Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
When Hans extended his invitation to me, in order to join the group, I accepted with no hesitation due to my vivid interest regarding our region and its people. An interest that started by realizing how rich we are… in many ways… in culture, in history, in politics... everything! But, like any other story, there is an ugly part and not just the beautiful one.
Sometimes we keep ourselves occupied by suspicion, superstition… emotions mixed with a sense of “superiority” towards the others and instead of using all the great “tools” we have in our hands for further development and cooperation… for integration and in search of the very best outcome, we set obstacles by any chance!
We have gold in our hands and yet, we don't know its value. Try to travel among the Balkan countries, for example. I am sure you will meet wonderful people... But still, something is missing: confidence that we can succeed together. Trust to each other.
Who or what is responsible for this? I guess, we all have an idea and a point view…
This one is mine (just in general); my perception about our region and you don't have to agree. On the other hand synthesis can happen not only when we agree, but also when we disagree. Therefore, any objection is most welcome and I hope my contribution and your contribution to this good will dialogue will make us all wiser.
Dear Sincerae and dear Vedat, thank you for your warm welcome! I would like to make just a short comment: Sincerae wrote wonderful things about me, and I guess that makes expectations high. But, I am just a normal person that sometimes makes mistakes… well, usually, but that is another story… so I hope with a little help from all of you, to find a way to communicate and to share ideas, news, and everything that can reduce distance between… Istanbul, Athens, Patra, Amsterdam and any other place.
At least 6,256 US veterans took their lives in 2005, at an average of 17 a day. Former servicemen are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide.
Such statistics compare to the total of 3,863 American military deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 - an average of 2.4 a day, according to a reliabe web site.
And today the USA army PR services announced that the numbers of suicides are inclining.
How many suicides by American soldiers can the current USA administration convince that they started a needless war? And we are not talking here about the many lives of innocent Iraqis...
Thursday, May 29, 2008
His name is Christos and lives in Patras and Thessaloniki, Greece.
Christos has a mixed background. His grandparents were Greeks from Turkey; one of his grandfathers was adopted by a Turkish official and they left Turkey sometime during 1917. His first visit to Turkey was in 1983 when he was 8 years old and then again in 2003 when he met his ex-girlfriend (she is Turkish). Later he started a business in Istanbul and lived there from 2006-2007. Now, he share his life between Thessaloniki and Patras, and he plans to start a business again with Turkey.
He will further introduce himself.
And more surprises on this blog will follow...
A recent article in the Scientific American titled 'Blogging, its good for you' reveals that writing is a form of self medication.
'besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery. A study in the February issue of the Oncologist reports that cancer patients who engaged in expressive writing just before treatment felt markedly better, mentally and physically, as compared with patients who did not.'
The article then goes on to quote scientists 'Whatever the underlying causes may be, people coping with cancer diagnoses and other serious conditions are increasingly seeking—and finding—solace in the blogosphere. “Blogging undoubtedly affords similar benefits” to expressive writing, says Morgan (lead author of the oncology study), who wants to incorporate writing programs into supportive care for cancer patients.'
So there you have it, now that you see me blogging, you know i am self medicating.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Until then, I'd like for you to watch a short, interesting and enlightening video to prime you for more next week. Until then, reach out your hand to someone who has different opinions than you do and change your way of thinking.
The national palace in Asunción, Paraguay.
The name Paraguay is still linked to one of the most authoritarian and brutal regimes of the 20th century. In the past Paraguay was known as a police state par excellence, with countless arbitrary arrests and tortures. Years after this ended, many foreigners still prefer to avoid this country. Expatriate web-sites are full of unpleasant words about Paraguay: rising crime rates, poor infrastructure, corrupt government officials, etc. Unfortunately all this seems to be true. Only rarely we will find some nice comments about the life there, mostly about the picturesque nature. As we learn more about Paraguay, we will see a country that could become more attractive for those who look for a quiet and affordable life.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I'll do what is expected on a first date. I'll tell you who I am. If you like what you read, you can stick to me.
