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15 September 2012


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No Republic that survives, in this creepy world, is a disaster. Let them stew down South...the Republic survived. Then. Not now. Something else killed it.


Human-type-beings should show retraint, some will and some won't, but the mind of the mob is easily inflamed or seduced. That is why I never liked big crowds.


Good to see you back, Clifford


And look how swimmingly everything is going.


Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Use them responsibly and keep God in your thoughts.


To paraphrase Marcus Aureulius, without God life is chaos and not worth living.


Sayin Albayim,

I share your concern that there is an attempt to put Turkey back to the middle ages, put precisely because of Ataturk's reforms and subsequent institutions put in place in the forming of the republic, this attempt is now checked.

Last 12 years of AKP government brought in an unusual environment of stability and as a result unprecedented economic growth.

AKP's base is the poor, rural, and urban poor who now have a voice as a result of very successful manipulation of their faith by Erdogan to gain political power. But they get elected, the elections are fair and voting percentages are consistently at high nineties. AKP has an entrenched base of roughly 20% but they garner a consistent high 40s vote in general elections. From where I sit, I see previously marginalized classes gaining upward mobility, access to very high quality education and affordable health care and civic services. Capital concentrations in large cities are being seriously challenged from central Anatolia. Literally, any consumer items available anywhere in the world, are available in any city here, at the same prices. So people are happy the way things are, but Turkey is, overall, too far gone the Western way, to me it is the AKP government that has failed, if indeed it was their goal to mold Turkey into a sheria state and it is because Ataturk's reforms has taken root. I think they are gone as far as they can go, or as far as general population would tolerate. As much as they would like to diminish Ataturk's place in people's hearts and minds, or the foundations he has set in place, they are not succeeding and I think they gave up on that.

Sure they have challenged the power of the Army, and put many, many high ranking Generals in jail, perhaps some unfairly- but they went without resisting, with faith in the justice system without lining up tanks in front of places where they were taken into custody. Because basic democratic ideals are instilled in officers in military academies, which are Ataturk's ideals. Since his death there has been some who confused defense of the country with control over all aspects of civil life and went too far, but an auto control mechanism within their own ranks allowed undemocratic elements to be exposed.

Sure there is an attempt to silence the media and the opposition but there is serious push back from the intelegencia, NGOs and the opposition parties.

Yes, the local mosque gets filled during Friday prayers, but also the bars and restaurants and discos at night. What I am trying to say is that without doubt a culture war is taking place in Turkey, in a flawed democratic atmosphere. The poor and disfranchised, as they get wealthier are actually coming to realize that modernity and western ways of thinking are personally beneficial to them. Their access to the economic life of Turkey has created an economic boom. And the elites, the Kemalists, the urban upper middle classes have also benefited from the economic growth, if not entirely happy to see a turn to religio-conservatism, where the majority of Turks have always been. It is a very messy cultural war, there are casualties, however all this interaction and push and pull is making Turkey stronger. These are my observations on the ground here and doubtlessly maybe considered as "the glass is half full" approach.

So my own fear of Turkey sliding to the dark side has subsided considerably in the last few years. My hope is that a wealthier, better educated free and happy population will come not to tolerate any longer "faith based" governance. Either AKP will go, or change to reflect this new realty. "It's God's way", or the "Good book says so" does not cut the mustard with the enlightened.


I suppose this was to be expected:


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian newspapers are reporting that a religious foundation has increased a reward for killing British author Salman Rushdie to $3.3 million from $2.8 million in response to alleged insults to the Prophet Muhammad.

The Sunday reports in the hardline Jomhoori Eslami daily and other newspapers appeared to be a reference to an anti-Islam film that sparked a series of protests across the Muslim world.

The report said that the 15 Khordad Foundation will pay the prize to whoever acts on the 1989 death fatwa issued by Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the author of the novel "The Satanic Verses," calling his book blasphemous.

The reward started at one million U.S. dollars and is occasionally increased.

Babak Makkinejad

Evidently they are exercising their freedom of expression.


One should also note that Hosni Mubarak might jump in along with Foresman and say that we irresponsibly allowed Twitter and Facebook to carry propaganda against him that led to his ouster and the current state of less than perfect order in Egypt. And likewise elsewhere in the Muslim world.

Fact is that if Arabs embrace Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., as means of political activism and of liberation by the means of speech offensive to their rulers, then they also have to face the fact that the very same media can carry speech offensive to them. It is the freedom and uncensorability of these media that make them valuable.


Babak, that is in line with the US Supreme Court decision that essentially says money = speech. A lot of us don't agree with that, we think there is a distinction between money and speech.


