Tuesday, April 15, 2008

more pippas will come to be slain

pippa bacca, the peace artist or the "peace bride" as the turkish press dubbed her because she traveled in a wedding dress to promote peace, was killed as the resultant of the same introverted, anti-introspective, paranoid schizoid mentality that plagues droves of turkish fans after almost every international football meet.

i am not underscoring the drama but the poor woman was slaughtered for the same reason many persons, including children, were end-targets of desultory bullets from illegal guns fired indiscriminately by reveling supporters of victorious teams; or, she is the victim of the same dementia that caused two british hooligans to be stabbed and slugged to death by hoodlums that worshipped galatasaray.

poor bride pippa was murdered by a totally witless, idiot crazed with lust who believed in the heart of his hearts that because pippa was a foreigner and an infidel, and therefore by nature light and promiscuous, she was fair game to a turk, whose masculine prowess and virility is universally beyond question. all those tales and myths of military and manly conquests entitled him automatically to any and especially a non-believer woman because he is muslim-turk and has a birthright to gratify his wishes on anything that is the bounty of historic superiority that genetic heritage endows him with.

any corner of any turkish city is replete with similar would-be-monsters awaiting their chance with some pippa. and since turkish women, too, are getting looser and looser as ways change, that pippa may well be named ayşe.

poor pippa the artist was thus also the victim of a cultural abominality. then, she was the combined victim of the turkish police, judicial and penal system that simply fails or refrains to punish any infraction against whatever social value that holds the society together, except perhaps fear. this indifference extends from traffic violations to incense or rape; even murder; turnsing to ferocious duty bound acuity only if political authority is threatened, say by a march of the teachers...

the tacit "official" (*) reaction to pippa's atrocious slaying emphasized its inconvenience, the blemish it caused to turkey's image in europe...

the beast that killed pippa alos knew, at least unconsciously that the punishment meted out to him would not be measure for the wrong he did. he was aware, or at least believed, at worst, he may spend a few years in prison - that, most probably, will only boost his street image and prestige.

this is not the end poor dear pippa; very sorry for you and those that will follow!.. for, there will be more victims like you, as long as this country's population is getting more and more unevenly divided across a schism of civility, losing their ability to exist together.

(*) official here does not necessarily refer to government or other formal personnel but to all who deems in his person an authority to speak in the name of others, sometimes the entire society.

Friday, April 11, 2008

tolerance? what tolerance?

one more note about izmir's loss of the expo, or rather, a reference to the general mentality that underlies turks' promotion of their image in the world:

although turkey is and presents itself as a muslim country (1), it also is usually keen on not being associated with hardline muslim countries that are presumed to be disliked in the west, as iran or saudia. the preferred image is one of modernized, moderate, cooperative and compatible islam. tolerance is an "item" often used to prove compatibility with western life habits, in the propaganda messages. tolerance, in historic practice, translates as believers from different religions living in the same geography politically dominated by members and the ideology of a single faith. the turkish thesis is that "muslim" turkey has been the home of christians and jews as well, through the ages. the izmir texts presented to the bie assembly in paris also carried a high dose of alleged religious tolerance.


first of all, "tolerance", especially in that particular context, reeks badly of religiousity, shadowing the modern - secular and laique signals in the message. in any case, it implies severity, a division, a rent that cannot be spanned in essence. therefore, it negates its own meaning and claim that harmony exists or insinuates the high probability that the harmony that may momentarily prevail is not permanent.

secondly, there seems to be little need in today's modern world to emphasize such tolerance. all civilized (western) countries protect all their citizens and guests from other countries by universally applied laws and many include special provisions against discrimination and persecution (2). each and every individual is free to practice any faith and also, to propagate it. yet, just to state a dire example from tolerant turkey, about a year ago, three protestant missionaries were brutally murdered and a catholic priest stabbed to death.

or a comic example: in istanbul, the city's official bordello is next door neighbors with an ancient greek orthodox church in tophane. had there been a greek brothel next to an abandoned mosque in salonika or belgrade, the ruckus raised here would be heard in hades.

third, the propaganda based on tolerance can hardly stand factual historical testing: the religious coexistence that turks seemingly confuse with tolerance was a social necessity. ethnic turks were not masters in most trades that were the métiers of the christians. also, excluding trades out of reach of muslims and channeling them to a military occupation allowed the state/palace to maintain its absolute political hegemony over the population. non-muslims could get rich but they could not gain political potency.

furthermore, keeping the orthodox archbishop under the sultan's thumb was calculated to afford good influence over conquered peoples of the balkans. still, that they were allowed to practice their religion was subject ever to political compliance. as a matter of fact, the greek orthodox archbishop was hanged at the gate of the patriarchate when he was deemed supportive of the revolution in the morea, for instance.

tolerance in everyday life is also a latter day myth: for most of the time, settlements and quarters of cities were separated among muslim, christian and jewish subjects. often, different christian sects, too, like the armenians or the assyrians, cıatholics and protestants lived more or less physically apart.

until the tanzimat reforms of 1839, churches were permitted only to ring bells carved of wood. perhaps banning brass church bells was one reason an armaments industry based on founding skills never developed properly in turkey (3)

no non-muslim ever rose to high bureaucratic office in the turkish republic. especially, no non-muslim ever was allowed to become a soldier, a diplomat, a general manager etc... indeed, pitifully few of the very few turkish citizens who are not muslim are even employed by the government. the last armenian member of parliament was elected in the 1950s and ever since, only one jew entered the assembly as a deputy.

yet tolerance was still prominently used as a propaganda item in izmir's promotion campaign for the expo. tolerance is hardly an asset or a matter for pride. it is an obligation of civility that should not be used for propaganda (actually, cannot be used either, because it means nothing to a civilized mind).

then again, the word tolerance itself is repugnant. it is synonymous "enduring" or "bearing" someone or something that in its nature is "not as good as i happen to be".

