Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

To all my readers I wish you a Happy New Year. Like 2005 and 2006 my main goal in 2007 is to get a job. If I do not get one of the four university positions I applied to recently then I am going to seriously start thinking about a non-academic career. I am not sure what I could do, but I have been looking without success for a lectureship for over two years now.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I thought this blog was dying, but maybe I was wrong

I had thought that this blog was slowly dying. Its ranking on technorati has been rapidly falling and most of my incoming links have disappeared in the last few months. For a long time I have had a constant readership of about a half a dozen people. Half of those people are family members. But, in the last couple days I have found evidence that as many as ten people may have read my blog this week. That would mean that my readership has almost doubled in the last few days. I am still a long ways from the thousands of readers claimed by trendy blogs, but any new readers are greatly welcome here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

63 Years Since "Operation Ulusy"

Sixty-three years ago the Stalin regime deported the vast majority of the Kalmyk population from their historic homeland to Siberia. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet issued Ukaz no. 115/144 on 27 December 1943. This decree bore the ominous title, “On the Liquidation of the Kalmyk ASSR and the Formation of the Astrakhan Oblast as a Part of the RSFSR.” This decree ordered that “1. All Kalmyks living in the territory of the Kalmyk ASSR are to be resettled to other regions of the USSR and the Kalmyk ASSR liquidated.” The next day the Council of Peoples Commissariats issued Resolution no. 1432-425ss calling for “all Kalmyks, living in the Kalmyk ASSR to be banished to Altai and Krasnoyarsk krais and Omsk and Novosibirsk oblasts.” On the same day the NKVD began the systematic round up and deportation of the titular population of the Kalmyk ASSR to Siberia. During 28-29 December 1943, the NKVD and NKGB forcibly removed over 90,000 Kalmyks from their homeland leaving virtually none remaining in the territory of the former ASSR named after them. Code-named “Operation Ulusy” this ruthless ethnic purge followed in the tradition of the earlier deportations of the Volga Germans in September 1941 and the Karachais on 2 November 1943. The Kalmyks found themselves swept far from their homeland on the Caspian Sea and deposited in the freezing climate of Siberia.

The Soviet security forces loaded the Kalmyks into train wagons giving them only a couple of hours to gather a few possessions to take with them into exile. They lacked warm clothes, shoes, adequate supplies of food and medicine. The trek eastward by rail in the dead of winter killed thousands of the deportees. They perished from exposure, acute typhus, tuberculosis, dysentery and other diseases related to poor sanitation. Upon arrival in Siberia this extreme deprivation and excessive mortality continued to afflict the Kalmyks.

The Stalin regime placed the Kalmyks under special settlement restrictions and employed them in agriculture, timber harvesting, construction projects, fishing and industry. Initially the majority of Kalmyks assigned to collective farms received no food. The NKVD housed many of the Kalmyks in barns and huts incapable of providing sufficient shelter. They lacked linen, clothes and shoes. In Novosibirsk Oblast only half of nearly 15,000 Kalmyk special settlers had proper clothes and shoes as late as 1945. These conditions all contributed to the high mortality of the deportees. The filth, cold and hunger they suffered from left them both more vulnerable to catching and perishing from communicable diseases. The Kalmyks proved especially susceptible to tuberculosis. In less than two years exposure, malnutrition and most of all epidemics had reduced the civilian Kalmyk population by nearly twenty percent. Live births only overtook deaths among the Kalmyks in 1949, more than five years after being banished from their homeland. For half a decade the material deprivation imposed upon the Kalmyks by the Stalin regime steadily reduced their population.

The Soviet government only allowed the Kalmyks to return from Siberia in 1957. For over 13 years they suffered in exile under the supervision of special commandants of the NKVD. No Soviet officials ever stood trial for this crime. Instead the USSR has retained a large number of apologists in the US and other countries.


Alieva, S.U., ed., Tak eto bylo: Natsional’nye repressi v SSSR, 1919-1953 gody (Moscow: Insan, 1993).

Bakaev, P.D., ed. Ssylka kalmykov: Kak eto bylo: Sbornik dokumentov I matrialov (Elista: Kalmytskoe knizhnoe izd-vo, 1993).

