Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East. History nerd, linguistic geek, and devoted news junkie.
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Help us find a "Rosie the Riveter" that helped build our P-47 Thunderbolt in Evansville, IN! - The American Heritage Museum

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The American Heritage Museum uncovered an amazing piece of history on our Republic P-47D Thunderbolt restoration that we need your help with! As our restoration team in Florida at American Aero Services removed the components of the turbosupercharger (turbocharger) section in the aft fuselage for restoration, they found the name of a woman who likely helped construct the aircraft. This particular P-47D, s/n 45-49167, was on the production line of Republic Aircraft in Evansville, IN in late 1944 and it is likely that this woman was working on fuselage construction. We think her name is “Sue Tharp” or “Sue Thorp”… what do you see?

It was common for workers to pencil their names on the aircraft they helped to construct, either casually or in a more official form as an inspector. As this area behind the cockpit in a fairly hidden area that wouldn’t have been easily seen after construction, it’s no wonder that it has survived for 80 years! We sincerely hope to find Sue or her family and we’d appreciate any help you can provide! Email us at ahm@collingsfoundation.org if you know anything!

And if you have a connection to the P-47 Thunderbolt and would like to help us fund the restoration effort, please find more information on how to do so at this link!

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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,563

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This is the grave of Cleo Noel.

Born in 1918 in Oklahoma City, Noel grew up in Missouri, ending up at the University of Missouri, where he graduated in 1939 as a history major. He stayed on there and got a master’s degree too. He managed to teach a few history classes at Missouri (these were the days where public schools in minor states would often employ people who lacked the PhD), but then the U.S. joined World War II and Noel joined the Navy. He was a gunnery officer on merchant vessels, mostly in the Pacific. He rose to lieutenant commander by the end of the war, when he was discharged.

Noel decided to go on for a Ph.D. and was accepted into Harvard. But in 1951, his life path changed. He took the Foreign Service Exam. That same year, he married another worker in the Foreign Service. This may be why he took the exam, so they could live together overseas. They were consistently posted together over the years, both in Europe and the Middle East. They had sweet posts in Italy and France, but also were in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Sudan. Noel became one of the State Department’s top Middle Eastern hands. He learned Arabic and became something of an expert on the history and politics of the region.

In 1972, the Nixon administration named Noel Ambassador to Sudan. That’s a big step for a lifelong diplomat, one many never achieve. So he was no doubt rightly proud of this. However, on March 1, 1973, he was at a reception at the Saudi embassy for another American diplomat who was leaving, George Moore. The embassy was stormed by the Black September faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Noel was wounded in the attack. The next day, the terrorists shot and killed him, Moore, and a Belgian diplomat.

Black September was a faction of the PLO founded in 1970 to target Jordanians after that country kicked the organization out into Lebanon. By this time, they had already assassinated Jordanian prime minister Wasfi Tal and then went big time. It was Black September who carried out the 1972 Munich attacks on the Israeli Olympic team. Shortly after the attack in Sudan, Black September disbanded, as the PLO moved to a new phase of its struggle after the 1973 war with Israel, moving toward something like political recognition after it was pretty well proven that terrorism was not going to eliminate Israel. But that wasn’t before it attempted to blow up Golda Meir’s car in New York City.

All of this would have long term implications in the region and of course continues to do so today.

In any case, Noel was 54 years old at his death.

Cleo Noel is buried on the confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

If would like this series to visit more victims of terrorism, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Alan Berg is in Forest Park, Illinois and Leon Klinghoffer is in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Previous posts in this series are archived here and here.

The post Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,563 appeared first on Lawyers, Guns & Money.

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Samantha Schnee and WWB.

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Chris Quirk has a nice feature on Samantha Schnee for Dartmouth Alumni Magazine:

More than 20 years ago, Schnee cofounded Words Without Borders (WWB), an online journal that publishes literature translated into English from almost every part of the globe. The journal has published 4,600 writers—including seven who later won the Nobel Prize—in translations into English from 139 different languages. Today, 11 staffers operate the publication with an annual budget of just under $1 million, funded primarily through grants and donations.

WWB builds bridges between writers and readers across languages and cultures, providing English-language readers access to lesser-known works and opportunities for translators. It draws an estimated 750,000 readers annually, half of whom live outside the United States. “It’s a handbook for understanding the world,” says Iranian American author Reza Aslan, who edited WWB’s 2011 anthology of Middle Eastern translations. […]

Schnee learned about the project that would be become WWB when she heard W. W. Norton editor Alane Salierno Mason propose the idea at a 2002 meeting of the organization PEN America. “I ran up to her as soon as she finished speaking and told her that editing WWB was my dream job—it synthesized my interests in literature, language, and culture,” Schnee recalls. She started the following month, and the journal launched in mid-2003.

