Your RDA of Irony


Thirty-two years ago, when I had an excuse to be juvenile, I was a Eurrail pass vagabond touring Europe. My love of ancient history and my rail pass took me to Greece, where I found myself the brunt of modern history.

A year earlier, the ruling Junta, the so-called Colonels, had sponsored a coup in Cyprus that would have joined the island to Greece. The attempt succeeded only in prompting a Turkish invasion of the island. The Turkish victory, alias the Greek defeat, so compromised the Junta that it fell. Democracy was restored in its birthplace.

Did the Greeks seem pleased to live again in a democracy? Perhaps among themselves, but when speaking to me I only heard how the war in Cyprus was all the fault of Henry Kissinger, the CIA and America. I certainly could not understand their logic but at least I could appreciate their need for a scapegoat. No one likes to lose. The war had to be America’s fault. Of course, they were not prepared to give America any credit for the war’s consequence: the fall of the Colonels and the restoration of democracy. No, the Greeks took credit for that.

Fortunately, I was only a sounding board, not a whipping boy. (I can personally attest that Greek Anti-Americans are less dangerous than British soccer fans.)

Although my Eurrail pass did not extend to Turkish railroads, I wanted to see Constantinople and the rail fare there was inexpensive. In my encounters with English-speaking Turks, I heard a familar litany. The war in Cyprus was all the fault of Henry Kissinger, the CIA and America. Now that seemed unfair! The Turks had won the war; they did not need a scapegoat.

I did feel obliged to mention that the Turks and the Greeks had been slaughtering each other since the 11th century, and there is no tangible evidence that the CIA–presumably the Cherokee Intelligence Agency at that time–was involved in the Crusades or the fall of Constantinople. Fortunately, the Turks have never acknowledged the Armenian massacres; otherwise we would be blamed for that, too.

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