Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Being an expat in Turkey

Travelling is a lot of fun, meeting different people in other cultures too. Change of languages, change of food and change of customs makes life more than challenging, when you’re an expat or expatriate. But it also comes with; saying hello for the first time and goodbye’s for the last time.

Everybody who is dreaming of a life as a traveler, discovering other cultures, discovering places on earth you never heard of before, be aware that you always have to say goodbye to something special, something beautiful or simple goodbye to a person. Or you must be a millionaire who is financial independent. But when you are a millionaire, how independent are you? Are you independent from the money you have? I don’t think so. But that’s a different question.

When I moved to the USA for the last time, to Miami, I had to say goodbye to friends in Prague and Amsterdam. While I already knew by then that my stay in the USA was not forever. And that I had to make the trip back to Europe at least every 6 months, with thanks to my business visa. But you will estrange from your friends from your family. Yes, for the last 20 years I estrange from my environment over and over again while at the same time smelling and proving other cultures.

Turkey is where I am right now. For seven years, straight in a row. And when I look at the friends I had when I just arrived here and who is still here…maybe a fraction. Some left because being a business expat, it grants you only 3 or maybe 4 years to get attached to a country, the next place is waiting. And the expatriates; volunteer expats? Many of them left. Some being outraged about the countries business policies. Some because there are no business opportunities at all. Others just left Turkey because they were once chased by a mob…

Turkey tends to be a country of hospitability but it looks like that the old habits disappear when there is no money involved. Turkey became pretty xenophobic and estranged from its nomad character. And more and more of my friends left or are ready to leave. That makes life hard: how can I defend a country which has a flaggy deep-skin tolerance to other cultures, religions, habits while it pretends to be the opposite?

A shocking report about Gaza by Israeli soldiers and more

Last week the former Dutch Prime Minister, Dries van Agt (also called the Dutch Jimmy Carter) declared according to this article (Dutch article) that he intends to sail with the boat ‘Free Gaza’ to protest against ‘Israel’s state terrorism’.

Today, the Israelian movement 'Breaking the Silence' an organisation of former Israeli soldiers broke real the silence. In a new report, based on the testimony of 26 Israeli soldiers who took part in the last Gaza war, it says the Israeli army used civilians as human shields, fired white phosphorous grenades and "shot at everything that moved".

Breake the Silence its initial aim was to raise awareness among the Israeli population about the consequences of the occupation of the West Bank. Most of its members have served in the occupied territories during the Second Intifadah (2000-2004).
Founder Yehuda Shaul says Breaking the Silence is not a pacifist group and is not part of the Israeli peace movement. One of its activities is to organise guided tours of Palestinian Hebron, where Israeli settlers live in the town centre under the protection of the Israeli army.
In the past few months Breaking the Silence has been gathering testimony from soldiers about the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war.
The report and video testimony are available at

Now, when Van Agt declares his sympathy for the Palestinian cause and accuses Israel's 'self defence' as state terrorism, thereby giving support to the dreaded violent Hamas, who reinstated crucifixion as a capital punishment, there also should be a cry of outrage about that...from him. Pardon me: crucifixion?!!!
And are there any Palestine groups who investigate Hamas terror?

Day Opening - July 15

Dancing...the Tango?