribes and clans of widely varying sizes, some sedentary and some nomadic, with a number of the latter ranging seasonally over enormously broad terrains.

“The inhabitants of the Hajaz worshiped the way they lived: the small settled populations visited fixed shrines in oases, whereas the Bedouin carried their gods with them. The objects worshiped were principally stones, trees, and heavenly bodies, or rather, the gods thought to reside in them, or possibly — and here we begin to enter a world we do not fully understand — represented by them. Reasonably clear is that in the more recent Arabian past sacred stones were increasingly being shaped into human likenesses, rough or fine, perhaps, it has been surmised, because of the extension of Hellenistic styles into the peninsula.

“However the devotees thought of it, Arabian cultus was highly volatile, the deities often sharing characteristics, being harmonized into families, or passing now into the possession of this tribe and now of that. There is a distinctly tribal notion to the Arabs’ worship of the gods. On the basis of the South Arabian evidence, with which the more meager Arab tradition concurs, each tribe or tribal confederation had a divine patron whose cult gave the group a focus for its solidarity. In a practice that points directly to what was occurring at Mecca, each of these ‘federal deities’ was the ‘lord’ of a shrine that served as the federation’s cult center.”

i feel that the krsna slava of the serbs is just a half step away from the tribal gods of the arabs, and both of them are clearly related to household deities. all of these “clan gods” serve to both unite extended families/clans/tribes AND to distinguish them from all the other extended families/clans/tribes out there.

the best sort of “clan god” worship, imho, has got to be the veneration of the dead. have some shrines in your house to your ancestors — maybe exhume them every now and again just to say hello. how more uniting can THAT be to actually remember, on a regular basis, (former) members of your actual family/clan? it’s very direct. i like that!

i kinda/sorta recognize the family patron saint thing from my own semi-clannish background. traditionally, individuals often had “favorite” saints, and it was not uncommon for kids to adopt their parents’ favorite saints, although, afaik, there were no hard-and-fast rules about this. and there were no party days on the saints’ days (d*rn!). my mother adopted my grandfather’s (her father’s) favorite saint, and i am actually named after that saint. my gradmother’s favorite saint was st. martin de porres:

MartinDePorres

granny was always so daring! (~_^)

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe

(note: comments do not require an email. family shrine – japan.)

john derbyshire pointed out this new book to me (thanks, john!)…

The Rule of the Clan – What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals About the Future of Individual Freedom

…written by a fellow named mark weiner.

(clans are so IN nowadays! (~_^) )

here’s a little taste of what’s in the book — from the introduction [kindle locations 120-140]:

“What exactly is the rule of the clan? When I refer to the rule of the clan, I mean three related contemporary phenomena.

“First, and most prominently, I mean the legal structures and cultural values of societies organized primarily on the basis of kinship-societies in which extended family membership is vital for social and legal action and in which individuals have little choice but to maintain a strong clan identity. Today these societies include many in which the United States and its allies have a major strategic interest, such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia, but they have existed across history and throughout the world. Sometimes they are described as ‘tribal,’ though I tend to avoid the term because in English it carries a host of negative and racialist connotations. This strict form of the rule of the clan also includes the traditional Hindu caste system and Indian joint family, despite the manifest great differences between tribal societies and rapidly modernizing democratic India.

“Second, by the rule of the clan I mean the political arrangements of societies governed by what the Arab Human Development Report 2004 calls ‘clannism’….”

“clannism.” i like that.

These societies possess the outward trappings of a modern state but are founded on informal patronage networks, especially those of kinship, and traditional ideals of patriarchal family authority. In nations pervaded by clannism, government is coopted for purely factional purposes and the state, conceived on the model of the patriarchal family, treats citizens not as autonomous actors but rather as troublesome dependents to be managed.

