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A Washington Post revised Middle East?

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

{ by Charles Cameron — Israel takes Saudi I kid you not ]
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This is a straight, unphotoshopped, slightly reduced screenshot from the online WaPo as it appeared in my browser today:

Ambitious peace-making!

Significance of the Kiswah in Riyadh

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — oh, but it’s just a backdrop ]
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When ABC News describes the room in which President Trump addressed King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the leaders of 50 Muslim nations in Riyadh this morning, they mentioned that it was “an ornate room that featured 11 chandeliers and six giant video screens.” Okay, but to my eye the scene was dominated by a great black and gold panel of the Kiswah [above], the ornate cloth, renewed once yearly, which covers the Kaaba in Mecca, the point in this turning world to which all Muslims turn in prayer, and around which they revolve in pilgrimage.

I spent some time searching for a decent press photograph or media mention of this Kiswah panel, without success — the chandeliers are clearly more important to media sensibilities than the veil of Islam’s most central shrine, to which all mosques are oriented.

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I am reminded of Tim Furnish‘s comment yesterday, pointing out that the Time magazine cover showing the Kremlin (below) had airbrushed out the crosses atop the onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral —

— domes which Time referred to, in a further display of ignorance, as minarets.

Why are we so appallingly oblivious to religious symbolism, when it plays so major a role in communicating meaning? What tells us more about a cathedral than the cross which surmounts it? Which more completely dominates that conference chamber in Riyadh — the colorful array of flags, or the great panel of the Kiswah mounted above them?

Why do we so consistently airbrush religion out of the picture?

Traveling Trump, minor issues

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — media keeps wildly guessing re matters of protocol ]
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For example..

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Ah, well, no one can say Trump is not sensitive:

Oops:

And then again:

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Oops again:

Nope, he was bending to receive a medal around his neck.

So far so good — nobody seems to know what’s what, but ni disasters have been spotted. . The first major test is yet to come. As the Washington Post puts it, Trump campaigned against Muslims, but will preach tolerance in Saudi speech.

That will be quite a trick — but not impossible if his speech writer has been reading Will McCants.

And I suspect Melania is the President’s trump card in all this..

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Oh, and now this, for good measure:

I’m reminded of roulette..

Traveling Trump, upcoming speeches

Friday, May 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — given a choice between Stephen Miller and Will McCants.. ]
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The Saudi speech:

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The NATO speech:

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The Israel speech:

Israel, where Trump wanted to land his helicopter atop Masada..

Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable car up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether.

And the Western Wall is in the West Bank?

All in all, one might wish there were a Will McCants to proffer speechwriting advice — or, hey, write speeches — for Saudi, Israel, NATO, the vatican, onwards…

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Coda:

Two sides of the Saudi coin?

Friday, May 19th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — sunni / salafi hope, shia fear, when the us weighs saudi oil against iranian nukes — what say the sufis? ]
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Context one:

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Context two:

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Having said that, returning to the Saudi visit:

Hayder al-Khoei is less than enthused:


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