Tag Archives: Turkish

Türkiye Halkları Ayağa Kalkıyor ~ Alain Badiou



Tüm Türkiye’de eğitimli gençliğin büyük bir bölümü şu anda hükümetin baskıcı ve gerici uygulamalarına karşı büyük bir harekete öncülük ediyor. Bu benim ‘Tarihin Uyanışı’ adını verdiğim önemli bir andır. Dünyada pek çok ülkede bir kısım entellektüel ve orta sınıf tarafından eşlik edilen ortaokul,lise, üniversite gençliği Mao’nun meşhur sözüne yeniden hayat veriyor: ‘İsyan etmek haktır.’ Alanları,sokakları ve sembolik yerleri işgal ediyorlar; yürüyorlar, özgürlük, ‘gerçek demokrasi’ ve yeni bir hayat arzuluyorlar. Hükümetin muhafazakar politikalarından vazgeçmesini yoksa istifa etmesini istiyorlar. Devletin polisinin şiddetli saldırılarına karşı koyuyorlar.

Bunlar benim doğrudan ayaklanmanın özellikleri dediğim: popüler devrimci politik hareketin potansiyel güçlerinden biridir -eğitimli gençlik ve maaşlı küçük burjuvanın- kendi adına gerici hükümete karşı çıkmasıdır. Şunu içtenlikle söylüyorum: bunu yapmak haktır! Ama bunu yapmak önümüze bu başkaldırının süresi ve ölçeği sorununu çıkarmaktadır. Harekete geçmek doğrudur, ama düşünsel bağlamda ve gelecek için bunun asıl sebebi nedir?    Bütün sorun bu cesur ayaklanmanın gerçek bir tarihi ayaklanmanın yolunu açıp…

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“our ties to home”

The video below shows Elzara Batalova , of Crimean Tatar background, singing “Ey Güzel Qırım” (“Oh, You Beautiful Crimea”), a ballad in one of the many Turkic languages :

Hers is a song of nostalgia, of the passionate longing for home, as the following refrain – one of several – articulates:

I haven’t lived in this place

Haven’t been able to realize my old age

Have been yearning for home

Oh, you beautiful Crimea

I don’t know how many of you have been born outside the United States, neither do I have any insight into whether you miss your birthplace – no matter where it is.  As some or maybe all of you already know (About), I was born and raised in Turkey and lived there until the age of twenty-four.  Although, my move to North America is not about a migrant’s story, an opinion page in New York Times on immigrants and the overall global trend to leave home recently got my attention.  Unlike some other articles I had encountered over the thirty-six years I lived and worked in the States, the treatment of this issue by Dr. Susan J. Matt , a professor of history at Weber State University – and the author of Homesickness: An American History , is psychology-based.  The facts, figures and statistics, I will leave behind.  Should the topic appeal to your interest, you can easily locate the source (in my blog roll).

Based on her “nearly a decade’s research” on the subject, Prof. Matt first informs us in “The New Globalist Is Homesick” as follows: “The global desire to leave home arises from poverty and necessity, but it also grows out of a conviction that such mobility is possible.”  She then adds that “it also has high psychological costs” and that “many people who leave home in search of better prospects end up feeling displaced and depressed.”  Foremost important to me on a personal level is what she states next: “Few speak openly of the substantial pain of leaving home.”  We learn from her article how in the 19th century “[s]tories of the devastating effects of homesickness were common [… (e.g.] ‘Victim of Nostalgia: A Priest Dies Craving for a Sight of his Motherland.”)  What the article highlights next is, to me, a first-time fact:    “Today, explicit discussions of homesickness are rare, for the emotion is typically regarded as an embarrassing impediment to individual progress and prosperity.  This silence makes mobility appear deceptively easy.”

