“One city does not greet another, but one man greets another.”
– Sumerian proverb from Ur, c. 2000 B.C.
This proverb, quoted in Rory Stewart’s excellent book The Prince Of The Marshes, does a pretty good job of explaining how I think relationships are most genuinely formed on the international stage. In our case, we usually leave the greeting to our children. These pictures should give you an idea of the scene a year or so ago when we went on a walk with our kids through the historic Ulus neighborhood in downtown Ankara. Kaya is the little blonde two-year-old in the picture above; at that age he was still loving the attention and hadn’t gotten sick of it yet, whereas his older brother Moses (in the stroller below) was starting to develop some reservations. Perhaps it’s just a personality thing – international diplomacy can’t be every preschooler’s job.
Moving away from Anatolia now, but remaining in the Middle East – some would say the center of the Middle East. Here, pedestrians walk through a Palestinian neighborhood just outside Jerusalem’s Old City.
Huseyin Amja (Uncle Huseyin) is Eren’s grandfather. 76 years old, he is still going strong and able to dance the kaşık oyunu with the best of them. But age does have a way of catching up with you, I suppose. While the younger boys were getting the dancing started in the schoolyard on Saturday afternoon, Huseyin Amja was inside having a quick glass of Turkish tea. On the table in front of him, a handmade acoustic saz and a bag of extra wooden spoons wait to be pressed into service when the dancing heats up later in the evening.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, f/5.6, 1/30 sec.