So, here we go: my name is Eva, I'm 22 years old and a student Journalism in Utrecht, Holland. I've been invited by Hans to write on this blog after we met in Istanbul.
Istanbul was impressive and supported me to change my point of view. And that's what I like about going abroad. Being impressed by everything that's new. The good and the bad things.
In six weeks I leave Holland behind me for two full month to travel through Nepal and god knows where else. You can read about me at least once a week about everything that impressed me. The next six weeks here in Holland. During summertime in Nepal.
Hope we meet again.
Personally, I think that the manager of this hotel is a creepy guy who cause controversy to sell 'illegal' alcohol to foreigners and not to Turks. I am sure that none of the tourists are aware of this but a foreigner living in Turkey will never accept this. I can not even imagine having a nice diner with friends, and they serve only me wine, whiskey or whatever...I will be totally embarrassed!
But more important is, that with these kind of headings - the second this week - you leave a false impression. An impression that foreigners get a special treatment.
To speak about ınternal affairs, these affairs are intenal.
Conversely, a bad hotel, a bad general manager and bad journalist! That makes a bad article.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Dinc's Turkish Invasion is added here. Dinc didn't invade only Moscow, but is busy to take Kiev as well. We follow him through the streets in the capital of the Ukraine.
I wrote several times about Bernard Bouwman's his book 'My Istanbul', he maintain a weblog too. Only in Dutch. This weblog is added on the chain as well.
Whoever did this, it’s genius!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I introduced Aziz here. He was supposed to write at least once a week, that was our agreement by phone since he asked me to be a co blogger here. But leaving comments on a blog is something else than show your own opinion through an entry on a blog or a column. Aziz could not make it, but still welcome to express his opinion. He sounds like a clever person, and has a lot to say, worth listening.
Vassilli had a winter sleep, and Seda, my dear Turkish friend now living in Thessaloniki had some issues as well. But both are living in Greece, where the tempo of living and working are different than elsewhere..)
Bea and her remarkable blog doesn’t need another introduction, neither Sandra who has something special to say this week. But Eva will start writing, as off this week, after a long week in Istanbul, here on this blog. She travelled all over Europe, the USA, and Asia, now back in the Netherlands to prepare for a 6 week trip to Nepal. She will tell more, in her own words. And she will be the Benjamin here with her 22 years...welcome!
Although cultures remain anchored in their national contexts, it is increasingly hard to believe that the traditional concepts of identity, people and nation are inviolable. Our societies have never experienced such a widespread break with traditions that have grown up over centuries.
But we must ask ourselves whether modern trends usually presented as possible threats to these traditions, including that of the nation-state, might not turn out to be fertile soil for culture, i.e. favourable to the coexistence of diversity. They might help to avoid the two pitfalls of ordered cohesion and artificial uniformity.
The first arises from the hegemonic identity model being based on a single, total, dominant, integrating culture. It was seen as something fixed and immutable. It was brandished as a weapon, and we are only now beginning to measure its impact. The twentieth century saw the most sophisticated cultures give in to barbarism. It took us a long time to realize that racism flourishes where cultural identity is regarded as an absolute. Cultures based on exclusion inevitably lead to the exclusion of all culture. That is why the concept of cultural identity as we have known it since the beginning of globalization is out of date.
But culture must not free itself from national identity by surrendering to the might of globalization and privatization. Emerging post-national identities have not yet shown their capacity to withstand inequality, injustice, exclusion and violence.
To subordinate culture to criteria developed in the laboratories of the dominant ideology, which make a cult of the ups and downs of the stock market, the uncertainties of supply and demand, the snares of functionality and urgency, is to cut off its vital supply of social oxygen and to replace creative tension with the stress of the marketplace.
