Syrian soldiers, who havedefected to join the Free SyrianArmy, hold up their rifles as theysecure a street in Saqba, inDamascus suburbs. (Reuters / Ahmed Jadallah)(38.5Mb)embedvideoUN envoy Kofi Annan is now onhis way to Beijing with Russia’ssupport for his six-point peaceplan for Syria. But online editorCamille Otrakji says the planfaces major hurdles both withinSyria and outside of it.During his three-day visit toMoscow, Annan discussed hisplan with President DmitryMedvedev and Russia’s foreignminister, Sergey Lavrov.Medvedev and Lavrov backedAnnan’s roadmap for peace,which calls on both sides toannounce a ceasefire and toconduct inclusive political talks.Camille Otrakji, an editor for theSyria Comment online magazine,believes it is difficult to foreseethe outcome of Annan’s mission.“ There are too many players topredict,” he told RT “ I don’tthink there is any plan that canmeet the needs of all the people. Itcan meet the needs of the peoplein the center of the politicalspectrum.”Otrakji believes those on theextremes, on the one hand thosein favor of making Assadpresident for life, and on the otherthose in favor of putting him ontrial, would not be satisfied withthe plan.“ However, most of the Syrianpeople have demands that areeasier to accommodate,” he saidOtrakji pointed out that theopposition was extremelyfractured.“ They vary from the Communiststo the Islamists and everything inbetween,” he said “ Most of theopposition leaders are still afraidto sign onto this plan becausethey’re afraid they will lose therespect of what they call thestreet, which is the extremists inthe opposition. But they wouldhave to be a bit more courageousa show up for the dialog process.”Otrakji recalled that there wasalready a precedent for thisroadmap.“ We have the Arab League’sinitiative,” he said. “ And theSyrian government surprised theArab League by being veryaccommodating and motivated tohelp the plan work. It was afailure because Qatar and SaudiArabia did not want to continuebecause they expected the Syriangovernment to fail to respect it.”He also said the report issued bythe Arab League also failedQatar’s and Saudi Arabia’sexpectations as it mostly blamedthe opposition for initiating theviolence in Homs.Otrakji also noted that TurkishPrime Minister Recep TayyipErdogan may try to derailAnnan’s mission.“ I think the real troublemaker isgoing to be Prime MinisterErdogan,” he said “ He alreadyattacked Kofi Annan because hedid not consult everyone beforehe proceeded with his plan.”He expressed his view thatErdogan had his own plan andthat Annan’s success would meanthat the Turkish leader wouldhave no role to play in theconflict." I’m afraid he will do all he canto make it fail through his proxiesin Syria, which is mainly theMuslim Brotherhood,” Otrakjistated.Daoud Khairallah, professor of international law at GeorgetownUniversity, noted that KofiAnnan’s plan was within theframework of international law.“ As a general principle of international law, intervention inother countries’ affairs is notallowed and this is well stated inarticle two of the United Nation’scharter,” he told RT “ Mr KofiAnnan is in the right position.”He said the only time the UNSecurity Council could call forintervention is if there was athreat to international peace andsecurity, not because of internalturmoil.This entry passed through theFull-Text RSSservice — if this isyour content and you're reading iton someone else's site, please readthe FAQ atfivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.FiveFiltersrecommends:Donate toWikileaks.[unable to retrieve full-textcontent][unable to retrieve full-textcontent][unable to retrieve full-textcontent]
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – Themost lavish monument to the sea'smost famous disaster is a $30million roadside attraction in thefoothills of theGreat Smokies,1,000 feet above sea level and asfar from the sea asRMS Titanicwas from land when it sank 100years ago.• Titanic Museum Attraction TheTitanic Museum Attraction inPigeon Forge, Tenn., features ahalf-scale replica of the liner'sbow section and hundreds of artifacts.Titanic Museum AttractionThe Titanic Museum Attractionin Pigeon Forge, Tenn., features ahalf-scale replica of the liner'sbow section and hundreds of artifacts.The Titanic Museum Attraction,next to the Hatfield & McCoyDinner Show, is a half-scalereplica of the ocean liner's fronthalf. It rises 100 feet above theroad, crunched against a fakeiceberg, with spray rising from itsbow as it "steams" in the directionof Knoxville.Inside are Madeleine Astor's lifevest, valued at $1.3 million; athird-class menu (supper: gruel/ cabin biscuits/cheese), assessed at$189,000; and one of theproverbial deck chairs, worth$400,000.Visitors can take the ship's wheel,touch a man-made iceberg and tapout an SOS. They can learn howmany tons of coal Titanicconsumed a day (600), how manydogs were onboard (10) and howmany survived (three — twoPomeranians and a Pekingese).Titanic Museum Attraction'spopularity testifies to the depthand breadth of our fascinationwith the ship. It also shows how,on the first major anniversarysince the last survivor's