“Clannism is the historical echo of tribalism, existing even in the face of economic modernization. It often characterizes rentier societies struggling under the continuing legacy of colonial subordination, as in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, where the nuclear family, with its revolutionary, individuating power, has yet to replace the extended lineage group as the principle framework for kinship or household organization. A form of clannism likewise pervades mainland China and other nations whose political development was influenced by Confucianism, with its ideal of a powerful state resting on a well-ordered family, and where personal connections are essential to economic exchange….”

uh huh. additionally, actual clans have also been making a comeback in china as of late.

“Third, and most broadly, by the rule of the clan I mean the antiliberal social and legal organizations that tend to grow in the absence of state authority or when the state is weak. These groups include petty criminal gangs, the Mafia, and international crime syndicates, which look a great deal like clans and in many respects act like them….”

and, of course, the mafia, and many other international crime syndicates (like balkan criminal gangs which have spread across europe during the past decade or so), ARE extended family-/clan-based. make no mistake — a lot of these groups are not just clan-like.

looks to be a very interesting book — and information packed! i look forward to reading it, and no doubt i’ll have more to say about it soon! (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. yemeni clansmen/tribesmen.)

man, clannish peoples have looooong memories.

i was searching last night for some good turkish music on youtube — you know, as one does — and i came across…

…well, first of all — who knew there was so much ottoman classical music to choose from on youtube?! that was my first surprise. then i came across…

… (heh) THIS raging “debate” between what appears to be some turks, greeks, albanians, croatians, and i don’t know who else (trolls, prolly). here’s just a taste of the discussion — and these are some of the most reasonable, rational bits of it (sorry ’bout the language – click on image for LARGER view):

never got transylvania

old grudges die hard.

oh. i did find some good near eastern music in the end, but it wound up to be some syrian stuff rather than turkish. nice music!

previously: tribalism on the innerwebs

(note: comments do not require an email. never got transylvania.)

i thought before that i noticed a difference in average iqs between northern and southern spain: españa al norte frente al sur and northern vs. southern spanish iq, redux. apparently i’m not completely crazy:

“North-South Differences in Spain in IQ, Educational Attainment, per capita Income, Literacy, Life Expectancy and Employment”
– Richard Lynn

“IQs are presented for fifteen regions of Spain showing a north-south gradient with IQs highest in the north and lowest in the south. The regional differences in IQ are significantly correlated with educational attainment, per capita income, literacy, employment and life expectancy, and are associated with the percentages of Near Eastern and North African genes in the population.”
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some naturalists/environmentalists are starting to note (like they used to) that there are TOO MANY PEOPLE on the planet:

“David Attenborough – Humans are plague on Earth”

“Sir David, who is a patron of the Population Matters, has spoken out before about the ‘frightening explosion in human numbers’ and the need for investment in sex education and other voluntary means of limiting population in developing countries.

‘We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and it’s not an inhuman thing to say. It’s the case. Until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a coordinated view about the planet it’s going to get worse and worse.'”

and from down under:

“Hillary Clinton tries to silence Bindi Irwin on population growth”

“The mother-of-two [bindi's mom, mrs. irwin] said population growth was an unpopular topic.

‘It’s astounding that in just over 100 years we’ve gone from 1.5 billion people on the planet to 7 billion so you think “what do we do in the next 100 years?” We’re going to be warring over water and space and food,’ she said.

“‘I just think it’s fascinating that when Bindi does an interview and talks about population, more than 50 per cent of the time it’s edited out.

“‘It’s something we do need to talk about or the ship’s going to sink man.’

“Mrs Irwin said she had visited communities in Australia which were in desperate need of family planning support.

“‘Certainly when Bindi, Robert and I were in South Africa four years ago filming a movie we saw a lot of that in Africa as well. It’s a global problem but we recognise it in Africa and we forget it’s something that’s in our own back yard,’ she said.

“‘Everyone talks about recycle and manage your resources but how do you do that when we’ve got so many people?

‘It’s not terribly popular but I’m not trying to insult anyone’s ability to decide how many kids they want … but I continue to meet children in foster care and people living on the poverty line who did not chose to have so many children and for who options weren’t made readily available.’

good for them!
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a story in the daily mail about blood feuds in albania:

“Three brothers aged 12, nine and seven have NEVER been outside their home because they are caught in a bitter family blood feud”

“The brothers are among an estimated 900 children who must hide indoors to avoid being slaughtered under the ancient Balkan code of practise known as Kanun – which gives a person the right to kill a rival or a rival’s relatives in retribution for an earlier killing.

