Tag Archives: opinion piece

“Ivory Tower? Literature and Life” – An Opinion Piece

My weekly post was going to be about an aspect of my life again.  After all, I created this blog site to document my literary work of the past and the present, most of which originated from my own life experiences and ills I have faced thus far.  To the best of my ability, I resist reading the news.  Beyond an occasional scan-reading, that is.  In the opposite sense of “intended” or “active” reading, the practice about which I tell my students time and again when dealing with literary texts in a foreign language – German, in my case.  Just yesterday, my literature class and I completed an analysis of three poems representative of their centuries in terms of cultural, social, political, religious and artistic tendencies.  All three, of relevance to my thoughts today.  As the poets’ words of hope for future generations were not capable of a launch: everyone in class, myself included, had to agree that nothing had happened for the better in human behavior from one century into another. Ours is no exception.

Yes, I have been resisting perusing world and local news for a while now.  To self-protect.  For I am very much like my mother, who couldn’t be herself for a long time, after reading sad news in newspapers back when.  Another reason is my realization of the cruel fact that I can’t possibly change anything that is tragic, cruel, downright inhuman in any of the world countries we know of.  This morning, however, an article by Jibran Ahmad at Reuters, http://news.yahoo.com/pakistani-girl-spoke-against-taliban-shot-wounded-095818763.html had my full attention.  Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl “became famous for speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban at a time when even the government seemed to be appeasing the hardline Islamists,” per Ahmad.  She was “shot in the head and neck when gunmen fired on her school bus in the Swat valley, northwest of the capital, Islamabad. Two other girls were also wounded, police said,” Ahmad states.  Malala’s courage got to my soul.  As we say in Turkish: it hit me directly in the main vein.  While I am typing my weekly post in the comfort and safety of my home in a secure environment, with my sole focus being on a discussion of a patriarchal wrong-doing of my own experience, this 14-year-old schoolgirl fights to stay alive.  Simply because she chose to speak up with conviction against an ongoing wrong in one of the most dangerous settings of the world cultures.  Against all odds.  Having at such a young age already risen above personal concerns or wishes, desires, expectations.  Her horrifying experience is a blunt reminder to me of what a luxury it is to do what I do: write about mostly personal issues placed in one or the other literary framework.

It is as if I have known Malala all my life.  I want to apologize to her in any and all languages of the world I don’t know and am not even aware of.  For I know one other fact for certain.  I regained perspective now.  Malala taught me that long-lost crucial insight for now.  By next week latest, though, I will have been caught by my own life worries all over again, all of which can’t possibly come close to Malala’s, in their levels of seriousness, intensity, severity, extent or of downright life and death significance.

Images of Malala Yousufzai from my google search are in my Blogroll.

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One Mailbox At A Time

I check through all my online accounts as I do every day.  Against a small amount of junk mail, friendly messages lend me a smile.  In my postal mailbox: only recyclable material.  I think back when I last received anything memorable.  My thoughtful, dear friend (also my neighbor) would warm up that cold box of indistinct dimensions with her exquisite “thank you” or “just because” cards, causing celebration in my heart and head.  The mind struggles.  Many years have passed after all, since the death of my cousin – since that metal space offered wonders in personable envelopes from her.  She always knew how to nourish our special mailbox-bond over the ocean.  During her cancer treatments, too.  Her only child – a one-year old at the time, now has non-deletable, unedited, time- and space-surpassing writings from her own mother.  It is her only post-death connection to her mother’s thoughts, emotions, but also pictures from her various life events in her own hand-written descriptions.  It is an irreplaceable gift of life thanks to standard mail.

The thoughts of my cousin takes me deeper into the past while I remember an aged individual – my grandfather.  He rushes down in his younger dancing steps to the wooden mailbox.  What came from his grandchildren would be added to his collection of our cards and pictures, kept on one of his living room walls.  My letters, though, were only for his eyes.

My grandfather was not one of the “connected”, in today’s technology terms.  His joy in and tie to life were dependent on the deliveries of his neighborhood’s postal officer.  He would wait in anxious hope for one piece of personal paper sent on however rare occasion that may be.  I recall the time when he placed his one and only overseas call to me: he had gotten both my letter and picture.  That was the last time when I heard him in such joyous state.  Soon after, he died.  But not without receiving one more cherished writing from me to touch, smell and keep as long as he could – a connection to me that had always been so dear to his heart.

 

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