North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Do good fences make good neighbors?

Derry New Hampshire stone wall made famous by Robert Frost,

...Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

The "Mending Wall" is a 1914 poem written by Robert Frost (1874–1963). It is set in the countryside and is about one man questioning why he and his neighbor must rebuild the stone wall dividing their farms each spring. Fences, viewed positively, set boundaries that can lead to mutual recognition of the interests, rights and property of others.

In recent decades, "walls" have taken precedence, often erected for other purposes - the infamous Berlin wall, designed to keep people in; the wall between Catholics and Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast Ireland, designed to keep civilian troubles from growing; the fenced line of demarcation on the Korean peninsula, designed to keep armed forces apart; the Israeli wall built to keep suicide bombers from infiltrating its land, though challenged as an oppression of Palestinians, and of course, the politically charged US-Mexican border where a fence is being slowly built to diminish illegal immigration as well as facilitate security against drug smuggling.

Greece shares a small border on its east with Turkey. Note island of Cyprus - colored yellow - to the south of Turkey

Recently another fence has been announced, with mutual support by two countries' leaders. From the BBC, "The Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey voiced solidarity in their approach to tackling the growing problem of illegal immigration, after the Greek government announced plans to fence part of its border. "We give great importance to working together with Turkey on the issue of illegal immigration," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in translated remarks at a joint news conference in the eastern Turkish city of Erzurum.

Turkish leader left, and Greece leader right, approach illegal immigration fence as a solution.

Greece said this week it was planning to erect a fence on its Turkish border, having complained in the past that Turkey was not doing enough to stem a flood of illegal migrants. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan played down the significance of the fence, which will cover just 12.5 km (8 miles) of a 206 km-long border.

"This is not a measure taken against Turkey or Greece," Erdogan said. "It's wrong to see this is as a wall. We fully trust each other on this." Erdogan said his appreciation of the problem had changed after Papandreou told him there were one million illegal immigrants in Greece."

Existing border crossing between the two nations

This is a much more positive approach between the two countries than could be easily imagined. Greece and Turkey have fought each other, not only during World War I, but have come to scattered blows in several boundary disputes in the Aegean sea, as well as confronting each other over a festering problem on Cyprus.

Island country of Cyprus divided between forces sympathetic to Greece and Turkey

This island country is an EU member governed by a Greek Cypriot government, while a breakaway Turkish enclave in the north is subject to an EU embargo and only recognized by Turkey. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the north of the island to "protect" the Turkish Cypriot minority after a brief Greek-inspired coup that sought union with Greece. Some 30,000 Turkish mainland troops still occupy the northern half of the island, against 10,000 Greek Cypriot national guardsmen whose officers come from Greece. After the two Koreas, Cyprus is the most militarized country in the world.

Greece and Turkey, two fellow members of NATO, have had a long history of disputes, but to their credit, they have undertaken confidence-building measures, including several related to their armed forces. Let's hope in this case, that a fence here and there between the two nations will be a force for mutual respect and easing tensions.

Before leaving this discussion, Greece and Turkey have unbelievably rich cultures including reknowned cusine. Turkey is blessed with varied climate which allows the country to get almost everything on its land. Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that has been self sustaining, producing all its own food. Turkish cuisine has many specialties and variations. For example there are at least forty ways to prepare eggplant alone.

Istanbul - an ancient and world famous Turkish city

Turkish eggplant dish - Karniyarik

Greece famous for sun-washed views of the Mediterranean

Greek national dish - Moussaka

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Very interesting and nice to have a positive interaction between countries. AND it made me want to research and try some new eggplant dishes - not really my favorite vegetable but with that many options surely I'll find one I like!