The Camisards

A group of fanatical religious terrorists, holed up in their mountain redoubts and battling an occupying government. Surely this description must apply to some modern-day group and situation, such as in Afghanistan, or perhaps Africa...? And the terrorists will in all likelihood be Islamic, right?

Well, not all the time.

Consider the French Protestant dissenters known as the Camisards.

I learned about this historical incident from reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey. (You can find the entire text of the book here.) Stevenson traveled through the region once ruled by the Camisards, and evoked the romance of their rebellion.

There, a hundred and eighty years ago, was the chivalrous Roland, "Count and Lord Roland, generalissimo of the Protestants in France," grave, silent, imperious, pock-marked ex-dragoon, whom a lady followed in his wanderings out of love. There was Cavalier, a baker's apprentice with a genius for war, elected brigadier of Camisards at seventeen, to die at fifty-five the English governor of Jersey. There again was Castanet, a partisan in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for divinity. Strange generals who moved apart to take counsel with the God of Hosts, and fled or offered battle, set sentinels or slept in an unguarded camp, as the Spirit whispered to their hearts! And to follow these and other leaders was the rank file of prophets and disciples, bold, patient, hardy to run upon the mountains, cheering their rough life with psalms, eager to fight, eager to pray, listening devoutly to the oracles of brainsick children, and mystically putting a grain of wheat among the pewter balls with which they charged their muskets.

Pretty weird, huh? And right in Europe, not all that long ago.

The last sentence from Stevenson is particularly intriguing, since it conjures up comparisons to the Mai-Mai rebels in the Congo today, who believe that certain magical charms protect them against bullets; that their own bullets are invulnerable to counter charms; and that ritual cannibalism of their enemies is still a grand idea.

Once Europe had its own Mai-Mai's. Perhaps someday Africa will be rid of theirs.

     Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 22, 2009
     Category: Cannibalism | Death | Frauds, Cons and Scams | History | Historical Figure | Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand | Paranormal | Religion | War | Weapons | Foreign Customs | Africa | Europe | Eighteenth Century

Camisards = Retards in Camisoles?
Posted by AGFH on 01/22/09 at 11:21 AM
Na.. it's French for "Religious fanatic with mystical beliefs".
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/22/09 at 11:46 AM
So AGFH and I weren't too far off the mark. 😉
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 01/22/09 at 12:41 PM
Okay, complete thread jack here, but this is the only place on the Internet where I may find an answer for which I've been searching for many years. I'll even give out my email address if this is not appropriate for here, because I'd really like to learn what others have to say. Belief/knowing. Belief is an attitude one has learned from outside. Knowing goes one step farther; experiential knowledge of that belief that cements that it's true. If one lives her/his life only believing, it appears to me that they will go to their graves never having proved the very thing they've made a fundamental part of their lives. Sort of incomplete, imo. Then... (get the popcorn) free will. We're supposed to follow our dreams with all of our hearts, but in any book I've read about praying, visualization, etc., it ALWAYS ends with the caveat that maybe the Universe has a different plan. So, how can one be totally devoted to a dream if we're not sure that's the one we're supposed to be having? Hope this offends no one. Thanks.
Posted by lostinthevalleygirl on 01/22/09 at 04:06 PM
Maggie: Thank you.
kezatwork: ha. ha. ha. Don't believe it for a second. (Or, do I...? Nah)
Posted by lostinthevalleygirl on 01/22/09 at 07:59 PM
Thanks, Patty. I was actually hoping you would respond. I so enjoy your earthy humor, but your wisdom has blown me away at times, also. Good food for thought.
Posted by lostinthevalleygirl on 01/22/09 at 08:16 PM
I feel like we should all hold hands and sing kumbya (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) now 😊
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 01/23/09 at 08:36 AM
Yeah, really! All of this sentimental crap makes me want to barf.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 01/23/09 at 08:43 AM
I say - Whatever works to give you peace of mind and comfort about your life, you go for it - just don't try to tell me you're right an I'm wrong. Then I'll get angry and defensive. My personal choice is to be a bit pessimistic, that way I'm not dissapointed so often, and to believe that the actions we choose to take affect our future in a slighty karmic sort of way. I don't believe in an omnipitant higher power, and I don't presume to have any clue what goes on after we die.
That's my bit, thank you and good morning 😊
Posted by Jules in Connecticut on 01/23/09 at 08:48 AM
Posted by kingmonkey in Athens, Ontario on 01/23/09 at 12:52 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.