A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ill Omens for the Holidays?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.
 Yeats, The Second Coming

On the very eve of the Winter Solstice and the seasonal feasts of multiple faiths, and in the bitter aftermath of the fall of Aleppo, in a single day we have seen the public assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, an apparent terrorist attack in which a truck plowed into a crowded Christmas Market in Berlin, killing 12 so far, and then (perhaps a retaliation?) a gunman in Zurich opening fire in an Islamic Center, wounding three people at prayer.

Just yesterday,  four gunmen in the Jordanian city of Karak killed nine, retreating into the city's famous Crusader castle, where they were killed.

Let us hope this is not an augury of worse to come.

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