Here, I invite us to pause briefly in order to get into my head, approximately three decades ago: At a time, when I was craving to be back home.  My mother was the main reason for my longing, along with my youth love I had left behind.  With the exception of my letters to her and a few jotted notes, I, too, had kept my silence about the deeply rooted ache I used to feel. With my mother’s death, my letters also vanished. As for those scattered notes, I may eventually find them during another move, whenever that may happen.  Imagine now, if you please, my conditions to leave my home country as opposed to those Matt analysed: There was no necessity for me to leave my home country.  I left to pursuit my passion to further my studies.  Poverty was not an issue, either.  Still, during my first years here, I experienced feelings of immense loss.

“Technology also seduces us into thinking that migration is painless [,]” writes Matt and argues: If today’s ways of rapid communication “could truly vanquish homesickness and make us citizens of the world, Skype, Facebook, cellphones and e-mail would have cured a pain that has been around since ‘The Odyssey’.”  She also announces: “Homesickness continued to plague many who migrated.”  Her argument finds support in her own research of the Archives of General Psychiatry, regarding, for instance, the “rates of depression and anxiety” among “Mexican immigrants in the United States” being “40 percent higher than nonmigrant relatives remaining in Mexico.  A wealth of studies have documented that other newcomers to America also suffer from high rates of depression and ‘acculturative stress’.”  Matt ends her findings by stressing how limited “the cosmopolitan philosophy” is: “The idea that we can and should feel at home anyplace on the globe is based on a worldview that celebrates the solitary, mobile individual and envisions men and women as easily separated from family, from home and from the past. But this vision doesn’t square with our emotions, for our ties to home, although often underestimated, are strong and enduring.”

On a personal level, I admit to a realization at this stage in my life how strong and enduring my ties to home have, in fact, been.  When I say home, it is not even my birthplace I speak of.  It is, rather, that of my mother and of seven generations on her family side. When the name alone comes up – Sinop, the small harbor town that housed Diogenes, I face the oddest phenomenon of my entire life so far: A primal urge to be there.  Since I can’t, I have scenario-rich dreams about it; I composed one, to me one of my most illustrious and longest but also most meaningful poems for it; I lived the most exhilarating three-and-a-half months of my life in it; I mourned and continue to mourn the loss of my mother’s inheritance from it.  I have even gone to such extent to add to my living will for my ashes to be spread to its sea.

I believe to no longer underestimate my ties to home – the way I had been for long , neither do I undermine the fact how strong and enduring that connection can be.  As if our umbilical cord is still attached not only to our mothers but to our birthplaces at large as well.

I now end here with the hope that you will come back, perhaps even with your own story of leaving home, or, just because.  Before I do, however, I want to give you “Sinop Aşkı” (“Love of/for Sinop”), a short video (4:37) with still  images of the town, accompanied by modern Turkish Folk music.  The second video is a longer and live introductory piece in English (25:16).  We have started with a music piece.  Why not end on one.

I very much look forward to your next visit.



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Two poems from Can Yücel on the loss of love

Uğruna fedakarlık yapmadığın sevgiyi,

yüreğinde taşıyıp da kendine yük etme!

[Poem Source: Can Yücel]


Don’t burden yourself by carrying in your heart

the love for which you made no sacrifice!

[Translation Source: Self]



Yar’la bir olmayınca

yer’le bir oluyormuş insan…

[Poem Source: Can Yücel]


I got it!

You get destroyed…

when not with the beloved

[Translation Source: Self]


Once you live of what the same poet speaks in two separate poems through seemingly contradicting emotions, you know the feeling of being torn is an integral part of the suffering.


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Nazım copy

Hani derler ya,

Ben sensiz yaşayamam, diye.

Ben onlardan değilim.

Ben sensiz de yaşarım;


Seninle bir başka yaşarım…

[Poetry and Image Source: Nazım Hikmet]


You know what they say:

“I can’t live without you.”

I am not one of them.

I’ll live also without you;


with you,

my life would surely be something else…

[Translation Source: Self]


May it be through Turkish, English or any other world language – how do you define “living”? How about “life”?


