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I teach American students at a study abroad center in Morocco. Each year, for Fall and Spring breaks, almost all my students go to Europe for a week-long vacation. Upon their return, I have them tell the class about where they visited and what they learned. I was surprised by the report of students who traveled to Romania and shared that Dracula seemed to be a national hero — with statues and pictures of him everywhere.
Dracula, or Vlad III (sometimes Vlad Tepes) was a real person who lived in the 15th century in the Wallachia region of what is now Romania. He was not a mythological vampire, but a prince who has become famous for his terrifying justification of torture to defend Christendom.
Turbans - Heads - Ottoman - Emissaries - Headgear
He famously nailed turbans to the heads of Ottoman emissaries after they failed to remove their headgear in deference to him. But what Vlad is most famous for was his impaling of his enemies. Chroniclers describe how Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II’s invading army of 150,000 was shocked to discover a “forest” of 20,000 corpses of men, women, and children impaled on high poles covering an area of about two square miles. Shortly after that, the Ottoman forces retreated from Wallachia, reasoning that it was not possible to deprive such a sadistic man of his realm without incurring unimaginable losses.
Vlad III is considered by many Romanians as a Christian national hero, not in spite of, but because of the depth of violence and murder he was willing to engage in to protect “Christian” territory and power. The celebration of his ends-justify-the-means approach to preserving Christian political power is shocking, but becoming increasingly relatable for Americans.
Question - Participation - Evil - Order - Power
The question of how much participation in evil we are willing to condone in order to promote and defend “Christian” power and territory is one...
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