Killings under the Kanun are known as Gjakmarrja or blood-taking, and are similar to the Italian tradition of vendetta.

“The practise is said to date back to medieval times although some historians say they can trace its origins to the Bronze age.

“It applies to both Christian and Muslim Albanians and regulates all aspects of life including crime, family, marriage, transfer of property, damages as well as personal and social conduct.

“It was virtually stamped out under Communism but has since returned as Albania struggles to emerge as a modern and prosperous democracy, with many claiming to hold no faith in the current legal system.

“Although the blood feud killings are known to date back to the Middle Ages, many of the ‘rules’ have not been adapted to modern times, often they can continue until every male member of the families are dead….”

see also: the maniots

(note: comments do not require an email. albanian man, nineteenth century.)

at the beginning of the year, i wrote a post about mating patterns in eastern europe in which i mentioned the zadruga as being a general slavic family form. szopeno took exception to that — and he was right!

i’ve done some more reading about eastern european — in particular balkan — family types, and, as far as i can tell, the only consensus amongst historians and social scientists wrt the extreme extended family form known as the zadruga is that there is noooo consensus about the zadruga. it is (or was) a family form amongst southern slavs — i.e. not all slavs — but also amongst other balkan peoples like the vlachs as well. the zadruga apparently wasn’t found everywhere in the balkans or at all times — but here’s something interesting from Entangled Paths Toward Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans (2009) [pg. 149]:

“Zadruga is the popular term used to describe the complex (exteded and multiple) family. The term itself is quite recent, its institutionalized usage dating from the nineteenth century. There is a long-standing historiographical discussion on almost all aspects of the zadruga, its status, origins and function. For a long time a ‘nativist’ historical approach, cogently supported by ethnographic and folklore studies, treated the zadruga as a perennial phenomenon (dating from the Middle Ages) and pertaining specifically to Slavic and Balkan civilization. Most recent scholarship has heavily contested not only the ‘from time immemorial thesis,’ but also the ‘all Balkan’ and the ‘specifically Slavic’ thesis. Zadruga zones in the nineteenth-century Balkans were unevenly distributed, showing a concentration in the mountainous stockbreeding area between the valleys of the Sava and Morava, the northwestern part of the Balkan range, that is, the mountainous territories between Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and the Rhodope, the tribal regions of Montenegro and Northern Albania, while valley belts were present in the military frontier of Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina, some valley of Serbia, Western and Central Albania, Southern Macedonia and Southern Albania. The presence of the zadruga thus can be evidenced only for some Balkan territories, and not all exclusively Slavic (ex. Albania or Southern Hungary). In Bulgaria it was concentrated in the most western part of the country, it was almost completely absent from Romania and Greece.”

ah ha! so we’re back to (possibly/probably inbreeding) uplanders being clannish or tribalistic.

here’s an extended excerpt from Household and Family in the Balkans: Two Decades of Historical Family Research at University of Graz (2012) [pgs. 50-51 -- links inserted by me]:

Both the Balkan joint family [i.e. the zadruga] and the patrilineage emerged first as results of pastoral economies and the patriarchal influence of Illyrian cultural legacy. (In part, the comparable culture of the Central Balkans is an autonomous development.) After the Roman conquest of the Illyrian lands these features were preserved by Albanian and Vlach nomads. They were later joined by Slavic groups who followed them into the uplands. What we have here is a phenomenon within limits of an adaptive strategy based on both ecological factors and predatroy expansion.