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NaPoWriMo Challenge: Day 17

Today, I adapt to the prompt from day 6 on the NaPoWriMo challenge but it is day 17. Since all prompts are optional, I take this liberty with no feelings of guilt (!)  Maureen Thorson describes the task as follows: “[…] This might seem like a bit of a downer, but I challenge you to write a valediction. This is a poem of farewell.  Perhaps the most famous one is John Donne’s “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”, which turns the act of saying good-bye into a very tender love poem. But your poem could say “good-bye” (and maybe good riddance!) to anything or anyone. A good-bye to winter might be in order, for example. Or good-bye to the week-old [E]aster eggs in your refrigerator. Light or serious, long or short, it’s up to you!”

As a semi-confident pessimist, my heart takes me to a serious goodbye, one I have dreaded severely during my daughter’s infant, toddler, formative, teenage years and even early twenties. For I had feared to leave her without a mother when she still needed one.  Now that she is a young but very mature adult, I am able to shed those feelings of dread…


my mother, grieving over her own

believed I must leave before I arrived

my melancholy is meant to be

don’t you, *Bir Tanem, ever think thus!



grieved over her;

him, whom you know of;

myself, the once intact one;

my accidental life

them, who loved me so

yet migrated one by one



aching heart


burdened years


a *can torn from *canan


on eternal leave

had arrived this time



just don your prominent smile, Bir Tanem!

Let your beautiful self evade all ills!

Hold that delightful thrill in your eyes!


Life is stunning, as it is arduous.

Hurt is incredibly real but so is joy.



keep at your path through and through

don’t forget to taste others, too

demand from your crossroads – one or two

to not close you in with whomever!

Whether a mate or a lover,

make sure to only have a *dost beside you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Turkish words in translation:

Bir Tanem: My One and Only

can: life; soul

canan: the beloved

dost (in its original meaning): gender-neutral friend for life; bad-time friend

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NaPoWriMo Challenge: Day 14

*we ate our girl’s head

no cannibalistic act

parental failure


*Biz bu kızın başını yedik!” (Turkish) A loving tribute to a living child whose life quality may have been compromised on account of parental mistakes.


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What did we ever give you?

Wife, dead, too soon

Young, the children


You, in dire modesty

Ate very little

Fed them instead

All she left behind

To us, for us


You, loved

Loved us for us

Loved us for you

Loved us for Mom


We loved you, too

But what did we ever give you?


Your son

your daughter

his wife

her husband

bitter words

harsh disapprovals

ugly moves



We loved you, too

But what did we ever give you?


Beni affet.

* affedilemez (Turkish): inexcusable

*Baba beni affet (Turkish): Dad. Forgive me.

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Yavrundan Sana (Akronim)

[Kendi isteğimle yatılı kaldığım bir sene içerisinde anneme özlemim dayanılmaz bir hale gelmişti…Erenköy Kız Lisesi, Edebiyat, II. Sınıf]

Yağmur yağarsa dışarıda, gözyaşlarım sanıyorum.

Ağlayan bir ses varsa, senin sesine benzetiyorum.

Veda eden bir yüz görsem, senin yüzünü buluyorum.

Ruhum bir an daralsa, senin ruhunu hatırlıyorum.

Ufukta bir karaltı belirse, onda hemen seni tanıyorum.

Neden mi? Bilemem ki anne!

Didinen, uğraşan bir kadın görsem şekil değiştiriyor birden.

Annelerin kraliçesi, benim annem oluyor aniden.

Nedimelerin de her biri üstelik ayrı bir kraliçe, anne!


Sensizliğimi bir an hatırlasam, nankörce

Artık gözlerim buğulanmıyor anne.

Nasıl ki öyle tasavvur edemiyorum seni de

Ağlamayı bırak, sihrimiz kaybolabilir anne!

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imbalance (on storiesspace.com)

Loved?  *şüphesiz!

Cared for?  şüphesiz!

Respected? şüphesiz!


A son’s finances: hooked to a lifetime support.

The daughter somehow must breathe without!

*şüphesiz (Turkish): “without doubt”

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