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the 'ghost city' of Cyprus
November 3, 2005 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Michael Totten visits the 'ghost city' of Cyprus | "In 1974 the Turkish military invaded and carved up the island. Greek Cypriots in the north were forced to move south side of the line. Turkish Cypriots from the south were forced to move north. Greek Cypriot citizens in Varosha fled the Turkish invasion in terror. They expected to return to their homes within days. Instead, the Turks seized the empty city and wrapped it in fencing and wire. They forbid anyone from entering it to this day."
posted by jenleigh (75 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
And they wanted to join the EU. Hah.
posted by IronLizard at 1:04 PM on November 3, 2005


Time for the neocon three minute hate again, I see. Continue on, brave warriors.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:11 PM on November 3, 2005


Yeah, and why did the military occupy the island? Not saying that they didn't go too far, but...

Ack. I'm not going to win this one.
posted by billysumday at 1:13 PM on November 3, 2005


IronLizard writes "And they wanted to join the EU. Hah."

I'm not getting this comment. Cyprus (as represented by it's legal Greek Cypriot government) is a member of the EU. The recent reunification plan was rejected by the Greeks, not the Turks. Reunification is still probably inevitable; it's certainly favored by the majority on the Turkish side, and the EU is putting a lot of pressure on the Greek side to accept it. The reunified island will be part of the EU.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:14 PM on November 3, 2005


I thought it was the greeks and Cypriots who hated eachother.

The idea that all of these warring factions could become part of the same supernational amalgam is pretty odd.
posted by delmoi at 1:20 PM on November 3, 2005


Heywood Mogroot writes "Time for the neocon three minute hate again, I see."

Hold on; don't the neocons favor Turkish Cyprus (and Turkey, for that matter) in the EU? Part of the 'democratization of the Muslim world", right? And isn't it the Two Minutes Hate?

Everything is confusing me today....
posted by mr_roboto at 1:21 PM on November 3, 2005


Part II, the south side, with a vague attempt at an explaination.

And this is seriously awesome right here.
posted by queen zixi at 1:23 PM on November 3, 2005


delmoi: Cypriots are, for the most part, either Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots. Both countries claim historic ownership of the island, which is why neither owns it wholly and instead need a UN-patrolled borded to split it in two.
posted by billysumday at 1:24 PM on November 3, 2005


queen zixi: I've driven right underneath and past that flag in the side of the mountain and, yes. Yes it is awesome.
posted by billysumday at 1:27 PM on November 3, 2005


Turkey ought to be ashamed of itself.

One thing is for sure: Someone ought to be ashamed. I'm not sure who since I'm not aware of all the history, but my 2 minute armchair judgement is making me shake my head and wonder.

Most of us here probably were born & raised in the US and, therefore, can't understand how things like this even come to pass. Or what it's like to live in a society where you could have a "ghost city" right next to your house. Is there anything even close to this in the US? Any large abandoned cities where you'll get shot if you try to sneak in?
posted by pkingdesign at 1:39 PM on November 3, 2005


Supposedly, according to Lonely Planet, there is a car dealership somewhere in the city that still has 1974 models in the showroom.

This is fascinating, thanks for the link.
posted by dual_action at 1:48 PM on November 3, 2005


billysunday: The Greek Cypriot coup junta should be ashamed for trying to force unification with Greece (as I recall, Greece didn't really want that particular problem), and Turkey should be ashamed for invading as the only solution to stop it.

But I think the EU ought to be ashamed for taking in a divided country, just to have an even 10 new members. Seriously -- the EU membership carrot was having a tremendous effect at breaking the logjam (primarily caused, not by popular sentiment, but by dyspeptic leadership) and bringing the sides closer to an agreement at joint control. Everybody recognizes that's the future, they just don't want to do the right thing to get there.

pkingdesign: Parts of Detroit may qualify.
posted by dhartung at 1:51 PM on November 3, 2005


On both sides the assumption is that the 'ghost city', Varosha, is a bargaining chip for the eventual settlement, which is why it is kept empty. Just how difficult that settlement has proved comes down basically to property, squatters on both sides living in homes that someone else has a thirty year old title to.

Dhartung, you forgot include the British in the blame game. Our guarantees of minority rights were valueless, provoking Turkey to act. I couldn't really understand the Cyprus issue until I met a gentleman from colonial times who explained 'Oh yes, we really liked the Turks, we made them our Policemen'.
posted by grahamwell at 1:59 PM on November 3, 2005


Not unrelated: artist/photographer Jim Harold has been surveying the buffer zone in Cyprus since 1988, the resulting images aren't bad at all.
posted by jack_mo at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2005


This is really interesting. Thanks
posted by arcticwoman at 2:10 PM on November 3, 2005


Mr Roboto: The turks petitioned for EU membership, right? Not that the EU defender of morality or somesuch horsecrap, but this is a country who patrols an empty city for 30 years and neither utilizes it for gain nor allows anyone else entry. I'm completely unaware of other circumstances but this is not the mark of a sane government. I didn't mention anything about who wanted to reunite with whomever. It's just sensless. Though, I wonder if there's any datsuns locked away in that dealership.
posted by IronLizard at 2:12 PM on November 3, 2005


IronLizard writes "The turks petitioned for EU membership, right?"