“The idea of a relationship between pastoralism and the existence of both the joint family household and the patrilineage is not new. [no, it is not. - h.chick] Todorova describes the highest concentration of joint family households in Western Bulgaria in regions with a large area of meadows and a developed pastoral economy (Todorova 1990: 18-19). Earlier, Mosely stated that, in general, the joint family had shown a greater viability in the mountainous regions of the Balkans than in the plains (Mosely 1976a: 31). Filipovic notes, the ‘appearance and persistence of the zadruga as an institution originated in connection with livestock herding’ (Filipovic 1976: 273). While Mitterauer states that the distribution of the joint family households is basically confined to mountainous, remote regions where a money economy and forms of wage work played a lesser role, he also suggests that a pastoral economy might have promoted the emergence of complex family structures (Mitterauer 1980: 67-69).

“The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans from the 14th to the 16th centuries was generally accompanied by massive migrations of the Balkan people in a variety of directions. Reconstruction of the migration movements is difficult, but the main direction was from south to north following the pattern of conquest. Pastoralists or semi-pastoralists, recently settled, rediscovered their former survival strategies. The mountain regions became repopulated (Cvijic 1922: 127-181). Generally, the Ottoman administration did not absorb the mountain dwellers…”

so, no state to put a damper on violent behaviors.

“…and so they independently developed appropriate social structures and concomitant survival strategies based on the patrilineage and patriarchal joint family.

“The joint family, like the lineage of which it was a part, was never static but underwent fissioning following the dynamics of the life course and family cycles. The tribal lineages constructed of these joint families were reinforced by their focus on shared sentiment and ritual. Thus the Balkan joint family became the basic unit for patrilineal tribal lineages that developed from the 14th centrury onward….”

the opposite process, really, of what happened in medieval nw europe.

“…This system was flexible enough to adapt to the bilaterally based kindred of Vlachs and Sarakatsans. [remember that the pre-christian germans -- including the anglo-saxons -- reckoned their kinship bilaterally as well. -- h.chick] At the same time, this plasticity enabled the individual household to create cyclical alternations of nuclear and joint family households depending on fertility, fission and fusion (Halpern & Anderson 1970: 83-97). In this way these units also functioned for settled agriculturalists….”

this reminds me of the settled farmers of pakistan and afghanistan who adopted the arab mating pattern of father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage — a practice which grew out of the arab (or levantine) pastoralist traditions, but which was exported — along with (i think) all the related tribalistic sentiments which (i also think) develop, in part, because of the inbreeding — by the arabs to south asia when they invaded the region. i’m also reminded of the upland “auvergnat pashtuns” of france.

“…What characterized patriarchal Balkan social structure, as the pioneering works of Cvijic illustrated, was the constant interrelationship between becoming settled farmers and/or pastoralists. Until the 19th century this was a reversible process. This ended with the spread of industrialization, urbanization, and the modern states. It is thus much more logical to assign the origin of the Balkan joint family to the goat- and sheep-keeping families of the mountains that to see it as a result of conditions in the plains. But the fact is that many joint families resided in the valleys and plains.

How then did patriarchal joint family and patrilineage emerge in the plains? For centuries pastoral families of the mountainous regions migrated into the plains where they settled. In the generally chaotic situation caused by the Ottoman conquest not only did Slavic families flee to the mountains, but others, especially those of the Vlachs, left their mountainous homelands and settled in Ottoman-occupied territories. The valleys of Serbia, Bosnia, and, especially along the borders between the Ottoman and the Habsburg empires, were favoured sites.

hmmmm. time to google for a good map….

previously: mating patterns in medieval eastern europe and balkan endogamy and more on albanians and the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

(note: comments do not require an email. a zadruga.)

about the semai, i forgot to mention that, apart from conflict, they also don’t like competition in activities like sports — from wikipedia (see also Cooperation and competition in peaceful societies):

“The games Semai children play are non-competitive…. A game of badminton for example uses no partition nets and keeps no score. The shuttlecock is deliberately hit so that it could be easily intercepted by the other player and passed back, and so forth.”
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more on the clannish albanians:

“An Insider’s View of EU Efforts in Kosovo”
“‘We Have Achieved Almost Nothing’

“Since 2008, the EU has had thousands of soldiers, judges and prosecutors in Kosovo to help it become a Western-style constitutional democracy. But a German police officer with years of experience there says it is still dominated by corruption, clan loyalties and drugs — with officials just waiting for the high-minded reformers to leave….

