Longfellow & his tribute to Skanderbeg, who halted Islamic invasion of Albania
“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.He said to his friend, ‘If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light …One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm’ …
And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night …You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled, —
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load …
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.”These lines are from the poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born FEBRUARY 27, 1807.
His grandfather had been a Revolutionary War general.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a Harvard professor and a popular American poet.
He wrote such classics as:
-The Song of Hiawatha;
-The Courtship of Miles Standish, which sold 10,000 copies in London in a single day;
-Voices of the Night;
-The Divine Tragedy;
-The Bells of San Blas;
-The Wreck of the Hesperus;
-Evangeline, in which he penned:
“Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.”
The house Longfellow lived in, 105 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, had previously been used as the Headquarters of General George Washington during the British’s Siege of Boston, July 1775-April 1776.
Longfellow’s poems were noted for imparting cultural and moral values, focusing on life being more than material pursuits.
In 1842, Longfellow expressed his public support for abolishing slavery by publishing a collection, Poems on Slavery, which was reprinted by The New England Anti-Slavery Association.
Longfellow wrote a poem about a famous Albanian leader who fought Islam.
In the 1400s, Eastern European leaders courageously helped stop the Ottoman Muslim invasion of Europe, such as:
-Hungary’s John Hunyadi (1406-1456);
-Poland’s Władysław III (1424-1444);
-Moldova’s Stephen the Great (1433-1504); and
-Romania’s Vlad III (1428-1477).
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem to commemorate Albania’s hero George Castriot (1405-1468), called Skanderbeg by Albanians andIskander by Turks
Skanderbeg was sent as a hostage to the Ottoman court where he was educated, converted to Islam, and served the Sultan for 20 years.
In 1443, he abandoned Islam and converted to Christianity.
This is a growing trend, as the British journal The New Statesman cites Usama Hasan, a senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation: “Many converts leave the faith … some stats say 50 per cent will leave within a few years.”
Pew Research Center (Jan. 27, 2011) reported the number of people who become Muslims through conversion seems to be roughly equal to the number of Muslims who leave the faith.
Skanderbeg led a rebellion against his former Muslim master, Sultan Murad II, and thus became a major obstacle to Turkish expansion into Europe.
Skanderbeg, whom the Turks called Iskander, which means treacherous, captured the Albanian city of Croia (Kruje) in 1444 by using a forged letter from Sultan Murad II.
Skanderbeg was noted for his hit-and-run and scorched-earth tactics, as well as punishing Venetian merchants who were selling military supplies to the Ottomans.
Among his many battles, Skanderbeg fought in:
-The Battle of Nis, 1443;
-The Battle of Kunovica, 1444;
-Gained control of Zeta;
-Captured castles at Petrela, Preze, Guri i Bardhe, Svetigrad, Modric and others;
-The Battle of Torvioll, 1444;
-Battle in the Mokra Valley, 1445;
-The Battle of Otonete, 1446;
-The Battle near Shkoder, 1448;
-The Battle of Oranik, 1448;
-Seige of Kruje; and
-The Battle of Ohrid in 1464.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem about Skanderbeg- Iskander:
… In the darkness of the night
Iskander, the pride and boast
Of that mighty Othman (Ottoman) host,
With his routed Turks, takes flight …
In the middle of the night,
In a halt of the hurrying flight,
There came a Scribe of the King
Wearing his signet-ring …
“Now write me a writing, O Scribe …
A writing sealed with thy ring,
To King Amurath’s Pasha
In the city of Croia (Kruje)
That he surrender the same
In the name of my master, the King (Sultan);
For what is writ in his name
Can never be recalled” …
Of Iskander’s scimitar
From its sheath, with jewels bright,
Shot, as he thundered: “Write!”
And the trembling Scribe obeyed …
… And Iskander answered and said:
“They lie on the bloody sod
By the hoofs of horses trod;
But this was the decree
Of the watchers overhead;
For the war belongeth to God,
And in battle who are we,
Who are we, that shall withstand
The wind of his lifted hand?” …
… Then swift as a shooting star
The curved and shining blade
Of Iskander’s scimitar
From its sheath, with jewels bright …
… Then again Iskander cried:
“Now follow whither I ride,
For here thou must not stay …
… No sound was heard but the sound
Of the hoofs of Iskander’s steed,
As forward he sprang with a bound …
… Then onward he rode and afar,
With scarce three hundred men,
Through river and forest and fen,
O’er the mountains of Argentar …
… Then his trumpeters in the van
On their silver bugles blew,
And in crowds about him ran
Albanian and Turkoman …
… Then to the Castle White
He rode in regal state,
And entered in at the gate …
… In all his arms bedight,
And gave to the Pasha
Who ruled in Croia (Kruje)
The writing of the King,
Sealed with his signet-ring.
And the Pasha bowed his head,
And after a silence said:
“Allah is just and great!
I yield to the will divine,
The city and lands are thine;
Who shall contend with Fate?” …
… Anon from the castle walls
The crescent banner falls,
And the crowd beholds instead,
Like a portent in the sky,
Iskander’s banner fly,
The Black Eagle with double head;
And a shout ascends on high,
For men’s souls are tired of the Turks,
And their wicked ways and works,
That have made of Ak-Hissar
A city of the plague;
And the loud, exultant cry
That echoes wide and far
Is: “Long live Scanderbeg!”
