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Friday, August 15, 2008

The Summer of 2008

Editorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

My friend and MSN UK Homepage Editor Ian James has recently written an article labelling August "the cruellest month", noting the summer slate as one where traditionally doom has befallen while the world was busy looking the other way.

As James tells us, that great teacher History reveals conflict and death have stained many Augusts in modern history. With Germany declaring war on Russia, the First World War began in August 1914, and almost exactly 76 years to the day, Iraq invaded Kuwait, while the first UK troops were sent into Northern Ireland on August 14, 1969, a supposedly temporary measure that turned into a near-40 year residency.

James' list of calamities making the most of a less-than-watchful world continues: In the summer of 1939, Hitler readied his invasion of Poland, while five years later the city of Warsaw was virtually wiped off the map during the Polish Uprising, as native citizens rebelled against their Nazi rulers in anticipation of Soviet support that never came. And the first, and to date only, atomic bombs were dropped on innocent civilians, at Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) killing 140,000 and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) killing 74,000.

Communism lived and died in August, as well - in 1968 the USSR was only too ready to march into Czechoslovakia on August 21 to put down an anti-communist revolution, but when the Soviets tried to put their own house in order on August 19, 1991, in the shape of a coup deposing President Gorbachev, they only succeeded in sparking off a chain of events that broke up their empire forever.

And this month seems to have been no different. As we all sat down in our billions to focus on the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in China, Russia and Georgia as good as went to war. For a while, world leaders included, we were all a little out of our depth. With half the world captivated by the global games and the other half on holiday, it again seemed the ideal time for a country to invade its neighbour.

Dropping Defences

When the world has dropped its defences, Nature has played a part too. Flash floods killed dozens and caused massive damage across the south west of England on August 16, 1952 and again, on the very same day, in 2004, while Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005.

Sometimes the calamity has involved just one - often very famous - person. Richard Nixon resigned as US President on August 9, 1974, and Bill Clinton admitted his affair with Monica Lewinksy on August 17, 1998. Along with world leaders, celebrities aren't immune either. Elvis died in August (on the 16th, 1977), so did Marilyn Monroe (5th, 1962) and Princess Diana (31st, 1997). Other figures have merely suffered falls from grace. Michael Jackson was accused of child abuse on August 24, 1993; he was never charged.

Tarkan fans in Kayseri
Tarkan fans in Kayseri enjoying August
For Tarkan however - who is no stranger to bad luck - this August has been an occasion for joy, amidst this calendar of catastrophe. While the government of his largest fan base outside of Turkey has been going head-to-head with Georgia, the Turkish pop artist kick-started his Turkish Metamorfoz Tour at the start of August, and coming to the halfway mark of the nine concerts sponsored by Doritos last Wednesday, the artist has already pulled nearly 80,000 people to his shows in the first two weeks of August alone.

From news reports and sources from the fan community, its clear that Tarkan has generated a storm in every region of Turkey he has visited, be it north, south, east or west - and for Tarkan fans this will be a summer to remember.

Add to that Tarkan's return to his Harbiye open air concerts, which have now become music legend, the artist is embracing his fans in Turkey this summer in a way not seen for a few years.

It seems that splitting from his girlfriend of seven years is energising the "Peter Pan" pop artist. Although Tarkan has tried to quash rumours circulating that he was apparently scared off by the constant talk about the couple's future after making the split official last month, it's obvious that there was a "timetable clash" between the pair.

Even if contrary to reports, his girlfriend didn't want to have kids or marry this year, rumours from close sources claim that she did want to set a timetable for their future together. She also wanted assurances that he would cut down his tours in the future when they did eventually have children.

But as the month of August shows, one can never prepare for the unexpected. And while James' article makes for a convincing read that any form of tragedy is more affecting when the world kicks back to draw breath in months like August - it is also true that the joys of summer can be even more memorable.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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