Tuesday, May 7, 2013

yet another image of Venice and death


"As the great crowd encircled the grave site, my only clue that the body was at that very moment being lowered into the grave was the increasing intensity of the weeping and sobbing and the exclamations of bismillahi  and alâ milleti Resulullah.
(...)
I’d once gazed into the eyes of Death, not at a grave site, in an entirely different place…

A memory: Thirty years ago, Our Sultan’s grandfather, Denizen of Paradise, decided once and for all to take Cyprus from the Venetians. Sheikhulislam Ebussuut Effendi, recalling that this island was once designated a commissariat for Mecca and Medina, issued a fatwa which more or less stated that it was inappropriate for an island which had helped sustain holy sites to remain under Christian infidel control. In turn, the difficult task of informing the Venetians of this unforeseen decision, that they must surrender their island, fell to me. As a result, I was able to tour the cathedrals of Venice. Though I marveled at their bridges and palazzos, I was most enchanted by the pictures hanging in Venetian homes. Nevertheless, in the midst of this bewilderment, trusting in the hospitality displayed by the Venetians, I delivered the menacing correspondence, informing them in a haughty, supercilious fashion that Our Sultan desired Cyprus. The Venetians were so angry that in their congress, which had been hastily convened, it was decided that even to discuss such a letter was unacceptable. Furious mobs had forced me to confine myself to the Doge’s palazzo. And when some rogues managed to get past the guards and doorkeepers and had set to strangling me, two of the Doge’s personal musketeers succeeded in escorting me out one of the secret passageways to an exit that opened onto the canal. There, in a fog not unlike this one, I thought for an instant that the tall and pale gondolier dressed in white, who’d taken me by the arm, was none other than Death. I caught sight of my reflection in his eyes."
Pamuk em My Name is Red.

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