Tuesday, October 16, 2007

tayyib the khalifa

tayyib efendi was addressing an organization of his party late last week, on occasioın of the bayram. as always, when speaking to an adoring, supportive, sycophantic and non-digressing group of devout disciples, his training as a religious rhetorician got the better of him and he let his tongue loose, to run before his mind:

"we are the government of all, we are here to serve all" he stated. and after the applause subsided, he rolled on "we shall serve not only the muslim, we shall serve the christian and we shall serve the jew... if there are any, we shall serve the buddhist and the atheist, too".

we are used to tayyib efendi's habit of confusing himself with the ottoman sultan or the khalifa of islam, forgetting that he is a citizen, perhaps primus inter pares (1) but still a citizen, of the republic of turkey, a democratic state where, although threatened, the primacy of its secular law is supposedly universal. hence, any government has to "serve" not only any citizen of the country but also visiors residents who are the beneficiaries of the protection turkish law affords everyone.

tayyib efendi often loses this distinction between religious and secular law, simply because his scope of the modern world sometimes slips out of context and into the ottoman (or worse, mohammedan) era. pretending he is the khalifa of islam, his tongue begins to run loose before his mind. that is what happened at the bayram speech. "we serve regardless of anyone's creed, because that is the custom we inherited from our history," the primus inter pares raved.

he conveniently disregarded that it is his obligation to serve the whole country, including not only non-muslim turks but even the foreigners within its borders. it has nothing to do with history, customs and traditions or tayyib efendi's family upbringing. any government of the republic, including his, is there to serve all, muslim, atheist, christian, devil worshipper, jew or pagan because they are duty bound by the law of the land! because the constitution says so...

the realization may disappoint tayyib efendi but he is neither khalifa nor sultan. for the moment, he is primus, because his pares have assigned him the duty of protecting the law of the land, under whose democratic principles, we all are equal and deserving of the services of the country's governments.

that privilege includes tayyib efendi's politically and artificially elevated self, too. whatever power to serve is also vested in him through that law, which he has sworn by honor to uphold!

as a citizen with mixed spiritual affinities and a fairly rational mind that suggests the logic of atheism, i think i am entitled to tell tayyib efendi: "just do properly the duty you are appointed to, oh mighty one! if my forefathers had wanted a sultan or a khalifa, they would not have deposed what they had... apparently, those they disposed of were better than your esteemed self, otherwise you would not be yearning to emulate them".

(1) first among equals

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