Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI performs a PR miracle

"Seen through Turkish eyes, the Pope was a charmer till the end.
He began his visit by proclaiming, "I love the Turks," and ended it yesterday with a rhetorical offering sure to fuel the gushing newspaper headlines. "A part of my heart remains in Istanbul"...

For a pontiff who sparked outrage in much of the Muslim world two months ago by linking Islam to violence, the transformation seemed nothing short of miraculous...the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Mustafa Cagrici, was poetically optimistic.

"A single swallow can't bring spring, but many swallows will follow and we will enjoy a spring in this world," he told the Pope, after sharing a moment of prayer with him Thursday at the 17th-century Blue Mosque.

The Pope also praised Armenians for clinging to Christianity despite "the very tragic circumstances of the last century" — a reference to the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915. He didn't call it genocide — the Vatican's official position — but the mere mention of an event Turkey refuses to accept responsibility for no doubt strained sensitivities in Ankara.
Niyazi Oktem, a political philosopher at Istanbul's Bilge University, said the visit should act as an example to both sides in the so-called "clash of civilizations." Turkey showed other Muslim states the strength of its democracy by having a civilized dialogue with the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics. It also showed Europe how the Turkish model has kept fundamentalist Islam at bay, Oktem added."

Kandahar, Afghanistan ~ 10 November 2006: The Chief of Land Staff (CLS) Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie visits the training camp for the Afghan National Police (ANP) near the Kandahar Airfield. On the way to the ANP training camp the CLS acted as an air sentry.

Kandahar, Afghanistan ~ 10 November 2006: Members of the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Troop from the 5e Régiment D'Artillerie Légère du Canada (5 RALC) prepare a platform for the next flight. The TUAV is used for both aerial reconnaissance and targeting over the battle space, and is able to perform these tasks without risking the life of a pilot. Bombarders Vezina, Letendre and Sergeant Normand placing the UAV on the launcher.


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