Membership talks are ongoing.

IronLizard writes "I'm completely unaware of other circumstances...."

That's abundantly clear.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2005


Not to worry, in fifty years all property on the island will be owned by British expats and since there'll be no jobs left except for developers, estate agents and pub owners and they'll also all be taken by the Brits, catering to other Brits, the Greek and Turkish Cypriots will both have to emigrate to London, which in the meantime, thanks to climate change, will enjoy long Mediterranean summers, so everyone will be happy.

I swear I'm only slightly exaggerating the very likely outcome of a very real trend.
posted by funambulist at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2005


Queen Zixi's link provides a much better explanation. It's like the DMZ. Now I see.
posted by IronLizard at 2:18 PM on November 3, 2005


Time for the neocon three minute hate again, I see. Continue on, brave warriors.

I'm not seeing a connection between the pictures & your comment. What does Varosha have to do with 'the necons'?
posted by jenleigh at 2:22 PM on November 3, 2005


That's abundantly clear.
posted by mr_roboto at


And what, precisely, does the single link in this FPP lead you to believe? There is no mention of the politics involved or the UN presence. Only that an entire city is emptied and forced into a state of limbo for thirty years by the Turks. If you have further knowledge perhaps you could have been more enlightening?
posted by IronLizard at 2:23 PM on November 3, 2005


funambulist: Hey, I believe ya. They should turn every island in the Mediterranean into another Ibiza. An archipelago of Ibiza's! Homogeny and Zimas for everyone!

ps - this is why Northern Cyprus still kicks ass as a tourist destination. Very few tourists, cheap, easy to get around, friendly people, amazing ruins...
posted by billysumday at 2:34 PM on November 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


Is there anything even close to this in the US? Any large abandoned cities where you'll get shot if you try to sneak in?

It's not in the US, but There's Chernobyl in the Ukraine. No body will shoot you, of course, but still.

pkingdesign: Parts of Detroit may qualify.

Yup. There are blocks and blocks of empty houses there. Pretty nice houses, and only worth a few thousand dollars.
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2005


Here is an quick photo tour of Cyprus, North and South, including the bizzare Ledra Palace Hotel, stuck in no-mans-land with only the UN for visitors.
posted by grahamwell at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2005


Creepy pictures. Reminds me of the pics of Pripyat with all those dead windows, and the city frozen in time.
And on preview, delmoi beat me to the reference. I'm not sure if you'll get shot, but there are guard points around the city, it seems. See this Oct.2005 Guardian article...
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:44 PM on November 3, 2005


I'm not seeing a connection between the pictures & your comment. What does Varosha have to do with 'the necons'?

because your single-link post links to Totten, a TechCentralStation (ie, a proven Republican astroturfing Internet operation) employee and Michelle malkin and Instapundit darling?
because, again, your post is about the brown people's many shortcomings (with a nice spit in the EU face to boot)?

see, I don't mind the Islamophobia at this point -- what I have a problem with is the hypocrisy.
"tags: photography"? like, this is an apolitical post? that's the joke of the day.

PeePee and his buddies have at least the balls not to hide behind a blade of grass.

now you can resume the 3-minute hate.

nice pics, by the way.
posted by matteo at 3:23 PM on November 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


More photos. This page has photos of the same street, taken from the same location 30 years apart. Map of Varosha.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:29 PM on November 3, 2005


Varosha, 'Islamaphobia', NeoCons and 'brown people' have nothing to do with the post no matter how much you're project, matteo, but your insinuations make it clear you know nothing about the subject matter.

I'd ask you to email me about his personally but I'm 110% sure you don't have the balls. How about leaving the thread be?
posted by jenleigh at 3:33 PM on November 3, 2005


Whilst fencing off a city is clearly pretty crazy, isn't it odd that the first comment here (backed up by a few others) should be an instant reaction that Turkey should be banned from the EU, that it has an insane government etc.? I'm no defender of Turkey, but is it any worse to use a city as a bargaining chip, than it was for the neocons in 1979 to use the Iranian US Hostages in the same way? And it's somewhat ironic for the stones to be cast at Turkey on the day that the EU began in investigation into the role of new member Poland in the murkey traffic in supposed Al Qaeda suspects. At least the city is intact, wich is more than can be said for some places that have earned the ire of the US, UK and other good Christian nations.
posted by Shinkicker at 3:41 PM on November 3, 2005


I don't think there were "neocons" in 1979. It's amazing how people abuse that term.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:51 PM on November 3, 2005


what I have a problem with is the hypocrisy.
"tags: photography"? like, this is an apolitical post? that's the joke of the day.


