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Great Wandering_Dan 2007-09-16 9:39

Hello, Bulent -

A superb job as always. A very evocative use of sun streamers and shadows. It also reminds me how different the forests are on the east and west coasts (I grew up in the east).

Civil wars are among the worst of wars; only religious wars can compare - something we should remember in our dealings with Iraq, which is going through both. Lincoln is the greatest of presidents not just because he was able to get the North to prevail, but because he set conditions for the South to be reunited as a full partner in the union. It is a supreme irony that Booth, who assassinated Lincoln in revenge for the South, removed the one man who might have been capable of healing the wounds of the war. And while even Lincoln might have found that task too much, the lesser men who succeeded him did not even try (except for Johnson in some ways, but he could not stand against the Radicals). We have been paying for over a century for that shot in Ford's Theater. The light in these trees at Fredicksburg is, to my mind, as much a memorial to that failure as it is to the battle that took place there.

Have camera, will travel!


Old 09-16-2007, 05:20 PM
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batalay batalay is offline
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Default To Wandering_Dan: Light thrugh the trees...

Dear Dan,

In your note I can see a meeting of minds on a number of issues. To my mind, Anwar Sadat was very much like Lincoln, and like Lincoln he was assassinated by religious zealots.

I believe, you were in the Peace Corps. Twice during the 1960s I taught Peace Corps volunteers — first at Georgetown, then at Princeton — going off to Turkey to serve. When that institution was first founded by President Kennedy, I was a little skeptical that it would work. I began the greatest disciple of the organization, and I stay in close touch with volunteers from that period, who have united under the umbrella of "Arkadaslar," (Turkish for "friends") and are all deep Turcophiles.

Warm regards, and thank you for the note.

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Old 09-16-2007, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: To Wandering_Dan: Light thrugh the trees...

Hello, Bulent -

I have more mixed feelings about Sadat - he was an autocrat - but I can see the comparison.

Yes, we were in the Peace Corps, in Kenya. In our case, it was not very successful, as the Peace Corps did not really know how to use our skills (computers and small business) and admitted when we left that we would have been better placed in Eastern Europe. But it was a fascinating experience, and well worth it: We spent over a year living in a foreign country at (or close to) the local level. Both Jean and I have worked abroad, but never in a 3rd-world country like this. You might know, by the way, that the Peace Corps these days does all its training (after the first few days) in the country of service, so that we got a thorough exposure from the beginning. A very difficult but very rewarding experience all around.

Kennedy's three goals for the Peace Corps were, first, to help the people of another country learn to help themselves, second, to teach Americans about other countries, and third, to help other countries understand more about America. I like to think we managed to accomplish a little of all 3 goals in our time there. Certainly we are still in touch with friends we made in Kenya - one of the advantages of the internet.

We were older than most of the other volunteers in our group, and I have to say that these volunteers were among the most interesting, idealistic and motivated young Americans it's been my privilege to meet. The Peace Corps really does attract the best of our nation. Many go on to further service, in the State Department, in Congress, and elsewhere.

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