Thursday, December 28, 2006

A tale about Christmas and being the Perfect Stranger

This article is published in Turkish Weekly of December 27, 2006

Being raised up in the seventies, in the Netherlands in a village with not more than 16.000 people, I started to understand the world from a simple point of view: economy was booming, no inter cultural tensions, the communist were our enemy and, Christianity was divided in Protestants, Calvinists and Catholics. According to these lines we were dating each other. And Amsterdam was not far away, 30 km, but scared us since it was a worldly city with different perceptions and perspectives than we were used to handling.

Christmas was, by that time, a time of reflection. But became later more a time of only holiday, which we needed badly after all the rush and stress we put on our lives. And that time of reflection became more a time to tell ourselves how good we had it; it was a time of consumption, so we baptized our country into the consumption society.

Read the full article here

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ms. Banu Avar

There is a way in Turkey how to handle Turkey's their critics; counter attacking.
Like what the 'journalist' Ms. Banu Avar did two weeks ago when Orhan Pamuk, the first Turk who won a Nobel Price (for literature). She linked this prestigious price with a 'documentary' she created with the name Beyond Borders, about the 'genocide' the Swedish committed against the Laps in the Northern part of Scandinavia. Broadcasted on Turkish 'state' television TRT.
Sahin Alpay, a columnist for Zaman newspaper in Turkey watched this piece of art on TV and ironically concluded that Banu Avar was trying to convince her fellow country men the following:

  • Sweden was a country exporting weapons and war to the rest of the world
  • Sweden lacks freedom of expression.
  • Women were subject to intense violence.
  • Swedish people suffer from alcoholism and mental illnesses.
  • Racism prevailed and the Sami/Lappish minority was deprived of all rights and were subject to genocide in the country.
  • The Nobel Prize and similar international awards serve U.S. “global cultural imperialism.”
  • Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was awarded this prize for this very reason.
  • The Swedes did not know anything about the Nobel prize nor about Pamuk...

A shocking piece of journalism.

And Ms. Avar: you disgraced journalism and you disgraced Turkey.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Smoking in Turkey

Turkey is a smoking country, and a country of 'Smoking Guns' ...once and a while.

Lately I had diner with some friends, close ones. We had a nice chat, but what bothers me was when someone finnished diner, and others are not ready for the next round, they start smoking...and the smoke is send to you in peace to your face...

I am a avid smoker but this too much for appetite is like snow in the Sahara desert...
But can I complain? No.

But there is another thing what bothers me in the Smoking Industry of Turkey:
you don't find good lighters. You can buy them cheap; 1 YTL. But the life of a lighter is not predictable ...sometimes 4 days, sometimes 4 weeks...

Exactly the Life of a smoker...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Islamic fundamentalism

In the Dark fundamentalist scheme the world constantly decays and has constantly to be re-created. The only function of the intellect is to assist that re-creation. It reinterprets the texts; it re-establishes the divine precedent.
So history has to serve theology, law is separated from the idea of equity, and teaching is separated from learning.
This doctrine has its attractions; To a student from the University of Karachi, from perhaps a provincial or peasant background, the old faith comes more easily and is more simple to swallow than any new-fangled academic discipline.

Fundamentalism these days takes root in the universities; and ironically 'deny education' can become the approved educated act for men against women.

How diffeerent this was in the days of Muslim glory; Islam opened itself to the learning of the world. Now fundamentalism provides an intellectual thermostat, set low. It equalizes, comforts, shelters, and preserves. Independant thinking can become a crime.
In this way the faith pervades everything, and it is possible to understand what the fundamentalists mean when they say that Islam is a 'complete way of life'; their Life!

But what is said about Islam is true, and perhaps truer, of other religions--like Hinduism or Buddhism or lesser tribal faiths--that at an early stage in their history were also complete cultures, self-contained and more or less isolated, with institutions, manners, and beliefs making a whole.

But the Islamic fundamentalist nowadays wish is to work back to such a whole, for them a God-given whole, but with the tool of faith alone--belief, religious practices and rituals!

It is like a wish--with intellect suppressed or limited, the historical sense falsified--to work back from the abstract to the concrete, and to set up the tribal walls again!
It is to seek to re-create something like a tribal ora city-state that--except in theological fantasy--never was.

The Koran is not the statute book of a settled golden age; it is the mystical or oracular record of an extended upheaval, widening out from the Prophet to his tribe in Arabia!!
Arabia was full of movement; Islam, with all its Jewish and Christian elements, was always mixed, eclectic, developing. ...

The West, or the universal civilization it leads, is emotionally rejected
. It undermines; it threatens. But at the same time it is needed, for its machines, goods, medicines, warplanes, the remittances from the emigrants, the hospitals that might have a cure for calcium deficiency, the universities that will provide master's degrees in mass media.

