Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Badass of the Week

My new favorite website: Badass of the Week.

This week is Mustafa Kemal, which is funny because I just discovered this website after finishing my week's reading for my history class on the end of the Ottoman Empire and the newly created state of Turkey.


Overthrowing an autocratic dictator and replacing him with democratically-elected officials is pretty sweet and all, but it was going to take more than a bi-cameral legislature to dispel the notion that the Ottoman Empire was pretty crappy compared to what it used to be. Lovingly known to the Western powers as "The sick man of Europe" because its military defense capabilities marginally resembled a really bored guy with mononucleosis, the Ottoman Empire found itself continually under attack from powerful outside forces, and it came down to guys like Captain Mustafa Kemal to stand up to powerful modernized armies looking to gank land and wealth away from his rapidly-crumbling empire. Captain Perfect first earned a name for himself as a no-bullshit face-wrecker in Libya in 1911, when he led 200 men on a balls-out charge against 2,000 unprepared Italian soldiers outside Tobruk and not only drove the enemy out of their trenches, but captured a bunch of their shit and made them look like bitches in the process. He later played a supporting role in the Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913, constantly fighting off massively superior forces of Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbians trying to throw the Turks out of Eastern Europe.

The culmination of Ataturk's military career, however, is the incredibly over-the-top display of toughness he demonstrated on the shores of Gallipoli during World War I, when 16 divisions of British, French, ANZAC, and other Allied troops attempted an invasion of the Dardanelles and ran faces-first into Mustafa Kemal's titanium-plated nutsack of destruction. Kemal was just a Colonel of a reserve infantry division at the time, stationed at a critical choke point in the Bosporus that, if it fell into enemy hands, would have single-handedly dealt the Ottoman Empire a ball-punch from which it could not possibly have recovered. With the entire hopes and military capability of the Empire on his shoulders, Ataturk threw down with the most hardcore warriors in the world and demonstrated what a little bit of determination, a defensible set of trenches, and a whole lot of bullets could accomplish.

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