Bougai, Nikolai, The Deportation of Peoples in the Soviet Union, (Commack, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 1996).

Bugai, N.F., ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, Fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Bugai, N.F., L. Beria – I. Stalinu: “Soglasno vasheumu ukazaniiu…” (Moscow: “AIRO XX”, 1995).

Bugai, N.F. and Gonov, A.M. “Po resheniiu pravitel’stva soiuza SSSR” – [deportatsiia narodov: dokumentov I materially], (Nal’chik: El’fa, 2003).

Conquest, Robert, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (New York: Macmillan, 1970).

Critchlow, James, “Punished Peoples” of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin’s Deportations, (Washington DC: Human Rights Watch, September 1991).

Maksimov, K.N., Vyslany – ostavleny navechno (Elista: Kalmytskoe knizhnoe izd-vo, 1993).

Milova, O.L., ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-e 1950-e gody), (Moscow: RAN, 1992).

Nekrich, Aleksandr, trans. Saunders, George, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation And Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War, (New York, W.W. Norton, 1979).

Pan’kin, A and V. Papuev, eds., Dorogoi Pamiati, (Elista: Dzhangar, 1994).

Ubushaev, V.B., Kalmyki: Vyselenie: Vozvrashchenie 1943-1957 gg., (Elista: Izd-vo “Sanan”, 1991).

Viktor Krieger's New Book On Russian-Germans

Viktor Krieger's book, Rein, Volga, Irtysh: Iz Istorii nemtsev Tsentral'noi Azii [From the History of the Germans in Central Asia] (Almaty, Kazakhstan: Daik-Press, 2006) is now out. It is a history of the Russian-Germans in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. You can go here to see the book's cover, table of contents and some links to sample chapters. I am very much looking forward to reading it in its entirety. For more information on Dr. Krieger's recent scholarship on the Russian-Germans you can go to his website. He has done a lot of very important research on little known aspects of the history of the Russian-Germans under both Tsarist and Soviet rule.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Remziya Molbayli Died Yesterday

The founder and president of DOST Crimean Women's Humanitarian League of America, Remziya Molbayli, died yesterday. Her work to aid needy Crimean Tatar children, however, still goes on. Lots has been written about the recent deaths of Ford and James Brown, but in a real sense I think the recent work of people like Remziya Molbayli is more important.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Failure of Nationalism and the Rise of Political Islam in the Islamic World

In recent decades nationalism has largely been in decline in the Islamic world while political Islam has been on the rise. The success of nationalist movements in the Islamic world has been rather lackluster since the late 1970s. In contrast various strains of political Islam have seen several spectacular victories since that time. Both Shiite and Sunni Islamic parties have generally shown much more dynamism than nationalist ones in the Islamic world during the last two decades. The rise of political Islam has been largely to fill the vacuum left by the failure of nationalist orientated politics in many Muslim majority countries.

A key plank of both adherents to various nationalist visions and those advocating a political program based upon Islam in the Middle East, Africa and Asia is independence from foreigners. Although the opposition to foreign occupation is defined differently in both cases, the desire for self-rule is clearly articulated in both. Fifty years ago the nationalists clearly had the advantage in organizing effective resistance to foreign rule. Now it is clear that political Islam has the upper hand.

The most spectacular victory of the nationalists in the Islamic world in the years after World War II took place in Algeria. Here the nationalist FLN defeated the French at great cost and established an independent state. The FLN fought the Algerian Revolution to liberate the Arab population of the country from European colonial rule. The revolutionaries defined their struggle as one of national liberation not of overthrowing an un-Islamic government ruling over Muslims. The FLN established a secular nationalist Arab government upon achieving independence.