Two big dangers loom ahead. The first is the current tendency to relegate culture to the status of a superfluous product, whereas cultural perception could well become for information societies what scientific knowledge has been for industrial societies. It is too often forgotten that repairing social divisions means having to pay a cultural cost. Investing in culture is also investing in society. The second danger is that of "electronic fundamentalism". Cultural factories and supermarkets spread a culture that is so technology-oriented that it could be described as dehumanized.
But how can culture be "technologized" to the point where it is just a collection of cultural clones, and still claim to be culture? A cloned culture is an aborted culture, because when a culture ceases to be interdependent, it ceases to be a culture. Interaction is the hallmark of culture. And interaction leads to hybridity, not cloning. With cloning, the one is an exact copy of the other. With hybridity, the one and the other give birth to a new entity which is different but also naturally retains the identity of its origins. Wherever it has occurred, cultural hybridity has sustained roots and forged new solidarities, which may be an antidote to exclusion.
To paraphrase Andre Malraux, I would say that the third millennium will be one of hybridity or it will not be.
Eduardo Portella is a Brazilian philosopher (see picture), author and literary critic. He was formerly his country's Minister of Education and Culture and has served as Deputy Director General of UNESCO.
You can create your own Radio station. No, it's not for download but for those times you want to listen through your computer. You can create the tunes to your satisfaction. Go to Pandora and type in the music, artists or composers you like and the rest will be done for you. FREE!
Do you like silver jewelry and want to get a nice gift for yourself or your favorite someones? Well, if you're in the states, you can get free jewelry of your selection by paying for shipping and handling of about 7 bucks. Jewelry is FREE if you pay the small charge for shipping.
Wi-Fi required? Find out where you can connect for FREE no matter where you are. Don't forget to scroll all the way down the page to find all the Wi-Fi locations all over the world. Happy surfing!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
A Dutch student/journalist, Eva, asked me this week for some insight in the Turkish society at large. So, yesterday, I drove her around for a couple of hours through some neighborhoods and districts of Istanbul while we talked about the ins and outs of Turkish politics. For 7 pm I had a drink and diner planned with some Turkish co bloggers. That would be nice for her.)
To be sure that we were on time, I parked my car in Macka and we took a taxi to Taksim square where we planned to meet up. This takes most of the time 45 minutes but not yesterday, so we arrived there 6 pm. Too early and thus time for a drink and smoke. Since the new laws don’t allow smoking in closed areas, we settled down outside of the new brasserie of the Marmara Hotel. I lighted a cigarette and relaxed. Suddenly a waiter came over to tell me: 'sssssmoking was not allowed where we sat down'. On the terrace there were two sections, one smoking and one non-smoking. But…inside the brasserie we could smoke freely…huh?
Enfin, our drinks were transported inside, and yes, everybody was smoking there!
First, I didn’t understand the rule that outside there were two sections; one for smokers and one for non smokers and second, inside it was mainly ‘smoke allowed’ signs. I asked the maitre of the brasserie what was going on. He simple answered: ‘I don’t know’, 'but you got your glass of whiskey instead of buying a whole bottle of whiske' what some journalists of the Turkish press try to scare the Turks and tourists with..)
Replace the word Turkishness now with ‘uniqueqeness’. ..and yes, then you will understand Turkey a little bit more...
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
And it has not gone unnoticed by the ubiquitous tissue brand Kleenex. The company believed that by tying the public's emotional health to its brand, it could promote a stronger bond with their customers. The company said it began to notice the trend in expressiveness and decided to put science to work. Kleenex hired real scientists to conduct research on people's perception of "emotional health" and discovered they felt good when they let all those emotions out. We are talking here about America where people start crying when they have a camera in front of them..)
But lets talk European. Kleenex conducted a survey earlier this year (I have only the Dutch link, so sorry) among 10 European countries. And one of the results was: 'Dutch, in particular Dutch men are far more 'emotional' or emotive as I prefer to say than for example Italians...
Dutch are open, direct and eager to share their emotions.
You have to make the link in your head now with the feminists and emancipation movement in the sixties of the last century, and it didn't stop. One friend of my once said: 'Dutch women are men without balls', 'we Dutchmen are suppressed by them'...)