All the rejection of the West is contained within the assumption that there will always exist out there a living, creative civilization, oddly neutral, open to all to appeal to. Rejection, therefore, is not absolute rejection. It is also, for the community as a whole, a way of ceasing to strive intellectually.

It is to be parasitic; parasitism is one of the unacknowledged traits of Islamic fundamentalism.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Flamenco Expresivo

Flamenco is music, dance, sex and history all rolled into one. The fiercest expression of the human spirit ever devised.

Flamenco is quite simply the fiercest expression of the human spirit ever devised. As universal as the blues, as epic as opera, as unpredictable as jazz and as lyrical as ballet. The result is an adventure, with extreme dance, searing vocal artistry and exhilarating guitar..

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mixed marriages

Mixed marriages

One of the beautiful experiences in Turkey for me personally is that people don’t condemn or judge you when you marry someone else with a different faith. A friend of mine, a Muslim, married a girl of the Jewish faith.
And earlier this year, another close friend of mine, married her sweetheart for years from Greece with the Greek Orthodox faith.
No one makes problems about this, although I got one time a Syrian on my neck telling me that ‘he was worried about the fact that Muslim women are so quick with marrying foreigners, in particular Christians. And he, himself had his wife from the USA converted to the Muslim faith. How nice.
My Turkish friend will marry her sweetheart in June in Greece, and today she is Baptized in Greece to the Greek Orthodox religion since it doesn’t allow marriages if both are not Greek Orthodox Christians.
Then, Turkey is different…

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Knowledge, Imagination, Creativity and Originality. (1)

Knowledge, Imagination, Creativity and Originality.

As Einstein once said: “Knowledge is limited but Imagination is circling all over the world”. But knowledge is something rational, which you can trust upon, you can share it with people, friends, etc.
Imagination is more personal: dreaming and being fascinated by something which can be possible.
But when creative, how original are we?
How can we be with our knowledge, creative, original and still full of imagination..

Friday, April 14, 2006

Become digital or stay underdeveloped.

Bought a camera in January, a Canon 3000 at Wall-Mart in San Francisco. The only non-digital camera they had in stock. All the other cameras were digital ones.
Since I love the old-fashioned way of photography, I thought to make a good deal. The camera was only 220 USD! No way that I could buy this camera for a price like this 10 years ago.
The only problem these days is to get your films developed. Kodak is shutting down its ‘development’ stores. And where can you buy a film for this camera? Yes, in Turkey. Now it is waiting how they develop my films. I trust them. As usual.

But am I developed enough to go for a digital camera?

Cyprus and "Kurdistan"

Cyprus and "Kurdistan".

Needed a break and went in March to Cyprus. The Northern part, which is according to International law, occupied by Turkey. And not recognized by any other country, except Turkey.

The airport was cute, and little. Only flights from and to Turkey.

The first thing which reminds you of the past is that the British occupied the island for a long time; the traffic was driving on the left. And the patience when you want to cross the street: cars stopped. What a contradiction with Istanbul: you have to run for your life sometimes as a pedestrian…

Although a small country, Turkish Cyprus, with 40.000 Turkish soldiers: a Tiny small country with a Big problem.

What I also don’t understand is that in fact, when the Turkish army in 1974 invaded Northern Cyprus, to protect the Turkish population from the Greek aggression is that they were not there to resolve the order, but to stay there. And now, the Turkish Cypriots, a minority on the island, created a banana republic.
Only 60% of the people are really born and grown up in Cyprus. The rest are invaders. A flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention of 1948.

What about the minority of Kurdish people (up to 25%) in Turkey….their rights?

Many Turks have the answers, never visit their Baby-land, but for me still a question.

Read also:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Gateway or Get-Away

In the last years many ads are published here in Turkey. Some of them to promote Turkey, some of them to promote brand names.
What made me curious was that many of the ads are copy-paste ads, using headings as ‘Think Global, act Local’, ‘Spend Global, Earn local’, 'As a Local, You can travel Global' etc.

Also the word ‘Gateway’ seems to be an attractive word for my fellow advertising colleagues…
We dream from Gateway to Gateway…into the Universe...

But I was annoyed when I saw the heading of the Turkish Daily News: "Your Gateway to Turkey on the way to Europe". Too many words and it doesn’t cover anything.
Are the Turks invading Europe again...
I don’t get it...

This week THY (Turkish Airlines) started a new ad campaign on e.g. BBC world, CNN etc.
Beautiful art, pictures, music….but at the end the pay off: "Your Magical Gateway to the World".
I want now a Get-Away.