Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Genghis Khan

I watched a documentary on the famous tyrant Genghis Khan, or so I thought until you find out a bit more about his life and why he did what he did. This demonstrates yet again that there is two sides to every stories.

Genghis Khan means Supreme Master and is a title he earned from his people who he united. His name was Temujin, his father was a tribe leader but when his father died, the tribe dispersed and Temujin and his brothers and sister were abandoned and left to their own fate. Temujin had to hunt to feed his family and one day he caught his brother eating his own catch not sharing it, Temujin shot an arrow to his brother’s heart, who died of his wound. Temujin later fell in love and got married, when his bride was kidnapped by a rival tribe, he forged an alliance with his sworn brother (referred to as Blood brother) Jamuqa to attack the enemy clan and rescue his wife – which in my opinion is a very romantic. The two of them grew very powerful and Jamuqa grew jealous when a shaman predicted that Temujin would conquer thousands of acres of land. That’s when Temujin said the second thing that earns respect: “Jamuqa thought he ought to be the leader because he was born into an aristocrat family and inherited his father’s status, whilst Temujin earned his place through survival, struggle and learning”. Jamuqa left the alliance and later ambushed and massacred the tribe of Temujin. This is when Temujin became the strategist he was, he said “One arrow on its own can be broken”… “a stack of arrows together are unbreakable” and trained his tribe to become warriors, he trained them to shoot accurately their targets while riding their horses.

My next question to Alex was “Then why was he a tyrant to China”, the answer came promptly. China saw a threat in Genghis Khan, and so he decided to invade China before they came to attack him (that battle I know of from Disney’s Mulan), now I don’t really agree with the plan of let’s attack them before they get the idea to attack us, but hey, this is year 1206. The way he besieged Beijing was especially cruel, forcing the resident inside the city walls until they starved to death. And I disapprove most strongly of the fact that he burnt down to the ground that beautiful city (but then again, the English did the same of the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1860, when you’d think they’d know better and show a little bit more appreciation). When he became Genghis Khan he said one more thing that I found very honourable, he said he wanted to unite the tribes of Mongolia and bring order (which I interpret as peace) to the world. When Persia slay his ambassador he responded to this rudeness by slaughtering pretty much everyone, then he went on conquering as far as Poland till he died. So although I disapprove of the massacres, he made some very justified (and effective) battles. I won’t be seeing him as a blood thirsty tyrant anymore, but as a man who had a vision and good principles. To read his story in more details, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan


Hammer said...

Like every conquerer there are two sides. Personally I don't think genghis was all that great becaue of his massacres of children (don't leave a future enemy) and his use of gang rape as a way to get his enemies to capitualate.

Cruel times and cruel leaders.

sushi-junkie said...

i always like knowing more about leaders or conquerers.. there's always something to learn, even tho it's genghis khan, hitler or lenin..

thx for the post :) learned a lot :D

La Cremiere said...

Yeah you are right Hammer. They did not mention that on the documentary. But I remember Alex told me that he killed everyone so that they would not grow up to take revenge. It's horrible indeed. I guess the documentary was not as objective as it should have been. I don't recall anything about gang rape and also in the documentary he sounded like he loved only one wife, while on Wikipedia he had hundreds of concubines. Makes me realise that he did not rescue his wife out of love but out of pride, not that romantic anymore.