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Cat I am a photographer I can’t fix stupid but I can capture one poster

Eagleton was born in 1926 in Peoria, Illinois. He attended local public schools before going to Yale, where he began to master Spanish and French. His first Foreign Service job was in Madrid. “It was through southern Spain, with its Moorish element, that I became romantically interested in the Arab world,” he explains. “I requested a Middle East posting and got Damascus in 1951.” From that point onward Eagleton’s overseas addresses appear more akin to those of an adventurer than to those of a diplomat: Kirkuk, in Iraqi Kurdistan; Tabriz, in northwestern Iran; Tangiers, Morocco; Noukchott, Mauritania; Aden, South Yemen; Algiers, Algeria; and finally Tripoli, Libya, before he went to live in Baghdad for four years.

“Read, travel, read, travel, that’s the way to go,” Eagleton told me. “Certainly the old Victorian travel books, but also some of the modern political stuff. An Arabist is someone interested in getting deep into the culture and people of the region. Those who aren’t interested in the culture don’t deserve the title of Arabist.” Along the way Eagleton wrote not only a political history of the shortlived Kurdish Republic of Mahabad (in post-Second World War Iran) but also a book on Kurdish carpets. In all those places Eagleton was his own boss, without even the need for ambassadorial protocol–running a lonely consulate in a provincial backwater, or an interests section in a radical Arab capital. When Eagleton was nominated to be ambassador to Syria, in 1984, his long stints in radical countries raised eyebrows in Congress. “The State Department didn’t help me out much. I had to get Jewish friends from Cleveland and elsewhere to call [Senators Rudy] Boschwitz and [Howard] Metzenbaum to tell them–well; you know–that I was okay.” Eagleton felt compelled to tell me this, although I hadn’t asked him about his confirmation troubles. Actually, I found Eagleton’s motives for passing his life in places like South Yemen, Libya, and Iraq quite easy to fathom. At sixty-five, he has eyes that still appear young and full of enthusiasm: they are the eyes of a traveler who has retained a youthful disposition by means of constant adventure, challenge, and cultural stimulation. Eagleton is a true spiritual descendant of the early missionary-explorers.