I guess that means that if I posted the link to the Chernobyl motorcycle tour photos (often linked on Metafilter), but we all lived in a freaky alternative universe where the cold war were still going on, I'd be accused of secretly doing it so that me and my pro-Reagan Republican buddies could spit on the dirty commies and push our secret Thatcherite agendas, or something.

What you're really saying, matteo, is that non-lefties shouldn't post links to things other non-lefties have found interesting, not without also disclosing our evil neo-con intentions for world domination--oh, and we're all probably racists too, since the subject of a post may include people with tan skin, and no one from our side of the political axis is allowed to comment on that. The fact that the point of the photos is to show sympathy to the plight of both groups of "brown people", Greeks and Turks, is apparently less interesting than condeming the poster and slagging her for your own perceptions of racism.

Hypocrisy indeed.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:06 PM on November 3, 2005


Wow, this is fascinating. I love it when I learn something new. Thanks for posting this jenleigh.
posted by panoptican at 4:12 PM on November 3, 2005


see, I don't mind the Islamophobia at this point -- what I have a problem with is the hypocrisy.
"tags: photography"? like, this is an apolitical post? that's the joke of the day.


I could give a damn whether Totten took the photos or Andre Kertesz. For lack of a more pertinent tag, and for not wanting to leave the tags empy, I added 'photography' as it was a photo essay, like many others posted on MeFi.

What's a better tag - 'Turkey'? Yeah, that's useful.

I think your analysis speaks to some fairly serious paranoia, and you're exactly the kind of insufferable prick who has all but killed my enjoyment of this site in the last year.
posted by jenleigh at 4:18 PM on November 3, 2005


Great photos and commentary. That being said, I do find it hypocritcal, because Totten is a huge supporter of Israel (to the point of ignoring the same type of realities that he is documenting in his article).

"Greek Cypriot citizens in Varosha fled the Turkish invasion in terror. They expected to return to their homes within days. Instead, the Turks seized the empty city and wrapped it in fencing and wire. They forbid anyone from entering it to this day."

Replace that with Palestinians, and note that not only were they not allowed to return, but their homes were stolen and not just fenced off to be used as a bargaining chip.

I like the fact that Totten and his cohorts are TechCentralStation etc. are unwilling to put up with things like this. What I don't like is that in the case of Israel, they not only put up with it but attempt to justify it. It renders their arguments hollow and makes me think that the only reason they are willing to point out this case is because it's politically convenient for them to do so.
posted by cell divide at 4:21 PM on November 3, 2005


I don't think there were "neocons" in 1979.

Ok, slightly sloppy terminology to an extent, although they were around in a formative kind of a way. I was just trying to be polite.

I think it's useful to separate out the original post, which was interesting and balanced, from some of the comments, which to me seemed to have a knee-jerk agenda.
posted by Shinkicker at 4:23 PM on November 3, 2005


cell divide, the analogy is not entirely accurate. The majority of the Palestinians were not fleeing oncoming Jewish troops, per se; they were fleeing at the explicit request of the Arab leaders and Arab troops who were coming in to, as they phrased it, kill Jews, and who wanted to make sure their fellow Arabs were not in the way when they were doing the killing.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:34 PM on November 3, 2005


Aside from the political aspects, it is so fascinating that an entire city has been frozen in time. It's a dream for the anthropologist in me. Even though it's only from the '70s, it's still just incredible.

I wonder how much has been looted by the "patrolling military force"?
posted by snsranch at 4:35 PM on November 3, 2005


Yeah, I guess that's why Ariel Sharon and his cohorts were running from village to village terrorizing citizens back then because they wanted everyone out of the way when those big bad arabs wanted to get some smackdown on them. . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:40 PM on November 3, 2005


I don't think there were "neocons" in 1979. It's amazing how people abuse that term.

Neoconservative generally means a person who agrees with the neoconservative agenda. It's called "neoconservative" because the core of the ideology came about from a few people who became disillusioned with liberalism, and became newly conservative, or neoconservative. That transition (from liberal to conservative) generally happened in the "1970s".

Anyway, these people were certanly running around before 1979.
posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on November 3, 2005


mk1gti, Ariel Sharon spent the Six Day War in Egypt--and the Yom Kippur War too. But don't let facts get in your way.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:45 PM on November 3, 2005



cell divide, the analogy is not entirely accurate. The majority of the Palestinians were not fleeing oncoming Jewish troops, per se; they were fleeing at the explicit request of the Arab leaders and Arab troops who were coming in to, as they phrased it, kill Jews, and who wanted to make sure their fellow Arabs were not in the way when they were doing the killing.


