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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

International Waters


The MV Mavi Marmara nearing Ashdod, 5/31/10: photo by AFP via The Middle East Blog, 6/1/10

Things change, and yet things also stay the same.

The correspondent said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.

Before communication with the correspondent was lost, a voice in Hebrew was clearly heard saying: "Everyone shut up".

Gaza relief vessel Mavi Marmara, under Turkish flag, entering Israeli waters under escort, 5/31/10: photo by BBC, via Responsibility Equality And Liberty, 6/1/10

Things stay the same, and yet things also change. What was found acceptable yesterday may or may not be found acceptable today.

Between yesterday and tomorrow there is only today.

File:Gaza flotilla clash demonstration in  Belfast 1.jpg

Gaza flotilla raid protest demonstration, Belfast, 5.31.10: photo by WikiLaurent, 2010




Good lord -- now I'm getting my news from you (!) Hadn't heard/seen a thing but just now confirmed it, lead story NY Times in both print (on table) on online.

Meanwhile, here too, "there is only today."

Curtis Roberts said...

I drove from my Philadelphia suburb to a meeting in Stamford, Connecticut today and back. The drive took twice as long as it should have (i.e., about 9 hours round-trip)and I've been around the dial with this story most of the way. I like the language (naturally), tension and implication of the poem and the way it seems to roll and bounce with the current and tide (as though you were on a vessel on the water), rather than any fixed definite polemic (pointing and driving the vessel's prow into your head). That being said, the first thing I thought of (blessed relief from the drive, the news and the day) was that fine Traffic song "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?"

TC said...


I don't know how you maintain that pace. Have been over to your Animals War Memorial post to offer a link, and that reminds me to recommend that you allow yourself to turn and live with the animals (your domestic menageries) at least one day a week. Just to keep the business from getting to you.

Yes, I tried to keep polemic out of this, as polemic is none of my business (speaking of business), and to let the image of the white flag and the peremptory commando's command tell the story. Such as it is. A sad one. There are a number of older people from this area who were on those relief flotilla boats, and their fates are in some cases as yet unaccounted for.

Not for the moment to mention the fates of the suffering people of Gaza, for whom the aid was meant.

I'm always tempted to fear tomorrow's story may be today's all over again, only worse. But that's probably just me. History is terrible enough as it is, I should try to keep out of its way.

As Steve has once again reminded us -- one cannot be reminded too many times -- "there is only today".


First the sinking of that Korean ship, now this attack on the Turkish ship, what will tomorrow (or next day) bring? And is this now more new business as usual?

Curtis Roberts said...

First of all, I hope your neighbors have now been accounted for and are well. I thought the image of the white flag and the peremptory commando's command were very clear and told part of the story (which was supported by the choice of images), but that another part, which was as important, was contained in “may or may not” , “between yesterday and today” and the reversal of position of “same” and “change” in stanzas 1 and 4. Those suggested to me the (pardon the cliché) Rashomon-like nature of immediate news reporting, especially of highly charged matters. As I said, I was on the road for a long time yesterday and heard various accounts from different points of view. Occasionally (during the approximately 3-hour interval trying to get past NYC), I turned to music, rather than road rage (mostly). Thank you for noticing about the pace. Building a private law practice is quite a bit different than assisting the same people on behalf of the same company every day, which is what I'm more used to. It’s grueling and in this economy you need to pursue every reasonably attractive opportunity. I wonder about the same thing Stephen’s wondering about. However, I marvel at seeing the Greeks and Turks line up on the same side of this “International Waters” question. Could the Peaceable Kingdom be upon us?

TC said...


Three of the four have now been accounted for, the fourth (from neighboring El Cerrito), not, worrisomely for the family.

Greeks and Turks lying down together, what hath Israel wrought.

I think you'd make a marvelous Attorney General. (Don't laugh.)

TC said...

Correction and Update, four of the Bay Area voyagers have now been accounted for, but a fifth has been injured, "for refusing orders after he was detained". That is the person from El Cerrito, a retired linguistics professor, age 64.

Stephen, I am now going to hand over the Secretary of State baton to... you.

leigh tuplin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtis Roberts said...

I'm flattered and didn't laugh (a good example of not refusing orders). Caroline, under no such interdiction, laughed, which was good for her. It was THAT kind of day. It may be wrong to feel this way, but I'm grateful to be at a physical remove from the subjects covered in the news because the reporting gets weirder daily (I suppose it's the extraordinary variation in the reporting of the same stories that bewilders me) and the punditry becomes increasingly infuriating.

human being said...

we forget yesterday

looms more horrifying

will there be a tomorrow?

TC said...

The days and nights begin to blend together into this apprehensive blur called (I think it was) history.

Leigh, your withdrawn comment spoke volumes, and I think the fact that it is difficult for a disinterested observer of these world events to speak of them honestly without apprehension is also telling.

(Your comment felt like maybe an extension of our earlier communication here.)

TC said...

Here is hb's extremely relevant link, speaking of international (nonterritorial) transit spaces.

The "news" is like that, it seems. Carefully filtered at all times. Certain things we do get to hear about, certain things we don't. Somebody else does the choosing for us.

TC said...

And by the way, in case this news matters to anybody outside his family, Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, the sixty-four-year old linguist (now a piano tuner), has appeared at a military airport in Athens, looking very much the worse for wear after his attempt to get off the Gaza aid flotilla by jumping in the water.

His wife relayed his telephone comments. It seems his leap into the water was construed by Israeli officers as some sort of terrorist act of self-preservation. "They were so mad, they beat him down to hell," she says.