8 September 2016   2 comments

It is very difficult to keep perspective when emotions are running high.  Such is the case with the issue of terrorism: given its unique type of horror, we tend to exaggerate its risk.  The facts suggest that our concern with terrorism is misplaced.  The chances of being a victim of homicide in the US is about one in 20,000.  The chances of being a victim of terrorism is about one in 56 million.


The President of the Philippines referred to President Obama as the “son of a whore” which led to President Obama cancelling a meeting with him.  The history of diplomacy is replete with insults, some of which are very funny and quite vulgar.  I did a quick search of diplomatic insults and came up with what has to be classified as the all-time number one.  It is the reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed IV in 1676.  Mehmed sent the following message to the Cossacks (sounds like the Game of Thrones):

Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:

As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians – I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

–Turkish sultan Mehmed IV

The Cossacks sent the following reply:

Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!

O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we’ve no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.

You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!

– koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.

The event was captured by the artist Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin in 1891.

The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan *oil on canvas *358 × 203 cm *signed b.c.: И.Репин 1880-91

The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan
*oil on canvas
*358 × 203 cm
*signed b.c.: И.Репин 1880-91


Researchers have published a paper in Current Biology which assesses the health of “wilderness” areas on the planet.  The results are sobering.  Wilderness is a difficult concept to operationalize, but the authors believe that there are still intact areas in North America, North Asia, Africa, and Australia.  Nonetheless, the planet has lost about 9% of its wilderness areas over the last two decades, with the greatest losses in South America and Africa.  The authors conclude: “The continued loss of wilderness areas is a globally significant problem with largely irreversible outcomes for both humans and nature: if these trends continue, there could be no globally significant wilderness areas left in less than a century.”


Posted September 9, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “8 September 2016

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  1. But you didn’t tell us who won the battle! Or was there a battle between the Cossacks and the Turks?


  2. The battle was the first in the Russo-Turkish War that went from 1676-1681. The Cossacks won the battle in 1676, but the war finally ends in 1681 as essentially a draw. The end of the war established the border between Russia and the Ottoman Empire along the Dnieper River.


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