If you really believe that, I've got some great real estate to sell you in Louisiana.

Does that really pass the sniff test with you? Do you think in the history of human society, people have fled their homes and belongings in panic because their own armies were coming to protect them? What Jews would they be killing, exactly, in Palestinian villages (if not advancing armies)? Give it some thought... I don't think there's anything to be gained by deliberately obfuscating what happened in '48.

To believe that version of events, you'd have to believe that there were no massacres, no towns emptied (the citizens of Lod and Ramle just made it up, and faked the photos and video?) by the Israeli army, and that everyone fled their homes because evil blood thirsty Jew killers wanted to somehow lure innocents into Palestinian villages and kill them.

What is known, and I believe this is the genesis of the popular myth you posted, is that Arab radio broadcasts overstated the massacres and rapes of the advancing armies-- panicking Arabs who believed them. Their goal was not for the Arabs to flee, but to rile them up. It didn't work, and large numbers did leave their homes because of those broadcasts. But, as most leading Israeli and Palestinian scholars agree, the majority left because their villages were under seige, or were in the arc of potentially being invaded.
posted by cell divide at 4:47 PM on November 3, 2005


killed my enjoyment of this site in the last year

"In 1974 the Turkish military invaded and carved up the island" Nov 3, 2005

"New Syrian TV show angers some Arabs" Oct 12, 2005

"Selected images from Saturday's anti-war rally in San Francisco" Sep 28, 2005

"Chrenkoff compiles the most egregious "hurricane exploitation" quotes" Sep 3, 2005

"Francis Fukuyama: The acceptable face of the neo-cons?" Aug 16, 2005

"Sheikh Khalid Yasin grew up as a Christian in the United States but converted to Islam under the influence of Malcolm X" Aug 2, 2005

"400 Days and Out: A Strategy for Resolving the Iraq Impasse" Jul 18, 2005

"In November 2003, Weekly Standard writer Steph..." Jul 13, 2005

"Blaming Everyone But the Terrorists" Jul 10, 2005

"The Dutch-Muslim Culture War" Jun 15, 2005

"Sy Hersh's Loose Relationship with the Literal Truth" Jun 2, 2005

"Irshad Manji, self-described "Muslim Refusenik", urges moderation after the Newsweek-Quran scandal" May 24, 2005

"Two new pieces from the San Diego Union-Tribune chronicle the dire conditions in North Korea" May 18, 2005

"A week after Saudi Arabia banned the practise of forced marriage" Apr 28, 2005

""European governments are allowing Islamic fundamentalists..." Apr 21, 2005

"More mass graves unearthed in Iraq" Apr 18, 2005

"Between 1915 and 1918 the Ottoman Empire, ruled b..." Apr 14, 2005

"Jim Jeffords, the Vermont Independent, may face a clear field right now in a 2006 re-election bid, but his March 22 performance on Vermont Public Radio's Switchboard program raised a few eyebrows. I think it was all done to get oil, Jeffords said of invading Iraq" Apr 11, 2005

"The National Military Academy of Afghanistan began its academic year last week, welcoming its first class of soldiers to pass basic training" Mar 28, 2005

"Senators Charles Schumer and Susan Collins urge stronger action on Saudi Arabia" Mar 15, 2005

"Earlier this month, Condoleezza Rice discussed reforms and democracy with Egyptian foreign minister Abu..." Feb 27, 2005

"A followup on the Ward Churchill controversy" Feb 9, 2005

"Iraqi Citizens Fight Back" Feb 4, 2005

"Coptic Christans comprise 15-18% of Egypt's population" Feb 2, 2005

"While Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declares a "bitter war" against democracy..." Jan 26, 2005


... and quite a year it's been for you, jenleigh.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:18 PM on November 3, 2005


ack, I shouldn't have sh*t in the thread like that. Next time I'll take it to mt.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:20 PM on November 3, 2005


Very cool.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:23 PM on November 3, 2005


I wasn't refering to either one of those incidents that you mentioned.

Unit 101 undertook a series of retaliatory raids against Palestinians and neighboring Arab states that helped bolster Israeli morale and fortify its deterrent image. However, the unit was also criticized for targeting civilians as well as Arab soldiers, resulting in the widely condemned Qibya massacre in the fall of 1953, in which more than sixty Palestinian civilians were killed in an attack on their West Bank village. In the documentary "Israel and the Arabs: 50 Year War
posted by mk1gti at 5:25 PM on November 3, 2005


Oh and Asparagirl, don't let facts get in your way either
posted by mk1gti at 5:28 PM on November 3, 2005


Ariel's History courtesy of Wiki
posted by mk1gti at 5:29 PM on November 3, 2005


Do you think in the history of human society, people have fled their homes and belongings in panic because their own armies were coming to protect them?