What happened with Iran this week. There were no reports of people in the streets protesting against the slight to the Prophet. Is it because we do not have an embassy there, that never stopped them before. No you tube availability, the mullahs did not instruct their faithful. I hope this is a sign of a stable government.

Babak Makkinejad

Indeed the English Government likewise argued that Thomas Paine's polemic - "Common Sense" - was suppressed in the colonies in order to maintain peace and stability and avoid needless bloodshed and sedition.

Babak Makkinejad

There were 400 or so college students protesting in front of the Swiss Embassy - outnumbered by the Tehran Police.

They read their resolution and then went back home.

Babak Makkinejad

There were missionay organizations from US that were active in the Middle East - Persbyterians for the most part, I think during late 19-th century and early 20-th centuries.

I understand that they brought with themselves modern medical sciences and modern education - in Egypt, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iran, and elsewhere.

In spite of their religious mission, they did not seem to have been precieved as a threat.

And there were Catholic missions as well; mostly in the field of education, if I recall correctly.


"Either there is a fatal necessity and invincible order, or a kind Providence, or a confusion without a purpose and without a director (Book IV). If then there is an invincible necessity, why dost thou resist? But if there is a Providence which allows itself to be propitiated, make thyself worthy of the help of the divinity. But if there is a confusion without governor, be content that in such a tempest thou hast in thyself a certain ruling intelligence. And even if the tempest carry thee away, let it carry away the poor flesh, the poor breath, everything else; for the intelligence at least it will not carry away. "

(source: http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.12.twelve.html)

To paraphrase Aurelius, even in Chaos reason makes life worth living.



Our "spiritual colonialism" and militart hegemony could be justified to ourselves during the Cold War. That world is gone.Nothing forces us to remain the policemen of the world, nothing except contract profits and promotions. pl

Hank Foresman

Arun, you clearly are a mistaken impression that I believe in censorship. I don't, but I do believe in self restraint and consideration of ones actions will have on others. I also do not accept the false belief all revolutions are good in that respect I find my views to be in agreement with The Right Honourable Edmund Burke MP.


Last time I looked the South was alive and well, just not Yankee.


Sayin Albayim,
I truly do not understand these two terms "spiritual colonialism" and "militart hegemony". Is the latter a typo for military hegemony or military art hegemony? And the former, is it something akin to cultural colonialism, or a hegemony of spiritual worship or a hegemony of American principals that has to do with the spirit?


The rest of the world are like women. You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em.

Whaddya gonna do?

Good post by the way, thanks.


Let's quote the relevant passage then:

"You may leave life at any moment: have this possibility in your mind in all that you do or say or thing. Now departure from the world of men is nothing to fear, if gods exist: because they would not involve you in any hardm. If they do not exist or they have no care for humankind, then what is life to me in a world devoide of gods, or devoid of providence?"

Book 2 Passage 11

Even your verse does not contradict what I am saying, as he makes mention of a divine Providence that is there. He does not contradict what I just quoted.


Sir, in all respect, regarding to this paragraph in your post-

"None of these obtains for Muslim people; they have assimilated the ethos of individual responsibility (to God) and individual autonomy (from God)."

May I ask you if you percieve the fundemental difference between, say a Bosnian Moslem in the middle of Europe and one of Salafist persuation in Saudi Arabia? There are more than a billion people of Moslem faith on the face of the earth and I will argue that they can not be lumped into a simple category. Unless this detail is resolved and digested, any talk about "Moslems" is bound to lead one into invalid conclusions. I predict you will take exception to my comment, but I live in a Moslem country and even here, a secular country, there is an infinite variety of people as to how they percieve this religion. And just if the audience here is wondering, I am an agnostic and a detached, interested observer.



"a hegemony of American principals that has to do with the spirit?" Yes

"military hegemony." Yes. pl


Yes he does make mention of divine Providence and I do not dispute Aurelius's belief in the Divine nor his meaning when he says "what is life to me in world devoid of gods..."

But this quote:
"But if there is a confusion without governor, be content that in such a tempest thou hast in thyself a certain ruling intelligence."

That quote implies to me that an individual's ruling intelligence gives life enough worth even without Providence. It could be interpreted that for Aurelius personally, life without God is not worth living, but that he doesn't necessarily believe that to be the case for others.

If by chaos you are implying a path towards nihilism then I wholeheartedly agree with you. Life is not worth living. But life without the Divine does not preclude an individual from believing in something else and that something else could be reason as Aurelius implies.

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