“[A] recent report by the European Court of Auditors finds that there have been hardly any successes. It concludes that levels of organized crime and corruption remain high, while the judiciary is inefficient and suffers from too much political influence. A German police officer familiar with conditions in Kosovo for many years confirms the report’s findings based on his own experiences in the country….

“It’s my impression that corruption is quite high among Kosovar police officers. I was told that, if you’re caught with a stolen car, all you have to do is pay the officer a bribe to take care of the problem.

The major criminals are already out of reach, protected by traditional clan structures and the old-boys’ networks within the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), from which many police officers were recruited….

Kosovo is a country in which centuries-old traditions live on, and blood feuds are part of the culture. We Central Europeans have not been able to convince the Kosovars of the benefits of adopting a new legal and value system like the one we have in the West. That’s because they see that the old structures remain powerful while government institutions are weak. I fear that the Kosovars will ride us out, just as the Taliban are waiting for Western troops to withdraw from Afghanistan….”
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the danes consider decriminalizing incest. danish geneticist points out that inbreeding can be a good or a bad thing:

“Aarhus siblings’ love child sets off incest debate”

“The recent case of a brother and sister in the city of Aarhus who said that they are in love and have a five-month-old child together has raised a national debate about sibling sex. The couple, who share the same father but have different mothers, face jail time for violating Denmark’s current statute prohibiting incest and inbreeding….

“The possibility of passing on genetic defects and damaging the social order have been the main reasons cited for making it illegal for siblings to have sex and produce offspring. But Niels Tommerup, a professor of genetics at the University of Copenhagen, said that mutations resulting from inbreeding can be both positive and negative.

“‘Our focus is always on the negative consequences like diseases and malformations,’ he told Information newspaper. ‘But positive mutations help develop the species.’

Tommerup said that mutations like those that occur due to inbreeding can be ‘biologically positive’.

“‘It is hard to imagine that there would be the formation of new species without some form of inbreeding,’ he said.

“Tommerup would not go as far as changing the law prohibiting sex between brother and sister, however. He recommended that family sex get no closer than cousins.

“He said that the famous Danish blue eyes are a mutation that could only have occurred via inbreeding sometime in history.

‘If inbreeding is banned, the possibility of promoting new, positive variants could be lost,’ he said.

“Vagn Greve, a law professor at Copenhagen Business School, would like to see even more taboos removed. Greve said there is ‘no logical reason’ that sex between parents and their children should be against the law.

“‘In my view, we should decriminalise sex between father and daughter as long as they are both adult and the relationship is voluntary,’ Greve told metroXpress newspaper. ‘There is no reason to treat the biological family different from the social family, but the age limit should be 18 or 20-years-old.’

Greve said that sex among immediate family members has been legal in countries like Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and France for 200 years, and that there is no evidence that it has damaged either families or society….

hmmmm….
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(note: comments do not require an email. yay, denmark!)

some eskimo groups engaged in blood feuds. ruh-roh. from Eskimos and Explorers about the mackenzie eskimos (mackenzie inuit) [pg. 195]:

“Murders committed in anger were relatively common, and blood revenge led to further retalitory murders and family feuds. In one instance a woman’s rejected suitor killed her as she slept. In another a man who refused to sell his belt was stabbed in the back and killed by a person who hoped to buy the belt.

“A feud that erupted about 1860, soon after intensive historic contact, was recorded by Nuligak, a Mackenzie Eskimo. One man hoped to marry the daughter of another, but the father of the girl refused to permit the match. The rejected suitor took a valuable steel-bladed knife from one of the father’s younger sons, and the father was furious. At the first opportunity he killed not only the thief but one of his companions. As the feud spread, a cousin of the original murderer allied himself with the thief’s relatives, and more people were killed. Finally the father of the girl and the betraying cousin killed each other, but the feud continued on. As Nuligak wrote, ‘In the olden days the Inuit slew those who killed their kinsmen. One vengeance followed another like links in a chain.’

