Tag Archives: kurds

Thoughtful Thursdays and finishing old thoughts about living in other countries and trying to be universal.

Please forgive me if this post is a bit of a ramble about living in Turkey, and the hope of universal justice.

I regret my comments about Sufism being dead, back in 2005, based on what I’d been told by neighbors, co-workers, and my boss, both up in Istanbul and down in Izmir. Whether or not that was true, for them, it prevented me from continuing the search for myself. I let the fears of others, and my own fear, being told that it’s not safe, even in 2005, for a young-looking woman (Turks were always shocked and then offended that a woman in her 40s, whom they’d taken for mid 20’s, dared to be living alone and working in a foreign country with no plans to go home, marry, make enough money to buy a house, car, health insurance, etc,) dictate my plans. But that was about the best I could do at the time.

Now, looking back at some conversations I had with other bloggers, I see how I let myself get caught up in other mindsets, trying to be part of any society or family group that would have me (sorry if this belongs on a Spanish Sunday, but my Spanish was so bad back then that it’s hardly worth moving this…):

(This clip is  part of an older post…-

 

And, finally, that conversation I had over LJ with someone who asked me in Spanish about my impressions of how the Kurds are seen in Turkey:
“2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarta decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. He encontrado unos datos sobre el por alli:”

Basically, most Turks want the Kurds to assimilate, stop speaking Kurdish, and stop complaining.  Hmm, sounds familiar… –

So, it turns out that some of my coworkers may have been right about the once and future Prime Minister gaining more and more power and closing the noose further on the secularist dream of a Laic Turkish Republic.    As I watch nationalism and particularism close in on the world, I see each group looking to its own, rather than to the universal, and it worries me now even more than it did back then.    That is why I write.  Both here on my blog, and in my Work In Progress: justice must be for all of us, as human beings.  No more, and no less.

More on my continuing striving with thoughts next week, friends:

Yassas,   γεια σας!    Salût !  Nos vemos!  Görüşürüz!     ! שָׁלוֹם

Action Items in support of literacy and hope that you can take right now:

1.) Search for two different resources about universalism.

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you like each of the resources you found,  perhaps as an update on your GoodReads reading,

4.) Write a blog post or tweet that uses a the word “universal,” tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. Once published, donate one or more copies to your local public library, as I intend to do.

Dear Readers, any additional ideas toward learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning as part of on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind? 

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!, Teach and Learn (Lesson Plans)!

ShiraDest

September, 12020 HE

(The previous lesson plan since this post, and the most recent lesson plan…)

My long-lost language learning goals for Greek: in Spanish! Miercoles Maravillosos de Griego!

Now starting Great Greek Wednesdays, at last!  🙂    Ya, por fin, estoy empezando los Miercoles de Griego Maravilloso!

I actually accidentally started learning a bit of Greek when I lived in Turkey, due to having a couple of friends in Athens, one of whom came to visit me across the Aegean when I lived in Izmir.   Background on that is below, in this post for anyone interested in reading and commenting on how I slowly started to figure out, back around 2005, that I learn a new language much faster by tying it to an old ‘new’ language.  My L1 is English, and my L2 is Spanish, so I found it far easier to learn Greek in Spanish, because:

  1.  using Spanish ‘hooks’ the new Greek words into my existing foreign language brain circuits,   and
  2.   Greek pronunciation and grammar are very similar to European Spanish grammar and usage, so it just makes more sense to learn Greek in Spanish than in English.       Finally:
  3.   this way, I get to practice my Spanish while learning Greek, so less time wasted on English.  🙂

and here is that list I’ve been looking for for a few years now:
“end of 2006 -full fluency in Spanish
” 2010 – Turkish
2015-  Biblical Hebrew
2030- French
2033- Catalan
2035- Greek
2040- Italian”

I wanted to scrub French from my list, but now (2020) I am fully fluent, far ahead of reluctant schedule. I also have mostly reading fluencey in Biblical Hebrew now. I also watch TV shows like Hakan: Muhafiz in Turkish, so I put myself between conversant and fluent in Turkish.

More below, and I can dig up the old posts for those who want to discuss living in Turkey as a bad social experiment back in 2005.  🙂

Still in Service to Community,

Shira

So, I did swim in the Aegean! I’d totally forgotten:
“I had a good day – we went to our coworker Fazil’s house (it took us from 12:30 until 3pm!), where we all ate lunch, went swimming (the Aegean sea is very very very salty!!), walked around Foca (Phocia) and saw a Greek-Turkish political discussion at a large table outdoors on a stage (I wanted to stay and listen but no one else was interested -frustrating as they were speaking in Greek and then translating into Turkish and people were applauding wildly), then saw the last few dances of a show of a Greek folk dance trouppe (their last dance was Romvini in Turkish, a tsifteteli I believe, and everyone clapped but no one danced), then we went home -at 10m, and I arrived home about midnight, but then joined my farther away neighbors on their balcony for some nuts and karpus, and we talked until 1am.”2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarto decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. …”

– My long-lost language goals and conversations lost (in Spanish)

