Friday, June 22, 2007

Kunta Kinte, 'Armenian Seed', the Denial of Racism!

This is Orhan Kemal Cengiz. A columnist for Turkish Daily News. And who writes every week on Friday a column. I must say, his columns are really newsworthy and excellently written, and for sure, lots of Turks don't like what he writes. I think, when written in Turkish and in an ordinary daily such as Sabah or Hurriyet, the nationalists will lynch him. The hunt is already started in Turkey by some people. Since the (ultra) nationalists most of the time don't understand another language than Turkish, it's safer for him to publish his comments in Turkish Daily.

Here is the start of the article, further reading link below the article.

Friday, June 22, 2007
By Orhan Kemal Cengiz

ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

If you asked a man in the street in Turkey what racism means, you would probably receive a vague answer and some random examples rather than a conceptual definition. These examples most probably would refer to other countries, like the United States and European countries, but not Turkey at all!
For us, racism is what the white man did to the black man. Racism is just an image for us haunting our memories from the film “Roots”. It is the picture of the white man who was whipping a black guy: “Say your name nigger”, “My name is Kunta Kinte”, “Your name is Toby boy”, until at last, after hours of lashing, Kunta Kinte gives in and says “my name is Toby sir!” This is the only form of racism we know.
I have never come across any Turkish person who considers himself a racist. However, racist remarks are just flying in the air in the daily conversations in this country. Our language is full of racist remarks. For example, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, is called an “Armenian seed” (Ermeni Dölü). If you consider how much Öcalan is hated in this country then you can imagine how “flattering” being an “Armenian seed” may be. “Jews are cowards!” “Arabs are back stabbing people”! Not to mention very offensive vocabulary about the Roma people!

Continue reading here.


Vahe Balabanian said...

Self criticism is a healthy attitude, I hope that the time will come when it is practiced openly in Turkey.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

times are changing..))

mirdifderya said...

Great Article. Very true what he wrote. Thanks god he didn't wrote it in Turkish, otherwise very small minority really will understand what he real mean unfortunately!:(

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Yes, thus this article must be hidden...))
Great freedom os speech..))

Anonymously yours, said...

Racism exists EVERYWHERE! Where do stereotypes come from?

Anonymously yours, said...

Hans, since you live in Turkey you are in a better position to comment on whether you find Turks to be racists. I am Turkish American and find that when I visit Turkey, even I am seen as a foreigner!

I don't know what it means to be a "Turk", quite honestly.

Maybe Turks in Turkey are having some identity crisis.

Anonymously yours, said...

So is our wedding off??

mirdifderya said...

Noooo come on we are of course not nationlist or the way europe does:)

At least not saying: black or white we do not understand the consept of it anway we never had blacks. But we did have more than 12 nations all become Turks, bit like all Americans isn't it, or Australians?

mirdifderya said...

On the other hand, do you think for the sake of respect the race: how about loosing identy though:

Look at UK, people are not allow to wear cross because, shouldn't upset the other etnic believers, or the can't even put X-mas trees all over the places or decorate the malls or puplic areas has been done many many years, shouldn't upset the new refrugees (sorry still british citizens), or can't sing ba ba black ship, shouldn't offence the blacks.

Lets change whole country so we do not offence the other etnic group, don't you think bit too much, or am I speaking like a racist:)

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

let me say, Turkey became less friendly..))
No not off..

Emre Kizilkaya said...

I strongly disagree with the writer (especially on "racist remarks are just flying in the air" part), but after your comments like "this article should be hidden" I must say something else.

Much "worse" articles are being published in Turkey in Turkish and nothing happens. Why do you think so? Read Agos, read Ozgur Gundem. So many columnist in these dailies write much harsher articles everyday and nothing happen to them.

You can say "But they killed Hrant Dink!" Yeah, they also killed Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands, did a personal crime which symbolizes the violent idea of a minority make the whole country racist or anti-democratic?

You have got so many stereotypes. Both about Turkey and also about Turkish people.