Category: History

2 of 2: Katyusha, Katyusha

 Here’s an interesting response from my Irish bard-friend, a linguist (and Russian-language expert) in Dublin…

Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: AA/ACS Katyusha, Katyusha

O’Brien is apparently not aware that the Russian nickname for the small and highly unsophisticated rockets (launched en masse in barrages) that Hamas and Hizbullah use comes from a folk-style Russian song written in 1938 and popular with Soviet soldiers during the war.  Americans and Brits normally referred to the launchers as “Stalin … [more]

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Lebanese-ness and Phoenician genetic markers

 There is an important section in Friedman’s “From Beirut to Jerusalem” that talks about the Phoenician-descent myth that Lebanese Christians invented for themselves, and how the Israelis bought into it hook-line-and-sinker as they were preparing for their first Lebanese invasion and occupation (circa 1980). 

I continue to be dismayed by how much residual resentment still seethes just below the surface between Lebanese Christians and Muslims, even among those who left decades ago.  I am equally dismayed every time I encounter … [more]

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My mother’s kid brother

 From Ray Close:

Eddy and the Mideast
Joseph C. Goulden 


Middle East veterans of a certain era – the World War II era into the 1950s – speak with respectful awe of William A. Eddy. Soldier, scholar, statesman, spy, Arabist – of him a colleague said, “Bill Eddy was probably the nearest thing that the United States has had to a Lawrence of Arabia.” 

His rich career is detailed by Thomas Lippman in “Arabian Knight: Colonel Bill Eddy USMC … [more]

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Labor Day has always had a double meaning for my family. Twenty-four years ago and two weeks earlier than expected, my wife went into labor on Labor Day, and the next day Jennifer was born. It was the last time my children were ever early for anything…

We just spent the Labor Day weekend visiting my daughter and her grandparents in Oklahoma. Both my mom and dad are in their mid-80s now. My dad was a navigator on a B-17 … [more]

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I beg to disagree

 While Obama has shamelessly pandered (along with the rest of them) for the American Jewish vote, he has at the same time demonstrated a grasp of Middle Eastern realities that I have not heard from any other candidate.  And while he has made some errors (in my opinion), he got it right on the big question of our time — Iraq.  What he said about that impending fiasco, what he has said recently about race, and what he wrote (in … [more]

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A century of willful ignorance

 A friend of mine just sent me an interesting article by Ramzy Baroud, about Johns Hagee and McCain:

 Here’s the first paragraph from Baroud’s article:

 A memorable quote in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) still carries a wealth of relevance. He writes, “They own the [holy] land, just the mere land, and that’s all they do own; but it was our folks, our Jews and Christians, that made it holy, and so they haven’t any business to be … [more]

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 Either Prime Minister Siniora studied at the George Bush – John McSame School of Diplomacy or he is suffering profound memory loss.  According to Haaretz, he has today branded Hezbollah as worse than Israel, saying “even the Israeli enemy never dared to do to Beirut what Hezbollah has done.”

 According to Wikipedia, it is estimated that around 17,825 Arabs were killed during Israel’s 1982 march to Beirut. There are different estimates of the proportion of civilians killed. Beirut newspaper … [more]

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