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ON LIVINGNâzim Hikmet Ran (1902-1963)
Nazım Hikmet was One of the most important figures in 20th century Turkish literature. In his lifetime he was known as the best-known Turkish poet in the West, and his poems were translated into several languages.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example-
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory
in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people-
even for people whose faces you've never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you'll plant olive trees-
and not for your children, either,
but because although you fear death you don't believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.
Nazım Hikmet Ran
Translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk - 1993
BY OMER TASPINAR
Columnist Omer Taspinar comments on the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. A summary of his column is as follows:
"It's been more than three months since the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers signed protocols that were supposed to launch a historic reconciliation and rapprochement process between Yerevan and Ankara.
It was clear this wasn't going to be easy. The signing ceremony itself was beset by crisis. A major humiliation for all the dignitaries assembled for the occasion (the foreign ministers of Russia , France , Switzerland , EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) was averted at the last minute. Yet the devil was still in the details: The protocols requires ratification by both nations' parliaments in order to go into effect. Read More
Turks In Europe
by Ibrahim Kalin
Columnist Ibrahim Kalin comments on European Turks. A reprint of his column is as follows:
"It has been more than half a century since a large number of Turkish workers first migrated to Europe. They accomplished their original task and provided Europe with a major labor force. But after 50-some years, they are not just manual workers. And this is a fact Europe has to cope with.
Today, around 4.5 millions of Turks live in Europe. Geographically, they are scattered all over the old continent. They work in practically every field of business life, from small shops and doner kebap salons to media and trade. As an immigrant community, they display remarkable diversity. Among them are conservatives, religious groups, democrats, liberals, leftists, Alevis and Kemalists. Some are well-integrated, speaking the language of their countries as well as Turkish though the third generation has a major problem with the latter. Some are trying hard to integrate without much success. Some have given up on the idea of integration because some European countries impose integration as a smokescreen for assimilation. Read More
Arts and Culture
Evliya Çelebi Project
Caroline Finkel, a Scottish historian based in Istanbul, is noted in her field for being both a conventional academic historian and for her less orthodox initiatives. Her masterpiece, "Osman's Dream," is a seminal work on the Ottomans, from their origins until their disappearance. While she has also dabbled in archaeology in Ukraine, Finkel's main focus in recent times has been Evliya Celebi, the Ottoman traveler extraordinaire. While in the library of the American Institute in Turkey, one of many research institutes in Istanbul, Finkel came up with the idea of basing her next book on following the path of some of the great Western travelers in Anatolia ' an appropriate subject given her love of hiking. As she discussed the matter with friends, however, the work's focus gradually shifted from a trip on foot to one on horseback and from Western travelers to local ones. Finkel subsequently struck upon the idea of following some of the voyages of Evliya Celebi ' a sort of Ottoman Marco Polo ' from Hersek, on the on the south coast of the I.zmit Gulf, to the Aegean settlement of Kutahya. Her project was a great success, leading her to develop an Evliya Celebi Route to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. "The first thing was to find the way! Then we had to find the sponsors, and starting from the top, we discovered how distant the world of professional riders is from that of rural Turkey," Finkel said, explaining the preparations that led up to her journey. "Arab horses used to go from the Ottoman Empire to Europe; now it is the opposite, so the interest in supporting this kind of project was small. Hence we looked for help from the 'bottom,' finally finding good help from local enterprises." The entire group, including seven horses and riders, along with a support vehicle, set off last September, finishing the route at the beginning of November. "We found an active tradition of popular games played by horses in our voyage: [One was] 'cirit,' a horse sport with a sort of javelin where the riders have to hit each other and often capture the other rider's javelin while galloping," she said. A representation of cirit can be found in the Orientalists' collection at the Pera Museum in Istanbul. The other sport they observed was "rahvan," which involved more racing. "However this culture is endangered. Many people there are poor," Finkel said. "By riding on non-beaten routes, thanks to the horses, we were able to discover some rural realities we thought to exist only in the eastern parts of Turkey. The ride is also meant to try and help these people."
By Luca Brunello of the Hurriyet Daily News.
a new controversy at the Europe's capital of culture
By Vercihan Ziflioglu of the Hurriyet Daily News
Istanbul cannot rescue itself from being at the center of a new controversy. Europe's most melancholic capital of culture, Istanbul, is now the target of discussions over the poster designed by the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency to promote the city in Western countries. The oriental visuals in the poster with the slogan, "Meet the Roots of Fun ' In Istanbul 2010' has become a hot debate among intellectuals. The figures in the poster that have been heavily criticized through e-mails and social networking site Facebook, caricaturize the Ottoman past rather than the city's historic richness and modern face. Among the figures there is a flute player, a janissary, harem women, sultans and oil wrestlers. Speaking to the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review about the issue, Theater Critics founding member and executive board chairman, and International Interpreters Federation member, Hasan Anamur, said: "I condemn this attitude that promotes Turkey to the West with such images. I am not surprised by this poster, because they organize Turkish Days abroad and send the Ottoman Janissary Band." Anamur, speaking about the importance of expressing the modern face of Istanbul in the poster, replied to the question of how he would design a poster for the city, saying: "For example, I would depict a ballerina flying over the city in her tutu skirt. This ballerina would fly over the Hagia Sophia Museum, but unfortunately, such a poster would be against the conception of the world of the Justice and Development Party [or AKP] government." Just like Anamur, researcher Huseyin Irmak is reacting against the poster. He said Istanbul was a modern city of the world, adding: "This poster will trigger the oriental view on Turkey in the Western world." Irmak also criticized the AKP and said: "In a period in which the AKP is the ruling party, we could not expect a different poster. Unfortunately, the subconscious of the AKP members collides with the modern world." Ahmet Umit, one of Turkey's best-known detective novel writers, said it was totally meaningless to him that Istanbul is the European Capital of Culture for one year. He explained the reason, saying: "We rape this city everyday, plunder its history and natural beauties. So what if we become the culture capital of Europe?" Harshly criticizing the European Capital of Culture agency, Umit said, "Unfortunately, they make a hash of everything." When asked what he would want to see on a poster promoting Istanbul, Umit said: "Of course it should refer to the history, not only the Ottoman but also the Byzantine. The city's historic and modern face could have been presented together with a different concept."
Campus Cafe Archive
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