“Terrible feuds have been reported among most Eskimos, and they often spanned a number of generations….”

dunno about the mackenzie inuit, but the yupik eskimos (are mackenzie eskimos yupik eskimos? i didn’t figure that out…) have one of the highest incidence rates of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) — and carriers of CAH alleles can show “symptoms of androgen excess” — like being more aggressive, perhaps? dunno. melykin pointed out that there are high rates of violent crime in areas of canada populated by eskimos.
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from ed west in the telegraph u.k.:

“The EU was dreamed up in French and German. That’s why the British have never fitted in”

“The European project developed in the region between Paris, Brussels and the Rhineland, the heartland of the old Frankish Empire….”

isn’t THAT curious?! the modern european feudal project (for what else is the e.u. apart from feudal with a bunch of local [i.e. national] politicians playing vassals to the eurocrats?) had its origins pretty much right where medieval feudalism got going — austrasia. what is it about those people in that region?
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more on extended family human traffickers (can’t we just call them slavers?) from the balkans:

“Police bust Balkan child trafficking ring in Nancy”

“French police have arrested seven people for running an international child trafficking ring in Nancy, north east France.

“The ring is thought to have bought children from Macedonia or Kosovo for €1000 to €1500 and then sold them on to Belgium and Germany for €10,000.

Seven members of a family originally from the Balkans were arrested on Tuesday after a month of police investigation.

“According to local paper Est Républicain, several other members of the family had also been arrested in Germany in relation to the ring.

“Police took in two girls, both about 12-years-old, for questioning. They say they do not believe the girls were subjected to sexual abuse or used as slaves, but traded in line with ‘local customs’ in the traffickers’ home countries.”

in line with WHAT “local customs”?!
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corruption in china — it’s a family affair. from the nyt:

“Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader”

“[N]ow 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

“The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.

“Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion….

“Unlike most new businesses in China, the family’s ventures sometimes received financial backing from state-owned companies, including China Mobile, one of the country’s biggest phone operators, the documents show. At other times, the ventures won support from some of Asia’s richest tycoons. The Times found that Mr. Wen’s relatives accumulated shares in banks, jewelers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, sometimes by using offshore entities.

“The holdings include a villa development project in Beijing; a tire factory in northern China; a company that helped build some of Beijing’s Olympic stadiums, including the well-known ‘Bird’s Nest'; and Ping An Insurance, one of the world’s biggest financial services companies.

“As prime minister in an economy that remains heavily state-driven, Mr. Wen, who is best known for his simple ways and common touch, more importantly has broad authority over the major industries where his relatives have made their fortunes. Chinese companies cannot list their shares on a stock exchange without approval from agencies overseen by Mr. Wen, for example. He also has the power to influence investments in strategic sectors like energy and telecommunications.

“Because the Chinese government rarely makes its deliberations public, it is not known what role — if any — Mr. Wen, who is 70, has played in most policy or regulatory decisions. But in some cases, his relatives have sought to profit from opportunities made possible by those decisions.

“The prime minister’s younger brother, for example, has a company that was awarded more than $30 million in government contracts and subsidies to handle wastewater treatment and medical waste disposal for some of China’s biggest cities, according to estimates based on government records. The contracts were announced after Mr. Wen ordered tougher regulations on medical waste disposal in 2003 after the SARS outbreak.

“In 2004, after the State Council, a government body Mr. Wen presides over, exempted Ping An Insurance and other companies from rules that limited their scope, Ping An went on to raise $1.8 billion in an initial public offering of stock. Partnerships controlled by Mr. Wen’s relatives — along with their friends and colleagues — made a fortune by investing in the company before the public offering….”

tptb in china NOT amused by nyt story.

