Det lilla ordet ”övergrepp”, och om politik i historieskrivning

Det finns en intressant artikel i gårdagens SvD, Integrationen präglade al-Andalus. Artikeln är skriven av Karl Steinick och handlar om den spanska medeltiden under muslimskt styre. I artikelns inledning beskriver Steinick två motstridiga historieskrivningar. Enligt den ena betraktas den muslimska erövringen av Spanien bara som en del av islams expansionism, som hejdades vid slaget vid Poitiers 732. Den andra historieskrivningen talar om muslimernas välde som ett multikulturellt samhälle där människor av olika trosriktningar levde sida vid sida i jämlikhet och harmoni.

Professor Bernard Lewis vid Princetonuniversitetet, en av de främsta kännarna av islams historia, skriver i sin bok Jews of Islam (s 17):

Two stereotypes dominate most of what has been written on tolerance and intolerance in the Islamic world. The first depicts a fanatical warrior, an Arab horseman riding out of the desert with a sword in one hand and the Qur’an in the other, offering his victims the choice between the two.
[…]
The other image, almost equally preposterous, is that of an interfaith, interracial utopia, in which men and women belonging to different races, professing different creeds, lived side by side in a golden age of unbroken harmony, enjoying equality of rights and of opportunities, and toiling together for the advancement of civilization.
[…]
Both images are of course wildly distorted; yet both contain, as stereotypes often do, some elements of truth. Two features they have in common are that they are relatively recent, and that they are of Western and not Islamic origin.

Det är bra att Steinick inte hänfaller åt någon av dessa stereotyper. Morernas välde är ofta, kanske mer än någon annan period i islams historia, föremål för dessa mytbildningar. Mytbildningarna har en politisk dimension också, vilket en annan historieprofessor vid Princetonuniversitetet, Mark Cohen, skriver om i sin artikel Islam and the Jews: Myth, Counter-Myth, History, publicerad bl a i antologin Jews among Muslims: Communities in the Precolonial Middle East:

How did Jews fare under Islamic rule in the Middle Ages?
[…]
Two radically divergent answers to this question have been offered. One is the well-known thesis – or rather, myth – of the Jewish Islamic interfaith utopia, a ‘golden age’ of toleration, of political achievement, and of remarkably integrated cultural efflorescence. This myth was created by nineteenth-century European Jewish intellectuals frustrated by the tortuously slow progress of their own integration into gentile society in the age of emancipation; it went hand-in-hand with the so called ‘lachrymose conception’ of European Jewish history, according to which Jewish life in medieval Christian Europe was one long chain of suffering.

Originally promulgated by Jewish writers, the myth of Judeo-Islamic harmony (contrasted with Judeo-Christian conflict) has in our own time been appropriated by Arabs and Western sympathizers with the Arab struggle against Israel, who attempt, through the use of history, to explain and in fact justify modern Arab anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. They argue, explicitly or implicitly, that the current disharmony between Jews and Arabs is not to be attributed to any long-standing Arab or Islamic anti-Semitism. Rather, as Jewish historians themselves have claimed, Jews and Arabs lived in peace and friendship for centuries; therefore, the source of modern Arab antipathy towards Israel is the Jews themselves who destroyed the old harmony when they began to threaten Muslim-Arab rights to the land of Palestine.
[…]
Dismayed by contemporary Arab exploitation of the myth of the interfaith utopia in the service of the cause against Israel, some Jewish writers have, lamentably, invented a ‘counter-myth’ to take its place. Echoing and often citing Maimonides’ dark view of Islamic treatment of the Jews, these writers indict Islam as congenitally and relentlessly persecutory. And, by transposing the theory of Jewish suffering from Christendom to Islam, they have created what we may call the ‘neo-lachrymose’ conception of the Jewish past.
[…]
While the myth of the interfaith utopia was certainly in need of correction, the counter-myth, with its implicit transvaluation of the older conception of the relative status of the Jews of the West and the East, does not represent a fairer reading of the past.

Det är lätt att hitta exempel på den politiska användningen av båda dessa myter:

  • Anita Berqvist, stabsassistent på Internationella staben på Socialdemokraternas partiexpedition, skrev i Västerbottens Folkblad den 12 autugsti 2008 att

    Palestinier och judar hade levt tillsammans i fred innan tanken på att bilda staten Israel uppkom.

    I en replik svarade jag att

    Alla de judar som plundrades, våldtogs (både kvinnor och män), mördades och torterades under den 33 dagar långa pogromen i Safed 1834 skulle nog inte kalla det fredlig samexistens.

  • Bloggaren ”Baba U” skriver

    Religioner som tidigare levt i fred sida vid sida har blivit dödsfiender. Judar har inte trakasserats i Mellanöstern. Det skedde i Europa, i kristenheten. Varför ska araberna få lida för Europas skändligheter?

  • På socialdemokratiska Palmecentrets hemsida kan man läsa

    Det ironiska i situationen är att det i Hebron, liksom i många andra av Palestinas städer, finns en gammal tradition av tolerans mellan judiska och arabiska invånare, etablerad under flera hundra år av samlevnad. Detta har i grunden förändrats av de nya bosättarna, många av dem fd sovjetiska eller ryska medborgare som anlänt till Mellanöstern först de senaste åren.

    – Vi levde i fred här i hundratals år. Problemet är inte striden om landområden, problemet är snarare fanatismen, den fanatism som finns hos många av bosättarna som ser en framtid utan araber, sa Khaled Qawasmi.

  • Den motsatta myten har ivrigt förespråkats av historikern Bat Ye’or, själv judisk flykting från Egypten.

Ibland känns ord lite futtiga. Steinicks artikel är genomgående fri från de ovan nämnda myterna, men en mening är på tok för luddigt formulerad;

Judarna utsattes ibland för övergrepp från muslimer, ibland från kristna.

Övergrepp? Det kan betyda i stort sett vad som helst. I det här fallet döljer sig en av medeltidens största massakrer på judar bakom ordet – massakern i Granada 1066, då en muslimsk mobb på en enda dag mördade ca 4.000 judar.

Några muslimska massakrer på judar före 1948. Klicka för att se en större bild.

Några muslimska massakrer på judar före 1948. Klicka för att se en större bild.

Det debatteras ibland hur ”toleranta” religioner är. Den diskussionen är, åtminstone i historiskt perspektiv, meningslös. Bernard Lewis skriver vidare i Jews of Islam (s 17-18):

For Christians and Muslims alike, tolerance is a new virtue, intolerance a new crime. For the greater part of the history of both communities, tolerance was not valued nor was intolerance condemned. Until comparatively modern times, Christian Europe neither prized nor practiced tolerance itself, and was not greatly offended by its absence in others. The charge that was always brought against Islam was not that its doctrines were imposed by force – something seen as normal and natural – but that its doctrines were false. Similarly on the Muslim side, the claim to tolerance, now much heard from Muslim apologists and more especially from apologists for Islam, is also new and of alien origin. It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam have begun to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those that willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.

Och på s 106:

The simplified and idealized nineteenth-century accounts of the history of the Jews in Spain present a black and white picture of Christian intolerance and Muslim intolerance, with the Jews fleeing from the one to the other. It was not always so. During the centuries when both Muslim and Christian states existed in the Iberian peninsula, there were times and places, as in Maimonides’ own birthplace, when it was the Muslims who persecuted and the Christians who offered refuge.

SvD 2 3 4
Sydsvenskan

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om , , , , , , , , , , ,

Explore posts in the same categories: Artiklar, Organisationer, Politiken

Etiketter: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.


%d bloggare gillar detta: