On Versailles, the Gypsy Circus, the Jews of Europe, and the “Relocation” of the Tomb of Suleyman Shah

 

bassins_versailles_statue (1)I spent the weekend with my family: my father, my brother, and my nephew Leo (age five, and a typically healthy, energetic five-year-old boy.) My brother and his Italian wife Cristina are now on a rotation to Brindisi, waiting for Cristina — a UN Peacekeeper — to be deployed to the next kind of place UN Peacekeepers get deployed.

I determined that we must all to Versailles, this on the grounds that it is rare for us all to be together on a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon in Paris; it would be fun and educational; it would get us all out of the house; that this would be the first time in years all of our immediate family (or what’s left of it) had gone on an excursion; and that one day I want Leo to remember — however dimly — his grandpa David, his Daddy, and his Weird Aunt Claire the Cat Lady doing something fun together in Paris.

Now, I had fully intended to write about that, but events have overtaken me, so I must compress that one down to the essentials. Ladies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, if you have children, I am in awe. That is hard work. And that’s the most understated way I can put it.

I am pleased to say that our expedition was a success. No one had to fish Leo out of the Swan Pond. No one tumbled on to the third rail of the RER. No one felt his parenting skills had been undermined (I hope: I may have screwed up for a moment there when I failed to understand that my brother was trying to inculcate a species of table manners in his son that I didn’t fully understand; but hey, I’m not Italian. I respect Italian wisdom on table manners. The mistake was honest, and I think I walked that cat back fast enough that I didn’t leave Leo completely bollixed-up for life.) No one ended up crying. Everyone got a reasonable amount of the kind of food he liked to eat; there were no total meltdowns involving any member of my family; and all three generations of the Berlinski family saw Versailles together.

No hats or umbrellas were lost. Everyone (but me) was dressed warmly enough. No one — I hope — will end up discussing this day many years from now with his Legotherapist, or swearing this would be the last time we’d ever do anything like that. Nothing was on strike. It was easy to rent bikes. While some parts were under renovation, everyone left with an age-appropriate sense of “What Versailles basically looks like.” (If you’re five, it looks like an appealing thing to build with Legos.) And it didn’t break anyone’s budget. Frankly, this was as good as a family outing gets, and to those of you who do this every weekend, all I can say is: You do have my respect the way I reckon you must feel you deep-down should.

Anyway, I was going to write about this, as well as Saturday’s excursion to the local gipsy circus, and what it suggested to me about “how to have a shrewd, thoughtful pro-natalism policy” (France definitely has one).

I have much to say, so remind me to make this case later. In the meantime, you don’t need subtitles to watch this video; but sadly, it doesn’t capture the whole experience, so it  might not totally persuade you of my point. The key to a high birth rate it is to have cities with tons of affordable things a family might do together on the weekend that are every bit as fun for every member of the family as being single and never having kids. Even if that video doesn’t make it clear, take it from me: it was delightful enough to smash every stereotype about the unrelenting drudgery of childrearing. It so thoroughly delighted the audience — every member, of every age — that I highly doubt anyone who saw it will ever argue with a clear conscience that France would be better off should the Roma be evicted.

Parenthetically, I’ve been pleased to see that the media narrative has swung from “Jews must flee Europe,” to “Beg pardon? You didn’t really say that, did you?”

[F]or many Jews, such remarks ignore, and even insult, the acceptance they feel in the countries where they and their families have often lived for generations.

“We are a little confused by this call, which is basically like a call to surrender to terror,” said Arie Zuckerman, senior executive at the European Jewish Congress. “It may send a wrong message to the leaders of Europe.” Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association, said Mr. Netanyahu is wrong in suggesting that Jews can’t live safely in Europe. “To come out with this kind of statement after each attack is unacceptable,” Rabbi Margolin said.

Other Jews in Europe are reacting the same way. Sydney Schreiber, a Canadian attorney who moved to Brussels in 1992, called Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks appalling, complaining of “a statement that can be interpreted as meaning that Jews don’t belong in Europe.”

As you know, I’m with them. We’ll stay here, with the Roma, thanks. And with everyone else. Rule number 1: Terrorist attacks make terrorists flee, not us.

But all of that is by-the-by, even if I’d planned to have much to say. I’d left my phone at home to focus on my family. When I returned, I skimmed through the news and realized that never again must I step away from the news for even a minute. Something beyond bizarre had happened. It was reported thus:

Turkey Evacuates Suleyman Shah Tomb in Syria 

To say I was surprised wouldn’t do this justice. I have no idea if this item is getting the play it deserves in the US, but I doubt it. What was in the news was this:

US Shoppers warned after Shabab Mall Threat

That’s the sort of item that tends to crowd out foreign news, so I wonder if anyone back home heard about the evacuation of Suleyman Shah. However, in my eyes, that is as weird a headline as this would be:

Homeland Security and US Special Forces Evacuates US Shopping Malls 

Followed by a slew of analysis that offers either no real explanation of what happened and why, or analysis that’s in outright conflict.

I have no idea what really happened. Nor could I possibly, nor could any or the reporters who are bringing you the news about this story, because I simply don’t believe any party to it is speaking to the media in the aim of providing a useful, chronological account of the events.

But anyone who pays any attention to Turkey grasps that something weird, huge, and meaningful happened; and knows we have ten times as many questions about this as answers. I’ll offer you a selection of the analyses on offer. Perhaps you’ll have a favorite. That’s all it could be: an analysis that best matches your sense of what must be going on. I suggest reading them only on the principle that this is obviously big, so it might be worthwhile to have a sense of why. It’s certainly notable that an item like this barely ranks in the US media, even though — in my judgment — this probably means something extremely significant.

A commenter at the Guardian, of course, sees this is a sign of hope:

The relocation of Suleyman Shah: the way forward in the Middle East?

So for once we should praise the Turkish government whole-heartedly. Its little military expedition has ensured, with imagination and efficiency, that in a part of the world that is not only self-sufficient in causes for war and atrocity, but a net exporter of such causes to the rest of us, one possible reason for people to kill one another has been safely moved out of play.

The Financial Times sums it up thus:

“It’s an upside-down world and no one knows who are really allies in Syria’s war,” said one opposition activist who asked not to be named.

Alexander Christie-Miller — one of the best foreign reporters in Turkey — is probably right about the following:

The timing of the operation may be linked to fears that the tomb was to have been targeted by Isis, since it came five days after the Turkish government reached an agreement with the US to train rebels on Turkish soil to fight the jihadist group. “Those rebels are going to be fighting Isis, so they had to get their people out,” Aaron Stein, at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said.

Turkey is preparing for a general election on June 7, and so any invasion of the hallowed site, either by Isis or Kurdish forces, would have been acutely embarrassing for the government.

Turkey’s pro-government media went to great lengths to portray the operation as a victory, publishing photographs of soldiers raising the country’s red star and crescent at the tomb’s intended new location inside Syrian territory, opposite the Turkish town of Esmeler.

The decision to relocate it within Syria appears intended to convey the message to nationalist voters that Turkey is not ceding territory, Mr Stein said. The Turkish government had previously vowed to defend the tomb.

However, opposition politicians lambasted the government yesterday (Sunday). “We are losing our lands without fighting for the first time in the 90-year history of the republic. This is not acceptable,” Gursel Tekin, the secretary-general of the main opposition Republican People’s party, said at a press conference

So-called Turkish nationalists (a group that would take me a long time to explain, but let’s just say their response does not surprise me), are enraged:

The Nationalist Movement Party’s deputy chairman, Cemal Adan, also slammed the government for “making Turkey seem weak in the region.”

The main opposition CHP does not seem thrilled, either:

Withdrawal from territory legally considered Turkish prompted a major outcry from opposition parties and the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) called government leaders ‘deserters.’ CHP deputy Gursel Tekin said Turkey lost territory for the first time, without putting up a fight, while another CHP deputy Akif Hamzacebi called for Davutoglu’s immediate resignation.

Nor is Assad best-pleased:

Syrian state media described the incursion as “flagrant aggression”.

“Turkey goes beyond supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist gangs to launch a blatant aggression on Syrian territory,” state-run SANA news said, referring to the alternate name of ISIL.

One thing seems reasonably clear: Turkey has kept the lines of communication open with every player in the immediate region:

Davutoğlu said the government communicated with groups inside Syria, including the Free Syrian Army, in order to avoid civilian casualties during the operation but did not cite the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which controls the area from which the Turkish army crossed over border to evacuate the troops protecting the Tomb of Süleyman Şah. The Turkish government views the PYD with deep suspicion because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).“All parties were fully aware that any intervention or blockage of this operation would have received the harshest response,” Davutoğlu said, underlining that they would have never hesitated to use the deterrence capacity of the Turkish army if anyone had interfered with the operation.A PYD official said late Feb. 21 that the Turkish army sought cooperation of their armed forces before the operation started as the group controls the Kobane region.

Davutoğlu is assuring the public it was a triumph:

“It was a highly successful operation to the last degree,” he said, emphasising that the mission was fully in line with international law.

Davutoglu congratulated the Turkish army on the success of an operation that he said had posed “considerable potential risks.”

The YPD is taking credit:

Around 300 armed Syrian Kurdish fighters provided a security corridor for Turkish troops that staged an incursion to evacuate a Turkish-held tomb in northern Syria, witnesses in the region say. Fighters from People’s Protection Units (YPG) reportedly created a five-kilometer long corridor while Turkish units entered the Rojava canton of Kobane through the Mürşitpınar border gate en route to the Tomb of Süleyman Şah.

Everyone seems to agree there was a casualty:

The Turkish military said in a statement that there had been no clashes during the operation, the first such ground incursion by Turkish troops into Syria, but that one soldier had been killed in an accident.

“Unfortunately we had one casualty and this was not as a result of a clash but due to an accident that happened at the beginning of the operation,” Davutoglu said at a news conference in Ankara.

Aaron Stein — a sober and responsible analyst, and I trust him to be paying attention — offers this longer analysis, which may be summed up as, “Goodness. Hard to figure this one out.” (Worth reading, but many assertions would be easier to assess if supported with links or notes.)

Perhaps, one day, I’ll read a good historian’s account of the “overnight “Şah Fırat”’ evacuation, as it’s being called. I doubt that anyone who is trying to explain this is in a position to understand how something this significant could have happened: The people who know aren’t talking.

But clearly: Something very significant happened.

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Tomb of tomb of tomb of tomb of tomb of  Suleyman Shah…

    You come and go, you come and go-o-ooo…

    • #1
  2. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    Sadly, this is the first I have heard of it, and I have no idea why its a big deal.

    • #2
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    No doubt this was just another example of terrorist attacks causing terrorists to flee, not good guys.

    • #3
  4. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    David Knights:Sadly, this is the first I have heard of it, and I have no idea why its a big deal.

    For the same reason a headline that reads, “Homeland Security and US Special Forces Evacuates US Shopping Malls” would be. 

    It’s Turkish soil–and sacred Turkish soil, at that. Ultimate Turkish nightmare to have to evacuate it. And no explanation that makes sense of how it happened or why.

    • #4
  5. Devereaux Inactive
    Devereaux
    @Devereaux

    NYT (surprisingly) had a piece on it today.

    • #5
  6. user_32335 Member
    user_32335
    @BillWalsh

    Süleyman Shah is the almost-certainly-mythical ancestor of the Ottoman dynasty whose thirteenth-century drowning in the Euphrates is sort of a geographical marker of the alleged westward progress of the dynasty’s forebears. His tomb was made Turkish territory in 1921. So the equivalent here would be, say, some Plantagenet’s mausoleum in Anjou or a well-loved saint’s tomb or the like. Or maybe if the Marines had left a Tomb of the Unknown in Mexico City in 1848.

    • #6
  7. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    Claire, kindly take time out to read Benzion Netanyahu’s work on the origins of the Spanish Inquisition.

    Next, take time out to read Yoram Hazony’s politico-historical meditation on Megillat Esther, “The Dawn.”

    Round things out with Jerry Muller’s instant classic “The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Modern European Thought.”

    You don’t necessarily have to throw in Shmuel Katz’s biography of Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky, “Lone Wolf,” as a digestif, but it adds further helpful perspective.

    With all this remedial study accomplished, God willing you’ll have changed your tune about remaining in Eurabia.

    (Note also that the reference to Megillat Esther is not altogether coincidental; your attachment to the zone stretching from the Bosporus to Bretagne to Bournemouth evokes Esther’s to Achashverosh.)

    • #7
  8. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Bill Walsh:Süleyman Shah is the almost-certainly-mythical ancestor of the Ottoman dynasty whose thirteenth-century drowning in the Euphrates is sort of a geographical marker of the alleged westward progress of the dynasty’s forebears. His tomb was made Turkish territory in 1921. So the equivalent here would be, say, some Plantagenet’s mausoleum in Anjou or a well-loved saint’s tomb or the like. Or maybe if the Marines had left a Tomb of the Unknown in Mexico City in 1848.

    I think that suggests that this might be a sort of abstract, not-such-a-big-deal thing. Mexico City is not considered US territory in the US.

    • #8
  9. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    So I’ve stopped reading for the post for the moment, just to savor this:

    Ladies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, if you have children, I am in awe. That is hard work. And that’s the most understated way I can put it.

    Thank you.   I remember trying to find places that were sufficiently engaging, but did not result in us characterizing it as “the place of too many rules.”  Sounds like a fantastic day, and kudos to you for making it happen!

    Don’t worry about the manners contradiction, parents do that with each other all the time : )

    I’ll go back and finish the post in a bit.

    • #9
  10. user_370242 Member
    user_370242
    @Mikescapes

    Danny Alexander:

    I don’t know much about this subject, and am not terribly curious, but I do know arrogance when I see it. Lectures on reading matter? Lists of book for the informed? Who the hell are you to instruct Claire, or anybody, on what to read? All the elitists aren’t necessarily on the left, apparently. You make a pretense of politeness, but you’re not. Pseudo intellectuals, with an attitude, and a small mind are tough to take.

    • #10
  11. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    What the relocation of the tomb suggests to me is that whatever games Turkey is playing in the region, it is not careless with its heritage.  Turkey valuess its own history and heritage, and moves to protect it not just when it is necessary to do so, but before it is necessary to defend it from open aggression.

    Obama could learn a lot from this cynical government of Turkey.  he could start be realizing that no one, least of all the playah, can afford to be “too cool for school”.

    • #11
  12. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Here’s a good basic summary from the BBC:

    Turkey’s only foreign enclave has retained immense emotional value for its people, but the chaos engulfing Syria in recent years has seen it assume a growing political significance.

    In August 2012 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – then prime minister – warned all parties in the Syrian conflict that an action against the tomb would be considered an attack on Turkish territory “as well an attack on Nato land”.

    And amid reports that the soldiers stationed there had been besieged for months by Islamic State militants, last year the Turkish parliament authorised the use of force against the jihadists.

    However despite recently joining the US in training some rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, Turkey has resisted playing a full role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State.

    Correspondents say that if the historic Suleyman Shah tomb had come under attack, the effect on public opinion would have made it harder for Turkey to avoid a full-scale military campaign against the group.

    Make of that what you want. It looks to me as if Turkey wanted to stay out, feared it would be attacked, and warned that if so, Clause V would have to go into effect.

    And it looks as if it could only have done that with help from Kobane:

    The military convoy had to pass through Kobane, the Kurdish city that recently was freed from the Isis occupation by local militia.

    Ankara has never, as far as I know, ever once suggested abandoning the Tomb.

    Fisk sounds as usual conspiratorial here, but could he be right?

    Or is this the right way to interpret it?

    The move could allow Turkey to play a bolder role in the American-led fight against the jihadists. Turkey’s governing neo-Islamists have so far resisted pressure to let coalition planes use the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey for strikes against IS targets in Syria, partly for fear of retaliation against its men at Suleyman Shah’s tomb. The government has been burned before; last summer, it ignored warnings that IS was about to attack the Iraqi city of Mosul and failed to evacuate its consulate there. The jihadists overran the consulate and took 49 staff hostage. They were freed in a swap that entailed the release of several hundred IS fighters from Turkish jails. “With its soldiers out of harm’s way Turkey will have a freer hand to take part in the coalition, if it so chooses,” says Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank.

    Or is this closer to it?

    Few think that it will, though. IS is believed to have a strong network inside Turkey, and could destabilise the country in the run-up to parliamentary elections due on June 7. In a secret memo leaked to the Turkish press, the country’s national spy body warned that IS cells within Turkey were plotting to carry out terrorist attacks against the embassies of countries that are part of the anti-IS coalition. It will not have helped that Turkey and America last week signed a deal to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels who are battling IS.

    Whether or not the extraction mission leads to stepped-up attacks on IS, it signals a big change in Turkey’s relations with Syria’s Kurds. Kurdish officials say the operation was carried out in collaboration with a Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Defence Units (YPG). The YPG shot to international prominence when it drove IS out of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane last month, with the help of sustained American air strikes. (The YPG’s hundreds of female fighters have also drawn media attention.) The YPG’s online claims to have facilitated the operation were backed up by photographs of Turkish tanks and armoured personnel carriers trundling through the streets of Kobane, presumably en route to the Suleyman Shah tomb. Mr Davutoglu did not deny the YPG’s statements.

    And what to think of this?

    The evacuation of Turkish forces from Suleyman Shah’s grave certainly give Turkey more room to help the coalition fighting IS, but it is not clear Ankara wants to take advantage of the opportunity. But either way, any thaw in relations between Turkey and Syria’s Kurds will make it less awkward for America and other countries to pursue the joint battle against the jihadists

    Does anything in this give you shy hope that maybe we know what we’re doing?

    Or does it suggest we have no clue at all what’s happening?

    I wish I knew.

    • #12
  13. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Edward Smith:What the relocation of the tomb suggests to me is that whatever games Turkey is playing in the region, it is not careless with its heritage.

    It is, entirely–I’ve seen it casually destroy that heritage to build cheap high-rises–but this is a bit different.

    Turkey valuess its own history and heritage, and moves to protect it not just when it is necessary to do so, but before it is necessary to defend it from open aggression.

    Maybe.

    Obama could learn a lot from this cynical government of Turkey. he could start be realizing that no one, least of all the playah, can afford to be “too cool for school”.

    Or maybe he–or we–encouraged and helped this? And if so, to what end?

    I simply don’t know.

    • #13
  14. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    By the way, I passed that video of the Gypsy Circus onto a friend from church, whose daughter seems very interested in gymastics and in ice skating.  It looks as fun and maybe even a little more fun, than Cirque du Soleil.  More fun, I mean, in the way that the student adaptation of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis (they snaked their way around monkey bars to  personify the maze the entire family has trapped itself in) I saw at Wadham College, Cambridge in 1996 or the one-man Puppenschspiel of Goethe’s Faust I saw in Berlin in 1994 were more entertaining than the equally earnest plays I have seen performed here in NYC  that had bigger budgets.  That Puppenschpiel, for example, had an audience of 5, in a room that might have been able to fit 10.

    Metamorphisis, Wadham College, Cambridge, 1997

    Faust, Berlin, 1994

    • #14
  15. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Claire Berlinski:

    Edward Smith:What the relocation of the tomb suggests to me is that whatever games Turkey is playing in the region, it is not careless with its heritage.

    It is, entirely–I’ve seen it casually destroy that heritage to build cheap high-rises–but this is a bit different.

    Turkey values its own history and heritage, and moves to protect it not just when it is necessary to do so, but before it is necessary to defend it from open aggression.

    Maybe.

    Obama could learn a lot from this cynical government of Turkey. he could start be realizing that no one, least of all the playah, can afford to be “too cool for school”.

    Or maybe he–or we–encouraged and helped this? And if so, to what end?

    I simply don’t know.

    I was under the impression that a fair number of those Heritage Sites in Turkey date to the Byzantine Empire.  It would not surprise me at all to learn that modern Turkey cares less about the Byzantine and Roman portions of their history – except when those site generate sufficient Tourism revenue – than they do about the Islamist and Ottoman portions.  The Cahokia sites here in the United States were for the longest time more the focus of treasure hunters than of historians or archeologists.

    The degree to which Obama reflects the values and priorities of the American people is a longer Post, in which I intend to cite the books Genesis, Chronicles, Kings, and Samuel.

    We as a people could learn that even Erdogan, for all that is not admirable about him, still is in some respects a better leader for Turkey than we perhaps deserve to have here in the United States.

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I didn’t know until this weekend that there was a corner of Syria that was forever Turkey, but after this story came out, it did help a little to understand how coy Turkey seemed to be during the recent fighting in Kobane.  Would the Turkish antipathy towards Kurds really be sufficient to keep them from preventing ISIS from committing atrocities right under their noses?

    If Turkey had 40 soldiers on guard at the tomb and they were cut off by ISIS, that would provide a powerful incentive to play nice.  When the immediate danger passed and an opportunity to relocate both the soldiers and the tomb itself to a more defensible spot, they took it.  That much makes sense no matter who controls the area around the tomb.

    • #16
  17. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Edward Smith:I was under the impression that a fair number of those Heritage Sites in Turkey date to the Byzantine Empire. It would not surprise me at all to learn that modern Turkey cares less about the Byzantine and Roman portions of their history – except when those site generate sufficient Tourism revenue – than they do about the Islamist and Ottoman portions.

    You would be right. But not this one.

    • #17
  18. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Many years ago an aunt took me on a day trip to Hearst’s Castle.  I was 5ish or so.