Interesting that this post was in July, yet it took me months to arrange to leave…
“I always keep a bucket of water full for just such occassions (which are frequent, as it turns out). I am just tired of fighting this. I have alos learned that the culture is much more innuedo-based than I thought. It turns out that someone we know thought I wanted to date him based on something I said about marriage! The fact that I come from a much more direct culture and Turkey is a much more indirect and hint-based culture is a serious problem for me. I think that much of what I percieve to be dishonesty is really a by-product of the Turkish/Asian preference for subtlty (they are a subtle culture while America is definitely not!). The Jewish community is very interesing here. And they have helped me to understand that I will never be accepted as Sephardi. That is one goal accomplished. Another is learning that not only is the Lesbian community completely in hiding and mostly closed but they also really do not want an American coming to try to help them in any way. Took learning enough Turkish before I discovered that one. And as for being accepted (in the closet) as a member of Turkish society, the answer is -only if I give free English lessons and do not make any money in Turkey (and convert to Islam so I can marry a Turk). Which brings me to my last goal, learning about Sufism. It is dead and the city of the Sufies (Konya) is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism that Turkey is working hard to repress. I was also disappointed to learn that my big brother here in Izmir also believes that Kurds are mostly thieves and (a word I do not know) bad people. So I have met my 5 major goals for coming here, I have learned alot, I cannot do any real good here, and I do not want to stay. But the food is awesome and I have learned how to make my favorite dishes already. So that sums up Turkey, now it’s time to leave.”

and here is that list I’ve been looking for for a few years now:
“end of 2006 -full fluency in Spanish
” 2010 – Turkish
2015- Modern Israeli (and reading fluency in Biblical) Hebrew
2020- Egyptian Arabic
2023- Palestinian and Jordanian Arabic
2025- Portugues
2030- French
2033- Catalan
2035- Greek
2040- Italian”

I wanted to scrub French from my list, but now (2020) I am fully fluent, far ahead of reluctant schedule. I also have mostly reading fluencey in Biblical Hebrew now, though Israeli Hebrew is off of my active list. I also watch TV shows like Hakan:Muhafiz in Turkish, so I put myself between conversant and fluent in Turkish.

And, speaking with a Dutch friend who’d lived in Turkey for a year or more before I arrived:
“2005-07-25 08:32:00
psych. damage… (and damned phone)
Sylvıa pointed out that i seem to see most women (tight clothes, sex before marriage, etc) as sluts according to a comment -they think we are all sluts- that i made as we talked about how the Turkish guys treat foreign women. İ also realized that i had caught myself mentalliy agreeing w/Cengis abi about kurds being theives etc. İ am starting to pick up not only the racist sentiments many people here hold but also the ingrained judgement against western clothing styles and glbt people and open sexual mores that some of my closer friends hold (my religious friends here). But my princples say that those things are all ok -they donot hurt anyone. İ am also starting to look down on myself as a lesbian due to the shame of having to keep it a secret. Cengiz abi again told me not to tell anyone. but i promised myself not to be in the closet anymore a year ago. All means that i am getting no better for being in a society that mostly hates who i am. Even in a perfect apartment and my dream job here, the society at large remains the same -dissaproving of me and seeing me as an outsider only good for certain things. İ will be objectified as long as the system pays us more to work here based on an accident of birth (being native speakers) and people will resent it.”

So, I did swim in the Aegean! I’d totally forgotten:
“I had a good day -i met my Azeri coworker Nazile and we went to our coworker Fazil’s house (it took us from 12:30 until 3pm!), where we all ate lunch, went swimming (the Aegean sea is very very very salty!!), walked around Foca (Phocia) and saw a Greek-Turkish political discussion at a large table outdoors on a stage (I wanted to stay and listen but no one else was interested -frustrating as they were speaking in Greek and then translating into Turkish and people were applauding wildly), then saw the last few dances of a show of a Greek folk dance trouppe (their last dance was Romvini in Turkish, a tsifteteli I believe, and everyone clapped but no one danced), then we went home -at 10m, and I arrived home about midnight, but then joined my farther away neighbors on their balcony for some nuts and karpus, and we talked until 1am.”

https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2005/08/20/kind-people-who-told-me-to-be-harsher/

And, finally, that conversation I had over LJ with someone who asked me in Spanish about my impressions of how the Kurds are seen in Turkey:
“2005-05-06 11:26:00
İsmet İnönü: una historia interesante… ilginç tarih… interesting history…
Yo estaba hablando con mi jefe en la escuela sobre la fiesta de anoche y hablabamos sobre la fieste de Nevrus y otras fiestas (como el de ayer -Hıdırellez). El me decia que los Kurdos no tienen ninguna problema aqui, aunque mi antigua companera de cuarta decia que a los Kurdos Turquia no les gusta y habia descriminacion y aun ahora quedo una guerra contra ellos. Todo los Turkos decian que eso no lo es, y que solamente (los Kurdos) quieren hacer problemas. Es algo interesante. Desde amos lados hay diferente puntas de vista. Pero no sabia que habia algunas presidentes de Turquia que habian Kurdos. Otra amiga me decia que su heroe es İsmet İnönü. Yo estaba un pocito sorprendida. He encontrado unos datos sobre el por alli:”
From:
https://shiradestin.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/posts-made-from-turkey-in-later-time/