Monday, February 27, 2017

QOTD - Saying No

You can say No in a variety of ways. When asked to surrender by the Germans, Gen McAulliffe famously replied "Nuts!"

When asked to surrender by Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman empire, the Cossacks of Ukraine came up with a much wordier response. Cossaks being the Klingons of the diplomatic world, the thought that this response might start a war was probably considered a feature rather than a bug.

Found the initial reference to this on Samizdata in the comments of a piece comparing various methods of attacking the press, some of which sound like great fun. The references there took me to Wikipedia where not only the quote in its entirety appears , but also the initial demand by the Sultan that inspired the thing:

Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:
As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians - I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.
--Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV
The Cossacks' reply came as a stream of invective and vulgar rhymes, parodying the Sultan's titles:

Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!
O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shallt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.
Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!
So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!
- Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.
Interesting to note that when translating obscure languages that while some terms may become subject to debate over time, like the word "brewer" which might also mean "drunkard", none of the really good inferences seem to have had any such problems. You have to wonder though if being a Macedonian wheelwright might be like being a quality engineer with Yugo.

 Ladies are commended to the study of fine literature so as to be able to say no in such a way at to not foreclose on getting the young man in question to help with your car or moving at some point in the future.

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