Monday, December 28, 2009

Queen Victoria's Granddaughter Complicates Jerusalem

Rule of thumb number one when dealing with Jerusalem: There will always be significant parts of its story you've never heard of. First Corollary to the First Rule of Thumb: These previously unnoticed things will have weighty contemporary implications. First Golden Rule stemming from the First Corollary to the First Rule of Thumb: Things will always be more complicated than you expected.

I've been living here, mostly on and occasionally off, for more than 40 years, watching closely and always fascinated the whole time. I don't regard myself as more than a modestly knowledgeable observer, however. Here's a story - from the Economist, of all places - the general outlines of which I've known for a long time, but never in so much detail. It's about a granddaughter of Queen Victoria (remember her? She died in 1901, aged 82) who was murdered in the Russian Revolution and serves as an anchor for Vladimir Putin's very considerable interest in Jerusalem.

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