Er, yes, actually, it seemed to happen quite a bit in WWII. Especially since the "protection" of the (non-Palestinian) Arab forces in 1948 sometimes entailed rape and looting of the native Palestinian populations, i.e. as happened in Jaffa. But no one wants to be caught in the middle of a warzone, whether it's "their" troops coming in or "our" troops. Is it so hard to believe that people would leave an area where they know a battle may be about to take place? Or that a military or religious leader might urge them to?

And that Arab military leaders and local mufti's (via radio broadcasts, etc.) called on Palestinians to get out of the way so that their armies could come in and crush the Jewish state is not exactly up for debate (or, at least, I honestly didn't think so until this thread). And some left just out of pure fear; in Haifa, for one example, tens of thousands of Palestinians left in fear of being bombed by Arab forces who were (supposedly) going to target Mt. Carmel. Furthermore, given the vast disparity in force size, strength, armor, and planes between the Jewish and Arab armies (Jews: one tank with no gun; Arabs: 40 tanks; Jews: 40 artillery; Arabs: 200 artillery; Jews: zero warplanes; Arabs: 74 warplanes, etc.), the Arabs really were a much more massive and dangerous force to fear, if you were a citizen who was going to be afraid of an army and maybe want to leave the area.

I'm absolutely not denying that atrocities were committed in the war, notably at Deir Yassin, or saying that the Israeli army didn't sometimes uproot and drive out whole towns, as at Lod. But specifically, I am commenting that there are differences between Greek Cypriots running from Turkish tanks for fear they'd be killed by the Turks and many Arabs leaving at the urging of their own forces/leaders/reports so that their much bigger armies could go in and work unimpeded.

[sorry for derailing, jenleigh]
posted by Asparagirl at 5:47 PM on November 3, 2005


Heywood:
None of those links demonstrate me acting like matteo has here. So yea -- it's comments like his which make me reluctant to contribute more. I think you've missed the point entirely.
posted by jenleigh at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2005


This seems a little awkward now, but I just can't refuse a direct challenge, and in a completely unrelated thread, dhoyt challenged me to offer everyone a gentle reminder to play nice, kids. So there you go.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2005


>I could give a damn whether Totten took the photos or Andre Kertesz.

I hope you don't really mean that. Because Kertesz wouldn't have taken those particular pictures. Or described them as Totten describes.

And for the record, I don't necessarily disagree with Totten's positions. But no one pays me for my positions.

>I think your analysis speaks to some fairly serious paranoia

There is clearly some over-reaching in both directions here, but let's be clear on one thing about Michael Totten: He is on the payroll of TechCentralStation, which is James Glassman, DCI, and some of the scariest folks in the Beltway. I've met some of them, this is not abstract conspiracy stuff. These people do this for a living. They look like people you know.

You never wonder where tropes like Willie Horton, "death tax", Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, or Iraqi torturers in Kuwait come from? They are manufactured by PR and lobbyist firms, like DCI and propagated through journalists on their payroll, like Michael Totten.

What you do with the photos is up to you. It's not about paranoia, it's about simple media dynamics. Given Totten's funding, it's quite possible that someone paid someone else to show you those pictures in that context, as part of building a larger popular opinion.

So I give a damn whether and why Totten took the photos, and all I'm saying is that if you don't take that into account, don't pretend they are just pixels.

If you still think it's hyperbole, here's what Totten's employer, DCI, offers as one of it's products:

INTERNET STRATEGIES

The Internet allows you to take an issue and communicate it on your terms to the world - no media filter, no hostile interpretations by opponents. It also provides unparalleled opportunities to mobilize constituents, employees and the public at large. We can design a website that fits your specific needs and ensures your side of the story is heard.

posted by cloudscratcher at 5:59 PM on November 3, 2005


Heywood:
None of those links demonstrate me acting like matteo has here. So yea -- it's comments like his which make me reluctant to contribute more. I think you've missed the point entirely.


I think heywood's comment was meant to illustrate that your posting history provides ample support for matteo's claim that there's a clear political bias evident in your FPPs, to defend against your assertion that matteo's remarks were completely paranoid. But that's just my hunch, and I can't speak for either matteo or heywood with any authority.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 6:05 PM on November 3, 2005


Asparagirl - I don't really care *whose* armies the Palestinians were fleeing from. I think the more interesting point is that nobody here is contesting the right of the Cypriots to return to their homes, while I'm sure there are a few who would deny that right to the Palestinians.

So remember - if you flee from a foreign army, the house is still yours. If you flee from your own, you forfeit it forever!
posted by laz-e-boy at 6:08 PM on November 3, 2005


This is a great interview with Benny Morris, leading historian of the 1948 war. Here is a passage you might find enlightening:

According to your findings, how many acts of Israeli massacre were perpetrated in 1948?

"Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing...

"The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north...

"That can't be chance. It's a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

What you are telling me here, as though by the way, is that in Operation Hiram there was a comprehensive and explicit expulsion order. Is that right?

"Yes. One of the revelations in the book is that on October 31, 1948, the commander of the Northern Front, Moshe Carmel, issued an order in writing to his units to expedite the removal of the Arab population. Carmel took this action immediately after a visit by Ben-Gurion to the Northern Command in Nazareth. There is no doubt in my mind that this order originated with Ben-Gurion. Just as the expulsion order for the city of Lod, which was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, was issued immediately after Ben-Gurion visited the headquarters of Operation Dani [July 1948]."

I find it bordering on the obscene that you would try to pass off the idea that people fled because of fear of the Arab armies. There may be a grain of truth to that, but when confronted by the mountain of evidence of where the real atrocities came from... I just find it awful.

or, at least, I honestly didn't think so until this thread

Actually, it was definitely up for debate and the first edition of Morris's book says that that was largely a myth and not that influential. However, he now says:

In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah [the pre-state defense force that was the precursor of the IDF] were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves.

"At the same time, it turns out that there was a series of orders issued by the Arab Higher Committee and by the Palestinian intermediate levels to remove children, women and the elderly from the villages. So that on the one hand, the book reinforces the accusation against the Zionist side, but on the other hand it also proves that many of those who left the villages did so with the encouragement of the Palestinian leadership itself."

I have spent many years studying this issue, and in my mind, Morris is head and shoulders above any other scholar of that time in history so I will defer to him. Note, however, that he says that the children, women, and elderly were the ones encouraged to evacuate.

Furthermore, I don't see the difference at all, because does it really matter who gave the order to flee? The bottom line is that, just like the Turks, the Israelis had the intention to empty people out of the village.

And, I don't think it's a derail at all, as Totten is closely aligned with pro-Israel groups and movements, and while I applaud him for calling the Turks out, I wish he would do the same across the board. I can take him to the sites of destroyed Palestinian villages in Israel and show him where they used to be-- perhaps he can photograph them and post an essay about it.
posted by cell divide at 6:13 PM on November 3, 2005


I think you've missed the point entirely.

Matteo was just defending my original snark contribution (better than I would have, I might add).

What, exactly, is objectionable about matteo's comments:

you: "What does Varosha have to do with 'the neocons'?"

matteo: because your single-link post links to Totten

Totten is indeed a notorious neocon, in up to his neck in the mess they've been creating since 2001.

a TechCentralStation (ie, a proven Republican astroturfing Internet operation) employee

TCS is indeed a particularly joke operation.

...because, again, your post is about the brown people's many shortcomings (with a nice spit in the EU face to boot)?

To which I agree. Your posting history here is indeed indicative that you have Moslems on the Brain. Now, I think Islamic culture is largely shit and would like to see a healthy prosperous Israel hold hands in peace and coprosperity with their unfortunately islamic neighbors.

The neocon plan to bust into Iraq and install secular Shiites like Chalabi and Allawi was indeed ballsy, and given perfect execution might have even worked.

see, I don't mind the Islamophobia at this point -- what I have a problem with is the hypocrisy.
"tags: photography"? like, this is an apolitical post? that's the joke of the day.


Indeed. Totten+islamic topic+jenleigh, same shit fpp, different week.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:15 PM on November 3, 2005


Good christ, MeFites can turn anything into an I/P slanging match.

Nice post, jenleigh. Ignore the maniacs.
posted by languagehat at 6:17 PM on November 3, 2005


MeFites can turn anything into an I/P slanging match

Well, it's the touchstone of our age. Whether that corner of the buttcrack of the world we call the MidEast will still be inhabitable in 10, 20 years is an open question ATM. I believe nutballs like jenleigh are part of the problem and not the solution, but I wish 'em luck in bringing security to the region. I sure as hell don't have anything positive to contribute, other than advice to not kill innocent people.

Peace Out.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:22 PM on November 3, 2005


Heywood, go shit in meta, please.
posted by Stauf at 8:49 PM on November 3, 2005


I had no idea this was occurring in Cyprus. Thanks, jenleigh.
posted by mischief at 11:04 PM on November 3, 2005


languagehat and Stauf, that's the clearest example of myopic intellectual dysentery I've seen in quite a while. Brilliant!

And I don't care if anybody thinks jenleigh is an obsessive compulsive anti-Muslim person, she still posts alternatives that bring the best out of people. That's important. Please don't leave us, jenleigh.
posted by gsb at 11:48 PM on November 3, 2005


I had no idea this was occurring in Cyprus.

