On this world day of peace........

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Posted by murrisk on January 01, 2001 at 23:17:13:

The " Today in History" list includes a reference to the Paris premier of" Bajazet", in 1672, by Jean Racine. At first glance this would seem to have very little
to do with Castlebar other than a possible relationship with Don Racine and a contribtor named Jean! On April 30, 1396, French crusaders left Dijon to join
forces with the King of Hungary at Budapest.Their objective was to expel the Turks from the Balkans, come to the aid of Constantinople, cross the
Hellespont, and liberate Palastine and the Holy Sepulcher. The papal schism did not inconvienence the venture. Hungary and Germany owed allegience to
Boniface the Roman Pope. The French owed allegience to Pope Benidict of Avignon. The two armies joined forces in Budapest in July. The Turkish Sultan
was Bajazet. in 1389, his predecessor, Murad I, had defeated a league of Serbs, Rumanians andd Moldavians at the Battle of Kossovo, where the Serbian
Czar and the elite of his nobles were killed and his son forced to accept vassalship to the Sultan - hence the term " the grave of Serbian independence".
Murad was killed in the battle and Bajazet was chosen Sultan on the battlefield. His first act as Sultan was to have his brother strangled with a bowstring.
The crusaders captured the fortress of Rachowa on the Danube, took many prisoners, and laid siege to the fortress of Nicololis, also on the Danube. On
September 25th, the crusaders met the Turks in battle. Before the battle the French slaughtered the prisoners of Rachowa. Ironically, it was a late
intervention by 1,500 Serbian horsemen which gave victory to the Turks. When Bajazet discovered the bodies of the slaughtered prisoners, he took a
bloody reprisal against the French prisoners. A reported 3,000 were beheaded or had their throats sli in the course of several hours. Had the crusaders
been successful, the Turks would have been expelled from Europe, Constantinople might not have fallen, and the Balkans would have evolved politically
as part of Christian Europe. World War I, World War II and the last decade's wars and slaughters in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kossovo might have
been avoided.

In 1908, Austria annexed Bosnia-Hercogovina from the Ottoman Empire. This twarted dreams of a greater Serbia, then independent, which included
Bosnia-Hercegovina. On June 28, 1914, the 525th anniversary of the Battle of Kossovo, the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie
were assinated in Sarajevo by Serb nationalists. Austria-Hungary mobilized for war with Serbia. Russia mobilized in defence of Serbia. Germany
mobilized in support of Austria-Hungary. France and Britain mobilized in support of Russia. Voila, World War I and dead Irishmen including Castlebar men.

If World War I could have been avoided there might not have been a Nazi party and there probably would not have been a World War II - more dead
Irishmen and Castlebar men. If World War I could have been avoided, Home Rule would have come into operation in 1914. The Easter Rising, the War of
Independence and the Civil War, more dead Irishmen and Castlebar men, might have been avoided. Truly, the saddest words of lip or pen, are those that
say "it might have been".

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