The most popular poet of his day, Longfellow was praised by his contemporaries:
-John Greenleaf Whittier,
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,
-James Russell Lowell and
-Ralph Waldo Emerson.
After his wife died in a tragic house fire in 1861, and his son ran off to fight in the Civil War, Longfellow concentrated on the monumental task of translating Dante’s The Divine Comedy, published in 1867.
Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1884, he became the first non-British writer to be represented by a sculpted bust in London’s Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
In a deeply reflective poem, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “A Psalm of Life,” 1838:
“Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul …
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time;
Texas Bill Adds Civil, Criminal Penalties for Sanctuary Cities
The Texas Legislature is on the final step to passing a bill that will penalize jurisdictions, including college campus police departments, which have sanctuary policies protecting illegal immigrants. The bill puts sharp teeth in the battle to stop such policies.
While Republicans control the Texas House and Senate, the road to passage has been hard fought. The Texas Senate passed the measure in early February, after Governor Greg Abbott declared the issue to be an emergency item in his State of the State Address.
Senate Bill 4 provides that local entities, a state justice agency, or campus police department, would be subject to civil penalties of up to $25,500 a day for violating the new law. Civil penalties collected must be used to compensate crime victims. These governmental bodies would also be prohibited from receiving funds from state grants.
Entities could also lose their sovereign immunity in lawsuits brought against them because of injuries caused by the release of criminal aliens subject to ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainers. The provision applies to criminal aliens who commit a felony within 10 years after their release.
Moreover, an elected official of a jurisdiction or “an individual who is appointed by [that] governing body” would be guilty of a criminal offense. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the provisions would make it a crime for sheriffs, police chiefs, and other law enforcement officers and those appointed by them, to refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. The crime would be a Class A misdemeanor. Elected officials also face removal from office when the bill becomes law.
Texas has been in the forefront of the sanctuary city fight. An ICE report on March 20 exposing sanctuary jurisdictions ranked Travis County, Texas, as number one in the country for not complying with ICE detainers. As Breitbart Texas reported, well over 70 percent of the 206 criminal aliens released during the week of January 28-Februay 3 were released by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.
Governor Greg Abbott flexed his purse strings to fight Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez. He cut state law enforcement grants to the Austin-area county when she refused to reverse positions. Hernandez has denied that she is not in compliance.
Senate Bill 4, authored by Republican Senator Charles Perry from Lubbock, prohibits state criminal justice agencies, campus police departments, and local jurisdictions from discouraging or prohibiting a person who is a commissioned peace officer, a corrections officer, a booking clerk, a magistrate, or a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or other prosecuting attorney, from following immigration laws.
The Texas House Republican Caucus sent out a statement after its 94-53 passage on partisan lines Thursday saying, “This legislation comes after governmental entities in Texas have adopted ‘sanctuary city’ policies that purposefully hinder or prohibit local law enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs and prohibit officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status.”
The controversial bill allows law enforcement officials to ask a person being detained about their immigration status; thus, it is broader than a measure which would allow them to do so only if the person was under arrest. Those against the bill have compared it to laws in Arizona and California and denounced it as “a show-me-your-papers style law.” The legislation expressly provides that a law enforcement official may not inquire into a person’s immigration status if they are a victim or witness to a criminal offense, or if they are reporting a criminal offense. Agencies are also given the authority to engage in community outreach activities that educate the public, including victims of family or domestic violence, that officials may not inquire into their immigration status. Opponents of the bill contend the measure will discourage victims or witnesses of crimes from coming forward because of their immigration status.
A police officer may not stop a motor vehicle or conduct a search of a home or business solely to enforce a federal immigration law. However, if they are providing assistance to, or at the request of a federal immigration officer, or under an agreement between their agency and the federal government, a peace officer may arrest an illegal alien if they are acting under Texas law to preserve the peace.
The sponsor of the measure in the Texas House, Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) said “The purpose of this legislation is to protect Texans from criminals who are here illegally. We are trying to make sure those bad actors are detained until we can determine their status.” “This bill will not affect law-abiding citizens, only those that are in trouble with the police,” he added.
The bill expressly prohibits officials from considering “race, color, religion, language, or national origin while enforcing immigration laws except to the extent permitted by the United States Constitution or Texas Constitution.”
The bill also provides for a process for making a complaint about any violation of the legislation and states that “any person,” including the federal government, may file a complaint with the attorney general. The person must offer evidence that a local entity, state criminal justice agency, or campus police department is violating the statute, and swear to the accuracy of the stated facts.
“House Republicans have proven time and time again that we are committed to protecting the rule of law and keeping our communities safe,” said Republican House Caucus Chairman Tan Parker. “We will continue to work tirelessly to pass legislation that ensures the safety of Texans, such as Senate Bill 4.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has steadfastly said that he will sign the bill and has pushed for its passage. If the Senate does not accept the changes made by the House, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve the differences and move the bill forward to the Governor for signature. The law would go into effect on September 1 of this year.