And now I have to cry
Their latest issue features not one or two, but 18 nude shots of some of the hottest up and coming names in the modeling and fashion world from IMG modeling agency.
Jessica Stam, Liya Kebede, Sasha Pivovarova, Miranda Kerr, Hana Soukupova, and Hilary Rhoda all appear nude in amazing bed shots taken by Mario Sorrenti.
The result is a very daring yet tasteful shoot that does not come across as gratuitous or scandalous, proving that nudity can be art.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Published in Turkish Daily News Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Hans A.H.C. de WIT
Politics is all about business and spin; all about negotiation and bargaining. Until, that is, you get what you want. And then you must communicate with other groups, like people who didn't vote for you. So, you act on a fine line of ethics: You are the leader of a political party which won the elections but not the heart, souls and minds of all Turks.
You don't want to betray your supporters. You also don't want to confuse them too much when you make a step in the opposite direction of what you promised. Then the spectacle begins. This is all American, but lately Turkish as well!
The all-encompassing arena:
The Turkish political arena nowadays looks like the Roman Coliseum 2000 years ago. Only the gladiators of then are the political leaders of now, watched by the military and judiciary. While these legal spectators sometimes act without the backing of legal international judicial borders, they leave the real spectators, the ordinary Turks, in the cold.
While most of us try to survive, the life of a Turkish politician appears as a cat; it may have seven lives! Look at the current CHP, AKP and MHP; their leaders come back again and again, not paving the way for the young and ambitious youth of Turkey. The bitter personal vendettas of these party leaders leave little space for change. Nevertheless, their days go on and on... and they don't end. All their lives need is a sense of some place to go.
The mouthpieces of these political parties and spectators are Turkey's press groups. They are as polarized as possible with an inward-looking social ‘pecking order' and walk hand-in-hand with the conventional political parties, using the same language as the politicians whom they try to embody. By creating a media tsunami between a non-conformist, politico-religious group and a deeply-restricted, conservative-ideological one, they leave the foreign press, politicians and others in limbo, but not into the dark.
The roots of the current media problems run deeper than it seems. After Atatürk's death, his ideals and legacy became dogmas. These dogmas left no space for a civil and open debate or a healthy, engaged and independent writing and broadcasting press. The bombastic and often pathetic headlines, flashed in red, silenced the society at large and closed free dialogue. Falling into platitudes, the mainstream media began to act like a volcano, leaving the public running for their lives.
Continue reading here.
Note: Thanks to Bea for editing.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Check out the rest of the story and a video telling a nasty secret of John McCain and why he definitely won't get my vote.
In this private Austrian hospital, Elisabeth Fritzl, her mother Rosemarie, and 5 of her 6 children are being cared. This morning it became public that on May 26 she will be interviewed about here ordeal.
The growing pressure of papparazzi and the sensational press, who are doing everything to get in this hospital to make a snapshot, made here to do so.
There are a lot of disgusting stories going on in the boulevard press; freedom of press is a must but freedom on privacy above all!
I hope that after this interview she will be left alone.
According the Spanish minister of Equality, Bibiana Aido, the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi needs a psychiatrist. But she doubt if it will be efficient; ‘he will need a lot of sessions’ she told the Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday. The 31 years young (!) Spanish minister was angry after Berlusconi told Italian reporters that the Spanish administration was ‘too pink too rosé’ – there are 9 Spanish female ministers against 8 male. ‘He will have his hands full and it will be difficult for him’ to lead them. ‘he’ is the Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero.
Earlier this month Berlusconi unfilled his government: 17 males and 4 females (one was a former Miss Italy contester) I love Berlusconi...but I think he is simple jealous on Zapatero...