(*) turkey used to project itself as a country "with a predominantly muslim population". in the recent past, i.e., since the akp dominated the political scene, it began to be emphasized more as a muslim country.
(2) like the u.s. hate crime laws.
(3) some huge founderie did exist and cannon and balls could be molded. however, they were too purpose specific to create the metallurgical industries.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

rpp is worse than a rotting political carcass

just a short note for anybody anywhere who had hopes about the repuıblican peoples party of ever serving some use in turkey's future:

the supposedly left wing party that did absolutely nothing to liberate any sector of the society, including labor, from the restraints of the military constitution of the 1982 coup d'etat, now reached the point where it prides itself on stopping the debates on the article 301 of the penal code that is universally recognized as a stumbling block before freedom of expression in the country.

rpp' s acting speaker güldal mumcu, who is the widow of the famed left wing journalist - author uğur mumcu, assassinated in 1993, refused to send the akp's motion for amendments to 301 to the parliamentary committee to review it.

by rule, the speaker or acting speaker has no right to deny the trtansfer of any motion to related committees.

the party's whip, kemal anadol publicly voiced official approval of güldal mumcu' s action.

thus, the rpp blocked a move toward more freedom and liberties just and only because it was brought forth by the akp.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


it has been more than a week since izmir lost to milano in a contest over where the expo 2015 mega trade fair will be hosted.

like a football meet, the loss was accepted, logged and forgotten. not one line appeared, not one word was uttered; -as if something shameful had happened-, about why it was milano that won and how come izmir was beaten... except, of course, the regular confusion of technics and tactics with long term, meaningful strategy and policy: we missed the chance because the foreign ministry did not work well, propaganda was aimed at the wrong agents, african delegates that constituted the majority were neglected and so on...

let's do a necropsy on the dead horse we got at our doorstep, then:

first and foremost, milano is a real city; izmir is an inflated third-and-a-half-world settlement, splattered by hazard on a fine geography like fresh cow manure. she is an overgrown village dressed like a town. she is confusing and confused, unplanned, abused, unwieldy and ugly. she is the perfect concrete canyon, ripped off from the sea, arteries congested, life spaces choked, condemned to the car, dirty, unkempt and exhausting. izmir is a place that holds, without even putting it on, an urban garb agaisnt her deformed peasant's body. a front without depth.

the aerial propaganda photos of izmir for the expo showed hectares of buildings heaped upon each other. no greenery, no parks, no recreational breathing spaces, no tribute at all to nature - with the sole exception of graveyards and the "culture park" that houses the annual izmir fair since the 1930s. slab after slab after slab of ugly concrete marks the landscape otherwise.

izmir's cultural contribution to turkey - leave alone the globalizing world - is scant. alarmingly few poets, lettrists, artists have originated from izmir in the latter days at least - and that, through istanbul. the country's third largest settlement of no less than three million is hardly even mentioned in the news unless because of some atrocious crime or accident, or events that are projections of ankara or istanbul.

izmir is a seven millenia old city. except for its badly spoilated citadel and few-and-far-between small stone houses of yesteryear, one would think it was built yesterday.

on the day the balloting was to be held in paris, the republic square in the rather posh part of town, was filled to the brim with people, merry making, listening to the pop stars and other showpersons that were "sending izmir's message to the delegates". that was not all, a lot of "ambassadors", from the president himself to brazilian football stars playing in turkish teams were involved in the parade to make izmir the location of choice. some delegates in paris, too, had to undergo or endure -what, to me, is an ordeal- plenty of folk dancing as well as a staging of "anatolian fire", a so called modern dance recital that somehow turks came to love - although, considering the nation's affinity with suıch occupations as the ballet, little comment seems to be necessary. oh, and not to forget, some two thousand or so paid persons officially joined the campaign to lure the expo to izmir.

staging multi million dollar shows, although more for home consumption that persuasive propaganda apparently did not wash over being a real city with permanent physical and cultural attractions that appeal to real people. but it certainly was easier.

the expo failure is now forgotten for good. nobody of any might or effect will ever probe into it again. and should a similar opportunity, say the olympics, should befall the way of any turkish city (?), the powers that be will only try to bring in more singers, louder drummers, more colored folk dancers and maybe, a few african footballers this time - just in case.

third-and-a-half-world means always running tangent to rationality.

oops, by the way, the highway that circles milano, with its astral geographical layout, its constellated combination of the arondissement and grid city plan, the road that gets you near anywhere in the urban area is called the "tangentziale". some things are never same, are they?