Monday, 8 August 2011
Born on a Monday?
Earlier this year the Blether Region reported on the Royal White Order of King Solomon, a recently established secretive organisation whose supporters are expected to pay substantial sums for apparently paltry benefits. Members of the organisation, whose uniform has been compared in the Daily Star with that of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, are instructed to address each other as "Sir Knight".
"Sir Knight" is also the form of address for members of the Royal Black Preceptory, once memorably described to the Blether Region as an organisation for Orangemen who show signs of interest in religion. However, it might be wrong to read too much into that, since it is also the title used when addressing the Catholic Rotarians of the Knights of Columbus.
A more compelling comparison is with the Knights Templar, whose Latin title was Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici, or Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. The Templars, who played an important role in the Crusades, were later bloodily suppressed, but have resurfaced from time to time in popular culture, most recently in Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.
However, another, less savoury association is with fascism. In Scotland, one of the few countries where the Templars were not persecuted, there was Sìol nan Gàidheal (Seed of the Gael), a neo-fascist organisation expelled from the SNP in the early 1980s whose members, according to the BBC, "used to march around tooled-up and in Highland dress". The group also explicitly references the Templars.
And then there is Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian Christian fanatic who recently claimed 77 victims — mainly young people concerned with social justice. Breivik, who was so obsessed with the Templars that he even visited their former staging-post of Malta, chose the Knights' red-cross design for the cover of his 1,500-page manifesto, along with a Latin name — Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici.
He also claimed that he was a member of a Knights Templar organisation founded by individuals who shared his racist aims and were ready to use violence to achieve them.
"According to Breivik, the order was established as an "anti-Jihad crusader-organisation" that "fights" against "Islamic suppression" in London in April 2002 by nine men: two Englishmen, a Frenchman, a German, a Dutchman, a Greek, a Russian, a Norwegian, and a Serb. It has between fifteen and eighty "ordinated knights" besides an unknown number of "civilian members", and Breivik expects the order to take political and military control of Western Europe."
One website has reported that Breivik, who was apparently not anti-Semitic, may in fact have been interested in Nordic Israelism.
The Norwegian atrocities have meant that several right-wing commentators approvingly cited by Breivik have had to defend themselves. Is it going too far to compare the Royal White Order of King Solomon with the intellectual milieu that produced him?
The Belfast Telegraph has already reported that Anders Breivik and Johnny Adair shared a friend in the shape of Paul Ray, who blogs under the name Lionheart. Ray lives on Malta and runs an anti-Islam organisation known as the Ancient Order of the Templar Knights. Something of a pattern here.
Part of the problem with the Royal White Order is that its membership is secret. But what if there turned out to be personal connections with the Loyalist paramilitary group Tara, which espoused similar Doomsday and elitist views, and the British-Israel World Federation, which includes a strong current of white supremacism?