Personally, I think that men of 50 years and older, must be barred to run for President, Prime Minister or simple minister. They can be ‘advisors’ or form a ‘wise elderly committee’ and that’s all.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
On the 14th of May the Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot was arrested. Gregorius Nekschot is a pseudonym. Gregorius stands for the name of a pope, Nekschot for "shot through the neck", a method used by socialists of various breeds to get rid of unwanted dissidents.
Gregorius Nekschot creates highly controversial cartoons (banned). He himself calls them ‘tasteless cartoons’, and most people agree. By comparison, the Danish cartoons are pure propaganda for Mohammed. Strangely enough, those rather innocent Danish cartoons drew worldwide attention, while Nekschot’s cartoons didn’t.
That is over. On the 14th of this month Gregorius was arrested by a team of no fewer than ten police officers. He was taken into custody, and since the District Attorney deemed his works both highly offensive and commercial, he was kept locked up for two days. After release, he was told: "You can forget about anonymity now. They know who you are."
This arrest creates a serious political row. The parliament, to their credit, from left to right, wants an explanation from the minister for Justice, Hirsh Balin. And it better be a good one, for more and more information comes to earth that this is pure political intimidation, if not outright state terrorism. (...)
Note: the person who filed the complain is an imam, and it was 2005!
The cartonist is making fun not only about Islam, but all religions and the lefties as well.
Dynamics of modernization, such as increased attention to maternal and infant health, urbanization, education and communication, introduce population planning in the country's regions.
What Turkey needs is a balanced, educated and well-groomed population instead of an excessive one. And with educated I want to refer to the following article by Mustafa Akyol.
Also Taha Akyol (father of and CEO of CNN Turk and senior columnist of Milliyet) wrote an interesting book:"Which Ataturk".
Why most 'educated' Turks are hopelessly illiberal?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
One of the great benefits of Turkey’s EU adventure is that it unveils some crucial yet often unnoticed facts about this country. Thanks to the accession process, Europeans are taking a closer look at Turkish society, and realizing who is really who in this very complex and often confusing nation.
One particular discovery of Europeans has been that the secularist Turkish elite is not sharing some of their fundamental values, such as democracy and individual freedom. These European-looking Turks are also quite militarist and nationalist according to Western standards.
The curious point is that this illiberal elite of Turkey is also the relatively better educated part of the society. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) is often the political choice of such Turks, and, interestingly enough, study after study shows that the CHP gets tons of votes from university graduates and urban professionals. The incumbent AKP (Justice and Development Party), on the other hand, whose political base is relatively less “educated,” is less nationalist and more pro-EU.
Why is that? Or, why, one might ask, are educated Turks more close-minded?
Indoctrination via education:
To find the answer, you need to realize what “education” really means in the Turkish context.
It actually means indoctrination. In others words, the education system is not designed to raise individuals who believe in democracy, freedom, pluralism or critical thinking. It is rather designed to inculcate all students with the “state ideology.”
Just spend some time in a Turkish primary or high school, and you will see what I mean. Students start and end every week by swearing an oath of allegiance to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, around whom our state ideology has built a cult of personality. “O mighty Atatürk who has given us this day,” all students recite, “I swear that I will walk relentlessly on your path.” The oath ends with a collectivist promise of sacrifice: “Let my existence be a gift to Turkish existence!”
Continue reading here
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Censorship is one of the things I hate most, and the most dangerous kind of censorship is the sly and subtle kind that creeps in without making a fuss or grand entrance. It’s the little measures and twisted, undercover ways which go unnoticed and undisputed that abuse people’s rights.
The accompanying message of the prints is, “The censorship never gives up. It always returns disguised.”
The Assumption of the Virgin (1577–1579, oil on canvas, 401 × 228 cm, Art Institute of Chicago) was one of the nine paintings El Greco completed for the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo, his first commission in Spain.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"Our internal issues are being carefully watched by the Greek side. Let me end this article with an anecdote from the Bohcalian meeting, which hinted how many trump cards we give them to ruin our main positions. In the conversations we held in Bohcalian, Lordos said that a chief judge in Turkey is able to declare a party winning 47 percent of votes as an illegitimate party, over the night. If this Turkey sets being the constitutional guarantor as a condition for the solution of the issue, how can a Cypriot Greek accept such a thing?"
