A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Do I Find This Story a Bit . . . Odd? Just Odd.

Hurriyet Daily News Online
I'm not completely sure about my reaction to this otherwise straightforward story, but I think it's the headline and the overall tone of the story: "Children Moved to Tears of Joy by Ataturk Look-a-Like." 

I mean, I have friends involved in the living history reenactment hobby, and if you go to Mount Vernon you sometimes see people dressed as George and Martha Washington, so an Ataturk lookalike visiting schools is not all that strange (unless as a sign that Kemalism still lives in the age of Erdogan). But "Children Moved to Tears of Joy"? Really? We are assured that the kids
went into a frenzy of joy and confusion. Some cried, embracing him in tears while others were frozen in their spots.
"Aren't you dead?" one of the students asked Kaya.
Turkish schoolkids must be a lot more easily moved than my own daughter's classmates would be. ("Nothing much happened at school today. Some guy dressed up as Abe Lincoln, that's all.") Perhaps I'm too cynical. I will admit, from the photo (taken from the story), he's quite a good likeness, at least based on the photos you see everywhere in Turkey.

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