Sunday, December 21, 2008


"My friends, there is no need to seek and revive the costume of Turan. A civilized, international dress is worthy and appropriate for our nation, and we will wear it. Boots or shoes on our feet, trousers on our legs, shirt and tie, jacket and waistcoat - and, of course, to complete these, a cover with a brim on our heads. I want to make this clear. This head-covering is called 'hat'"

I doubt Atatürk would have foreseen pigeons resting on his head rather than a hat when he instituted the Hat Law in 1925, but that's how things roll, I guess.

This sight had me immediately thinking of Elizabeth at the time - it's taken some five months for this picture to make its way here, but hopefully it'll provide some amusement in the midst of exams. I still hope to do an Atatürk post - so many great photos for that, but I have been stuck in what can only be described as a weird state of ennui. Oh well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Air India. Circa 1975.

From the pages of the New Yorker (14th July 1975 issue)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Divan Yolu Mezarlık, İstanbul

Forgotten graves, Nizamuddin, New Delhi

The Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, Singapore

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


At times … I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!
But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.
Likewise … I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school ...
asking about him
and sending him regards.
But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I’d be content to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

- Taha Muhammad Ali
Translated from the Arabic by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin. (

Monday, December 08, 2008


Birthday Lights

Also, I was gifted the complete New Yorker portable hard drive. Every issue since 1925! Awesome-est gift ever!