“The Knight”

Painted by Colonel Robert Sawyer 1978

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14 Responses to “The Knight”

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Congratulations on the move to the geothermally-powered turcopolier.com Colonel.

    I’m very pleased you have posted the whole picture – the cropped section was tantalizing. Having now read the 2014 SST post on the painting I must say I can’t think of a more fitting banner image for your new site. The artist was clearly very fond of yourself and your SWMBO. The cropped composition centered on the Arab is a good one and I see it conveniently serves the interests of modesty too (I recognized Mortimer the Indian from the photo in “Tattoo”).

    Might you find a home for the Sic Semper Tyrannis brand here? That simple Latin phrase is such a perfect encapsulation of so much your blog stands for. Then again, the Turcopole aspect of your life needs no supporting effort and tells its own story brilliantly, especially through “The Knight”.

  2. Escarlata says:

    Pat, some questions, if you do not mind…

    The bedouin behind Atatürk, could be AbdelKader?

    And the teen in the chess board, why he painted him sat on the tower, what did he say that meant?

    The dog in the Persian carpet is Lola?

    And the ancient bowls, near Lola, what do they mean?
    They seem like a collection of bowls which dissapeared from Bagdad National Museum during iraq War which they say wore inscriptions about Jesus´ life and which ended in the personal collection of some Israeli millionaire through a smuggling operation passing through London.
    Once I saw a documentary about these spoiling, where it appeared Donald Rumsfeld mocking the claim by the Iraqis, as if these were bowls which could be replaced by some others bought in the China shop…He was saying that there were a lot of bowls, what if some dissapeared, obviating the whole collection is telling a story…and thus, ALL, are needed to be returned to their legitimate owners…

    The world is so because of people like this man…( no le aguanto…)

    • Pat Lang says:

      As I wrote earlier the Arab was a personal friend. Sawyer saw his picture and wanted to use it. The dog in the picture was “Frodo,” a Miniature Schnauzer. He died of cancer when we were at USMA about the time that Col Sawyer painted the picture (1977). The several views are of the same bowl. It is Seljuk I bought it in Izmir, Turkey from an art dealer. It is probably a thousand years old. Rumsfeld is an ass. If I had been in Baghdad when the city fell to us I would have objected strongly to “liberating” art from any museum. Perhaps that is why Wolfowitz barred me from accompanying the invasion force.

      • Pat Lang says:


        Frodo was my wife’s first dog. Her grief for him was so deep that I feared for her life. Bob Sawyer knew that and this is why he is in the painting.

        • Escarlata says:

          This is the documentary, Pat, may be you and pilgrims can find it interesting…
          I had it viewed time ago, finally they are hundreds of Aramaic incantantion bowls..( un robo a gran escala…)

          There appear also the imprescindible righteous men/women who try to do their duty ( and reconcile us with the human genre ) in the person of head of London Metropolitan police squad dedicated to antiquities smuggling and some archaeologists who suffer even repercussions in their careers because of doing what they ought…

          The Thieves of Baghdad

          • Pat Lang says:


            Perhaps you should watch “The Battle of Algiers.” You might understand that those who struggled for Western civilization were also honorable men.

  3. Skeptik says:

    Congatulations on the new site. Mr. Lang you write about “those who struggled for Western Civilization were also honorable men”. But can that be said about the French in Algeria? Was there no civilization there prior to the coming of the Western French? Was this the case everywhere the Westerner went? Were there no other civilizations?
    In these my latter years, I can understand the argument being made to support the Afrikaner nationalists who maintained that the Africans would not, and could not, administer a modern country, and it seems that this prediction has been borne out in South Africa which appears to have become a failed state. The Black African’s development was of the Stone Age variety when he met the White Hollander in his trek up north from the Cape, a Hollander who renamed himself an Afrikaner as a reflection of the continent in which he lived.
    The clash between a stone age culture and a modern civilization was inevitable, and in fact, insoluble. In this situation the Afrikaner saw himself as struggling for Western civilization and its values and institutions.
    But one may ask whether the intrusion of the Westerners into the Islamic world or the Asian world, both of which are the products of rich and old civilizations, may be viewed as “struggling for Western civilization”. It seems to me that Smedley Butler had a much more realistic understanding of the purposes of Western conquests – all for business and profits. Nothing at all for Western civilization.

    • Pat Lang says:


      It is not a question of one culture replacing the other. Western civilization enriched both the Islamic and East Asian worlds and was in turn enriched by them. You talk like somebody who has never experienced the local cultures in places where there was minimal or no Western intrusion into their domains. In such places life is shorter, poorer, nastier and more brutish for ordinary humans. Do you think the Ottoman empire was better off before the Tanzimat, or Egypt would have better off without the Westernizing regimes of the Khedives? Do you think that Saudi Arabia was better off left to molder in medieval Wahhabi ignorance of the actual world? The list of examples is endless. Was Indochina better off without French colonial construction of infrastructure (railroads, roads, bridges, ports, etc.) Was Vietnamese nationalist communism not itself an artifact of the admixture of the two cultures? The Viet Minh leaders were mostly public school teachers who were normal school graduates trained as public school teachers.. Ho Chi Minh was himself a founding member of the French Communist Party in the period when he was a waiter in Paris. Anti-colonial whining is what you are selling.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Well said Colonel. We First Worlders have a terrible habit of romanticizing the wretched state of huge swathes of humanity. The troubled psyche of Rousseau, with his imagined idyllic State of Nature is perhaps the most egregious example. Having lived among pre-civilized peoples I imagine you are immune to this folly.

        My own experience of such is all third hand, but one particular scene from a documentary on Afghanistan sticks with me: A father explaining to the appalled interviewer (National Geographic or some such) how he had had to sell his children into bondage, simply to feed himself . “Nothing [is] so gentle as man in his primitive state” indeed.

        Kipling’s life was largely dedicated to improving the lot of non-white British subjects overseas, but I guess The White Man’s Burden has about as much chance of being taught today as lines from Mein Kampf. That burden now includes the systematic denial that colonialism brought any benefit whatsoever to poor benighted heathens. The woke binary version of history is infantile.

  4. Escarlata says:

    Yes, Pat, I do not discard honorable people anywhere anytime, but, as you alude to “Battle of Argel”, I wonder, what´s the point in going defending Western civilization to remote places thousand miles away from our Western shores amongst people owning their own ancient great civilizations..?

    On the other hand, what would be the legitmate way of proceeding when a visitor settles in your house through decades, without having been invited at all, becomes the master of the house, relegates you to servitude and cronic underdevelopment, and when you decide that you are not going to take it anymore, since it does not compensate you for the long stay , you ask him to leave, and he refuses to do so, even by using force?

    I think the time has come when the alleged superiority of Western civilization will be widely put into question in the world, and to this will greatly contribute the things we will have to witness from now on…
    I do not discard feeling terribly ashamed…in fact, I am starting already..v..

    • Pat Lang says:


      See my reply to Skeptic. You have no idea how much these “great civilizations” and the people who inhabited them benefited from exposure to Western civilization.

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