death —and since 9/11 — the disaster'smeaning is changing.By Steven Bridges for USATODAYTour guide Lauren Trask invitesvisitors up the Grand Staircase atthe Titanic Museum Attraction inPigeon Forge, Tenn. The replicastaircase cost more than $1million.The great ship sank 100 yearsago April 15, after hitting aniceberg in theNorth Atlanticonits maiden voyage fromSouthampton, England, toNewYork . Of more than 2,200passengers and crew — the exactnumber, like much about Titanic,is still in dispute — only 712 (or713) survived, largely for lack of lifeboats.On its centennial, the saga will beretold again, in a 3-D release of the 1997 blockbuster movie; aminiseries onABCwritten byJulian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey; andNationalGeographic ChannelprogramsfeaturingRobert Ballard, themarine geographer whodiscovered the wreck in 1985, andTitanic directorJames Cameron.There will be dozens of newbooks as well as memorialservices, themed dinners, re-enactments and exhibits. Therewill be observances in Belfast,Northern Ireland, where Titanicwas built; in Southampton, whereit began the voyage; in Halifax,Canada, where 150 victims areburied; and in New York, the portTitanic never reached.And at the spot where Titanicwent down, 350 miles southeastof Newfoundland, millions of rosepetals will be scattered on thewater.The Titanic Museum Attractionhere, which opened in 2010, is alarger version of one in anothertourism hub: Branson, Mo. Bothare creations of John Joslyn, whoalso was behind the live 1986 TVshow The Mystery of Al Capone'sVaults and 1987's Return to theTitanic … LIVE. That show,hosted byTelly Savalas, wasabout Joslyn's expedition toTitanic.The museum illustrates why theTitanic saga has endured and howit's changing.Many little stories make up agreat one. There's the goldwedding ring of Isador Straus,founder of Macy's, whose wife,Ida, turned down a spot in alifeboat to stay, and die, with herhusband. There's a baton thatbelonged to bandleader WallaceHartley, whose musicians playedas the ship sank.The exhibits stress the classicelements that have allowedTitanic's legend to trump those of bigger ships and disasters:•Reputation. Titanic was theworld's largest ocean liner — themost luxurious, famous andexpensive — and widely believedto be, if never advertised as,unsinkable. Which is why thesea's oldest story — ship sinks —seemed sensational.•Passengers. The names of somewho died are still familiar:JohnJacob Astor, BenjaminGuggenheim, WashingtonRoebling II. Passengers includedsilent-film star Dorothy Gibson;Archibald Butt, the president's topmilitary adviser; and Margaret"Molly" Brown, wife of a miningmillionaire and henceforth knownas "unsinkable."•Class. Astor, one of the nation'srichest men, was in the same boatas immigrants who had never hadindoor plumbing. Yet 53% of firstand second class survived,compared with 22% of third class(or steerage).•Heroes and villains. Those whowent down with the ship includedits captain, architect and chief officers; its musicians; itsengineers, who kept the lights onuntil the end. Then there was J.Bruce Ismay, head of White StarLine. He was responsible forTitanic having so few lifeboats,yet he escaped in one.•Hubris. In an age of technological advances, Titanicrepresented humankind's inabilityto control technology and itsoverconfidence in, andoverreliance on, machines. Peoplehave seen parallels ever since.•Drama. The ship took more than2½ hours to sink, allowingindividual stories to play out in aconfined, defined setting.But the Titanic MuseumAttraction does more than tell thestory.On one level, it addresses thehuman loss and suffering. Co-owner Mary Kellogg-Joslyn saysthat on April 15, while otherscelebrate Titanic, "we'll paytribute to the victims" at aceremony with spiritual music andthe lighting of an eternal flame.On another level, however, theattraction invites visitors toparticipate, and revel, in acatastrophe where 1,500 peopledrowned or were crushed orfrozen to death.Visitors, called "passengers," arehanded a "boarding pass" bearingthe name and brief biography of aTitanic passenger or crewmember.They learn whether they "survive"only at the end of the tour, whenthey enter a darkened MemorialRoom with the names of those
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aboard Titanic on the wall. Enroute, death and disaster areplayed for a mixture of laughs,sobs and thrills, like a hauntedhayride on Halloween.On the bridge, visitors who takethe wheel and invariably fail tomiss the iceberg are jocularlyadmonished by a guide dressed asa ship's officer for not turning fastenough. They shrug and smile.If it seems like a game, it is. Inanother gallery, children (andsome adults) try to steer awayfrom the iceberg on a videoscreen. The record so far: 34,000hits, 1,700 misses.Mike Davis, a visitor fromMansfield, Ga., was unconcernedthat his 1912 counterpart did notsurvive: "You don't want it to beso dismal that you can't enjoyyourself. This place doesn't leaveyou down in the dumps."A fascination renewedAt 100, Titanic is close enough toseem real and sufficiently remoteto be entertaining.For four decades after thesinking, interest