    I still remember getting creeped out by the indoor Roman pool, so it must have been a good day.

    http://hearstcastle.org/history-behind-hearst-castle/the-castle/pools/

    • #18
  19. user_157053 Member
    user_157053
    @DavidKnights

    Claire Berlinski:

    David Knights:Sadly, this is the first I have heard of it, and I have no idea why its a big deal.

    It’s Turkish soil–and sacred Turkish soil, at that. Ultimate Turkish nightmare to have to evacuate it. And no explanation that makes sense of how it happened or why.

    So, like the Obama administration abandoning an embassy, say in Yemen, but with added deep cultural value?  Given how crazy IS is, seems to me it was a prudent move, especially if Turkey has decided it doesn’t want the crazy to bleed over the border and intends to take a more aggressive role against the rabid dogs that make up IS.

    • #19
  20. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    First Versailles Holiday. Come on Claire where is the photo of that incredibly cute 5 year old with his favorite Aunt Claire. I want to see it. No hiding. Also, I was quite amazed how athletic you are. The red outfit is very, shall we say, exciting also.

    Now to Süleyman Shah. I vote for the analysis below.

    The move could allow Turkey to play a bolder role in the American-led fight against the jihadists. Turkey’s governing neo-Islamists have so far resisted pressure to let coalition planes use the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey for strikes against IS targets in Syria, partly for fear of retaliation against its men at Suleyman Shah’s tomb.

    It is just perfect for this purpose. Angry Turkish politicians from a wide spectrum get to voice their insulted honor and whip up popular sentiment. If but one ISIS Jihadist should kill a Turk then the whole hideous gang may be in for a rude awakening. I don’t find the Turks all that hard to figure when it comes down to this visceral level.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
  21. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    It is also possible that Turkey is seeking to stay clear of this fight with ISIS, and keep its involvement minimal. As such it is removing a potential trip wire from play. If ISIS had attacked the Tomb as retaliation for action taken by allies of Turkey, Edrogan would have been forced to cat strongly against them or lose face. If you don’t want to be inadvertently dragged into this battle removing the most provocative target ISIS has is the thing you need to do.

    • #21
  22. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    blank generation member:Many years ago an aunt took me on a day trip to Hearst’s Castle. I was 5ish or so.

    I still remember getting creeped out by the indoor Roman pool, so it must have been a good day.

    http://hearstcastle.org/history-behind-hearst-castle/the-castle/pools/

    They do look like something of a Faithful Folly.  In fact, impressively faithful.  But their is something of Fontainbleu, with all those obtrusive N’s that Nappy insisted on scattering about the place about them.  Not to mention the over-the-top excesses of Frederick the Great’s palaces.

    • #22
  23. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Mike Silver:Danny Alexander:

    I don’t know much about this subject, and am not terribly curious, but I do know arrogance when I see it. Lectures on reading matter? Lists of book for the informed? Who the hell are you to instruct Claire, or anybody, on what to read? All the elitists aren’t necessarily on the left, apparently. You make a pretense of politeness, but you’re not. Pseudo intellectuals, with an attitude, and a small mind are tough to take.

    Ad hominem attacks are not permitted on Ricochet–not even in gentlemanly defence of a lady, or even of me. Although as conservatives and ladies, we of course applaud the underlying instinct to rise in gentlemanly protection of ladies. Just not in that argumentative form.

    • #23
  24. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Edward Smith:By the way, I passed that video of the Gypsy Circus onto a friend from church,

    If I hadn’t been sidetracked by Versailles, the challenge of explaining French and European history to a Lego-obsessed five-year-old,* and the alternative-reality news bombshell I found upon my return, this post would have been all about the Gypsy Circus. It was one of my greatest discoveries in Paris, ever–and I’d never have found it had I not been looking for “a great place to take a kid on a rainy weekend afternoon.”

    I’m almost reluctant to write too much about it, though, for fear that the next time I go there, it will be spoiled by tourists. I couldn’t find a video that captured it. But it was so charming, so hilarious, so innocent (for the kids), so sly (for the adults), and so ingeniously designed to make the whole family glad they spent a day together that I really felt it deserved a post–or a novel–or its own.

    *You know, kids really know nothing. It’s amazing how much parents have to teach them–totally from scratch. How would the parents of Ricochet deal with seeing those memorials to the dead, which never fail to shock–the walls and walls and walls full of names–and trying to explain to a five-year-old why they all died? How do you answer, “But why did the Germans want to take over the world?”