These are the words of Cengiz ÇANDAR. And he is so right.
I don't know, but according some well informed friends they are going to close down the AK party in Turkey. I admit, they are not that innocent as they claim to be. But closing down a ruling party, together with the Kurdish DTP, you shut down the voice of 60% of the Turkish voters. In my opinion, political disputes are for the parliament and constitutional disputes for the Courts of Turkey. At the moment, they are completely mixed, which leaves the ordinary Turk in limbo, but not the Western media and the EU.
One rhetoric question: if Turkish democracy can not survive by rule of law, both domestically and by means of international law, how can they solve the Cyprus problem?
For an outsider it must be confusing: who rules Turkey. The Turkish army or elected parliamentarians. And who rules Northern Cyprus?
the rose has come back. let the sun watchers laugh.
tied on its branch my letter is open
let the stars read it let the moon read it
let it be morning let it be love
i will then pour my ink into the sea
with its rain licked stamp
my skin is casting off: scale by scale
piece by piece my face is shedding
the ships inside me are cheering up
water is fluttering there, wind is crazy
my sky is azure, and my water wells are blue
as i change what i come across is the same road
beginning of the road is same, again so many pangs
its name is bitter, its smell is sweet: in fact my silvering
is on my own mirror, how i reflect is same
direction where my clock works is the rose
its artwork is exactly the leaf of love: this is
the reply to my heart asking: why am i walking
towards the face of the earth, why on earth
am i walking by shedding
the air I diffuse in is narrow, the place is isolated
plunging my hand into my left side: my wound is open
i am caressing my heart
cleaned blood in, blood out
Translator: Neslihan AKAR
Deniz Dili ve Edenbiyatı 5
gül döndü. Gülsün güne bakanlar.
dalına bağladım mektubum açık
yıldızlar okusun ay okusun
sabah ola aşk ola
denize bırakacağım mürekkebimi
yağmur yalamış puluyla
derim değişiyor: pul pul
parça parça dökülüyor yüzüm
seviniyor içimdeki gemiler
su çırpınıyor orada, rüzgâr deli
göğüm gök, kuyularım da mavi
değiştikçe karşıma çıkan aynı yol
yolun aynı başı, gene onca sancı
adı acı, kokusu tatlı: oysa sırım
kendi aynamda, yansıdığım aynı
saatimin çalıştığı yön güldür
işlediği yaprağıdır tam aşkın: neden
yerin yüzüne yürümekteyim
diyen kalbime yanıttır: yeryüzünde
döküle döküle yürümekteyim neden
yayıldığım hava dar, mekân kopuk
elimi daldırıp sol yanıma: yaram açık
kendim okşuyorum kalbimi
temiz kan içeri, kan dışarı.
Note; on the previous blog, I posted around 10 poems of my friend Nurduran Duman. More informtion about her you will find here and here.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
In 1977 I travelled for the first time to Greece, and from there to Egypt. Egypt by then was at war with both Libya and Israel as well. Not that many tourist in Egypt - some lost Saudis and people from Yemen I remember. A couple of months later President Sadat of Egypt went on a historical visit to Israel.
Back home, in the Netherlands I organized in 1978 a forum with delegates from Israel Committee the Netherlands and the Palestinian Committee which had direct links with the PLO. It became an unforgettable evening.
Today, Israel celebrates their 60 years of existence. The voices of then, that Israel once will be destroyed, are still out there. The religious bigots of Hamas, who execute their power by force, is still insisting that they only can reach their political objectives by force.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has a democracy and a modern economy.
They are attacked 7 times by 'united Arab forces' but still their democracy and economy is alive, in contrary with these so called modern Arab nations.
An update about the 'intellect' of Hamas watch this.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Check out the rankings for your country and see how you compare to Turkey or others. What do you think?