October 5, 2006


Genghis misunderstood (Matthew Barakat, October 3, 2006, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

He's one of the most famous names of the last millennium, and he's the father of his country, which turns 800 years old this year.

That's why the D.C. region's Mongolian community would like to see a statue erected of Genghis Khan, the George Washington of Mongolia. [...]

Supporters of the statue say that the popular image in the West of Genghis Khan as a ruthless barbarian invader gives Americans a misconception of a leader who some historians say was ahead of his time and progressive in many ways.

Genghis Khan established an empire based on religious tolerance in an age where the Crusades and religious wars were commonplace, his advocates say. He was an ardent free trader and established principles of diplomatic immunity. [...]

In academic circles, Western historians have begun taking a revisionist view of Genghis Khan.

A 2004 book by anthropology professor Jack Weatherford, "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World," spent several weeks on the best-seller list and offered a more sympathetic portrayal. [...]

In the last decade, though, the D.C. area and Arlington County, in particular, have seen rapid growth in the Mongolian population.

With an estimated Mongolian population of 2,000 to 3,000, the D.C. area now rivals a more established community in Denver as the largest Mongolian enclave in the United States.

The Mongolian community's ability to emigrate and rapidly adapt to American life is not surprising, since Mongolians have long been a nomadic people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 5, 2006 12:00 AM
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