Monday, May 16, 2011

A note on the ancient prejudices, misperceptions, hatreds...

I'm reading Ian Buruma's Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 now (on Kindle - yay!!!), and here's a tiny insight on how Europeans were viewed in Japan sometime in the 17th century:

The popular image of the Dutch was that of exotic beasts, who lifted their legs, like dogs, when they relieved themselves.

It reminded me of what I had read about a Ukrainian view of the Tatars, in a novel about Roksolana/Hürrem Sultan, written by Osyp Nazaruk (I haven't finished it; another novel about Roksolana, by Pavlo Zahrebelnyi, I also have not finished - regret it, in both cases):

Розуміла, що прийдеться їй стати невольницею або, може, жінкою одної з тих брудних потворів, про які ще вдома оповідала їй бабуня, що вони родяться сліпі, як собаки.


She understood that she'd be forced to become a slave or, perhaps, a wife of one of those dirty monsters, who, her grandma used to tell her still back at home, were born blind, like dogs.

And the author's short annotation to this passage:

Автентичне повір'я нашого народу про татар.


Our people's authentic belief about the Tatars.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. My ancesters were Ruthenians/Polish and Roksolana is new to me. My paternal grandparents came from Ropienka/Uherce Mineralne, Poland, a stone's throw from what is now the Ukrainian Border. It's nice to know that a Ruthenian had such great influence.