(note: comments do not require an email. penguin alert!)

couple of notes that i want to jot down (so i don’t forget them!) that i thought some of you might like to read, too. also, a bleg or two. i’ll start with the blegging to get it out of the way…
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how quickly can a population become clannish via close mating (ithiw)?

consider the dutch woonwagenbewoners or “caravan dwellers.” these are a group of about 30,000 people in the netherlands who live (or lived up until recently) a gypsy-like existence, but who are not related to gypsies. if i’m reading the google translation of the dutch wikipedia article correctly, the woonwagenbewoners adopted their nomadic lifestyle around 1850 — six-ish generations ago(?) if we count a generation as twenty-five years in length.

nowadays there are reports of woonwagenbewoners engaging in family feuds — one woonwagenbewoner family versus another woonwagenbewoner family (original heregoogle translation):

“On the Joost de Momperstraat, a stone’s throw from the Doolplein, sometimes with nostalgia thought back to the good old days. It was very cozy in ‘camp’, almost a big family. That is quite different. Since the murder of an inmate two years ago, there is a feud between two families caravan, which has already resulted in wild shootings, assaults and threats. A family has moved to another place – after the father – but the sultry atmosphere remained.”

this doesn’t sound like a full-fledged “bloedwraak” (vendetta), but it does sound like the woonwagenbewoners (love that word!) aren’t opposed to a little feuding — which typically goes along with clannishness.

presumably the woonwagenbewoners have tended to marry amongst themselves down through the years (although i don’t know that for certain). my question is: did they start off from very outbred dutch populations, or more inbred ones? in other words, were they already clannish when they hit the road, or is that something that’s developed in the last 150 or so years?

we know, for instance, that some of the dutch population — in friesland and in coastal areas — wasn’t manorialized like the rest of the netherlands during the medieval period and so stuck to the old ways for longer, probably including close marriages, but definitely including clannishness and blood feuding.

so my bleg is: anybody know where the woonwagenbewoners came from? a particular region or regions of the netherlands perhaps? inquiring hbd chicks want to know! any info on this group would be appreciated. (^_^)

ithiw = if that’s how it works.
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i had a post up before showing that father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage — the kind favored by arabs and other muslims in that area of the world — amounts to more inbreeding than other forms of cousin marriage because it, in effect, leads to more double-first cousin marriage. well, here’s another reason the whole system leads to greater inbreeding — from The Structure of Parallel Cousin Marriage i learn that, in a society where fbd marriage is very common, your maternal first cousins wind up also being your paternal second cousins. (i tried to figure this out before, but it made my head spin.) this is because the family lineages in fbd marriage societies fold back in on themselves [pg. 22]:

“Since Bedouin society is based largely upon ties of kinship, each minimal-sized agnatic unit becomes virtually self contained and encysted. This can be shown in diagram B, which illustrates the convergence of father’s and mother’s lines in an ideal system of patrilateral parallel cousin marriage. Even the sporadic occurence of cross-cousin marriage fails to break the social isolation of the group. Diagram C shows a cross-cousin marriage within a system structured primarily by parallel cousin marriage; it can be seen that the cross cousins indicated are also second degree patrilateral parallel cousins, and we would venture to hypothesize that the Bedouin would interpret the relation in the latter way.”

“encysted.” good word. maybe one of these days i’ll diagram this.
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from Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, we learn that human trafficking operations out of the balkans (oh god — not the balkans again!) are typically extended family/clan operations … and their victims frequently members of rival clans [pgs. 121-22]:

Balkan traffickers operate within family groups. Therefore, although the organizations are controlled by men, there are cases in which operations in a particular country or region are controlled by female family members or by outsiders. For example, French police, through wiretaps, discovered that a sister of one of the French-based Balkan traffickers was operating a cell in Belgium. As the previous chapter pointed out, Balkan criminals maintain control across several neighboring countries. Belgian and Dutch women, as mentioned in Chapter 3, have been hired by Balkan clans to help run day-to-day operations because they arouse less police suspicion.”

and from earlier in this section:

“Female victims were often those whose families had died or women seized as part of blood revenge by one family against another.”

which brings me back to some of the points i made in this post.

aren’t people wonderful?
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(note: comments do not require an email. something cheery!)

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