The photography (above) at CNN was superb, but the coverage of the early hours of Pope Benedict's historic visit to Turkey at EWTN soared above CNNs facile on-air coverage in terms of both historical context and objective assessment (natch). That pure white, double-breasted, floor-length camel-hair (?) overcoat is to die for.
Behold, I tell you a mystery . . .
We're watching today's events in Turkey unfold on EWTN (
Evengelical Eternal World Television Network -- thanks for the correction, Ruth Anne) early morning here in Chelsea-by-the-Sea. Before switching channels, we checked in with Fox News and CNN, who were covering the Pope's historic visit to the predominantly Muslim country sporadically. CNNs on-the-scene correspondent summed up the MSMs grasp -- or non grasp -- of the gravity of the situation when she observed that had Papa Ratzi not made that memorably misread statement about Islam and violence at Regensburg last fall, no one would have been paying much attention. Little does she realize the irony of her words. Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do. Meanwhile, from EWTN, a rumor that Papa Ratzi has reversed his stand on Turkey's entry into the EU . . . What if it were so? Would that be the miracle to totally disarm the enemy? A little background about what Turkey wants, from Hugh Hope at the WSJ:
Rudyard Kipling's old saying that "East is East and West is West" -- or its modern incarnation, "the clash of civilizations" -- is not the right paradigm for Turkey, which feels increasingly confident as part of both. The West is now all over the East and the East is firmly camped in the West. Indeed, Turkey's republican founder Kemal Atatürk believed that the "East is East" idea was fostered by Western powers to justify clinging to power over their former colonial subjects.
You'd have to be better informed than the average American or else subscribe to Google's list for news about Pope Benedict XVI to know what we just learned this morning about those flag-waving Pope-haters that have been all over the MSM of late. Ever heard of Turkey's "Happiness party"? We hadn't, either:
The Happiness Party has no representation in the Turkish national legislature even though it has become a stronger force in Turkish politics in recent years. To that extant the visit of Pope Benedict could be seen as a litmus test for the party. If planned protests are not as popular - as their weekend demonstration - as had originally been hyped, that could be a sign that the population at large is rejecting the Happiness Party's radical platform, which in turn could be a positive sign for EU observers.
Interestingly, "Prime Minister Erdogan was once a member of the Happiness Party, but broke with it to form the currently ruling Justice and Development party." Given Turkey's westophilic history in the last period of time -- if accurately portrayed in that WSJ essay -- we'd say without knowing much beyond this morning's reading and listening/viewing that this is Turkey's moment to shine. You go, whirl.
Update: According to Reuters, "Pope Benedict backed Ankara's EU entry bid and said Islam was a religion of peace on Tuesday, according to Turkey's prime minister, in a bid to soothe rows over his views in the mostly Muslim state."
We still don't get this "religion of peace" shtick, but the EU entry-bid thing sounds promising.
Update II: The Anchoress reads poetry into our screenshot of Benedict XVI in his awesome, full-length white coat descending to Turkish soil after touchdown Thursday morning (above):
I am in love with this picture of Benedict disembarking from his plane, which Sissy Willis captured. He looks like The Man in White (even White Hair!) Come to Dodge City! I like the fact that the picture is a little fuzzy and the face is indistinct. I like the way it emphasizes that the man, Joseph Ratzinger, is not the focus here and not recognizable . . . all that is recognizable is “The Vicar of Christ.” Sissy also points out that Benedict is now encouraging Turkey’s admission into the EU, which -- like Sissy -- I think is a good thing and long overdue.