What was occuring? Greek/Turk friction on Cyprus is one of the more no-duh issues in international relations. No doubt Totten will be able to write off this Mediterranean jaunt with this hard-hitting journalismistic exposé. Nice work if you can get it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:53 PM on November 3, 2005


Please don't leave us, jenleigh.

I can second that :) Usually I just scroll on by her posts, but it is indeed useful to have coverage of the insane half of the blogosphere. Lord knows I'm not going to be navigating through it meself.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:55 PM on November 3, 2005


billysumday, as I've already mentioned on another occasion, that's precisely my humble plan for the solution of all conflicts in the Mediterranean, turn the whole thing into an extended Ibiza.

I'm glad to find someone else on the same wavelength! Maybe you could join my burgeoning property developing business and help turn that dream into a reality. We aspire to become the Halliburton of the Med, but without the wars, or the new Bin Ladens, but without the terrorists. From Morocco to Lebanon, people united by concrete and tourism. That is our vision. Palestinian and Israelis will live together in one borderless holiday resort. Our solution for Cyprus is to build a giant artificial extension that unites it both to Turkey and Greece, so that it'll all become one Turgreeprus development and all that unprofitable bickering will cease. There'll be so much more land to build on. All that sea, what a waste...

ps - this is why Northern Cyprus still kicks ass as a tourist destination. Very few tourists, cheap, easy to get around, friendly people, amazing ruins...

Enjoy it while it lasts!
posted by funambulist at 1:16 AM on November 4, 2005


What's a better tag - 'Turkey'? Yeah, that's useful.

jenleigh, why not? Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, EU, they're all mentioned in the post and link, and the comment to the pictures is about the political situation there, so, it's not just about photography.

Just saying, about the tags, I don't see why not add those other ones, that's all. As for the rest, I have no interest to get into the political discussion over the choice of post. I'm only interested in business, and business is impartial. (And if I can say one non-political thing in defense of the Turks, it's that, unlike those lazy Greeks, they make great hard-working builders, and very cheap too, especially on the black market. So to us vultures developers the phrase "the Turks are coming! the Turks are coming!" takes on an entirely benign meaning. As long as they come on time!).
posted by funambulist at 1:30 AM on November 4, 2005


(I'll say one non-political thing about Turks, too. I went to a great Turkish restaurant yesterday. The beer was pretty good, but the wine was a tad tart. Anyway the food was tremendous. Lovely stuff!).
posted by gsb at 1:48 AM on November 4, 2005


I believe nutballs like jenleigh are part of the problem
...says the guy who also says:
I think Islamic culture is largely shit.

I don't often do this, but: pot, kettle.

gsb, I don't understand what you mean about "myopic intellectual dysentery." Could you clarify?
posted by languagehat at 5:49 AM on November 4, 2005


language: explain why you think I am ... hypocritical?

I am not a cultural relativist, and, being a reasonably well-informed person, have not found much to admire about islamic culture (perhaps living in the region might change this, but I doubt it).

However, I believe in soft-power to improve the status quo, not blowing shit up and fucking over people like we have been doing over the past 4 years now. Additionally, I think the i/p situation is fubar from alll angles. Jenleigh's pro-war neo-con oriented posts (see above) of one-way finger-pointing at the /them/ aren't that constructive. America, Israel, Europe, et al have beams in our own eyes, culturally-speaking, too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:57 AM on November 4, 2005


And I don't care if anybody thinks jenleigh is an obsessive compulsive anti-Muslim person, she still posts alternatives that bring the best out of people.

WTF??
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:29 PM on November 4, 2005


Heywood: I think anyone who says something as mind-numbingly stupid as "I think Islamic culture is largely shit" is a nutball. Sorry. And unless you've experienced, say, the Green Mosque in Bursa, the poetry of Rumi, the philosophy of Ibn Arabi, the city of Istanbul, and a whole bunch of other stuff, I don't think you have any right to call yourself "a reasonably well-informed person" on this subject. I think you've read a few articles and talked to a few other nutballs and formed an opinion out of your collective ass. (Do you even know any actual Muslims?) But that's just my opinion; you're free to disagree.
posted by languagehat at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2005


gsb, I don't understand what you mean about "myopic intellectual dysentery." Could you clarify?

short-sighted measured-opinion diarrhea

Hey, I think this is all a good thing. A case in point, leftcoastbob's response is "simply the best."
posted by gsb at 3:21 PM on November 4, 2005


But... but... what did you mean by that? What did I say to provoke it? I'm all confused!
posted by languagehat at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2005


Green Mosque in Bursa completed 1424.
the poetry of Rumi d. 1273
the philosophy of Ibn Arabi d. 1240
the city of Istanbul stolen from the Byzantine Greeks.

jesus, you make my stupid point for me. Sure, ca. a long time ago Islamic culture experienced a florescence while Western culture was relatively backward.