Almost as spectacular as the 1962 victory over the French in Algeria has been the failure of nationalists to liberate Palestine. Despite a great deal of rhetoric on the issue in the Islamic world in general and the Arab world in particular, the nationalists have failed to free the land and people of Palestine from foreign rule. The inability of the nationalists to reverse the 1948 and 1967 loss of Palestinian land to the Zionists represents a major failure on their part. Just as most of the rest of the Arab world as well as most of the Islamic world outside the communist bloc achieved independence, Palestine came under a new foreign occupation. Armed by the communist bloc, the Zionists not only seized 78% of the land of Palestine in 1948, but ethnically cleansed it of 80% of its native Arab population. Known in Arabic as Al-Nakba (The Catastrophe) this was a collective psychological blow to the entire Arab world. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the main actors fighting on behalf of the Palestinian cause were nationalists of various stripes. Unlike the nationalists in Algeria they were not successful in creating an independent Palestinian Arab state in the lands of the former British Mandate of Palestine.

In contrast to the nationalist failure in Palestine, the forces of political Islam can claim two major victories over foreign powers since the late 1980s. In Afghanistan, the proponents of Islamic jihad lay claim to victory over the Soviet Union, a superpower that no longer exists in part due to this defeat. Granted the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its puppet regime had a large number of factions, some more nationalist and less Islamic than others. But, the Afghan national struggle became entwined with global Islamic jihad through the efforts not only of native movements, but more crucially elements in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. The consequences of the involvement of these elements in the war against the Soviet Union include the Taliban take over of Afghanistan, the formation of Al-Qaeda and the proliferation of the idea throughout the Islamic world that Muslim jihadis can succeed where nationalists have failed.

The other military victory of political Islam against foreigners has been the success of Hizbollah against the Israeli army in Lebanon. Although a Shiite rather than Sunni movement, Hizbollah accomplished what many observers thought impossible not once, but twice. They forced the Israelis to withdraw from Lebanese territory. Given the overall history of military conflict between the Israelis and various Arab forces since 1948 this is an incredible victory for political Islam. Over half a century of nationalist resistance to Israel by the Arabs failed to defeat the Israelis. In contrast the Islamic orientated Hizbollah won twice on the battlefield against the Israelis in less than a decade.

One crucial reason for the recent rise of Islamic based political movements is that unlike the previous ascendant nationalists they have successfully delivered on the promise to roll back foreign rule over Muslim majority countries. This gives them a definite edge over the competing nationalist visions in the region. Much of the popular appeal of political Islam is the result of this success.

Happy Boxing Day

For some reason the US does not observe Boxing Day. But, I know it is a big deal in the UK where I used to live for a while. It is also observed in Canada, New Zealand and most of Australia. My calender claims that South Australia celebrates another holiday on Boxing Day called Proclamation Day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everybody reading this has a Merry Christmas. My uncle and I still have no plans for the holiday weekend. But, it looks like the weather will be nice.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Oriental Winter Solstice Party

Yesterday, Chris and his two oldest kids came by the ranch to celebrate Winter Solstice. I went with an Oriental theme. I served mint tea, spicy chicken wings and apple shisha. The music covered much of the Islamic Orient and included selections from Turkey, Algeria, Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I have now finished my job applications for the year

I have now finished all my job applications for 2006. This year I only applied to four jobs. I applied to two post-docs and two overseas lecturships. In 2004 I applied to 75 academic positions and got one interview for a position overseas. Last year I applied to 26 posts and got two interviews from the same institution that interviewed me in 2004. I figure that academic job searches are like lottery tickets. The odds of me getting a job are so small that applying to one gives me about the same real world chance of winning as applying for a hundred.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Publishing Delays

I have now been officially informed that all three of my book chapters as well as the encyclopedia article that were previously scheduled to be published in 2006 will not come out until 2007. I finished writing the most recent of these pieces over a year ago. The oldest of the pieces will be over four years old by the time it is print. Academic publishing is truly on the opposite end of the spectrum from blogging when it comes to the time lag between submitting a finished piece of writing and seeing it published.

We Have Running Water Again. I Hope It Lasts.

Well, I think the water problem is solved now. The main pipe is no longer leaking and the new solar panels are pumping water from the well into the tank. This morning I even got to use the shower inside the house.

This is my 500th blog post here

Finally, after over 28 months of blogging I have broken the 500 post mark. Other than myself I do not think anybody has read all 500 posts. But, I would be interested in knowing how many posts my half a dozen readers have read. In the event that you do not want to count up the actual number of posts I will settle for knowing how long people have been reading this blog.