    I thought my father did a fine job on that. Experience, I guess. “Because they thought they could.”

    Accurate, and just about right for a five-year-old. Fortunately, he was soon distracted by the story of the way people used to go to the bathroom in the Court of Louis XIV.

    • #24
  25. user_32335 Member
    user_32335
    @BillWalsh

    Sorry if that was the implication, Claire. I assumed the extraterritoriality didn’t need repeating. So that theoretical tomb was American soil with U.S. Marines guarding it. In my mind.

    I hadn’t had any coffee yet, folks. The uncaffeinated mind is a dangerous thing.

    • #25
  26. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    #23 Claire

    Note also that my comment back there is a plea.

    My pseudo-intellect is incapable of rising to the challenge of answering why it is that you or any other lady would be in need of gentlemanly defense from a plea.

    Guilty as charged on the arrogance, elitism, and attitude counts.

    I plead Angeshparter Litvak-ism; being a Stubborn Litvak by heritage is a widely-acknowledged and frequently-upheld form of insanity defense.

    • #26
  27. Darth Vader Jr Inactive
    Darth Vader Jr
    @NedWalton

    Claire,

    The tomb move made the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning.

    • #27
  28. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Claire Berlinski:

    Edward Smith:By the way, I passed that video of the Gypsy Circus onto a friend from church,

    If I hadn’t been sidetracked by Versailles, the challenge of explaining French and European history to a Lego-obsessed five-year-old,* and the alternative-reality news bombshell I found upon my return, this post would have been all about the Gypsy Circus. It was one of my greatest discoveries in Paris, ever–and I’d never have found it had I not been looking for “a great place to take a kid on a rainy weekend afternoon.”

    I’m almost reluctant to write too much about it, though, for fear that the next time I go there, it will be spoiled by tourists. I couldn’t find a video that captured it. But it was so charming, so hilarious, so innocent (for the kids), so sly (for the adults), and so ingeniously designed to make the whole family glad they spent a day together that I really felt it deserved a post–or a novel–or its own.

    *You know, kids really know nothing. It’s amazing how much parents have to teach them–totally from scratch. How would the parents of Ricochet deal with seeing those memorials to the dead, which never fail to shock–the walls and walls and walls full of names–and trying to explain to a five-year-old why they all died? How do you answer, “But why did the Germans want to take over the world?”

    I thought my father did a fine job on that. Experience, I guess. “Because they thought they could.”

    Accurate, and just about right for a five-year-old. Fortunately, he was soon distracted by the story of the way people used to go to the bathroom in the Court of Louis XIV.

    Did your brother mention the splinters involved?  And the riches to be gleamed by the ones who collected the Night Soil?  He can bring up the significance of outhouses in archeology later.

    He can also introduce your nephew to a book related to this specific topic, Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, with that delicious subplot about Silas Wegg (I’d love to see the gravestone Dickens copied that name off of) and his quest for his long lost leg bone – now in the possession of Mr. Venus (deliciously played by Timothy Spall in the 1998 mini-series – and boy did that mini-series gives us a sense of the ever-present dust and ash).

    • #28
  29. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Danny Alexander:#23 Claire

    Note also that my comment back there is a plea.

    My pseudo-intellect is incapable of rising to the challenge of answering why it is that you or any other lady would be in need of gentlemanly defense from a plea.

    Guilty as charged on the arrogance, elitism, and attitude counts.

    I plead Angeshparter Litvak-ism; being a Stubborn Litvak by heritage is a widely-acknowledged and frequently-upheld form of insanity defense.

    Danny,

    I think the proper term is Dour Litvak. You know like the Vilna Gaon. My father was a Dour Litvak. It made him a great Graduate Dean. You’ve got to go with your strength. My mother on the other hand was a crazy Pole. Who knew from these people? I ask you? In the following video is my great Uncle Julie. A crazy Pole. He’s the guy in the middle between the Irishman and the Italian. How he got there I’ll never know.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
  30. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    One of the things that Ricochet has definitely impressed me with are how good-intentioned, well-read and intelligent people can legitimately, and with the very same data, come to radically different conclusions than myself. AIG, Zafar, and yes, Claire all have opened my eyes on this score.

    So while I cannot understand Claire’s conclusion to stay in Europe (any more than I did when I was begging her to get out of Turkey), I do not deny her intelligence or claim that we have different data. We are looking at the very same elephant: we just see it differently.

    • #30

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