These days, the more "islamic" a place is, the more fucked up it is. But that is just my underinformed opinion, of course.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:58 PM on November 4, 2005


Man, talk about a bad-faith argument. If someone said "Western culture is shit," you'd haul out Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, and the rest of the usual suspects, not whatever's on Broadway this week. But fine, you want to play that game, we'll play that game: unless you've experienced, say, the novels of Naguib Mahfouz (who won the Nobel Prize), the poetry of Adonis (who's rumored to be on the shortlist), the films of Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf (who are constantly winning international awards), and a whole bunch of other stuff, I don't think you have any right to call yourself "a reasonably well-informed person" on this subject. The point about the city of Istanbul, since I obviously have to spell this out, is that if it had been stolen from the Romans (why do you call them "Greeks"? do you call Americans "English" because they speak English?) by the barbarians you think Muslims are, it would either be 1) a collection of decaying ruins with ragged sheepherders wandering around pitching their tents here and there or 2) an anonymous modern city with nothing left of the past because the ignorant Muslims blew it all up. Instead, it's a seamless whole, with great buildings of all ages cheek by jowl, the creations of a great civilization preserved and complemented by the creations of another great civilization. I repeat, you don't know what you're talking about: you've read a few articles and talked to a few other nutballs and formed an opinion out of your collective ass.

I'm not bothering to go through all this in the hopes of changing your ignorant opinion, by the way; your ignorance is clearly proud and invincible. I'm doing it in the hopes that at least one person who might have been swayed, even unconsciously, by your bullshit might see your username in the future and think "oh yeah, Heywood Mogroot, that guy doesn't know what he's talking about."
posted by languagehat at 11:41 PM on November 4, 2005


I was curious about that ban on photographs so I searched and came across this article on Wired from 1999: One Nation, Invisible - What happens after ethnic cleansing ends? Bruce Sterling reports from the postnationalist future - Cyprus, haven of undeclared peace. It's a very enjoyable read, with lots of fascinating information on the place and personal anecdotes - like when he's invited for tea into the home of a Turkish Cypriot family and ends up watching the news with them as they cheer when Ocalan is arrested ("a Kurdish separatist (not quite as bad as a Greek, but close)"!), and when he's "ratted out by a 9 year old" to the Turkish Cypriot army for wandering around the military area and ends up buying cigarettes for the soldiers. I'm just going to quote this:
One may naturally wonder how this fertile and fragrant island, the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, got so utterly messed up. Well, Cyprus is a very, very old place. It's no use beginning at the beginning, because then you have to point out that Cyprus once had its own race of dwarf elephants. Modern Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are no help at all because, although they claim they have a national history and they loudly chew over it all the time, what they really have are two intricate, dual theologies of vicious ethnic grudges. Outsiders who dare to describe Cypriot history will be sternly reminded that they know nothing - that they have abjectly failed to mention, for instance, the vile enosis doctrine of Archbishop Makarios, or the ghastly cruelties of the Grey Wolf commandos.

But here, for the busy inhabitant of 1999, is the executive summary of the Cypriot's 20th century. Cyprus, with a population dominated by ethnic Greeks and Turks, was controlled since 1878 by Britain, which built naval bases there. A small but nasty terror/liberation struggle broke out in the late 1950s. The British left in 1960, keeping their naval bases and leaving behind a hopelessly elaborate, democratic constitution. There was a war in 1963, with many grisly atrocities, but the UN cooled it down.

Then, in the mid-1970s, the Greek military junta grew desperate. It was a sorry Cold War junta, tolerated by NATO because it rarely failed to blackjack Communists, but it was losing all popular support in Greece. So, in a daring gamble, its leaders decided to launch a glamorous military adventure inside Cyprus.

This Cyprus imbroglio was very popular in Greece - anything that alarms Turks is always popular in Greece. But, like the Argentinean junta in the Falklands, this crew didn't have the firepower to back up their ambitions. They went so far as to destabilize the weak Cypriot government, and provoked a heroic shoot-'em-up among the local militias. The much greater numbers of Greek Cypriots got the upper hand on the ground. The angry Turks "intervened" from the very, very nearby Turkish mainland and split up the island at bayonet point. The Greek Cypriots immediately claimed that they were innocent civilian victims of illegal, bullying, military oppression. They demanded that this unspeakable barbarity cease at once, that all of Cyprus be placed in their hands. They've been demanding this for 25 years, but the stalemate is perpetual. Neither side in Cyprus will come out of the hard, paranoid shell of its ethnic mythology. The situation is double victimology at its best.
posted by funambulist at 6:30 AM on November 5, 2005


That's an excellent summary. Thanks, funambulist.
posted by languagehat at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2005


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