It has now been two weeks since we had running water

I really hope that we have running water soon. I am not sure I can take this much longer.

I always liked his croutons

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is Very Funny

Not having any running water is not funny. But, baiting Nigerian 419 criminals is very funny. Check out The Barrister Jubril Project if you want to laugh so hard it hurts.

Hat tip: Randy Barnett at The Volokh Conspiracy

I have now updated to Blogger Beta

Okay, I have now updated my blog to the Beta version. Primarily so that I can comment on other people's blogs and have them comment on mine. Now, I expect to get lots of comments.

Correction, We Had Water Again, But No More

Everything looked like it was going to work. The solar panels were pumping water into the house tank without any problem. But, then it got cold last night and the main pipe from the tank to the house broke again and we lost all the water pumped by our new solar panels. This was the original problem we had before the old solar panels died.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We Have Water Once More

The new solar panels did the trick. We now have water pumping from the well into the house tank. Given that the old solar panels were over 30 years old it is a miracle they lasted as long as they did.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The New Solar Panels Arrived Yesterday

Last night, Frank the UPS man delivered our new solar panels. I hope this solves our water problem.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Water Situation Update

We had Obe Sweetwater, the local solar power expert, come and look at the well. He said the solar panels are shot and we need new ones. He also suspects the motor is kaput, but we will deal with that potential problem after we get new panels installed. My uncle has now ordered new solar panels. They are quite expensive at $1000 for two.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Provisional Conference Schedule

I now have a preliminary timeline for the 10 March 2007 First Arivaca International Conference on International Borders and Migration. I have reproduced it below. The conference will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and is open to the public. It will take place at the Arivaca Community Center.

I. Introduction - J. Otto Pohl (Arivaca, AZ)

Coffee Break

II. Crossing the Borders into Fortress Europe -Richard T. Griffiths (University of Leiden)

III. Illegal Migration to the Netherlands: Causes, Consequences, Government Policies, and the Reactions of the Dutch Public - Chris Quispel (University of Leiden)

Lunch Break

IV. Undocumented Migration and Human Rights in Germany- Heide Castaneda (University of Arizona)

V. Discourses of Difference and Ideologies of Belonging: Writing Immigrants into Spain's Print Media- Maisa Taha (University of Arizona)

Coffee Break

VI. Smuggling Child Labor into the US - Greta Uehling

VII. Labor Migration from Uzbekistan to Russia and Kazakhstan - Dinora Azimova (UWED, Tashkent)

VIII. Conclusion

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You can live without love, but you cannot live without water

You can live without many things, but water is not one of them. We still have not got the well to pump any water for a second day in a row. This could get very desperate very fast. If anybody reading this knows how to fix solar powered wells could you come out to Serenity Ranch and take a look at our system?

Teaching Philosophy?

Right now I am applying for a job that requires me to submit a statement of my teaching philosophy. Since I have never taught I am having trouble with this. What else is there to say other than I will lecture, assign readings and assign papers? I do not think I can make that stretch for 1000 words. In the very unlikely event that somebody reading this knows any websites or books that might have useful hints or examples could you please either e-mail me or leave a comment below? It would be most appreciated.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We Still Have No Water

Despite repairing the pipe from the tank to the house we still have no water. Now the well is not working. We are not sure if the problem lays in the solar panels or the pump itself. If it is the pump then we are in big trouble. I took a shower outside today using a hose connected to the runoff cistern. I hope we get the water situation taken care of before it gets cold again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

We have no water again

Last night we again lost all the water in the tank connected to the house. The cold weather caused the t-joint that gave us trouble last year to disconnect once more. The thing actually broke this time. So this weekend my uncle and I will have to replace it with a straight piece of joining pipe. I have no idea why anybody would be so dumb as to put a t-joint on the main water line from the well to the house. The spur only goes about five feet and leads to nothing more than a spigot in the middle of nowhere. Surely it would have been easier to get another ten feet of hose to connect to the next nearest spout. A spout which is connected to the overflow cistren rather than the house tank by the way, making it an even better alternative. On the bright side of things, unlike last year we know where the pipe from the tank to the house is buried. We also have a pick so digging the thing up was much easier.