in the storyfaded. One reason could be thatthere were too many relatives andsurvivors for whom the memorywas too painful.About two dozen survivors werestill alive on the 75th anniversary.But the last,Millvina Dean, diedin 2009 at 97.Lillian Asplund, thelast who had any memory of thenight, died in 2006 at 99.To visit the Titanic MuseumAttraction now is to see how anytrauma, eventually, becomes just astory.In this, Titanic is in a verydifferent place from a disaster towhich it has often been compared,and that has only recently begunits own slow journey into history.Melancholy remindersAmong the least prophetic of thecountless words about Titanicwere uttered aboard Life Boat 13around 2:20 a.m., as the liner sank beneath the Atlantic. "That's thelast of her," a survivor said.But Titanic never disappearedfrom the world's imagination, noteven during a disaster that echoedand eclipsed it.On the morning of Sept. 11,2001, Titanic's famous credo wasin the thoughts of at least oneoccupant of the south tower of theWorld Trade Center. A witnesslater interviewed by USATODAY said a man told twowomen who were pushing aheadto get on elevators, "This isn't theTitanic, ladies. It's not women andchildren first."There were other connections.Some fleeing the Trade Centerwent east down cobblestonedJaneStreet, passing the dilapidatedRiverview Hotel, where Titanicsurvivors were housed after theyarrived in New York.Many of the 9/11 refugees woundup at theSouth Street Seaport,where a small lighthouse, coveredwith a film of gray ash, stoodwitness to the catastrophe.This was the Titanic Memorial,built largely through the efforts of Molly Brown. "The world has ashort memory for the thingswhich thrill and shock it mostdeeply, and it is well for us to stopand stand and look," a ministersaid at the dedication in 1913. Toremember Titanic, he said, was"to refresh our soul in thepresence and inspiration of heroism."In the days after the attacks, therewere other reminders of 1912.New Yorkersgazed at signs withthe names of the missing, just asthey had stood outside White StarLine offices to check thepassenger list.Pier 54 on Manhattan's WestSide, where the liner Carpathiadocked with Titanic's survivors,became the site of the FamilyAssistance Center, where relativeswent to obtain death certificatesfor missing loved ones.Will Titanic's 100th anniversaryaffect our understanding of 9/11,or vice versa?The meaning of Titanic's storyalways has depended on the timewhen it was told, says StevenBiel, author of Down With theOld Canoe, a cultural history of Titanic.At the time, the sinking waswidely said to have shown theheroism and chivalry of men infirst class, who put women andchildren first and kept third-classmen from storming onto thelifeboats. It also seemed to setback the cause of women's rightsbecause of their preferentialtreatment.Walter Lord's 1955 book A Nightto Remember appeared at theheight of theCold War, a monthafter theSoviet Uniontested a 1.6-megaton hydrogen bomb. ToLord, Titanic's sinking marked theend of a time of confidence andcertainty, and the beginning of anera of anxiety and doubt.In the 1980s, Ballard's discoveryof the wreck 2½ miles down onthe ocean floor seemed aquintessentially Reagan-eratriumph over supposed limits.Ballard was hailed as an explorerof a new frontier to replace theOld West.A decade later, James Cameron'smovie featured a populist lovestory with a self-realizing feministheroine, Rose. The villains weremostly in first class, especiallyRose's diabolical fiancé.In 2001, the 9/11 attacks struck many of Titanic's deepest themes:the shock of the unthinkable,heroism amid disaster, technologyrun amok.Each was a hybrid. Titanic wasan accident invited by humanmalfeasance (steaming too fast inan ice field without enoughlifeboats). Sept. 11 was an attack exacerbated by the unanticipated— even Osama bin Laden didn'texpect the twin towers to collapse.In each case, a supposedlyindestructible man-made structurefailed an unexpected test; peopleof many nations and all classesdied together; many of theirremains were never identified orreclaimed; the exact death toll waslong in dispute; and each eventwas the subject of protractedofficial investigations andinformal controversies.Both disasters seemed to mark the sudden end of something — asense of complacency,confidence, innocence,invulnerability.The tragedies of 1912 and 2001"touch people in the same way,"Kellogg-Joslyn says. "They bothwoke people up to what wasgoing on," adds Edward Kamuda,president of the Titanic HistoricalSociety.The centennial raises the questionof whether Titanic's meaning willbe changed by 9/11, or somethingelse. Figuratively, at any rate,Titanic remains afloat."Some people say that with the100th anniversary, the ship is nowgoing to fade away," says CharlesHaas, president of the TitanicInternational Society. "I disagree.Titanic's stories are timeless. It'snot going anywhere."This entry passed through theFull-Text RSSservice — if this isyour content and you're reading iton someone else's site, please readthe FAQ atfivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.FiveFiltersrecommends:Donate toWikileaks.