U.S. publishing companies have been slow to pay attention to international literature. A watershed moment arrived with the 1970 translation of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gregory Rabassa ’44. “It got Americans to open up to reading contemporary translated literature,” Schnee says. Still, opportunities for translators of literature remain limited. “There are a few who have translated Nobel laureates who can kind of cobble together a living.” WWB attempts to fill the gap. […]

“A language is specific to the culture it arises from,” says Schnee. “You can’t always replace like for like, but you can translate the spirit of a poem or story or novel.” A phrase from a [Carmen] Boullosa novel that Schnee is translating illustrates the tightrope translators often traverse. In the novel, dead poets from the past gather for a conference, and Dante sees a television for the first time, which is showing a Britney Spears video. “The narrator describes the video as ‘un rosario de refritos mal refritados,’ which literally means ‘a rosary of badly refried refrieds,’ which makes no sense in English,” Schnee says. “I translated the phrase as ‘a string of half-baked clichés,’ which loses some of the Mexican-ness of the description—the rosary reference would be known to some English language readers but not to a majority—yet retains a culinary reference. Ultimately this phrase must make sense as a description of the Spears video to make sense in context.” […]

Schnee originally intended to study medicine. Born in Scotland, she moved with her parents to Houston when her father, a surgeon, took a job at the Texas Heart Institute. After high school, Schnee’s parents, who both attended college for free in Scotland, balked at paying for an undergraduate education. Her father finally agreed, but with one condition: Samantha had to learn German.

Pleased but slightly mystified, she agreed and signed up for a battery of premed courses in her first year. That summer she observed her father as he operated on a patient. “I saw him make an incision in a leg, and blood splattered onto his scrubs. The next thing I remember, I was lying on a stretcher outside the operating room, and my dad was looking down at me, wondering what had just happened,” she recalls. “I told him, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be a doctor.’ ” Schnee majored in English.

I’ve posted stuff from Words Without Borders since 2004, and I’m glad to know the story behind it (and behind Schnee’s change of majors). Thanks, cuchuflete!

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“A language is specific to the culture it arises from,” says Schnee. “You can’t always replace like for like, but you can translate the spirit of a poem or story or novel.” A phrase from a [Carmen] Boullosa novel that Schnee is translating illustrates the tightrope translators often traverse. In the novel, dead poets from the past gather for a conference, and Dante sees a television for the first time, which is showing a Britney Spears video. “The narrator describes the video as ‘un rosario de refritos mal refritados,’ which literally means ‘a rosary of badly refried refrieds,’ which makes no sense in English,” Schnee says. “I translated the phrase as ‘a string of half-baked clichés,’ which loses some of the Mexican-ness of the description—the rosary reference would be known to some English language readers but not to a majority—yet retains a culinary reference. Ultimately this phrase must make sense as a description of the Spears video to make sense in context.” […]

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Tact

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When I was young I had an elderly friend who used often to ask me to stay with him in the country. He was a religious man and he read prayers to the assembled household every morning. But he had crossed out in pencil all the passages in the Book of Common Prayer that praised God. He said that there was nothing so vulgar as to praise people to their faces and, himself a gentleman, he could not believe that God was so ungentlemanly as to like it.

— Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, 1938

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Mysterious Script Found in Vilnius.

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From last September comes this Lithuanian National Radio and Television story:

A mysterious tablet with an unknown 13th-14th-century script is on display at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania Museum. No one knows what it means or where it came from. LRT TV journalist Virginijus Savukynas reports.

The plaque was found twenty years ago while exploring Vilnius castles. Archaeologists were using a metal detector to scout the location where some of the earliest wooden structures were located. Expecting to find no more than a simple axe, instead, they discovered something else entirely – a rectangular strip of metal with strange engravings. Such scripts have surfaced in Lithuania for the first time. […]

“We tried to find a logical explanation for the markings: on the sides of the tablet, the beginning and the end were marked with crosses, as if they were marking the beginning and the end of the text,” said Gintautas Striška, head of the Archaeology and Architecture Department at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania Museum in Vilnius. “The text is clearly composed of several lines. The top line seems to be written in two ways – signs and letters, and the bottom line has several more lines with various inscriptions,” he added.

“At the time, we thought that part of the text may have been written in ancient Greek. With the help of linguists, we saw that part of it could be translated as ‘Algirdas Basileus’ – that is, ‘King Algirdas’,” said Striška. After a while, however, the archaeologists abandoned their fruitless search. “The letters only resemble Greek letters, and a person who carved them may have missed something or combined several letters into one, making deciphering the record difficult,” he added. […]

It is also possible that the inscriptions on the plate are engraved in several languages, making it difficult to read. Now, the researchers have turned to visitors and researchers to present their ideas on how to read this 13th-14th-century text.

As Dmitry Pruss, who sent me the story, points out, there’s no link to anything scholarly, and frankly the images look like gibberish to me, but check it out!

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Reconnaissance

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boji_toplu_ta%C5%9F%C4%B1ma_arac%C4%B1nda,_%C4%B0stanbul.jpg
Image: Wikimedia Commons

In 2021, Istanbul’s public rail service spotted a curious passenger: “We noticed a dog using our metros and trains and he knows where to go,” spokesman Aylin Erol told India Today. “He knows where to get out. It’s like he has a purpose.”

The dog, known as Boji, is a stray Anatolian shepherd who’s been observed using the city’s buses, metro trains, trams, and ferries. Since city officials fitted him with a microchip, he’s been tracked through as many as 29 metro stations in one day, traveling up to 30 kilometers and ranging as far afield as the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara.

“You take the train and, suddenly, you see Boji,” Erol said. “And look at him. He lies, just like this. You just smile and catch the moment, really. This is what Boji evokes for Istanbulites. He also reminds us that we can still enjoy Istanbul as we rush about.”

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Istanbul loves its street animals!
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