Tolkien’s Five Armies Are Real!

Culture, History, Politics

By Farah K. Yachouhi

June 15, 2016

We often say: “I feel like I am in a movie!”, when something out of our ordinary routine happens, not realising that movies or novels are in their turn inspired from reality! Although J.R.R.Tolkien denies this, The Hobbit, seems to have been inspired by The Great War. His writings are not merely tales of elves, orcs and dwarves. They are highly imaginative, magically written political fantasies! Where is Tolkien’s Middle Earth in the real world?

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Map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Erebor or Lonely Mountain is where Bosnia is located on the map below.

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Map of conflict zone tilted clockwise to reflect Tolkein’s Middle Earth.

His participation in The Battle of The Somme as a British soldier excentuated his senses of seeing and separating good from evil and light from darkness. In Middle Earth, many stories intertwine and overlap, but there is a bizarre connection to the real world that keeps bringing back the reader to certain events that are believed to have been the pintacle of a series of events that caused W.W.I.

What happened in Middle Earth? Thorin, the last king of Erebor, gathers a company of 12 dwarves, a hobbit and a wizard by the name of Gandalf to claim back Lonely Mountain that was taken by Smaug, a powerful and fearsome dragon. When they finally reach the mountain, Bilbo, the hobbit, sneaks into the dragon’s lair and steals a golden chalice. Smaug, enraged with fury, automatically assumes that the thief is from the nearby town and attacks it. Bilbo is not from that town. He is a hobbit from the shire. How does this reflect the real world events?

In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia that was once part of the declining Ottoman Empire when Serbia had wanted to do that as well. Bosnia had a large Slavic population that would have supported the pan-Slavic ambitions of unifying the Slavic people. With that said, the dream of all Slavic people living together was shattered when Austria-Hungary Annexed Bosnia. The dwarves’ dream of coming together to live in the Lonely Mountain in prosperity was shattered when Smaug claimed it as his own. What happened next? What does that have to do with W.W.I?

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the presumptive heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophie were assassinated. Only a month later, Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. This was not the event that caused The Great War; However, it was the cherry on top of a hot mess! Bilbo stole the gold chalice. His act was not the cause of the growing tension in Middle Earth, but Smaug’s harsh reaction to it definitely sparked the battle of the “Five Armies”.

The “Five Armies” were the dwarves, elves, men and the great eagles who posed as the “Allies” and the goblins, wargs and orcs as the “Central Powers”. They all got involved in the battle for their own gains! They all wanted the dwarves to share the treasures that were burried in Lonely Mountain. They couldn’t care less about who has the rightful claim to Bosnia. Serbia is not to be blamed for the First World War. This war was bound to happen and all it needed was a fertile ground infested with continuous conflict and a story to hide behind!

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Look Who’s Back : A Political Reality

Culture, General, Politics

By Farah K. Yachoui

April 28, 2016

Random scrolling through Netflix accidentally ended in watching the German comedy “Look Who’s Back”. Although based on Timur Vermes’s political fiction where Hitler in flesh and bone returns to our modern world, this movie strikes me more as a portrait of a political reality. (Watch the trailer)

What fascinated me about this comedy is how it proposes the idea that a conciderably strong federal republic with a democratic form of government, as opposed to commonly targeted non-democratic unitary states, is presented as a fertile medium for the rise of a charismatic figure with nationalistic pride and possibly a metamorphosed form of totalitarianism. J.L. Talmon called it totalitarian democracy, an oblivious and self-inflicted subjugation where the citizens of such a state support their government even when recognizing its uselessness. Vermes suggests that the people are tired of sedating politics. They are ready for leading politics. It is a popular belief that totalitarian regimes cannot be born from democracies. How true is that?

When interviewed, the author Vermes said, “most people wouldn’t think it possible that if they would have lived back then they would have thought he was in some way attractive too”. How did Hitler become popular again in a world that condemned him a criminal of war?

He studied the situation at hand. He gathered knowledge, toured the country, observed and interviewed the people. He listened to their stories! Among the things he noted were child poverty, old age poverty, high unemployment rates, lack of social harmony, opportunistic politicians, some form of public conformity and a dormant nation that is seemingly sedated by the non-sense that is continuously broadcasted on television and mass media. How many of us can agree that this is a reality we are more or less all living in? Is modern politics paving the way for a new Hitler?

In “Look Who’s Back”, Hitler shifts focus from investing in the military body to invading the minds of the people, mainly our youth. They are the future of the nation. Any nation! He becomes an overnight TV sensation! They mistake him for a comedian, but it didn’t matter. He only needed the raw minds of the people who have been in the dark for so long, who have been washed into forgetfulness and who are willing to listen. Who is the modern world Hitler? Is Hitler an individual, a societal force, a non-profit organization or a political institution? Or is he all of the above?

let us know what you think? What are your thoughts on the modern world politics in relation to totalitarian democracy? Is the Forth Estate an independent body that is spiraling out of control?  Click on leave a comment below.